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I went to my first Baltimore Comic-Con in quite a few years. I attended that event the first time in 2012 and the second time the following year. Then I didn’t go for another few years until recently. The main reason was financial. I ended up going to other events, such as Intervention Con, and with tight finances being the norm these days, I couldn’t afford to attend those events and Baltimore Comic-Con as well. Something had to give and Baltimore Comic-Con was the one that I ended up not attending.

But then a few things happened. First, my utilities company informed me that they had made a billing error in my favor for the last several months so, for the next few months I’m paying a lower bill than usual. Then I found out that Intervention Con wasn’t going to happen this year mainly because the organizers decided to focus on holding two specialized conventions instead—PotterVerse for Harry Potter fans and (Re)Generation Who for Doctor Who fans. While I like both Harry Potter and Doctor Who, I don’t like them enough to consider spending time and money at specialized conventions. I’m more into conventions that cover things like art in general or comic books in general instead of a very narrow field.

I’ll admit that I miss Intervention Con because that was my favorite convention due to the fact that it’s smaller and more intimate than—let’s say—Awesome Con or Otakon. Getting a good seat at a panel was no problem, I found it easier to meet people, and I didn’t have to do as much walking because of the small size so I didn’t become physically spent as much as when I used to go to Otakon. If you want to know why I loved going to Intervention Con so much, check out my blog posts and pictures from the cons I went to in 2013, 2014 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3), and 2016 (Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3).

As I was typing this, I remember that another annual event I usually loved going to at this time of the year, the Silver Spring Maker Faire, has also decided not to put on another event in 2017. I hope it’s not some kind of a sad trend where the organizers of these fun annual events have decided to cut back on holding their events because it would be really sad if that was the case. (If you want to know why I’m sad about what happened with the Silver Spring Maker Faire, check out the photos I took in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016.)

Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, I found out that I had a little bit of extra spending money so I decided to go to Baltimore Comic-Con for the first time in four years. What made it really sweet is that the famed 1980s rapper DMC (from the group Run-DMC) was going to be there and he was not only signing autographs for fans (who paid at least $20 for one of his comic books) but he was giving two panels—one on Saturday and one on Sunday.

Saturday was the only day I could go to Baltimore Comic-Con because of finances and the fact that I was serving as a substitute teacher in my church’s program that teaches local immigrants how to speak English the following day. But I managed to treasure every moment of my time there and I took a bunch of photos the moment I stepped outside of the Baltimore Convention Center and paid the $35 Saturday admission fee.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Baltimore Comic-Con

While I was waiting in line I witnessed this cute scene of a baby dressed in a Batman outfit (which isn’t apparent in the photo below because of the angle of the baby but I saw him wearing it in real life) looking at this man wearing his Spider-Man cosplay outfit.

Baltimore Comic-Con

Here’s the cover of the official Baltimore Comic-Con program book.

Baltimore Comic-Con

I even shot a short video when I first arrived soon after the convention opened at 10 a.m. that morning. Fortunately the ticket purchasing lines were shorter that morning, which wasn’t the case later in the day, so I was able to quickly purchase my ticket then go straight to the Dealers Room where I saw the convention employees actually clapping their hands at each guest who walked through the doors.

The employees only did that in the morning. When I returned to the Dealers Room at various times later in the day, the employees stopped clapping for everyone and simply looked at people’s paper bracelets (which served as our passes) before letting them in the room.

If Intervention Con is my favorite convention because it’s smaller and more intimate, then I have to say that Baltimore Comic-Con is my second favorite because the organizers are trying to strike a balance between focusing on comic books and having a few celebrities in attendance, but not as many of them as the gigantic San Diego Comic-Con. I’ve heard all sorts of stories as to how humongous and utterly exhausting it is to walk through that event and I’m pretty reluctant to even consider trying it. I had a hard enough time going to a three-day event like Otakon (which is why I’ve stopped attending in recent years) and I think San Diego Comic-Con would be even worse. I’m happy to say that finding a decent seat at a workshop or panel is still really easy at Baltimore Comic-Con. I never had to stand in any long lines in order to get to the panel of my choice (and I went on Saturday, which is usually the busiest and most crowded of the three days).

