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It's actually been a few days since I got back from Bronycon. Now that I've settled back into my normal routine and gotten over the post-con blues, I thought I'd write a journal about it.
I think I mentioned before that this was my very first convention of ANY kind. Well, Bronycon was certainly a massive one to start with!
I'd NEVER seen so many bronies in the real world all at once before. My experience with fellow bronies has always been through the internet. It's almost like we're this massive, world-wide subculture or something. XD
Not being accustomed to travelling on my own, especially to a different country, I didn't plan my flight times very well, and ended up flying straight through the night down to Baltimore, with virtually no opportunity for sleep. I landed in Baltimore almost a full day ahead of the start of the convention. So I had plenty of time to catch up on my sleep.
I should have kept some of the pictures I took of this, but it was remarkable how often I would see a brony or group of bronies (recognizable by their pony t-shirts) walking the streets of Baltimore, well before the convention. Baltimore is a big city, and to see the impact of the presence that bronies had, as they descended on this city en masse, was a little surprising. The local hotels were also filled to the brim during the convention, and would experience a MASS checkout when it was over, which for them was a bit of a logistical challenge. XD
When I went to the convention center to register, I saw that there were several ads up and down the street, advertising it, and featuring some great pony artwork; like this found on the sidewalk outside the convention center.
I previously had NOT been collecting ANY pony memorabilia. I just wasn't in the habit of it. So I didn't have a brony t-shirt of my own to wear. I was offered one for 25 bucks, upon registration, and so made sure to get one to wear to the convention.
I should note here that the ONLY reason I was able to afford to attend this convention was because of the amazing and humbling financial support I got from people buying prints of my artwork, through DrWolf, at prior conventions.
When DrWolf first offered to sell those prints on my behalf, as a thank you for my contributions to his youtube channel (“A Moment with DrWolf”), I expected he would be able to sell enough to cover the cost of printing, and perhaps raise enough money to take the edge off the expense, but that I would still have to largely foot the bill myself, if I was to go to Bronycon.
And basically that meant I did NOT expect to be able to afford to go at all.
HOWEVER, it turns out that the money that was raised in this way was indeed able to pay my way there, pretty well entirely.
So if there is anyone reading this who may have bought one of my prints (and you can see which ones in my gallery), I just want to say THANK YOU so very much for your support! Not only do I appreciate that you enjoyed my art enough to buy a physical print, but you helped to make it possible for me to experience this community to a degree I'd never expected to.
The convention itself, of course, was a load of fun. I was able to visit a variety of wonderful and interesting panels. I tended to favor panels that discussed trends in culture and media, and the impact that bronies are making by challenging cultural gender norms. There were also a number of fascinating panels discussing the finer points of humor and fanfiction-writing.
I was also able to visit the show Voice Actors panel in the main events hall, which was very funny. I guess you don't get to be a successful VA without being a very entertaining character yourself.... XD
Of course, there were a lot of adult pony fans in attendance. As you'd expect, most of these people were teenagers and young adults in their 20s to early 30s. But there were also many people I saw who were middle-aged or older. A few were even in their 50s and 60s, and at least one who was clearly in his 70s! (he was wearing a shirt that said "I can't 'adult' today") This was wonderful for me to see, because it assures me that I NEVER need to “grow up”, no matter how old I get. Anyone and everyone in any age group and find something to enjoy about this show and its creative and dynamic fandom.
There were also a lot of young kids there. Indeed, Bronycon had a policy to keep the nature of all content and interactions at the convention “PG” and kid-friendly. I really appreciated that too. Obviously, the show's official target audience is young kids, but it's surprisingly easy to forget that, since that age demographic doesn't seem to have much of a web-presence.
Additionally, I was able to meet some amazing people from the community, in person. Not the least of these was DrWolf. He was certainly also instrumental in making this trip possible for me. I remarked that he's actually a fair bit taller in real life than I expected. XD
Other people I was able to meet in person included IloveKimPossibleALot, Eliyora, VoiceofReason, ToonKritic, Joshscorcher, and Ink Rose. If you don't recognize these names, they are pretty much all Youtube personalities who participate in the community by analyzing and reviewing MLP episodes. I was able to get some pictures for posterity as well.
There were also a lot of other AMAZING cosplays. Being something of an introvert, I admit I only had the courage to request pictures with a couple cosplayers. There were many MANY more I wish I'd thought to pursue pictures with.
These were taken right after a panel, on which DrWolf sat, regarding people dealing with disabilities through MLP.
This lovely lady was, I believe, blind, or at least partially blind, and had this wonderful cosplay of Snowdrop, the blind filly pegasus, referencing the Silly Filly Studies production a while back of the same name.
The aforementioned panel on dealing with disabilities was also one of the most touching and inspiring panels I was able to attend, even though I don't personally suffer from a disability, per se. Some of the struggles being described were at least universally relatable on some level, and it was inspiring to hear how MLP has had such a positive impact on people with such real-world struggles.
There were also some amazing pony plushies floating around, like this one of Rarity. Alas, such things were WAY outside my budget this time around.
However, by the time all was said and done, I ended up with a small collection of pony memorabilia to take home with me. So it seems I have finally broken my "Pony Merch" fast. I expect this collection will only grow.
The convention ended all too soon, of course. The closing ceremonies were also an inspiring thing to attend in person, and so it was worth the LONG wait in line to get into the main events hall for it. I'm so glad I decided not to skip the closing ceremonies because of that line.
Cathy Weseluck, voice of Spike from the show, came out on stage, in the character of Spike, and pretended to sing the “Baltimore anthem”, recreating a certain infamous and awkward scene from the show. There were words said about how much she and the rest of the production crew truly appreciate this fandom, and we all left with a great sense of comraderie, and certainly a desire to do this again sometime.
Again, since I planned my flight times so poorly, I had to fly straight through the night on the way back as well, and had to wait several hours between transports and connecting flights. So, lesson learned there. XD
Now that I'm back, I am more inspired than ever to be creatively involved in this fandom. I'm still working on my time-management skills.
I have two or three projects on the go right now, consisting of a couple of commissions, as well as a rather large collaborative project that will eventually become another youtube video for IloveKimPossibleALot's channel. I also have one more “A Moment with DrWolf” video coming up, which I intend to go all out on, in terms of the production values I'm aiming for. So look forward to that.
After that, I have many many of my own ideas to pursue, which I much look forward to.
All in all, the last few weeks have been a roller coaster of anticipation, inspiration, excitement and fatigue, and I actually hope to do it again next year (if I can save up enough again).
If you've read my ramblings this far, kudos to you. Thank you all once again for your support in watching my DA gallery, and please stay tuned for more fun pony stuff.