Coastcon is the oldest and largest science fiction/gaming convention in the state of Mississippi. It takes place in Biloxi, MS at the beautiful Mississippi Coast Coliseum. Each year the convention focuses on a different theme and this year was no exception. For Coastcon 35, the focus was planted on superheroes. The convention also fell on the weekend of St. Patrick's Day, so there were plenty of green beads, green accessories on costumes and countless Green Lantern t-shirts (Myself included on St. Patty's Day. I opted for the Dark Knight on Sunday).
The convention opened up on Friday with a performance by the Suzaku 7. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to the coast until Saturday morning, so I have to accept the opinions of other convention goers who claimed that the Suzaku 7 put on a great show.
Saturday morning found myself and a fellow member of the BayouCon convention staff arriving at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum around 9 AM. We set up our fan table (representing and promoting BayouCon) and took turns manning the table until other members of our group showed up. There were quite a few other fan groups, conventions, and clubs that were set up in the area with us, and I visited a number of their tables. I also caught up with a few old friends and made some new ones as well.
As usual, the gaming area was packed with table gamers and card gamers. This is a major part of Coastcon and has always been a great success for them. I'm not a gamer myself, but everyone who was partaking in the action appeared to be having fun.
The vendor area was packed with authors (including THE Timothy Zahn of Star Wars fame), comics, novels, toys, and artwork. I was particularly fond of RAK Graphics' work. This artist had hundreds of small baseball card-sized prints available for sell that featured his own interpretations of famous characters from science fiction, fantasy, film, and comics. I grabbed over a dozen of these cards and a few buttons and spent a lot of time talking with the artist, Robert Kraus. He was a very enthusiastic guy and when I mentioned how I just had to buy his prints of all four original members of KISS, he told me a story about how someone told Gene Simmons about his work and that Simmons actually sought him out to see the prints. I hope to run into RAK Graphics again at another convention soon.
I also ran into my friend, John Mangus, who now represents LucasFilms as Darth Maul. He was selling autographs for charity, so I snagged one of them and got a picture with him as well. We talked for awhile and then I had to get back to the BayouCon table.
Celebrity guests for the convention were Lindsay Wagner (of Bionic Woman fame) and Patricia Tallman (of Babylon 5 and countless other roles and stunt work). I didn't get to talk with Mrs. Wagner, but Patricia Tallman visited our table and was very nice to all of us. She even did an interview for one of the other BayouCon members who is doing a documentary on conventions. I didn't get Tallman's autograph, but she did impress me with how nice she was to all of us.
Saturday night is the biggest night for Coastcon. It features a "slave auction" in which "slaves" are sold to the highest bidder to do anything they request of them (within reason). This is all done for charity and for the convention itself. It is also done in pure fun. Basically the person who is "bought" just hangs around and has fun with their purchaser until the end of the Coastcon dance which follows the auction.
The dance itself took place at the convention hotel and was quite fun. St. Patrick's Day was the focal point of the dance and there were plenty of Irish delicacies to be tasted. There were also a lot of glow sticks, lasers, and finger lights handed out to the crowd.
Sunday found everyone moving slower, but there seemed to be more costumes than there were on Saturday. I took a few photos of the cosplayers and hung out at the convention until around 1 PM. I also visited with members of the Dustin Kahlil Band, a Steampunk band from Mississippi. I grabbed one of their CDs and took a quick photo with them as well.
Then myself and the other BayouCon representative hit the road to go back home to Lake Charles. I was very tired, but had a blast at Coastcon.
This was my second year at Coastcon, and I plan to make it an annual event for the foreseeable future.