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About alabaster

  • Rank
    Grand Vizier
  • Birthday 07/10/1970

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  • Location
    Columbia, MD
  • Interests
    anime, duh.

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  1. We had twice the number of vendors this year as we had last….. and as a rule it’s first come first serve.
  2. industry consolidation is the main culprit. That and the pandemic basically wiping out the convention teams means industry is still rebuilding. We are in the odd position of having very strong connections in Japan, which sometime makes it easier to get permission from the studio than the distributors.
  3. No problem! Like I said, it could be one of a few things. We gobbled up pretty much all the available interpreters this year, including a few who'd been out of the scene for a while. One of our other panel interps is Toshi Yoshida, who is also a longtime industry pro; along with his wife Trish, they've been fixtures for decades and worked for Viz and Pokemon for most of their careers. They used to do a panel on the perils of translation and interpretation that talked about how difficult it is to translate and adapt jokes, idiomatic expressions, puns, and jargon. Another challe
  4. We had a new contractor for A/V this year. There were some growing pains that I feel reasonably certain will be addressed. I've already passed along my own annoyance at certain setup issues. In specific, putting screens behind the panel tables needs to stop, and we never had enough working mics. But they had an adapter -- it just decided to conk out. I had the same exact adapter and sometime earlier this year it started getting dodgy with me too. If I hadn't had my own spare USB-C dongle, the BASTARD mature anime panel would have been a mess. Typically, we arrive and do a pre
  5. These were both panels where I was MC, so I'll give a little insight. For Ikezawa: Typically, I'm able to meet with the people on the J-guest panels I do, and we both go over the scripted parts and talk about how things will go. Unfortunately, they arrived a bit late because of weather and I had to deal with a last minute thing, and we got interrupted a few times, so I didn't know she was going to put me on the spot quite so much; I'd have prepared differently if I had. We've chatted since, and I'll pass along your feedback; I think having some deliberately chosen SF for the west woul
  6. Watanabe's a friend of mine (and a former Otakon interpreter of very high quality!), so hearing that his event had issues on that front is disappointing. I'll make sure to relay this feedback, but I suspect it has already been passed along appropriately. Both our Japanese Dept head and I were at Watanabe's wedding and we've all known each other long enough that we're comfortable giving frank assessments of things to each other. FYI: Otakon has basically two levels of interpreter: one for panels, and one for escorts. Panels interpreters typically possess high competence in Japanese and
  7. There is, unfortunately, a long tradition of people claiming not to have inappropriate content, and then springing stuff on us at the last minute. Some have even gone on to brag about trolling us. If you felt like the suspicion was a little higher than seems immediately warranted, I'm afraid you have prior bad actors to thank for that. We are an all-ages event, and we carve out plenty of space for 18+ stuff, but that means we have to be careful about what we put pre-threshold.
  8. Some of those reschedules may have been due to the disastrous weather. Flights were canceled and rescheduled, and a few guests got sick right at the last minute. Behind the scenes, the renovations at the Renaissance also had an impact on our ability to roll with the punches. (At one point our staff had been waiting nearly two hours to get food delivered, and nearly 35 minutes waiting for an available elevator!) Because our arrival schedule was a mess due to weather, and because so many other minor things cascaded (including wonky delivery of texts), communication was delayed or missed or got
  9. Quick responses, with the caveat that I'm no longer in charge of any part of these -- just replying with some experience under my belt. Why is feedback so late? I know that as someone who has been there on stage for probably a dozen of them, Con Feedback is and always has been the last thing we do; it follows closing ceremonies and probably always will. One reason is that key staff have a TON to do and consistent scheduling is the only thing that really makes it manageable for some folks to attend. There's always a sunday concert and other major events happening up until th
  10. You’re right in that Japanese guests in particular depend on relationships. And these days we continue to reap benefits of lots of outreach and friendships made over the last few decades. I am happy that my successors continue to build on those, and make new ones. But that is true of US based guests too — agents become much easier to deal with when the guests really want to come. I feel very privileged in the friends I’ve made, both on behalf of the con, and personally. And I help out where I can with connections and back door invites. This year we got particularly and unexpectedl
  11. Typically this gets updated a few weeks or so post con, because it takes time to reconcile all the various systems, people who upgraded memberships, etc. it’s usually @MattTheMinion who does this, I think.. Most of us older staffers are still recovering!
  12. Hey guys, I am sorry I haven’t been around. I apologize for neglecting my duties here. I joke that I am semi-retired after 20+ years on staff (my first year on staff was when Cousin Sue was chair!), but that mostly means that I am not involved at the leadership level. There are a few reasons. First, the organization needs a steady influx of new blood, and I was deeply involved for more than a decade between the board and various convention roles. I was Chair and president over 15 years ago now, and stopped heading GR before we left Baltimore, though I never stopped being involved
  13. Scored one from a friend who camps on the sites hoping.
  14. Didn't you make it to Vegas? Or maybe I ran into you in Panel Ops or something? Honestly, I've met so many folks over the years who knew me from being on stage or from here, the data is often left untagged in the hard drive of my brain. Especially because at con I'm so exhausted....
  15. I remember that! I miss going to NYCC and variations thereof. Nice to have fun at a con with. none of the work. I've run into quite a few of you here and there over the years.
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