Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Cara's PMX 2014 Report

The second weekend of November was Pacific Media Expo, hosted at the LAX Hilton.


Upon arrival, the con was booming with more people than the year before. PMX has obviously been circulating the convention world faster in its later years. It celebrated its 10th year and, in my opinion, it has gotten at least a third busier than last year. While that may be simply more people “ghosting”, but it was a great convention nonetheless. On the subject of ghosting, the security this year, at least into the ticketed areas, not panels, seemed to be rather lax. One of my friends was ghosting the convention and she was surprisingly able to get into ticketed areas with ease. She was not caught going in and out of the Artist’s Market or Exhibit Hall and her mountains of merch were testament to that. However, panels were pretty secure. I would say that the general upstairs area towards the back into Artist’s Market was the easiest to get into. One area that the security did not fail was parties. While I realize that is the hotel staff, PMX did not disappoint with their pre-convention e-mail saying how parties had a zero tolerance policy. I got invited to maybe three or four parties on day one and I promptly told them they were stupid for thinking they wouldn’t get shut down. This might be because other conventions do not enforce this rule very well. I got told that they were only shutting down parties in the general hotel but not the ones in the suites. I still refused to go but one of my friends did go to check it out because PMX is known for having really crazy parties. True enough the one he ended up at was insane. He was there for maybe five or ten minutes before he heard that the police had gotten involved and bounced out. True enough the party got shut down fast. To the best of my knowledge no one was arrested but I’m sure they got their hotel revoked. This is really a good thing for the convention itself even if a good amount of the people there went for parties.

The first thing I did when I arrived was grab my badge and wait in the lobby for my roommates to show up. Badge pickup was seamless, I even went into the main badge pick up with my friend and they were extremely efficient. The staff all convention was extremely kind and helpful, making the convention seem happier. On the first day I had a photo shoot and directly after that we went down into the “Ladies Choice Singles Dating Game” which was entertaining to say the least. All of the girls got letters and the boys got numbers. The girls wrote down the numbers of the men they wanted to talk to and they got matched. From my experience only a few people went actually expecting dates and there were only a few who were generally “creepy” on either side. I’m not leaving out that some of the girls were a little out there. Anyway, I went to make friends and it worked. Everyone there was nice and respectful, if playfully flirty. The people in charge were on top of making sure that everyone was comfortable, though I did hear complaints from some of the men afterwards that they were uncomfortable with how the panel itself worked. I know that I would have felt weird afterwards if I were the one on display so I fully understand. After the panel my friends and I walked around the hotel, visiting and poping in on friends before going to bed. It was a very satisfying day one even if I did not get to go to as much as I would have wanted due to arriving late.

Day Two

Day two was a much fuller day. I woke up pretty early, for a con goer, and was down on the con floor by 9:30. The first thing I did was go to the “Infotakus Get to Know Your Con Trolls/Creepers 101” panel. I’m good friends with Infotakus and I wanted to support them and it really turned out to be a great panel. They talked about the different kinds of “creepy” people that you can meet at conventions and how to deal with them in real life and online; they had both male and female cosplayers speak about their experiences so that everyone could see both sides, and they even had a photographer speak about how the uprising trolls and creepers have damaged the cosplay photography world. They also had a woman who actually started the “Cosplay is not Consent” movement in Guatemala speak about how she did that and her personal conventions experiences. It was really informative and with a few rough patches, like not being able to get the projector to work, it was an overall successful panel.

After that I wandered around for awhile before heading to Heidi’s, the music Guest of Honor, panel. I didn’t know very much about them going into the panel besides having listened to some of their songs. There weren’t very many people there actually. The panel itself focused a good amount on their newest album, Human, that came out in May of this year. They talked about the concert they had the previous day, which I arrived too late to go to, and promoted themselves a good amount before opening up to questions from the audience. They were very quiet and not very animated but I suppose that’s a cultural thing. I enjoyed what they said but they were extremely reserved the whole time, two of them not even taking off their sunglasses. However, when they did crack jokes, they were really funny and cute. The drummer, Kiri, was the most expressive and actually really likes anime. He talked for a good amount of time about Love Live and Tokyo Ghoul while the other members really talked more about the band. Towards the end they talked about their autograph session and press panel, which later got canceled, and it ended very fast.

