Domo dressed for MARcon Toga Party, by Nate Davis.
This year for the first time, I will be attending MARcon, or Multiple Alternate Realities convention, or March con, whichever you prefer. I'd never heard of it before this year when some Twitter followers mentioned it on their feed. What I found is a sci-fi and fantasy convention that has been fan run since 1966. So I decided to participate in the art show, to start.
I still don't know much about it, so when I emailed their Art Show chair, I had to ask if Star Wars, Discworld, Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, Dr. Who and Bill & Ted were the sorts of things that MARcon included. (Those are all in my wheelhouse, so if they're compatible with MARcon, then I felt I was on the right track.) I was told that all those things and more fit in with the convention's all-encompassing theme, which from what I can tell is "Everyone is welcome." If you have a thing, then that thing is right.
Still, my husband asked the other day: "Yes, but what is it about? Is it just dress up time?"
I read to him from a list of panels being offered: Discussion of what Fringe Science was like in the Victorian Era. Quantum Leap, Revisited. A panel entirely to criticize Joss Whedon (I weep that I will miss it.) A Robin Hood panel, a Sarah Jane panel, a panel for talking about Jeopardy. There's a Steampunk Fashion Show and even a Rifftrax event. And that's just on Friday.
"Everything," I said to him. "It's about everything."
So I asked some of our readers what the convention means to them.
Lisa: Marcon is the one event that all my friends and I look forward to, the one time I know I'll see people I only see once a year, because everyone makes an effort to come out for it. There are a lot of cons in Columbus but Marcon is the one that anchors it all in the sci-fi/fantasy community, because all of the local fan groups either set up hall tables or run events, hold annual meetings, or put themselves on display with a skit in the Masquerade. That makes it incredibly easy to find new people with your interests and branch out into other areas of fandom.
Sarah: Marcon is like a big family reunion, a big party. But it's full of people you like. Often, Marcon is the one time of year I get to see a lot of fellow geeks and hang out and talk about nerdy things. It's great to catch up and see what others have been up to, then we party and drive the Hyatt staff insane (they handle so much of our crap, what good people).
Lisa: It's also the kind of con where the celebrity guests hang out with the fans, both at their autograph tables or in the room parties. Marcon is like Columbus itself, large enough to offer a lot of interesting things to do, but small enough that you know everybody and feel like family.
Mostly, though, it appears to me to be an event that especially fosters the costumed fandom. While no convention ever discourages cosplay, this seems to be the convention for cosplayer's cosplay. There are panels to discuss things like how to make a costume on a small budget, how to develop your steampunk "persona," and even what sorts of costume making materials are actually safe to use, because "non-toxic" can be a deceptive term.
Lisa: It's the place to see and be seen, especially if you're a cosplayer. My first costume was built for Marcon and I've tried to up my game every year to reach the level of the costumers I've met and made friends with there.
Sarah: I love cosplaying at Marcon. Because it's such a small, close knit Con no matter what you're wearing you'll get noticed. Any costume from the elaborate to the one you threw together the night before always gets some kind of praise. Marcon's a very accepting kind of crowd. Plus, it's a great environment to test out a costume before you travel to bigger cons across the country. Besides cosplaying, Marcon will also have pretty great video rooms. They're the best place to go when you need to sit and relax.
Here's a selection of pictures from the MARcon Facebook page that they encouraged us to share. As you can see, there's a wide range of cosplay choices, from The Rocky Horror Show to Fraggle Rock.
You gotta admit, it takes a special kind of mind to decide to dress not just as the Joker, but as the Joker dressed as a nurse. (Thank you, The Dark Knight.) Now I wish there was a Jimmy Olson in drag.
MARcon is this weekend, starting tomorrow at 3pm. Tickets for the weekend are $60 at the door. It takes place downtown at the Hyatt Convention Center. (Not at the convention center, but at the Hyatt attached to it, you can get to the parking garage via Nationwide Blvd.)