After I got my ticket I initially checked out the vendors room but I only stayed there briefly because the panel featuring DMC was scheduled to begin at noon. I found a few reminders that DMC was here at Baltimore Comic-Con this year.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I arrived at the panel early enough that I was able to get a front row seat. This panel was devoted to DMC’s comic book venture known as Darryl Makes Comics and it also had others who currently work on the comic book series including Greg Pak, Khoi Pham, Domo Stanton, and Amy Chu. DMC can be seen in the photos wearing the black Motörhead t-shirt.

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

DMC of Run-DMC Fame and Now Darryl Makes Comics

I learned that DMC has been into comics since childhood and this fascination even influenced his rapping days with Run-DMC. He said he started Darryl Makes Comics as a way of getting different voices into the comic book industry who tend to be overlooked by the larger companies—including not only people of different races but also people from different classes, older people, women, etc.

I was really enthusiastic by this panel and I found out that DMC was selling copies of his comic books with his signed autograph in the Dealers Room for $20. I wanted to buy it but, unfortunately I was tempted by a whole bunch of other stuff that was also on sale in that same room and I didn’t have unlimited funds. I took a bunch of photos of some of the stuff that was on sale.

There was a booth by a company called FigureThis who had this really neat idea where they will shoot full body photos of you with multiple cameras placed all around you then send those photos to a 3D printer where it will print a 3D figurine of your image.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I still have photos posted in older blog posts of various 3D printers that I’ve shot at various events over the seven years that this blog has been in existence. I have older photos of really large 3D printers that cost at least $2,000. At Baltimore-Comic Con I saw these smaller portable printers by a company known as M3D that were available on sale for only $295.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

What’s more, these printers were small enough that a visitor can easily carry the printer home with him/her after purchasing it. If I had more money to spare, I definitely would’ve purchased one myself.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

I was very impressed with the 3D figurines this small 3D printer was capable of producing.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There was this really cool looking computer from a company known as Chimera Computers, whose slogan is “They might have the flash, but we have the power!”

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

There were a whole bunch of other products besides comic books (yes, they had a lot of comic books available for sale) that were on sale ranging from t-shirts to drinking glasses to vintage Nintendo video games to realistic looking figurines to superhero stories written in chapter book form for children who are beginning readers. In short, there was a little something for everybody.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The cosplayers were out in full force and I took a lot of pictures of them as well. I saw a lot of people dressed as Batman this year because the day I went to Baltimore Comic-Con also happened to be Batman Day, a day which many comic book shops in the U.S. hold Batman-themed events to observe the anniversary that Batman made his first ever appearance in Detective Comics #27 in 1939.

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

2017 Baltimore Comic-Con

After wandering around the Dealer Room snapping pictures for a few hours, my legs were growing tired. I decided to check out the 2:45-3:45 p.m. (yes, that was the actual scheduled time) panel on “Baltimore Celebrates Batman Day!” (That panel was how I learned that there was actually such a thing as Batman Day.) I’ve been a Batman fan from way back starting with the time my parents gave me a Batman bank as a present and I still have those early childhood memories of putting loose coins in the slot located on Batman’s back. I grew up watching the reruns of the 1960’s TV series starring the recently deceased Adam West and reading whatever Batman comic books my mother happened to purchase during her weekly grocery shopping trip. (Sometimes she would buy Batman while other times she would buy comic books featuring Captain America, Superman, The Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, and The Incredible Hulk.) So I was eager to check out that panel.

The panel was moderated by Jimmy Palmiotti and it had people who had worked on either the Batman or Harley Quinn comic books including Amanda Conner, David Finch, Peter J. Tomasi, James Tynion IV, John Timms.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel primarily focused on the Batman and Harley Quinn comic books that have come out in the last five years while also mentioning the feature films Batman had appeared in within the last ten years. I’ll admit that I was a bit lost. That was because I haven’t read a Batman comic book since Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel series back in the late 1980’s. (I remember finding Miller’s interpretation of Batman as a very dark vigilante to be an interesting take but the story left me feeling so cold that I never re-read it. It didn’t help that, years later, Frank Miller was openly accusing the Occupy Wall Street movement as being a bunch of louts, thieves and rapists. Never mind the fact that my visits to the Occupy sites in Baltimore and DC indicated otherwise. I ultimately donated The Dark Knight Returns to an upcoming used book sale after my husband left me. Ironically Frank Miller was Baltimore Comic-Con’s 2017 Guest of Honor and he made his only convention appearance the day before. I wasn’t that inclined to even check him out in person and I don’t regret opting to go on Saturday instead of Friday.)