When that panel ended, I went to the Yowamushi Pedal gathering for a bit, avoiding the abrupt photo shoot that was happening in the same garden. They did not pack up even with people obviously annoyed. It wasn’t the biggest issue but it was a little annoying. I couldn’t stay for long as I had to let my friend who showed up that day into our hotel room. Right after I ran back as fast as I could but it was over so I went walking around the con with a few friends, dropping into the anime rooms, and peaking into some panels before heading to dinner. After dinner, I decided to try the Speed Dating panel again, since I met such fun people the night before. It was packed that night. It was a little ridiculous but it worked itself out. However, with more people came more creepers. That night was much less comforting. I went in the same cosplay as the night before, Kallen in pajamas (because late night panels last forever and I just kind of sleep after them), and even though it was the same as the night before, I did not feel as safe as I did previously. No one really gave me any trouble but the stares were unnerving and some of the guys I talked to had honestly taken it as a real date and were coming on so strongly that I was really uncomfortable. Not all of them were like that though. I did make a few good friends who I hung around with after the panel downstairs. I walked my friend back up to the room and when I came back down, I had forgotten my phone but was still planning on hanging around so she brought it to me and I had to give her the key to the room so she could go to sleep. Around 1 or 2am I wanted to head back up to the room myself, however, the hotel staff security would not let me into the elevators without a hotel key. They told me that if my name was the one on the register for the room, I could go get a replacement key. I was not the person to book the room though. So I had to call my friend to have her come get me. It was rather humiliating in all honesty and while I do understand this policy on some level, it makes it really inconvenient to stay in the Hilton. Long story short, my day didn’t end on the best of notes.

Day 3

I was having a lot of health problems this day actually. I couldn’t breathe very well for a good part of it and I did not have my inhaler with me so Sunday was not my favorite for mostly that reason. But, day three I woke up pretty late and spent my morning packing, cleaning out my room for check out, and taking my luggage to the car. I was having a lot of health problems this day actually. I couldn’t breathe very well for a good part of it and I did not have my inhaler with me so Sunday was not my favorite for mostly that reason.

Not long after check out was the fashion show. The show was really nice! The Lolita fashion lines were beautiful and I personally love the visual kei look that Xenon brought in. The show had good pacing and ambiance. The set up was nice and the room was filled as it was a crowd favorite event. The models were beautiful and dressed to the nines. Though what stood out the most to me and quite a few people I talked to, was the young woman wearing a hijab with her coordinate from Lief and the African-American model from Baby the Stars Shine Bright in a flawlessly white coordinate as their closer. I am not in the Lolita community but I have many friends that are and, according to them, there can be some racial issues with certain people in the community. I don’t know enough to speak about it but with Lief and a big brand like BTSSB having these beautiful girls in the show, their care for the whole community really shines through. Anyway, the show was beautiful, the models all looking stunning. Baby also brought out a girl in beautiful, red, pirate inspired Lolita, that took my breath away. Xenon’s portion of the show was pretty different from the frilly Lolita but amazing to watch nonetheless. It was a short and sweet show that was definitely nothing short of amazing. According to one of my friends who modeled in the show, a few of the girls bought the outfits they wore in the show right then and there. It’s almost scary how fast they can drop that cash.

After the show I went with my friend to the fashion boutique to check it out. She dropped $150 almost immediately. It was pretty crazy. All of the dresses were beautiful and they had a good selection between Baby, Xenon, Leif, and a Harajuku fashion store. Innocent World had its own room next door that we went into for awhile before heading home.

Oh, and people had to pay for Pocky from the Pocky room this year so I left without the physical trauma that I had last year. Thank God. Overall it was a pretty fun convention and I look forward to 2015!

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