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 celebrated it's twelfth year in 2014 with the theme "All The Cute!" Guests this year included quite a few video game producers and publishers, such as Christopher Alcott, who has worked on over 100 classic arcade games and was featured in the Space Invaders Arcade documentary, and Dan Brian, Glenn Given, and Meg McGinley-Crowe of the local gaming development company, Games by Play Date. Performers included the comedy troupe Dorks in Dungeons, vaudeville act Dark Follies, dance group Vivid Motion, and musicians Crunk Witch, Mary Bichner & The Planetary Quartet, and Chamber Band. The convention continued its tradition of excellent panel programming, and 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. Unfortunately, PortCon continues to run up against issues with limited space in its current location, and the only larger space in the Portland area has refused to host PortCon, making it impossible for the convention to expand into a larger space. Despite this, PortCon manages to do a lot with a little and retain is unique feeling of community.
Sketch and I drove up to Portland Thursday night and pulled into the Days Inn by 7:30. It’s been five years since I stayed at the neighboring hotel for PortCon, but the weather forecast looked good so I was not concerned about the short walk.That evening we met up with PatrickD for dinner and I finished sewing my Nurse Joy costume from Pokémon and painted my Pokeball before bed. For a last minute prop it came out really nicely! On Friday we checked all of our stuff into the convention’s garage sale before getting into costume; Sketch wore Steiner from Final Fantasy IX and I wore Nurse Joy for the first time. We walked over to the con and met up with EllyStar in her Officer Jenny outfit, and as a twosome, our old-school Pokémon outfits were really popular! Sketch and EllyStar’s mom got a few shots of us outside which came out cute.
That afternoon we headed to Main Events, where Gale, Sketch and I were performing in Anime Unscripted while PatD and EllyStar hosted. It was the first time I’d been in Anime Unscripted since ConnectiCon 2011, and was the funniest I’d been since I’d performed with Bill Rogers and Michelle Knotz in 2010. It was a lot of fun, and I realized how much I’d missed doing it! After the show, EllyStar and I got martinis at the bar; hers had blue curacao in it while mine was something pink called a Candy Apple, so that they matched our outfits. They were really strong and the only thing I’d eaten since breakfast was a sip of Sketch’s soda at lunch, so I was feeling pretty amazing after only one. We were sitting next to a couple who were at the convention with their teenage daughter. The mother was on her third white Russian and she and I were joking up a storm and talking cosplay. That evening Sketch and I changed into our Castle and Beckett costumes from Castle while EllyStar changed into her League of Legends outfit and PatD into his Bioshock costume and we met up behind the convention center with Elizabeth’s Mom’s fancy camera for a small photoshoot. We then visited the gaming rooms before room partying for the rest of the night.
Saturday Sketch and I were up bright and early to drive down to a family wedding we needed to attend, but we returned on Sunday by lunchtime, already in costume. I was wearing the revamped Ruby from Final Fantasy IX I’d helped Scarlett make for Anime Boston earlier this year, and had fun taking photos of her by the bar. I even ran into a conger who recognized I was Ruby! That was pretty awesome considering how small the con is, how rare my character is, and how hard she is to recognize without context. We met up with the crew and filmed a small segment for the podcast before exploring the mall across the street which I’d never entered even though I’d attended this convention for the past eight years. Inside, we found a full-size lobster boat replica and a carousel, both of which we could use in the future for photos. We also dropped into Newberry comics, which was offering excellent discounts for congoers. Surprisingly, I found hardcover color anthologies of the silver age comics I had been looking for! I had bought a couple of volumes at Dragon*Con years ago and hadn’t found them anywhere else since, and these were on sale! That afternoon I changed into Lucy from Peanuts, which was much cooler and more comfortable. We hit up a couple of panels, and at 4PM we checked out of the garage sale, at which we sold three out of the five boxes worth of stuff we had brought. Before we left we chucked some of the stuff that would likely never sell, and left with only one box of crap to bring back next year. Awesome!