I skipped out of work about 45 minuets early to catch the opening ceremonies. I wondered if it would feel different this year at the new venue, but no, the set-up and delivery was just what I was used to. in fact, instead of feeling out of place in the new hotel, it instead felt like coming home.
For the last couple years I’ve sung the praises of ConCoction and written book length articles on my experiences there. While the show hadn’t quite grown bigger than their excellent accommodations at the Hopkins Sheraton, they HAD outgrown their parking space almost immediately, finally prompting the move east to the Bertrem in Aurora (just outside of Solon). It makes it an hour drive for me this year, but it’s a fine trade off to not have to face the possibility of $12 parking daily.
The show easily managed to fill out the new venue, splitting between two buildings. In the first, we had the artist and author allies, as well as two proramming rooms. A small outdoor walkway connects the buildings, leading to the sprawling game area along with a small conference nook, and larger media friendly room. The dealers room is over here too, a good move that assures everyone visits both sides of the show. Parties still pop up down the hall in the rooms, just follow the sounds of the music. The new venue feels right. It feels like ConCoction has come home.
Programming was as impressive as ever. I’ve heard for years about the Harp Twins from my friend Sean but never really sat down to listen to them. I snuck into the back of their first concert and discovered that I really needed more of this in my life and made a special effort to catch most of their second performance the next day. I also made a special effort to see Pete Mako’s show – he’s changed his schtick from the Boogie Man to the Rock and roll Devil , but the music still felt like the fun acoustic rock I’ve really come to enjoy from him.
Psychology of Cosplay, how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse, Doctor Who, these are just a few of the panels I was able to attend when not strutting around in a Lego suit, getting into sword fights in the dealers room (I STILL WANT THOSE PHOTOS!) or hanging out with friends old and new. ConCoction is still one of the only shows I do more than one day of, and the programming is a big part of that. Equally important is the old-school sci-fi convention feel that they maintain. The show continues to grow every year and here at their new digs, I can see them expanding more than ever…and I plan on being right there to watch it happen!