I watched the Batman feature films of the 1980’s and 1990’s but I stopped watching them after that because they seemed to emulate Miller’s vision of a dark violent vigilante anti-hero and I grew tired of that. The only Batman movie I’ve watched in recent years was this year’s The LEGO Batman Movie, which was excellent because it expertly combined the campiness of the 1960’s TV series with the darker interpretations of recent years and it worked extremely well. In fact, I purchased it on DVD when it was released. Maybe DC Comics should just let LEGO have exclusive rights to making future Batman movies because LEGO knows how to tell an entertainingly memorable Batman story.

My legs were a bit sore so it was a relief to sit down even if what the panelists discussed about Batman went over my head, with the exception of when they were discussing The LEGO Batman Movie. Although I was so intrigued by hearing the description of the Harley Quinn comic book series that I’m going to see if my local public library have the graphic novel reprints on the shelves. The high point of that panel was when the panelists asked if anyone had attended any of the Batman Day celebrations at a local comic book store in addition to going to Baltimore Comic-Con and someone got up said he actually went to such an event before he arrived at the Baltimore Convention Center. He had snagged some free Batman and Harley Quinn masks, which he gave to the husband and wife team behind the Harley Quinn comic book.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

The panel ended but my legs were still sore and tired. I decided to stay in the same room for the next panel that was about the legendary comic book writer and artist Jack Kirby.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Panelist Mark Evanier talked about his personal friendship with Jack Kirby, which he wrote a book about called Kirby: King of Comics. Abram Books’ Charlie Kochman was also on hand as the two of them discussed the book and Evanier’s recollections about Kirby. I found it to be a very interesting talk and it seemed like Kirby was definitely an interesting and unforgettable person.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

After the panel ended at 5 p.m. I thought about making one more return trip to the Dealers Room but my legs were really hurting by then so I decided to just take the next light rail back to the North Linthicum station (where my car was parked) and head home.

I had thought about buying one of DMC’s comic books with his autograph for $20 but I found something else in the Dealers Room that I ended up buying instead and I couldn’t afford to buy both.

Baltimore Comic-Con, September 23, 2017

It’s a plastic ocarina, which I purchased for $20, and it came with a free songbook that provided instructions on how to play the ocarina along with songs from the classic Nintendo video game The Legend of Zelda. I paid an extra $5 for a Star Wars ocarina songbook. I bought it from the STL Ocarina booth after hearing the person staffing it playing lovely music with that ocarina. I’ve been slowly trying to teach myself how to play it but I think it will be awhile before I can play songs on it that sound just as lovely as what I heard at that booth.

As for the Darrel Makes Comics comic book, I’ll go to the local public library to see if it has a copy of any of the issues on the shelves. I would like to read it at some point since I own a couple of old Run-DMC CDs and I’ve always been a fan of the group. This is one of those times when I regret having to deal with tight finances just so I can survive.

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Just hours after I viewed the solar eclipse in Greenbelt, Maryland, I took the Metro to downtown Washington, DC in order to attend my first meetup of the District Creatives. This event took place at this place called The Hatchery, which is a startup incubator that’s run by AARP. (Yes, that’s the same AARP that was once known as the American Association of Retired Persons until the organization decided that it would be known only by its acronym, which would be pronounced as “aarp” instead of spelling out the letters “A-A-R-P.”) As this link puts it:

It turns out, AARP doesn’t just want to be a membership organization lobbying on behalf of seniors, giving discounts or suggesting tips on health. Driven by a philosophy on corporate innovation, they want to be creating their own tech products. Products focused in the areas of health, wealth and self, [SVP of innovation and product development Andy] Miller said.

I was totally impressed by The Hatchery but, unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures to show you. Here’s a confession. I’ve been having camera problems lately. First the camera on my smartphone has been acting erratically to the point where it doesn’t always load. It’s literally the luck of the draw as to whether my smartphone works or not.

I tried coping by using my older Canon Digital Rebel DSLR camera even though it has fewer megapixels than my smartphone camera so the resolution is lower. But I’ve been having problems with recharging the camera battery (probably because it’s so old). The weekend before the solar eclipse/DC Creatives meetup I made sure to charge the DSLR battery. Even though the recharger says that it was fully charges, the camera just didn’t work when I needed it that day. Yet my smartphone was working, which was convenient when the solar eclipse arrived so I was able to get quite a few photos.

