Last weekend, I attended my first ever Bronycon and had much, much more fun than I expected to (despite almost getting in trouble with the MTA police). It’s a big enough con to feel like a major event, but small enough that you can actually see most of the things you want to see and have space to move around. I hung out with some really cool people and saw some amazing cosplays (a few of which I’ll feature below).
But I wasn’t just there for funsies. In fact, the sole reason why I went to the con at all was because of this:
Yup! I was a panelist and got into the con for free! I presented with a couple professors named Brian and Bill on a panel called “Breaking Barriers: How MLP: FiM and Its Fans Cross Social Boundaries and Expand Culture.” It wins the unofficial awards of Longest Panel Title™ and Panel Title With The Most Colons™. Between the three of us, we covered MLP’s refusal/reversal of normative societal roles/conflicts regarding race, gender, class, sexual orientation, and political power, and how MLP’s unexpected fanbase disturbs the sense of normal society issues to us by willingly venturing away from strict notions of gender determining what you’re allowed or expected to be interested in. There was also discussion of the merits of fantasy and children’s stories in general.
I won’t reveal details of Brian or Bill’s portions, but I can tell you that my portion dealt mostly with MLP’s stellar non-male gender representation and all the space it leaves for the fandom to make non-cis and non-straight narratives more explicit, even though the show itself does give us a lot to work with.
I typed up everything I’d say, word for word, for all 16 of my slides, printed them out, and put them in this here Seinfeld reference. I never put that much effort into my college assignments, but it’s also so much easier to do your work thoroughly when you have about 5-6 months to create just one presentation. I had time to actually narrow down the topic, write everything out, and run through the presentation a few times before actually giving it.
All of our work paid off. By the end of the panel, the room was nearly full, meaning the people who came at first stayed and the people who came in late also stayed. I was hecka nervous, but one of the neat things that the Lord our God did when they stitched my DNA together was say “okay when this girl gets nervous about interviews or presentations or anything else, she will actually project the most chill and poised vibe ever.” So that was a blessing. It also probably helps that just about every month I read my fiction at an open mic I go to regularly.
After the panel, I had a little clan that stuck with me outside of the room so we could talk and it was wonderful! I really really really enjoyed being on a panel and would do it again for Bronycon 2016 or honestly any other con (I mean, if anyone was thinking about doing a Kill la Kill panel especially hit me up *wink wink*).
On Friday, I saw the PMV contest and went to the voice actors’ panel and the MLP writers’ panel, both of which were super fun! Princess Celestia’s voice actress is an actual troll and is most hilarious. Also, this preciousness happened. I spent the rest of Friday just walking around and appreciating cosplay. Sometime after the writer’s panel, I met these two:
They graciously did an OTP pose for me.
We ended up hanging out for a while.
And we got dinner! And they + Rob who I don’t have any pictures of came to the panel on Saturday morning!
Sidenote: I know it’s cosplay etiquette to A) hide your badge and B) not take pictures of yourself with other cosplayers, but regarding A, I didn’t care that much + the lanyard was almost the same color as my shirt and regarding B, I only did this when other people were already asking for a picture of me + others (and I do this especially when I go to cons alone). Not to mention that I never find pictures of my cosplays after cons anyway.
So yeah, as you can see, I was Applejack.
And for a cosplay that I didn’t have to put much work into at all because I did it back in 2011, it turned out well and I got a lot of compliments! Someone with a really nice camera got a couple shots of me that you can find here.
After my panel on Saturday morning, I met Sarahndipity Cosplay as Pinkie Pie.
We had some fun.
And took the most beautiful ugly selfie.
Someone somewhere has a picture of us pretending to fight (I think).
But I also got a group picture of their Dazzlings cosplay the day before (Aria on the left)!
My favorite panel was the Girl Cartoons panel by Dr. Katia Perea. Not only was it a great panel, but it also gave all the background for what I talked about in my panel (and no that wasn’t intentional). So basically, people who went to both panels got a really deep, comprehensive view of gender in cartoons!
The last thing I went to was the cosplay contest results show where I met Kit of Tea Tray Bat Cosplay in line. Y’all should know that the wig had little fiber optics sewn throughout.
And later got a pic of Kit with its gf Brianna, both of whom came from *There Will Be Blood voice* acroooooooooooossssss the country to vend at an east coast con!
Even though I couldn’t make it to the con on Sunday, I had an amazing time giving/getting business cards and actually getting to know some of the people I stood in line with or asked for a picture. I’ve had that experience at Otakon as well, but I feel like it’s easier to do that sort of thing at smaller cons. This is gonna sound really hipster of me, but Bronycon also felt less corporate. 99% of all the tables were fanartists or fans/small businesses selling handmade toys or clothes rather than “official” companies selling “official” merch.
Also, several bathrooms throughout the convention center were designated “gender neutral,” which is fabulous and necessary. Plus, all attendees were given communication cards that indicated how comfortable/not comfortable they felt about talking to other people or people they don’t know. Other cons should definitely consider doing the same thing.
So! Those are all of my highlights. I’ll be posting more cosplay photos on my Tumblr since I obviously didn’t feature them all here. I had a wonderful time and will definitely go again if I do another panel!