June 8, 2012

Upcoming Convention: JAFAX

I've got some updates for you, but I really wanted to post SOMETHING here, right? Need to keep my schedule.

So I figure I'll talk about my next upcoming convention: JAFAX!

This was the only official logo I could find...

JAFAX actually stands for Japanese Animation, Film and Art eXpo

(capitalization for those who aren't sure where the X comes from - I'd like to say it's cause it's XTREEEEEEME but that's the 90's kid in me talking).

It's a "sort of" convention (they prefer the term Expo, but we all call it a convention), that takes place at Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan. Organized by the University Club "Otaku no Anime", it's a FREE event that happens one weekend in June - usually around Father's Day somewhere.

They have Screening Rooms, Panels, a Vendor Hall, Artist's Alley, Videogame Rooms, and of course, COSPLAY EVENTS (I was actually the coordinator for the Cosplay Events for the past 3 years. I have since passed it on due to busy-ness IRL).

This is where the lines are in the morning. Note the NEW entrance.
It changed like 3 years ago, but some people might still forget.

Since the event is put on by a campus group, the fee to get in is...FREE! (or standing in a really long line Saturday morning, if you wanna get picky about stuff like 'time cost').

The only real bummer I can figure out about JAFAX lately is that it's only 2 days. There's so much going on, and that could go on, they could extend it to 3 days. Problem is getting the buildings to open up to them a day earlier than they already do. I think there's classes or something to that flavor that prevents it.

This convention sort of holds a special place for me and for Crash Bang Labs, as it was the very first "convention" I did Artist's Alley at.

These were like the only pictures I had
of my own table... I've come quite a long way.

I've been doing it ever since.

It's also the very first place I got started in cosplay at conventions.

I've also been doing THAT ever since. (Heck I ran the Masq there).

General Analysis / Evaluation:

  • Attendance seems to run between 1500 to 2000 (at least that's my general estimate).

  • Demographic of Attendees seem to be younger than other conventions (probably because it's free and near a large suburban population of middle schools / high schools).

  • Prop rules are lax, yet restrictive - no real "size" limitation due to a lot of outside areas, but since it's a college campus things like gun props are scrutinized beyond normal convention specs.

  • It's a great Starter Convention - there's not a lot to lose by going to something that's FREE.

And you never know what will happen!

  • Weather will be HOT. Plan for rain. - don't make costumes that melt in water.

  • Dealer Hall will be crowded and HOT. If you have major claustrophobia / crowd issues. Do NOT head into the Dealer Hall immediately. Go visit the Alley instead. Also, watch your props in the dealer hall. The herd will NOT see your giant prop.

  • Spend time around other parts of campus - especially if you want pics of your costumes. There are some really nice areas (arboretum for the win), and sometimes it's great to get away for a little bit of quiet.

  • For Artists:

    • Alley has gone from free, to pay for tables. (Nature of the beast I suppose)

    • Demographic tends to have less cash/willing to spend money, so if you have very expensive items, chances are likely you're gonna have a difficult time selling.

    • Great for beginning artists - there's not as many "picky / refined" buyers. I know it sounds bad, but it's not like you've got art collectors walking around like at major comic conventions. 

    • Good Alley Cameraderie - I've never had any bad experiences from other booths when I was there. They're all really nice people who vend.

    • OVERALL: Good for beginners, and smaller priced items.

If anybody has any questions about JAFAX, you can either check out their website www.jafax.org, or you can always post a question here. 

I'll be there giving a couple of panels, and generally derping it up! 

P.S. I've been going since 2001. So that's what... 12 years counting this year's show. Which means... I've been doing the Alley since... 2002... so I've been doing alleys for over 10 years now... OH GAWD I FEEL OLD.

P.P.S. This is also the convention where I learned first hand the intelligence of testing costumes ahead of time, and NOT USING CLEAR ELASTIC. IT DISSOLVES IN SWEAT.

Back in the day, we didn't have places
like Arda wigs and had to use
Halloween-store wigs. OH YES.

I of course, learned this on stage - I can totally post about it if people REALLY want. :P It's kind of legendary now...


  1. Amazingly enough I have not heard about the clear elastic debacle. So, believe it or not, I am interested in hearing about it.
    Yes Jafax holds a place in most peoples hearts... it is anime-camp.

    1. Oh snap! I will totally work on getting a good write up for that. It was soooo embarassing when it first happened, but now... now I use it as an example for future cosplayers in what to and what not to do. :)

  2. I know the story, and I'd still love to read the write-up, just to re-live the experience. *cackle* XD