Why I won’t be returning to Cleveland Concoction.
I was very excited to see that Cleveland Concoction was returning. This has been one of my favorite conventions for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about my previous trips there. Even as recently as zip con, we were waiting for registration to open up so we could get tickets. I literally had this discussion with my friend Rose there – we’d actually both won membership to the next show back in 2019, but then covid hit and they shut down for 2020. And then again for 2021, even 2022. Honestly, you couldn’t expect them to keep rolling over the free membership for that many years and I absolutely did not want to be THAT guy. Once I finally saw that the link was active, I purchased my weekend badge. This was on March 1st.
It wasn’t until March 6th, that they posted their covid guidelines. Concoction this year will be a masked event. People will either be required to mask and all areas unless actively eating or drinking… or will be required to show proof of vaccination at registration.
That is not the show I paid for.
As a general rule, I don’t attend any event that requires me to show my papers like a refugee in the movie Casablanca. I also don’t attend masked events (and skipped Great Lakes Comic Con last year for this very reason, as well as passing on several Anime events), particularly now that we find ourselves in 2023. Sure, you may be scratching your head and pointing out “I’m sure I’ve seen you at a masked comicon or two! That’s true. Back in the early days of the pandemic, when the government lock downs were finally opening up, I absolutely headed out to shows like Toyhio and Jeff Harper’s Cleveland Comic Book and Nostalgia events. The truth is, we have small shows like this to thank for the return of conventions in a lot of ways. They kept the dealers going, they kept the habit up… and somebody had to go first. I wanted to support whoever that might be.
We’re now well past that. The moment vaccines became widely available, any question of restrictions should have been moot. Moreover we are now living in the wake of the Cochran study which showed that masking did not effectively stop much in the way of transmission Still, it’s a security blanket that many people simply will not let go of. That is your prerogative. I won’t make fun of you (to your face anyhow. But my wife and I will probably chuckle to each other about it in private). If you wish to run you show like that, it’s also your prerogative. I would have just passed on it. I still plan to skip it, but had I known in advance, I wouldn’t have bought a ticket. That’s my real issue here.
I have been fully vaccinated. It’s something I did to be able to move more easily around my job which involves visiting a variety of remote locales. Not only am I vaccinated, I’ve had covid… after my vaccination. That means I’ve also developed natural antibodies which science has shown to be a much more durable form of immunity. I am done wearing a mask. And if you ask me to show my card, it better be in a professional capacity otherwise the answer will be no. Very possibly a colorful no.
We attended Hazard con last year, also a masked event that didn’t sufficiently pre-warn us. We would have turned around and left if we hadn’t just driven a couple of hours across state lines to get there, and in any event it really did kill the day. Those little shows like Harper and Toyhios? Those are a couple of hours digging through long boxes and toybins and then out. Concoction is a weekend long event With after parties that go from dusk till dawn. It’s not the sort of thing that you want to wear a mask for 20 hours at.
Ironically, those restrictions probably wouldn’t affected me anyhow. My costume choices for the event were going to be Skeletor and Pinhead. It’s actually why I chose those for my last two convention appearances at Astronomicon and Fantasticon. They were really being pulled for ConCoction. Indeed, I’ve continued to stay clean shaven and delayed growing back my beard (which I keep to hide my weak chin) SPECIFICALLY because I can’t have it with the Pinhead makeup. It would have been very simple to add a samurai mask around my nose and chin to compliment the slightly Japanese look to my armor. Skeletor himself is a completely enclosed mask. Problem is, I don’t want to support the mask porn Concoction is still promoting. Which is a shame, because I’ve already bought my ticket and there are no refunds. I received no communication back from my emails to the show… and to be fair, we’re so close to showtime I can’t imagine it would be easy to contact me even if I didn’t end up in their Spam folder. However the entire affair has left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not going this weekend, and I won’t be buying from their vendors or their artists, nor will I be roaming around the halls in big detailed cosplay to amuse people and take photos with attendees.I always hope I add value to a show by supporting the people there and being a walking bit of decoration. But I’m not expecting to be missed. I don’t wish harm or ill will on the show. I simply won’t be participating in it.
I’m not sure what the future holds for me in Concoction. Maddie and I will not be returning to Hazard Con, ever. In this case with Concoction, it’s not quite as dishonest as Hazard, nor is it on the level of negligence that led me to complain about the North Coast Comic Con, But I still very much resent the fact that my pittance of admission is non refundable and that I’m not hearing back from registration. Concoction has definitely fallen off of the A list for me. It’s not going to be one of my automatic must-goes any longer, the way Cinema Wasteland and NEO Comic-Con are. I can’t trust them that they won’t take my money, then add new rules and run away. It’ll take some years of watching the con and it’s regulations before I’ll be comfortable buying a pass from them again. You probably won’t hear too much about me promoting them any further either. I’ll stay home and put away the armor that I’d left out, staged and ready. Perhaps I’ll check out The Columbus Toy and Game show.
But I won’t be back at concoction anytime soon.