By the evening my smartphone camera wouldn’t load and it was getting those dreaded error messages. So I ended up not being able to take any pictures so you’ll have to visit this link if you want to see any photographs.

The focal point of this meetup is a demonstration of this new Google 3D application known as Tilt Brush. This video shows what Tilt Brush is like.

While the video makes Tilt Brush look easy, I found the reality to be far different when I tried it. I found Tilt Brush to have a steep learning curve and it took me a while to figure out how to select certain brushes. On top of it, the tools didn’t always work when I wanted it to. I think Tilt Brush has a lot of potential in terms of unleashing all kinds of 3D creativity but one would definitely need to take at least a four-week course in order to know the basics of Tilt Brush. Then there are the clunky equipment required to use Tilt Brush (such as these bulky goggles), which means that most households would not have the money or space required for this equipment. But I still would give Google an “A” for effort and it would be interesting to see if Tilt Brush becomes The Next Big Computer Application.

One Saturday morning I decided to check out this get-together on Meetup.com for art professionals and I found parking just a few blocks away from where the meetup was going to take place. I also arrived a bit early so I was able to walk around and take a few pictures before this particular meetup began.

The first few pictures show the Glut Food Co-op, which was originally founded in the late 1960’s by a couple of conscientious objectors to the Vietnam War. Glut, with its carrot-shaped sign has become a Mount Rainier institution that frequently attracts those who are looking for organic food but want a locally-owned alternative to chain stores like Whole Foods.

The next photos show the various sights around Mount Rainier.

A line of solar-powered toys line the windowsill of a beauty parlor.

This next sign outside a barber shop had this to say about being a barber.

So what exactly is a barber?

A barber is a person who practices primarily in the art of men’s grooming needs. Some barbers nowadays will also cut a lady’s haircut but a barber’s forte is generally men’s haircuts, beard trims, shaves, and mustaches. Barbers usually only do haircuts and don’t usually do perms, coloring, blow-drying or curling and straightening irons. Barbers used to be only men and cosmetologists were women. There have been a lot of changes in recent years because of the unisex salons and these days many people don’t know the difference between what is a barber and what is a cosmetologist.

Barbering is becoming a lost art. In the old days, everyone knew what a barber was. Many people are unaware that barbers were once surgeons and dentists and clergymen. The traditional barber pole is a symbol that comes from the bloody bandages blowing in the wind. The technical term for barbers is a “tonsorial artist.”

Wow! One can really learn something new while taking a walk around a certain area.

The next photo shows a row of colorfully-painted buildings including the public library, the local office of Progressive insurance, and a Masonic lodge.

The Masonic lodge has a trio of really colorful murals featuring birds flying against an orange background with blue flowers, and red-orange diamonds.

You can see the colorful bricks outside the Progressive insurance office.

The colorful bricks continue to the local public library that’s located next door.

The Mount Rainier library is one of the smallest libraries I have ever visited in recent years. It’s basically one small room. Despite its small size, I saw a few patrons browsing the books and using the computers and other resources.

The meetup took place at the Bird Kitchen + Cocktails restaurant.

The meetup took place outside in the restaurant’s courtyard, which had this vintage pachinko machine on display. (I didn’t attempt to try playing it so I don’t know if it’s there purely for decoration or if it is really a working machine.)

After the meetup ended I decided to do something that I had always wanted to do but I kept on putting it off. I figured that since I was in Mount Rainier anyway, I should check out that local legend about how there was a family whose exorcism of their teenage son provided the basis for both the bestselling novel and subsequent movie The Exorcist. I’m going to write a separate blog post devoted to this so stay tuned.

Passover

As I look back on this, I have to admit that I really pushed my body to the max. That was because the night before I went to Light City in Baltimore, where I waited outside in the cold for over two hours waiting for my animation, The March of Liberty, to finally show on the big screen. I was so stiff and sore the following day that I ended up skipping church.

I still pushed myself to check out the first annual Kamecon because I like seeing cosplayers all dressed up, I was attracted by the $3 admission fee, it was held on the campus of my alma mater (the University of Maryland at College Park), and it was held just three miles from my current home.

Compared to other anime conventions like Otakon and Katsucon, Kamecon is relatively small. The entire event was held in one of the ballrooms at the Adele H. Stamp Student Union building. But the participants were pretty enthusiastic as they donned costumes and hung out. Here are some photos I took.

