PortCon Maine is New England's oldest anime and gaming convention, held annually in southern Maine. The fan-based convention's organizers are committed to maintaining a relaxed, small-convention atmosphere which focuses on promoting socialization among attendees, guests, artists, and performers.
2010 marked PortCon's final year as a strictly anime convention, and it's theme, "Old School," was a fitting tribute to the history of the genre. Expanded programing was geared towards older attendees, several programs in the evenings were 18+, and Jeni hosted both a 21+ "Rule 34" panel Thursday evening and an "Old School PBS/PSA" panel on Sunday which featured long-forgotten (but quickly remembered!) clips from the 1970s and 80s that appeared on Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, The Electric Company, Square One, 3-2-1 Contact and other childhood educational programs. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the guests scheduled for the convention were unable to attend due to various reasons, but the PortCon staff kept the con entertaining enough that their absence didn't effect programming much. Returning to its perennial location at the Airport Wyndham Hotel, PortCon did continue to suffer from overcrowding but improved its methods of handling it; aside from a "hug me" sign hallway, security did an excellent job of keeping traffic moving in a polite manner. Also, the main events tent which hosted the masquerade, Anime Unscripted, Extreme Geek, and the rave was much improved in design from last year; the ceiling was raised to prevent performers on stage from bumping into it and ventilation was much more bearable even with the repeat of 2009's humid and at times rainy weather. Overall it was an enjoyable event, but I do wish they would consider moving its location elsewhere.
Personal Report: Sketch and I arrived at the Wyndham just after lunchtime on Friday. After checking in, we picked up our badges and Sketch set up his artists’ alley table with Alyssa and Mookie while I did a photoshoot with Stardust and Jeni. I then changed into Lebreau and co-hosted Team Trivia in the main events tent with Stardust. We had a great turnout, and the members of the team who won turned out to be fans of the podcast, which was awesome. After the game, Stardust and I mixed a batch of White Russians in her room which we shared with Steve and Sketch before heading back to the tent for Anime Unscripted. Unfortunately, the guests originally slated to perform were among those who had their flights grounded and were unable to attend, but those who filled in did a decent job. The best skit was Slideshow Roulette; Stardust and I shouted out the winning theme, “The Development of Time Machines,” which ended up matching the slides really well and all the performers were hilarious. After dinner we partied in our room late into the evening.
Saturday Sketch and I got up and went out to breakfast before changing into our Locke and Relm costumes for a Final Fantasy VI shoot with Stardust. Afterwards Sketch changed into Jiraya while Stardust and I helped set up the tent for the masquerade. We filmed it for the podcast while Sketch judged and Steve and Jekka hosted as Chrono and Azmaria from Chrono Crusade. The Best in Show winner was hilarious; the group had set up an airport metal detector, complete with flashing red light and sound effects, and had one of the DragonBall Z characters (I think it was a bad guy?) as the security guard checking various characters for weapons. The best gag was Princess Peach, who started pulling various weapons out of her dress, including a tennis raquet and golf club, and finally Solid Snake came running out from under her hoop skirt. After the show I changed and hung out with Sketch at his table for a bit before going out to dinner with the crew. We returned to the con and played several rounds of Uno and Taboo in the game room, and then Stardust followed me around with the podcast camera and I quizzed con attendees on trivia for our “Versus” segment with Anime Next. I tried to pick people who looked like they’d give amusing answers, and was not disappointed! We hung out with “Mom” at the Wyndham bar for a bit before finally heading to Steve and Jeni’s room for drinks and a hilarious round of Chat Roulette.
Sunday morning I decided to be lazy and wear normal clothes and Sketch and I packed up the car. I did a photoshoot with Crazy Flower and Stardust in their Dynasty Warriors costumes before grabbing a black headband and joining the con-wide game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. I remained undefeated after an hour, even beating Steve, and turned in the headbands I’d won before heading to Jeni’s 1970s and '80s PBS panel. It was awesome watching clips from old-school Sesame Street, 3-2-1 Contact, and School House Rock that I had spent my childhood adoring, and Ladyhawke’s analysis of what they were attempting to teach us and how they failed and succeeded was fascinating. Sketch’s prop panel was in the same room afterwards, so we stayed for that, then filmed some more footage for the podcast before attending Stardust’s costuming panel. Afterwards we said our goodbyes, and hit up Olive Garden for dinner before heading home. We made one last pit stop at the Maine chocolate store, where Sketch and I checked out a life-size moose and brown bear cub carved out of chocolate! Yum.