Sunday, April 23, 2017

Living in the past


It's silly how my mind works. I often think of older Transformers conventions as better automatically. Which isn't fair to newer shows, but I guess that's just me doing a stereotypical "things used to be better" and feeling all smug. Though, those older BotCons had something that the later ones didn't have and it's extremely hard to describe if you were never there. A vibe, a mojo, a something. Not that's not saying newer shows don't get it, Charticon in 2013 had it. My friend Don compared Toylanta (the show where the Botlanta panel track I organize is) to the most similar any con he's attended to the first BotCon (he went to the first and yes that was flattering). Not to mention, I see pictures online of smaller TF shows around the world, and they seemingly have it. I don't know if it was just a moment in time, or me being younger, but there was a certain something about those older shows that I've never let go.

BotCon 01, the hair since has migrated from my head completely to my face
So, if I may relish a bit in old convention videos I found on Youtube. Wait, I can. I totally can. So I'm going to do that. If you follow the links on the video, you can go to the respective poster's page and check out their other work. That's my way of giving a catch all credit to the content. But really, go check them out.


BotCon 1995, the second BotCon. I would have loved to go, unfortunatley I was just a kid in high school and only knew of them from ads in Lee's toy magazine (or was it Tomart?). I used to love that old back section full of classifieds. Pre-internet, that was the main way for people to advertise their toys stores, or zines, or fan clubs, or conventions, or really anything that we easily do on Facebook now and take for granted. I'd often see them in toy, video game, and horror magazines. I'd regularly send in an envelope with a few dollars and enjoy the onslaught of random catalogs and various zines and pamphlets I'd get in return. You'd be surprised at the amount of detail that goes into a book  made at a local copy center.


At about 5:59, that's me in the fire bowling shirt walking up to a table. Oh yea, that's also the same shirt I'm wearing in the pic a little up at BotCon 2001. It was the first BotCon I was able to go to. As a broke community college student, they all seemed so far away and out of touch. Though in 2001, I was on my own and just barely making ends meet. 2001 was in Durham North Carolina, which is about 4-6 hours away from here. My Mom called me one morning to check on me, and while we were talking I brought it up as I was trying to figure out how to go.  She actually woke me up and the Toyfair issue opened to the page with the ad was open laying right next to me. When I asked her how far away Durham was, she offered to take me. We went Friday night, and came back Sunday with the main day of fun being Saturday. Of note, we hit every difficulty imaginable and the trip there took over 12 hours. I wish I was kidding.


OTFCC 2003, despite all the organizers drama that led to the 3H split, I went to OTFCC 2003 (there was a name change) and had a great time. It was a really good show and if you watch that video or as you can see in the preview there was a dance party. I was there a few minutes when some friends and I went to discover it after the line died down. I fondly can remember Brian Kilby making a nervous smile that pretty much said it all and Ant not appreciating the remix of Metallica and TFTM audio clips. This was just before Hooper X launched from our group and started punch dancing to the derision of others.


The following year was OTFCC 2004 and BotCon 2004. I wanted to go to both, but could only go to one. So I went to OTFCC 2004 and had a great time. It really was a good time and the last 'old style' BotCon. Outside of the at show memories, and not in this clip, was Ruben Studdard. There was a wedding going on in the convention center (as well as a few other cons) and they apparently hired him to sing at it. Later in the hotel, I got to witness a drunk Ruben Studdard in the hotel resturant, a well as his entourage get into a fight with the bridesmaids in the lobby.


I didn't get to go to BotCon 2004, I could only choose one, and OTFCC was closer and a lot of my friends went as well, so the draw for what makes a con fun was there. I did order a non attendee pack though, really wish I could have went. I couldn't find a video of the 2002 show which was also a great deal of fun. I'm not doing any travel this year for conventions, I'd love to check them all out though. Hascon is coming up and it looks neat. There's TFCon of course and I've enjoyed those a lot. Pete Sinclair has his new Robot Convention I'd like to check out, ignoring any drama (I try my best too, it has zero to do with why I'm going to a convention anyway), there's going to be some cool displays there and I'd love to go to Fort Wayne again. Botlanta was earlier this month which makes the year wait until next year feel like an eternity. I went to a good deal of the Fun Pub BotCons and always had a good time, though eventually got priced out as the costs started going over what I could justify. There's just something special about these older shows. That's what I want to do with Botlanta, and I hope I can find at other shows. That vibe. It's hard to describe, but once you feel it, you know it.

I could go on and on, but I figure now's a good time to stop inserting videos and help the wife make supper. I've got some TF's to open, I should get to that.


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