There was a line at the ticket office located next to the Hoff Theater but it wasn’t too bad. I think I may have spent about 15 minutes in line at the most.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I decided to bring my Canon Digital Rebel EOS camera with me to this event. Here’s a selfie I was able to take thanks to the restroom mirror. (Yes, I was wearing the My Little Pony Rainbow Dash hoodie in order to blend in a little bit with the cosplayers.)

Kamecon 2017

Some people were waiting to have their photo professionally taken.

Kamecon 2017

The entire convention took place in a ballroom, which included an indoor tent/lounge where people could chill.

Kamecon 2017

There was a Jubeat video game that had a cool cube design. I didn’t see anyone play it mainly because it was directly imported from Japan and that machine required a 1 yen coin, which doesn’t do any good for the vast majority of Americans present.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

There were other video games that people played.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I took a few shots of two cosplayers who were dancing alongside one of the dancing video games while it was playing Lady Gaga’s hit song “Poker Face.”

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I even shot a short video of those two dancing cosplayers.

The ballroom was divided, with half of the room being reserved for Artists Alley. There was a photography ban of that area (unless the photographer gets permission from an Artists Alley participant) so I took only one wide shot of the entire area from the other side.

Kamecon 2017

There were board games and card game packs available for attendees to play with.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Here are some more pictures of Kamecon, including cosplayers.

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

Kamecon 2017

I also took a few pictures of the University of Maryland campus because it was such a lovely warm sunny spring day. But I didn’t take too many pictures because I was growing tired from both checking out Kamecon and Light City the night before. Here’s a long shot of the Jim Henson Memorial.

University of Maryland

The cherry blossom trees on campus were in full bloom.

University of Maryland

University of Maryland

Here’s a shot of the Mall.

University of Maryland

One of the terrapin statues that are located on campus.

University of Maryland

March is Women’s History Month, which ended just two days earlier, but there was still this poster featuring the University of Maryland’s famous female alumni including Connie Chung, Dominique Dawes, Gayle King, Sarah Winnemucca, Judith Resnik, Adele H. Stamp, and Carolina Rojas Bahr.

University of Maryland

I’ve pretty much ditched my original New Year’s resolution of doing one new sketchbook drawing per day. I found that if I was working on a different creative project at the same time, trying to schedule a daily sketchbook drawing became arduous. I only did one sketch last month and it was one I did on the Monday after I attended Intervention Con (which you can read about here, here, and here).

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

What’s even sadder is that I haven’t even done a single drawing this month yet even though I learned through one of my Facebook friends about something called Inktober where you create one new drawing every day this month until Halloween. Yeah, I’m lame. (LOL!) I’ll make an effort to do at least one sketchbook drawing this month but doing something as ambitious as Inktober is just not realistic for me.

Intervention Con Day 1

Intervention Con Day 2

Usually the third day of a convention tends to be relatively truncated because it falls on a Sunday and many people are rushing to travel back home so they can return to their real lives the next day. There were still a few events that encouraged me to go back out to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville for the third day in a row. I attended this panel discussion featuring Intervention Con founder Oni Harstein (on the right in the photo below) on how to market your work online. I took a lot of notes at that panel.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Afterwards I attended this talk where Craig W. Cobalt (on the right in the photo below) talking with actor René Auberjonois (left). It was a really highly spirited discussion because not only had Auberjonois appeared on shows like Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Benson, and Boston Legal but his acting career goes back decades. He gave a really fascinating account on his experiences working with the legendary Katharine Hepburn. He should write his memoirs about his long acting career because his talk was so fascinating. He even finished his talk by singing this brief song (“Les Poissons”) he sang when he was the voice of Chef Louis in the Disney movie The Little Mermaid.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I stayed in the same room where I ate my lunch (which I brought with me from home) while listening to actress Alex Kingston (in pink ears below) speaking about her days as River Song on Doctor Who with Cat Smith (right side in below photo). She also gave a fascinating talk on what it was like to play River Song with three of the actors who portrayed the various regenerations of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After that presentation ended I spent the rest of my time taking a few miscellaneous photographs.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

The last photo I took at Intervention Con was this one of my program book and badge.

