Monday, May 19, 2008

Panel OF DOOM! Report, JACON 2008

This weekend was a double (possibly triple now that ACen has a Tokusatsu Hell) dose of Hell between JACON and Anime Central, so I figure I'll get mine out of the way first.

This was one of those times where you try and plan stuff in advance and it almost all goes out the window due to circumstances beyond your control. I guess this sort of thing is what con staffers go through on a regular occasion. As JACON was being held in a new location this year, the Ramada Orlando Celebration Hotel & Convention Center, I honestly had no idea what to expect, but an early warning sign was that the hotel would not let me post any of the flyers Danno designed anywhere.

The panel rooms and video rooms at JACON this year were TINY. I'd say there were about 50 seats. In previous years I estimate I'd fill about 30-40% of JACON's Main Events, which is a bit too large a room, so there definitely wasn't going to be enough room for everyone. The con staffers were very understanding of this, and the A/V accommodations were just what I needed so I had no need to go to the con gripe session.

But since the panel rooms were all in the same building and the panels opposite mine on the schedule was the hentai showing and Steve Bennett's party, my panel was now 18+ only. The downside to this was that my panel started about 45 minutes late since everybody had to be carded and there was one line regardless of which event you were attending. The upside was that I was able to run clips from UK Channel 4's Brass Eye by Christopher Morris, which with its copious amounts of nudity, profanity, and jokes about sex/drugs/religion/pedophilia is not something I generally show at AWA.

Other than that, the actual panel itself went off fine. I opened up with the Studio 4C animated music video for Koda Kumi's Twinkle (released a few years back as part of an anthology entitled Amazing Nuts!), before getting into the dark, dark, heart of matters. Lots of Speed Racer clips in wake of the live-action movie (which was awesome), though I spared the crowd from the currently-running Speed Racer: The Next Generation after subjecting them to The New Adventures of Speed Racer. Also present was a sizeable amount of kooky religious stuff, such as that Mormon animated propaganda video and Somebody Goofed. These clips are still funny ten years after I saw Dave use them. Between those, Brass Eye, Green Porno by Isabella Rosselini (Bee is my favorite), Silver Dragon Ninja (another Godfrey Ho NINJA epic), Golgo 13 selling Intel Core Duo laptops, and Jean-Claude Van Damme punching a snake in the face I'd say that those 50 or so people in attendance really wanted to be there. I chucked some DVDs and manga into the crowd since I had a huge box of stuff but quickly gave up once I realized that regular DVDs are just as aerodynamically likely to put someone's eye out as thinpacks. Wrapped everything up at 2 AM to make up for the lost time, and while I could have gone until 3 AM (the time everyone would get kicked out the building) if I started reusing old clips I decided I'd better try and get some sleep instead.

Big thanks to the JACON staff for doing what they could in a not quite optimal hotel room setup. All the technical stuff worked perfectly and without a hitch; I didn't even need to supply cables. If they don't switch hotels next year (and I'm kinda hoping they do), maybe the size of Main Events could be reduced to make room for one or two more larger event rooms.

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