This was the first year for Geek-O-Nomicon, a community based convention out of Biloxi, Mississippi, and from all accounts it seems to have hit the ground running. For a first year convention, this one had some of the best attendance numbers I've ever seen. There were tons of fan tables, some amazing vendors in the dealer room, lots of artists and authors, and a lot of very happy attendees at this well organized gathering. So, here's my round up of some of the awesome handcrafted merch, lovely and talented cosplay, and Guinness World Record breaking fun I saw at the inaugural Geek-O-Nomicon!
|So. Many. Steamunks...|
There was a little something for every fandom at Geek-O-Nomicon, but steampunks in particular were out en masse at this convention. That's largely thanks to Cannon Trawets of the fan group Airship 67, the force behind an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the number of steampunk cosplayers gathered in one place. The attempt took place Saturday afternoon, and despite being an exercise in herding cats, the process went pretty smoothly. In a stroke of genius, one of the organizers initiated an impromptu, steampunk sing-a-long to keep participants occupied while all the paperwork was filled out:
The original record was 192 steampunks in one place, and this group of enthusiastic cosplayers at a little, first year convention pulled together to set the new record to the tune of 239 steampunks*. (That equals a ridiculous number of goggles and gears that I'm not even comfortable thinking about.) The record attempt drew tons of attention, and even enticed celebrity guest, Gigi Edgley (Farscape, Jim Henson's Creature Shop Challenge) to join in, commenting on how much she loves the steampunk culture and donning a lovely, map covered trench coat and smart top hat as she patiently sat in place to be counted among the crowd.
In addition to breaking world records, Trawets is also the mind behind the Safe Haven project. Seen at several area conventions, participants are those with fan, artist, or dealer tables who have designated their space as a safe zone for anyone who feels they have been the victim of harassment or been made to feel uncomfortable. Victims can approach any table displaying a Safe Haven sign to find a judgement free, safe space where they can call for convention staff to take a report. At a time when many are speaking out about lax harassment policies at major conventions (I'm looking at you, Comic Con), it's nice to see smaller groups stepping up to do something good for their fellow geeks.
|Steampunk New Orleans' table proudly displaying their Safe Haven signage.|
Now, before I drop some cosplay love on you, I'd like to fill your eye holes with some of the fantastic vendors I found. We're all used to the ubiquitous t-shirt and figures booths that are great fun to poke around in, but I can't get enough of the small time vendors/artists peddling their hand crafted wares. Not only can you pick up some beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces at dirt cheap prices, but you get the added bonus of actually speaking directly to the artist. It truly is one of my favorite parts of any convention, and Geek-O-Nomicon did not disappoint. Here are some of my favorite dealer room finds in no particular order:
1. Aterman Props - Handmade props, replicas, and commissions.
|Handmade props from Aterman Props.|
|Amazing leatherwork from Spiral Fae Accents.|
|Great quality (and reasonably priced) custom bags. I want all of them!|
|I'm convinced he uses sorcery to craft these wands from ordinary sticks found in the woods.|
|Break away from the same, old cheese puffs and Mountain Dew with these easy and delicious geeky recipes!|
|Oh, Duela Dent, we simply do not see enough of you!|
|This working Dalek houses a kid cosplayer, and your nightmares.|
|(Photo Credit: Paul Patecek and Eugene Haggarty)|
|'Pimp Kringle' is one of the greatest things I've ever seen.|
Finally, one of the best things about going to a convention is Biloxi, is that this is right across the street:
|After a long day wandering around a convention center, this is pure bliss.|
*Unofficial count; awaiting verification by the folks at Guinness World Records.