Intervention Con, Day 3, September 18, 2016

After I left Intervention Con I briefly stopped at the Micro Center store mainly because it was only located just a couple of blocks from the Hilton Hotel. I didn’t buy anything because I didn’t have much money left after that weekend. (I spent the bulk of my money on the weekend pass. I didn’t buy anything in the Artists Alley this time around because of a lack of cash.) I ended up having far less money at the end of the month than usual but it was worth it. I got a lot of good advice regarding how to market my arts and crafts on social media and I intend to try to use it. I loved all of the panels and workshops I attended. The only letdown was that, unlike the previous Intervention Cons I attended in 2013 and 2014, there were no vintage arcade games this time around. I was mildly disappointed because I had fond memories of playing such games as Tetris and Wizards of Wor and they were all on free play, which was fantastic. (You can see the photos of those vintage arcade games that I took at a previous Intervention Con right here.) I missed those vintage arcade games. Otherwise I loved Intervention Con and I would love to go again next year.

The next day I did this quick sketchbook drawing showing how I usually feel about going to an event like Intervention Con. (LOL!)

Sketchbook Drawing the Day After Intervention Con Ended

Intervention Con Day 1

Even though Intervention Con was held in a hotel I decided to commute back and forth from my home because it was cheaper. That was how I was able to spend Saturday morning attending a meeting of a new Job Club for people who are either unemployed, underemployed, or just aren’t working their dream jobs because they have to pay bills that I had a hand in forming. I’m not going to write more about this here because it’s one of those topics that really warrants a separate post.

After that meeting ended I returned home to eat lunch and pack dinner and drinks for this evening then I headed to the Hilton Hotel in Rockville. I arrived at the Twinbrook Metro station, which has free parking on the weekend (I only had to worry about paying parking fees that first night) then walk one block to the hotel.

On the first day of Intervention Con the weather was warm outside (it went up into the low 80’s) but some of the hotel conference rooms were a bit chilly because they had the air conditioning way up high. I solved that problem by wearing my Rainbow Dash hoodie. It also has the additional benefit of helping with blending in with the cosplayers who were there at that convention. Here’s a rare selfie below.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

It was a pretty funky outfit since I wore a long-sleeved hoodie with a pair of summer shorts. (LOL!) I didn’t arrive at the convention until around 3 p.m. The first workshop I went to was called “Button down for WHAT?!”, which was devoted to making buttons. It was hosted by Stephanie Byrd of the local button making firm Red Fish Rue Fish. Each participant could make one button for free.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

The needed supplies to make a button were already provided so all one needed is his/her imagination.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I decided to do the legendary Goat Man as a baby, which I previously wrote about here. I did this initial pencil drawing.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Then I colored it and provided the lettering using colored pencils.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Once I was done I took it to this button making machine where it was made into a button.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

After I finished making my button I immediately headed over to this workshop on “Thriving Artists” that was given by Rob Balder. I learned a few helpful hints (like how you’re more likely to have a successful Patreon page if you have a popular YouTube channel and how self-education is very important and there are a lot of free college level courses online that one can take without having to go thousands of dollars into debt). That workshop also had this excellent quote from the late tennis star Arthur Ashe that goes:

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

After going to two workshops in a row, I decided to just take it easy. I ate the dinner I brought with me in the hotel lobby at this table that had plugs and USB ports available for charging various electronic devices. I charged my smartphone while I ate my dinner. Afterwards I walked around the convention. I headed into the video room for a few minutes. I played a couple of video games myself (mainly the classic arcade games that were loaded on to this X-Box) but I mostly took photos and looked at other people playing games.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I spent the majority of my free time in the Artists Alley.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

There were tables in the Artists Alley where the celebrities were there at various times to sign autographed photos and pose for photographs. I took all my photos of these celebrities from afar because I was too cash-strapped to pay for the privilege of meeting with my favorite celebrities. The prices of the signed photos ranged anywhere (depending on how popular this celebrity is) from $5-$55. If one also wanted to pose for a photograph with his/her favorite celebrity, those fees not only cost extra but they ranged from $20-$55. I managed to take this faraway photo of an autograph/photo session featuring Gigi Edgley of Farscape and Alex Kingston of Doctor Who.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

There was a live Internet radio broadcast at Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016 Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

A person dressed as Boba Fett stalked the lobby of the Hilton Hotel.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I attended “The Social Media: BEST and WORST” panel with Mary Ratliff, M. Sieiro Garcia, and Steven Archer. They discussed some of the excesses of some people on social media and they provided advice on how to protect your personal identity online. (The best advice they gave was to sign up for a free Google Voice number that would be tied in to your personal phone but you wouldn’t have to give out your private number. Instead you could publicly give out your Google Voice number and if you start getting harassing messages you can ditch that particular Google Voice number.)

