So this was my 9th DragonCon and the 7th year as a volunteer. Boy have I learned a lot. From learning to pack my own food for at least two days because I won’t make it out of the track room or hotel on Friday and Saturday night to being content with staying on my track the whole conference because attempting to get to another track is just out of the question…besides, I like my track. The only reason I started going to DragonCon was for the Silk Road and now I get to help organize it. It’s an honour.
My review will be super short because, again, I didn’t leave the track room. I didn’t even get to see the Silk Road Expo this year. I was looking after the origami class. Not complaining, I just don’t have notes to share on the amazing performers. I heard it was excellent. Kira did her Elvis set with a drum solo and the finale was a Turkish Karsilama from Phoenecia and Lacy Sanchez from Florida…the cool girl that used to perform at TribalCon with those really dynamic groups. They wore MissBellydance’s famous 25 yard skirt “Melih du Chant.” It’s one of their best-selling skirts and I have no idea how much longer that fabric will be available so if you haven’t gotten one you may want to grab it before they are all gone. The team literally travelled the world and bought fabric from various nations. I think they were in China when they bought that in Guongzhou province and then took it back to Turkiye where it was made by their steamstress team. From there it was shipped to the states for distribution to dance communities all over. It’s an incredible costume and huge thanks to all who have purchased one. They are one of a kind.
This year I made sure to post a photo of just about everything that was presented. They are inside the “Silk Road Track” at Dragoncon Facebook page. Each panel was very informative and well presented. I must say I enjoyed the Bento presentation including learning that Natakiya’s child has transitioned. That’s lovely! The Korean Fashion demo was great as well. We learned so much about the history of clothing including how to put it on, where to wear it and much more. The tea panel was incredible. Despite Ayla being ill she was able to go over so much including intricate details about tea and the tea ceremonies.
Origami was quite organized this year meaning the people came in and sat down in an orderly fashion, the room filled up and there was still order and peace. It didn’t get out of hand, but the room was full and at times we had to ask the remainder of the line to stay outside. I agree that this is an incredible art form. However, it still baffles me that people line up for over an hour in advance to sit down and learn to fold paper. It’s mindblowing, but thanks to all who do it and wait for it. I read in the DragonCon official group that several were upset that we didn’t host adult origami this year. That panel is very hard to conduct with only 7 volunteers. It’s just chaotic in my opinion. It needs more assistance than what is available at the con.
JFashion panels had a refresh. There was also a comment that people missed the Lolita panels. We did men’s fashion this year and while it was fairly attended, it was new for some. People forget that guys do this fashion as well and so we had Jason from Blackbird Finery lead some discussions and how to on men’s attire and history. If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey and the Victorian Era clothing, you’ll appreciate his presentations. I enjoyed them and learned a lot. But I’m a couture nerd like that. I scan outfits looking for those nuances and details that tell me the person did their research.
Jason Lane was hilarious as always and gave some great presentations on wrestling in Japan. He’s a highlight of our track. You don’t want to miss his material. If you’re into Japanese media from Godzilla to Wrestling, you’ll be following Jason Lane everywhere he goes. He’s got the good stuff. Look him up. Thomas is good too. He has a great end of the road panel every year with prizes and more. You gotta have Thomas send everyone home in the right mind and he does that!
Next year I’d like to see a Fashion Show for the Japanese Street fashion portion of the track. I know people want more of that but we don’t currently have people that are dedicated to presenting it. I can ask the members of Yoyogi Fashion Club to take over and do it but they may not want to…I’ll see. Thoughts are in progress for the event and if we do continue I’ll be taking on a more active role administratively to relieve Kira of the excessive amounts of admin work that must be turned in and completed, sometimes at the last minute because we don’t find out until two days before it’s due. It’s a lot to keep up with and there is a joy in it but there’s a bigger need for support it seems and I’m going to look into that.
Thanks to all who came to the shows, panels and interacted. Remember to leave your feedback on the app if it’s still available and rate everything you attend. The feedback is vital to that panel’s survival! Cheers!