One Weekend, One City, Two Cons
I spent the weekend of March 18-20 in Cincinnati, Ohio at two different cons. One was Millennicon, a long running sci-fi literary con. The other was A & G Ohio, a con that promotes animation, video gaming, and music. They were both very different.
Millennicon celebrated its 25th con this year. The convention had three main programming rooms, a vendor room, art show, and a fan club alley on the first floor of the hotel. On the 12th floor of the hotel was the consuite, gaming room, a video/panel room, and the kids programming room. On Friday and Saturday nights there were also a number of room parties on different floors.
A&G had everything on one floor, but it stretched much further. There was the large main events room (with backstage area), vendor room, two panel rooms, a lounge, video room, arcade room, console room, arcade/vendor room, and the atrium with a stage and artists alley.
Millennicon had a consuite with free food and room parties with more free food. A&G had snacks in the lounge and vendor room plus a special deal with the hotel for cheap food, but while cheap you still paid for all of them. They did arrange free breakfast buffets for those who reserved rooms at the hotel though.
Millennicon’s guests included authors Robert Sawyer and Kaza Kingsley, artist Theresa Mather, and filk performer Tom Smith, along with a number of other authors, librarians, scientists, fan club members helping with programing. A&G had voice actors Wendee Lee and Quintin Fylnn, cosplayers, Nerdfit Network, Denis Daniel’s Podcast, Brentalfloss, Gavin Goszka, Brando, My Parents Favorite Music, Shammers &Left Hand, Super 8-Bit Brothers, Positive Attitude, Action Adventure World, and a number of DJs. Scott McNeil had been scheduled to come, but he got a new gig at the last second and could not make it.
Millennicon had events like an art auction, a charity auction, author readings, yoga workshops, kids programing, a cage where people paid to have others locked in their for charity and other low key events. A&G had an original big live action gaming event (LAG), cosplay wrestling, a cosplay musical, dodgeball, game shows, a dubbing workshop, improve, and other events that went all night.
Millennicon had panels on topics of various sci-fi shows, con sociology, steampunk, young adult literature, new and strange sciences, art demos, costuming, writing and many more topics. They were split three main rooms and the video room. A&G had panels on various nerd music topics, wrestling, adult animation, video games, cosplay, fan fiction, dancing, various different animes, and the like. A&G had their panels in two rooms, both with a large flat screen tv to hook into for visual aids.
Gaming for Millennicon was mostly board games, but some RPGs up on the top floor. Gaming for A&G consisted of video games. There was a whole room of consoles, mostly playing the standards of cons but there were some retro consoles there, though they were not always on. Of course they had a number of tournaments throughout the weekend. They were even able to arrange for several arcade machines in the halls in and in rooms to themselves. They were on free play too.
Costumers at Millennicon consisted of steampunkers, medieval garb, Klingons, a Doctor Who, and other low key costumes that were mostly just worn on Saturday because of the masquerade. Everyone else wore regular clothes, a few nerdy elements thrown in. Their masquerade was a fun little affair more like a gathering of friends with a handful of entries. At A&G there was a plethora of cosplayers in anime, video game, movie, cartoons, people in rave gear, Lolitas, crossplayers, and more. Some were simple basic costumes; others were very elaborate and large. The cosplay contest was a much larger affair: bigger audience, more entries, more logistics on getting people around, and in general just more.
Music for Millennicon included a concert by Tom Smith, who also performed at the half time show of the masquerade. Other events included karaoke, a Friday night 80s dance, and times for other filk performers to show their stuff off. A&G was all over music this year. They had several musical guests, all who performed at least once some of them several times. Some performed in the main events; others on the stage in the atrium. On Saturday they had DJs playing music in the atrium. They also had two big raves on Friday and Saturday.
Millennicon’s video room played various sci-fi works, some anime, and at one point ran a number of classic movie trailers. The room was mostly used as an extra panel room, one with a projector in it. A&G had one video room, running stuff 24 hours a day. It was mainly just anime, with some of it provided through Crunchyroll, but there were also a number of American cartoons like Angry Beavers and Earth Worm Jim. They also showed the documentary Nerdcore Rising and Vocaloid concerts as well.
Millennicon’s vendor room had a steampunk costume dealer, art dealers, book dealers, authors, publishers, jewelry makers, game sellers, and things along those lines. Their art show had several different artists send in art work to be auctioned off, mostly art prints with some sculpture work. Both rooms were not too big and had plenty of space to move around in. A&G’s vendor room was a little more cramped. They had models, figures, toys, snacks, plushies, t-shirts, back packs, yaoi doujinshi, flags, $5 manga, dvds, key chains, wigs, cosplay and even one group selling group selling homemade food. In the artist alley there were homemade cute hats, rave wear, metal work, t-shirts, custom badge work, art prints, etc. etc.
Millennicon was filled with an older crowd. Most kids there were the children of attendees. They walked around and chatted with each other on various topics. A&G was filled with a younger crowd, both in age and behavior. They moved around a lot
Millennicon is a con for genre books fans, hard core sci-fi geeks, an older crowd, people wanting to relax and hang out with your fellow fans in a friendly environment, and the like. A&G is for gamers, ravers, partiers, meme fans, VA fans, people who want to party with their fellow fans in a ruckus environment, and the like. I kept getting mood whiplash going between the two. They each have their perks and downsides; you just have to decide what you are more into when it comes to cons.
Which sounds good to you?