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

I went to one more panel on “The Comical Side of Elections Season” where Joe Wos shared his memories of working with Pat Paulsen during the times he ran for President as a satiric act. He also mentioned other hilarious campaigns, such as Howard the Duck (which I actually reviewed this past summer).

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

He has a version of this presentation that you can listen online right here. I highly recommended it because it is really interesting.

I grew tired after that last panel so I decided to head home. On my way out the door I took one last photo of this cosplayer.

Intervention Con, Day 2, September 17, 2016

Intervention Con Day 3

I recently attended Intervention Con for the first time since 2014. (Last year I opted to attend the 60th anniversary of the Enchanted Forest celebration that was held at Clark’s Elioak Farm that was scheduled at the same weekend. I wanted to go because it was both the 60th anniversary and the fact that the last of the attractions were moved from its former location—now known as the Enchanted Forest Shopping Center—to the farm. Even though it was of those “chance of a lifetime” events, it was so hot and humid on that day—which is typical August weather in the Baltimore-Washington, DC area—that I found myself wishing that I had opted for Intervention Con instead because it was held in an air conditioned hotel. I vowed that in the future I would only go to Clark’s Elioak Farm in the spring and fall because the summer is usually too hot and humid to enjoy anything.) This year I really wanted to go because there were not only a few panels that I was interested in attending but there were also some interesting guests who were going to be there as well.

Even though Intervention was being held at the Hilton Hotel in Rockville, Maryland, I ended up commuting from my home to the hotel while bringing my own food and drinks to save money. I found out that the hotel is located near the Twinbrook Metro station so I parked there instead of paying the hotel’s $15 per day fee for using its parking lot. (Yes, this particular hotel actually charges a parking fee.) The first night I had to pay $8.50 because I didn’t ride Metro. (It’s normally around $5 for those who ride the Metro.) It was still cheaper than what the hotel was charging.

As I was walking from the Metro parking garage to the hotel, I noticed this building that’s right next to the parking garage that has these really cool trompe l’oeil paintings on its warehouse doors.

Cool trompe l'oeil near Twinbrook Metro station on the way to #Interventioncon

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

I arrived at the hotel and paid for a weekend pass. I began to relax once I got my badge as I remembered why I love Intervention Con so much. It’s small compared to something like Otakon or Awesome Con but it’s way more laid back and I don’t have to wait in a long line for at least a half-an-hour in order to ensure that I would get a seat for a certain panel. I spent some time just taking a bunch of photographs of the convention and the hotel in general.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

The first panel I attended was this one that was given by Jason Cranford Teague on “Children of the (Digital) Revolution.” It was a fun retrospective on how the various technology has changed since the 1970’s, especially with the size of cell phones and computers. I chuckled when he showed a photo of a rotary phone because I grew up with one in my house. (That phone was hooked up to only one line that everyone in the household had to share. There were no such thing as Caller ID or voicemail. There were answering machines but they were so expensive when I was growing up that only businesses had them.)

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

I attended my first presentation that was given by one of the convention’s celebrity guests. Dwight Schultz (left) talked with Ben Taylor on his days as an actor on shows like The A-Team and the various Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Voyager, and First Contact). It was quite an entertaining talk.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After that presentation ended I had an hour to kill before my next event. I went to the hotel lobby where I sat at this table that actually had plugs and USB ports where guests could charge their phones and other mobile devices. I ate the dinner that I brought with me while I was recharging my phone.  I glanced over at a group of people just a few feet away and I recognized one of them. It was René Auberjonois, who appeared in such TV shows as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Boston Legal. He started to wheel his suitcase in my direction so I grabbed my smartphone, zoomed in on him (he was at least 10 feet away from where I was ) and snapped this photo.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After I took that photo like a paparazzi I finished eating my dinner then walked over to the main event for that evening. Thomas Dolby of “She Blinded Me With Science” fame gave a multimedia presentation about his music and technology career on the first night of Intervention Con.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

It was an amazing presentation where he started with singing his first major hit, “She Blinded Me With Science,” then he went on to talk about his days as a major pop star when he worked alongside people like Stevie Wonder and David Bowie. Then he talked about what he did since he left the music business, when he became the founder of a technology company that came out with the first ringtones for cell phones back in the 1990’s. He’s currently living in Baltimore where he’s a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the artistic director of Program in Sound on Film at the Station North Arts District. He gave such a fascinating presentation that even just trying to write about what he said wouldn’t do it justice. It’s just as well because Thomas Dolby said that his memoir will be coming out in a few months. I’d love to read it, especially if it’s as entertaining and interesting as his presentation at Intervention Con. He finished his presentation with a live performance of his other 1980’s hit, “Hyperactive.”

