Conbravo from July 26 to July 28 from Hamilton, ON at http://conbravo.com/guests/ and http://conbravo2013.sched.org/
Greetings and welcome to another convention report, this time for Conbravo 2013 that landed in another new venue: the Hamilton Convention Centre. This has been a progressively growing event, even after moving from various venues due to its growth. Now it landed and it did grow again, totalling over 2600 convention attendee and many more volunteers, staff, media, guests and even police officers who even enjoyed themselves while on duty. Everyone contributed to an amazing weekend for all forms of fandom like Internet shows, music, cosplay, video games, LARPing, Quidditch games from Harry Potter, tabletop games like RPGs, collector card games, board games, WarHammer and all things in between.
Once more for the 4th year of the convention, The 404s performed their unique brand of improv comedy for the geeky masses. Three shows of varying themes let the fans see a new show each day: a Friday late night show, a special Improv All-Stars show done with special guests Mark Meer (voice actor for many characters like Commander Sheppard of Mass Effect), brentalfloss (musician of things like Lyrics to Video Game Songs), “The Nostalgia Critic” Doug Walker (internet personality and reviewer), and Pro Jared (internet reviewer and personality), and ending with a Musical Finale show. Each show did well packing the rooms they were in, with over 80 for the Late Night show and around 200 plus fans at the other shows on the Main Stage.
The Late Night show incorporated Cards Against Humanity for many unique scenes like Dead Bodies Puppetry to show women how to diet with the Yogurt Angel, and musicals about Kansas getting its first McDonald’s. There was even a nice farewell in Green Screen reporting to Transformers Prime, which actually ended the same weekend in a glorious TV finale. The All-Star show was great to work with the guests who had a mix of improv comedy experience. Everything was touched from Greatest Hits songs on video games, to telling the Day in the Life of Mark Meer that had clingy dogs, odd steak house ads and an improv show within the main show for a specific British fan. Fans got to see the guests and 404s play triplets in a bike race using some great fan props like a NERF gun, Link’s Master Sword and CM Punk’s WWE Title Belt. Axes were thrown at siblings tied to a spinning wheel, and Questions were only asked about the Green Room and apparently a hot tub. And Ash Ketchum had to find better work or die after finally catching every Pokémon as suggested from Scenes from a Hat. The weekend ended with the Musical finale that had everything from an Interrogation leading to deportation to Edmonton for slow walking, to a Hoedown in honour of the Convention and Bizarro World versions of The 404s presented all weekend. The fans expressed having so much fun and wanting in on more participation next year.
Aside from the shows I got to be a part of a few other events. Cards Against Humanity All Stars had some of The 404s, guest Tom Hope from the Assassin’s Creed 24/7 charity event to raise money for Child’s Play that gets games to kids in hospital, and some fans turned into a fun, intimate event with lots of mature laughs at night. Speaking of Child’s Play, the convention also had a Charity Auction with auctioneer brentalfloss for the charity and over $800 was raised. There was also Death Note Mafia, the guessing party game involving the anime show mixed to a mystery game, and the Celebrity Geek Squares where contestants played Tic-Tac-Toe by trying to figure out if guests like JewMario and Dr. Holocaust (internet personalities) were giving the right answers to various trivia that somehow become the Riddler Best Riddles. One of the big events was of course D-20 live with guests Leo Thompson (internet personality), Mark Meer, “Birdman” Mike Dodd (internet reviewer) and Linkara (internet personality), hosted by The 404s Big Mike. They got to be in the Aliens world this time encountering very carefully the Alien monsters and even a Predator. There was much shooting, debating every move, being very afraid and tons of laughs and antics.
There was a lot to do and see as well! Easily for me the best thing was the classic Arcade area. Playing old school games like Wrestlefest where I got to be the tag team champions with my team of Mr. Perfect and the Ultimate Warrior, a Royal Rumble pinball machine, Hit the Ice the Hockey Game with no rules, the Die Hard Arcade game, the Terminator 2 shooting game, and so many more arcade machines from my childhood. And those were just the ones I played as there was something from everyone from Pacman and Spy Hunter to various SNK games and Street Fighter 2. The area also had a bunch of console games including some fighting game tournament areas, and PC gaming too. Right next to them was the tabletop gaming as well where my Magic the Gathering decks got some play in.
The Vaudeville Valkyries had a panel on convention horror stories and their main feature, a Variety show that had cosplaying, singing, dancing, card tricks that kind of worked, fan participation games of impressions, some improv comedy and even a conga line at the end. Oh and I got to meet actress and now writer Mara Wilson (Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda, Miracle on 34th Street) and got a photo with her as she was very courteous and sweet. Everything at the convention was a treat to see.
Here are my finds this weekend:
-An artist made keychain double sided with Ninetails on one side and Gengar on the other (two of my favourite Pokemon and used often in the TCG in the past).
-From Magi, a Morg bookmark also from the artist alley.
-A handmade catnip roll...that got use once since my cat went a bit TOO nuts for it. He’s too spoiled.
-A No More Heroes II fan made 8-bit Pixel Art that has the cast of Travis Touchdown, Shinobu (my favourite from the game), Sylvia Christel and Henry Cooldown.
-A cast signed poster from the RPG podcast site These Warriors Are Terrible (hear their stuff at http://thesewarriorsareterrible.com/ ).
-From the Charity Auction for the Child’s Play charity that gives terminally ill children a chance to play video games, bid and won the Wagon from Kill Bill Vol.1. Also donated more to the charity via the Assassin’s Creed 24 hour feed event in the Gaming Room.
-Speaking of charities I also donated to Cosplay for a Cure who did a great job doing photos which I got also on a CD for my donation. Also I got to participate in the hair cutting of one of the members dressed as Sokka from Avatar the Last Airbender who donated it to make a wig for a cancer patient. Go see the photos too online at http://www.flickr.com/photos/cosplayforacure/sets/
-Some free giveaway stuff such as A Kids on the Slope Door Hanger, a Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 3 poster and some postcards from the Panty and Stocking anime.
I still got my kazoo from the Vaudeville Valkyries show because as Edge and Christian said, “Kazoo sounds are awesome!” Also I got to eat at the new Nations Supermarket and Eatery, where the prices were good on all the produce and fresh foods while also serving up meal options, where you could get single cooked dishes from Dim Sum to BBQ meats to sushi bento boxes to desserts and baked goods, or combo meals with drink, or even a self serve buffet that was $6.99 per pound. Having a mall connected to the convention and hotel (where the main hotel itself was connected to the Hamilton Convention Centre) made for convenience and tons of options.
So it looks like Conbravo has a nice new home base for future cons as it comes back in 2014. I can’t wait and the city welcomes them back with open arms! See you next time for my next con report!
As always, I collect all videos of the Eastside 404s shows that can be found on the following playlists.
The Current Updated, Ongoing Video Set – http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLcYrT6RatU-3yzE7cdQuObMY2lv72Shcb
The Older First Sets of Videos - http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL2940D4CF10ED601B and
And here are a few different playlists for various convention videos, mixing conventions I’ve been to and others I liked seeing online: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL219D2649FE1180BE AND http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLE273FEAC695D7A72&feature=mh_lolz
Finally, check out this regularly updated public photo album of my convention photos (latest photos are at the end of the album) at: http://www.crunchyroll.com/showphotoalbum?id=10061028
The latest events and links to The 404s can be found as well at the main website at http://the404s.com/
Here, there, everywhere! Online in random spurts when I can be!
Another great review, thanks for sharing. It sounds like it was a blast.