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.
PortCon Maine 2013 was the eleventh year for the convention, and its theme was "Delightful Decadence." In addition to voice actors Chris Cason and Cherami Leigh, guests included Eric Anderson, owner of the special effects company The Shoggoth Assembly, vaudeville performers The Boston Sprockettes, comedy troupe Dorks in Dungeons, and anime anthropologist Charles Dunbar, as well several bands and costuming groups such as the Maine Ghostbusters. Excellent panel programming ran the gamut from Lolita culture to sci-fi movies, gaming, anime, U.S. comics and cartoons and costuming. For adults, nostalgia panels discussing 70s and 80s pop culture were popular, as were the risque panels Cards Against Humanity and Rule 34. Other events included a cosplay parade, boffing tournament, Anime Unscripted, Extreme Geek, and a garage sale for con attendees trying to make some extra cash. On Sunday, the local news channel stopped by to cover the convention, and interviewed many of the staffers on why they return. They all related to PortCon's feel of community and family, which is a culture it continues to cultivate year after year.
Sketch and I drove in late Thursday night, our car stuffed with things for the con’s Garage Sale. Friday morning I wore Umi from Magic Knights Rayearth, and myself and the AnimeCons.TV podcast crew filmed a segment about cosplay wranglers which spoofed the Bud Light "Here's To You" commercials from the 90s. You can check it out HERE. We then hosted the “Cosplay is Not Consent" panel, which was packed. We hoped to educate con-goers on the anti-harassment movement as some were worried they would come off as harassers by asking for a photo or complimenting a costume. The difference ought to be obvious, but clearly it wasn't and etiquette needed to be addressed. We had some great questions from the audience, and explained how everyone has different boundaries, and that asking permission up front is the best way to avoid a misunderstanding later. We stressed that if someone expresses discomfort, do not take personal offense; instead, immediately halt the activity and offer an honest apology. A mother and daughter got upset because they felt we were “teaching creepy people how to pretend not to be creepy.” However, we feel intent is important and that educating people on how to set a good example and publicly admonishing those who act inappropriately will help change attitudes. Unfortunately, this individual and her daughter felt anything short of criminal prosecution was unacceptable, and hijacked the forum while others argued with them. It was a fair discussion to have, but we had to steer the panel back on track.
That afternoon we drove out to Fort Williams Park for a photoshoot with our Magic Knights Rayearthcostumes. The light was perfect and Doug and Sketch both took turns shooting us near the Goddard Mansion. We then changed into the Golden Goddesses from The Legend of Zelda. We took photos on the rocks by the beach, where the water and the breeze made everything look flowy and magical! Back at the con that evening, I wore Scully from The X-Files and Sketch got into his Jiraiya costume from Naruto. We caught the second half of Anime Unscripted, and then hit up Jeni’s Rule 34 panel which ended early when the air conditioning broke. I then went to the Doctor Who costuming panel before meeting up with friends at the hotel bar. The bartender was awesome and asked what Agent Scully would like to drink. For once I was unsure, and after asking me some questions he whipped me up a Black Apple, which was completely delicious. We then went back to our room to play card games, and shortly after PatD texted that a couple at the bar had told him “Agent Scully is the best costume we’ve seen all day!” Aww.
Saturday I got into Rainbow Brite and Sketch put on Flynn from Tangled. We checked out artist’s alley and the game room, and stopped into Gale’s costume safety panel before heading to main events to judge the masquerade along with EllyStar and the con mascot. It was easier this year as there were more skits and some great costumes, including a Steampunk Avengers group which had gorgeous designs. A Panty and Stocking group had fantastic costumes, but the audio track for their skit was garbled and, although accurate to the anime, Panty actually removed her underwear on stage, which was frightening. We eventually saw that there was more underwear on underneath, but we didn't want to CHECK. The most clever skit was a solo entry that featured a girl as a Dalek, dancing with a beautiful flower which she clearly loved.Suddenly, a TARDIS materialized and squished it. Heartbroken, the girl responded "EXTERMINATE!" when the audio track said “Hi, I’m the Doctor.” It was simple and brilliant, and the girl really sold it. That evening Sketch and I wore our Blue Barracudas outfits from Legends of the Hidden Temple. Lots of people were really excited to see the outfits; everyone our age wishes they had a go at the Silver Monkey! The Ghostbusters crew were exceptionally enthusiastic and we had a great chat with them – they are super nice guys! Sunday Sketch and I left the con to do some sightseeing before returning to the con to cash out of the Garage Sale. We said our goodbyes to friends and left another fun weekend behind – we’ll be back next year!