After the Dolby event I went to one more event before I called it a night. I went to this panel on “Horror: Folklore and Fairytale: How Tales of the Past Influence the Narratives of Today” that was given by Michelle Sonnier and Melissa Braus. It was a really interesting talk on how much of an effect that folklores and fairytales have on pop culture. (The most obvious example is Disney frequently using the stories written by the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen for its animated feature films like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Frozen.)

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

One of the presenters had her book on display. She was selling copies of that book at her booth in the Artists Alley throughout the convention.

Intervention Con, Day 1, September 16, 2016

After that last panel ended I drove back home for the evening.

Intervention Con Day 2

Intervention Con Day 3

I had decided to donate this painting I did of my late mother-in-law’s dog, Jay-Jay, to this fundraising event that was being held at the Escape Artists Gallery in Baltimore where all the proceeds were going towards helping the victims of the recent flood in Ellicott City.

Desire

When I learned that the gallery was located near the Walters Art Museum, I thought about arriving early so I could check out that museum for an hour or two then go over to the other place and drop off my paining. Unfortunately there was this major accident on I-95 North that caused such a huge traffic backup that it took me nearly two hours to arrive at my final destination. By that point I arrived only 30 minutes before the Walters’ official closing time so I decided to skip it on this trip. Instead I walked around the area taking photos on the way to and from the gallery, starting with this nice mural.

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A.T. Jones & Sons is a costume shop that specializes in clothes for theatrical productions. This store is also known for the giant clown heads in its windows.

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It was raining that day. You can tell by the wet streets and gray clouds.

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The next few photos are of the historic First & Franklin Presbyterian Church, which is currently celebrating its 250th anniversary.

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Here’s a statue of John Eager Howard in the foreground and the Washington Monument in the background.

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Here are some more shots of the Washington Monument.

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Near the Washington Monument is this statue of Roger Taney, who was the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court who is now remembered for being the one who wrote the majority opinion in the notorious Dred Scott v. Sanford case.

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Here’s the Maryland Historical Society building featuring a giant statue of Nipper the RCA dog next to his gramophone.

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Hohschild Kohn’s used to be a regional chain of department stores and I remember it was among my mother’s second-favorite store to shop in when I was growing up. (Her favorite department store was the now-defunct Hutzler’s.) Hohschild Kohn’s went out of business in 1983 but the building bearing its name still remains.

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The Mt. Vernon Marketplace now occupies the former Hohschild Kohn building and it’s a pretty upscale-looking market. It’s the first market I’ve ever been in that has a ping pong table that anyone can use.

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Next to the Escape Artists Gallery, where the fundraising art show was held, is this window that mentions the names of a law firm, a money lending company, and a charitable foundation. It also has this life-sized statue of Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fame.

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The Escape Artists Gallery itself is located above a Subway.

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After I dropped off my painting I took the light rail out of the city where it went past the Baltimore Convention Center. The annual Otakon anime convention was being held that weekend. I haven’t been to Otakon since 2013 (which you can read about here, here, here, here, and here). This year is the last year that Otakon will be held at the Baltimore Convention Center mainly because it has become so large that it has literally outgrown that building. Next year’s Otakon will be held at the Washington Convention Center in DC. Since Otakon will be closer to where I live, I may even check it out if I have the time and I can afford it.

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I’ve just returned from the weekend-long Intervention convention that was held in Rockville, Maryland. It was an amazing experience that I’ll write about in future posts. Right now I want to share this button I designed while I took this panel that was held yesterday called “Button Down for WHAT!?!” that was put on by this custom button making firm known as Red Fish Rue Fish.

babygoatman-smallversion

I was stumped on what to design on my button so I decided to take my previous arts and crafts I did based on the legendary Goat Man and made him into a baby chibi form. It’s appropriate that I did another Goat Man-themed piece because next month there will be more hype about this creature at various local Halloween events in my area.

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