This month has been crazy with lots of distractions both good and bad; Lots of hospital visits (Not for me thank goodness),a depression episode that knocked back art production by a week and a half, Inktober, and life in general, so this review is coming a few weeks later than anticipated.
I managed to get a convention in at the beginning of the month of October called SNAFUCon! SNAFUCon is a convention held in Sparks, Nevada at the Nugget Casino on the first weekend of October, this years convention taking place October 6th-8th (with an optional Day 0 on Thursday Oct. 5th). This show is small compared to some of the shows I usually frequent, but it’s got a lot to offer attendees and is worth the trip to visit at least once if you’ve got the opportunity to. Now onto the fun info!
While this is my first review/recap of SNAFUCon, it’s actually my 3rd time attending the convention, with living about 3 hours away from Sparks, NV going to SNAFUCon is treated like a weekend getaway, only this time instead of just me and le boyfriend, we dragged along three friends and a service dog on the adventure to Nevada! And dear god was it an adventure, both getting there and getting back home. o_o
We had decided to attend the show sort of last minute, and even more last minute my friend-in-tow Simone and I decided to contact the convention and offer up some panels if they had any holes in programming (totally not expecting to get a slot), they ended up emailing me saying they wanted both of our panels, and scheduled mine on the day we were set to arrive. Despite taking every precaution to get there an hour before my panel started, the powers that be didn’t get us there until 20 minutes after my panel had started *cries*. On the bright side, we got there safely, I was keeping in contact with the staff of the con to the best of my ability to let them know that I wasn’t flaking on them, and I managed to do my hour panel in about 30 minutes!
This show continues to impress me every year that I make the trek out there, one of my favorite aspects of the show is its programming! SNAFUCon is a 24 hour convention, which means there is ALWAYS something to do at any point, even at the wee hours of the night. Not only do they have things to do, but they have VARIETY, which is amazing since most conventions usually have an overabundance of the same panels. Not only is there the anime convention staples of character Q&A panels, cosplay how to, and guest Q&A, but they also have panels ranging from cultural imagery of fictional universes, Improv, and comedy; there is something for everyone as far as programming goes. Bonus points for this convention, is they have a good mix of adult programming, so make sure to bring your ID. Some of the more adult themed events at this show include a wide range of Hentai viewings & a Hentai comedy panels, Convention Horror Stories, and an Erotic Twinky Eating Contest.
My personal favorite programming was the Life Drawing Workshop! For those of you who have never taken a life drawing class before may not know this, but those classes are hella expensive, and for the price of admission to the convention you can get the experience of a life drawing session in a fun and relaxed environment. To my knowledge, this is the ONLY convention in the U.S.A. that has a workshop like this, so bonus points for rarity. Unlike a traditional life drawing class, this one has music and about 8+ models that start off fully clothed, but at the end of each 10 minute session, remove articles of clothing until they are fully nude. Each model has a unique body type (the first year I went they had a transgender model, never had someone who had gone through reassignment surgery as a model before!), costumes, and are super nice to talk to while drawing. What I love about this so much (besides the extra drawing practice) is how relaxed the room is, even if you’re uncomfortable with naked people, the atmosphere is so chill It’s easy to not get too overwhelmed. Nothing says fun like drawing naked models as everyone in the room belts out the lyrics to “I’ll Make A Man Out Of You”. If you’re an artist looking for practice and are able to go to this convention, this panel has to be on your list (it’s a late panel though, so take a nap before going)
Along side the amazing amount of programming, the convention also has awesome staff, every staff person I interacted with at this show was super nice and personable, never once did me or my friends feel uncomfortable, heck we even spent an unintended hour and a half chatting with some staff until 3am! Even the convention crowd was cool, we had a disabled attendee in our group who relies on a service dog, and most people were respectful of our friend and her working dog. Bonus points on this, my friend said she has never felt more welcomed at a convention than she did at SNAFUCON as far as accessibility for her and her dog, and she can’t wait to go back next year and bring some of her friends <3
Despite this conventions tiny size this con has a lot of heart and soul that makes it unique and worth a visit.
Now we get to the part of the recap where I gotta talk about stuff I wasn’t too impressed with.
SNAFUCon has a Dealers Room, however it’s really dinky. Like, 15 vendors dinky. The Artist Alley was about twice the size of the Dealers Room, so this may be both a positive and a negative depending on your view.
Badge pick up was a little cumbersome, despite pre-ordering badges, when I got there and inquired about pick up, it took about 20 minutes for them to get all of our badges and bags ready for us, as each badge was handwritten and laminated RIGHT THERE. I got there in a hurry so the added wait time stressed me out, but the staff was super nice about everything. Come to find out a day later, our badges weren’t “officiated” since they needed to have a foil sticker placed on the badge, and only 3 of our 5 badges got officiated and no one really noticed. I think this process could be sped up through having all the badges pre-printed and sorted in alphabetical order (if a group order, by the group leaders name).
This might just be nit picky on my part, but in the interest of filling up space and being critical, one of the unimpressive aspects of SNAFUCon, that has continued to remain the same for the past few years I’ve gone to this show, is the guest list. The convention has a habit of inviting the same few guests to the show every year, with maybe 1 or 2 new guests they’ve not had before; speaking honestly, the guest list doesn’t really peak my interest. I would love to see SNAFUCon expand their guest list with some more guests, maybe even throw in a few more artists, I really enjoyed getting to meet and talk with Faina Lorah, who was an oil painter that was a guest last year.
Despite SNAFUCon’s amazing programming, getting to the panel area is a little difficult if you haven’t been there before. I feel if the convention took over the entire 2nd floor of the casino hotel, it would add more venue space as well as make it a little less difficult to find the panels room on the 3rd floor of the East tower.
This more of a jab at the Nugget Casino more than SNAFUCon. The Nugget Casino is old, it’s one of the first casinos to be built in Sparks, NV, and went into renovation sometime last year to update the facility, sooooo it should be natural that we find some broken stuff here and there. There was one elevator that would refuse to work properly, causing us to avoid that particular elevator for the remainder of the weekend due to fear we’d get stuck in it <again>. Simone almost fell down some stairs because the railing she was balancing on came loose, but because of her Service dog keeping her balanced, the fall was avoided (but her arm was hurting from the endeavor), and the casino maintenance did a temporary fix to the rail with gorilla tape. And then on the last day of the show while getting ready to leave we got to see the roof leaking water ._.
I would be doing everyone a disservice if I did not mention the Fire Alarm incident that took place at this show, and I guess it would count as a negative, so here we go!
So around 3am Saturday morning of the convention, some jerk decided it’d be funny as hell to pull the casino fire alarm, so we got jolted awake by a loud alarm telling us to evacuate the hotel and go outside. Our entire room scrambled to get dressed enough to evacuate, some of us grabbed “essentials” we didn’t want left in the room in case there was an actual fire ( I grabbed my laptop bag, ID, and car keys), and we made our way out. Lucky for us we were on the 3rd floor, so we didn’t have too far to go to get out (I feel for anyone who may have been at the top floors and had to evacuate down the stairs), and we huddled for warmth out in 40 degree weather. We were allowed back in after about 20 minutes, and we had heard a few rumors about what had led to the fire alarm being pulled, but nothing conclusive. This is the second convention I’ve gone to this year where the fire alarm went off, so maybe it’s a 2017 thing?
Despite the few negatives, I recommend this show to anyone looking for a laid back convention. The added bonus of cheap hotel and tickets make it a great getaway for anyone looking to go to a show but don’t want to spend too much money.
Until next time!
Melissa M ♥
Want me to appear at a convention near you? Contact your local show and send them to my Guest Page!