Katsucon Pre-Coverage and Guide: An East Coast Fan Convention

Carmilla Cosplay
Photo by Lawrence Brenner

For many con-goers and cosplayers on the East Coast, Katsucon begins con season. Currently held in the beautiful Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland, it provides wonderful settings for photoshoots inside and outside the convention center. Katsucon has always provided a diverse range of programming from staples such as masquerades and cosplay workshops to academia, denoted this year with the Katsucon Japanese Cultural Institute (JCI). The academia is not limited to the JCI, as there are several other panels being run by guests. Of particular interest is “It Gets Better” from Greg Ayres and Crispin Freeman this is an anti-bullying panel, as bullying and other negative aspects of fandom have been increasing. On the brighter side of things, the incredible Yaya Han will be presenting on cosplay from around the world, and she will be hosting the World Cosplay Summit Regional qualifier at Katsucon. Last year’s Katsucon hosted the nationals for World Cosplay Summit, which had a spectacular and winning performance from Katie George and her partner Diana from Coconut Bubble Sex Cosplay.

For those attending, consider checking out the main routes of the Gaylord itself, Washington DC’s Union Station and Ronald Reagan National Airport, since all you have to do is get to one of these three places and ride on the shuttle services to the Gaylord (provided by the Gaylord). The map from National Harbor (http://nationalharbor.com/getting-here/) illustrates this quite nicely. I, like many con-goers, take public transportation down to Katsucon from New York.

Katsucon is not using Guidebook nor any Android or iOS native client, so the best is to actually sync up your calendar with the ics feed from http://katsucon192013.sched.org/mobile-site after you have made your schedule. It is not perfect but it will work and keep your schedule updated, if you are planning to watch/participate in the officially scheduled events. Fair warning is the synced schedule will only update at most once a day in this fashion on Android.

Many people though come to cosplay, be photographed, go to the gatherings, meetups, and etc. Many actually do not participate in any of the official programming. There is usually a thread with a linked Google doc on meetups, and corresponding photoshoots have been posted on Cosplay.com. In addition there are many Facebook groups and events popping up, which create their own schedules for events such as Rave photoshoots and the like. These are also commonly shared through the unofficial Facebook groups that are created around Katsucon (There are a few of them). These groups and events are shared with other groups such as Cosplayer Nation (created by the men behind Cosplayer Nation, Joshua Adams and Uke Li, who are guests at Katsucon this year as well).

From the various progress pictures from friends and fanpages, there will be some pretty amazing cosplays from Amazons to Witchblade with everything in between, which I will ensure to get pictures of. There will be plenty of amazing photographers at Katsucon doing scheduled shoots, so some really great pieces of art will be online after the con.

There are plenty of good food options in National Harbor, and the Gaylord’s own restaurants are quite good and should be offering discounts to Katsucon attendees. But definitely check out the other restaurants for various options in cuisine.

I am looking forward to a lot of the programming (some of which I am planning to video), doing photos, being in photos, and seeing what happens once I’m there. Conventions can be magical, especially with so much talent and the amazing location.

Lawrence Brenner is a journalist/writer/photographer/videographer and academic who has been featured in Bleeding Cool, Buffyfest, Comics Alliance, Cosplay in America, Cosplay Photographers, The Mary Sue, Otaku Journalist, Venture Beat, among others. He has also presented on the Rise of the Cosplay Economy at Anime Expo as part of its Anime and Manga Studies Symposium, Streaming Technologies and Japan’s International Marketplace at Katsucon as part of the Japanese Cultural Institute, among other venues.

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