After three years of missing it, I finally made it to Con.ect this year! Con.ect is PE’s first convention celebrating all things geek, and since it started in 2014 it’s been a huge attraction for cosplayers, fans of anime, and gamers in all forms. With plenty of stalls selling geek-related merch, a cosplay parade and competition, both tabletop and electronic gaming, and martial arts and parkour demonstrations, there was something for everyone, from the casual Harry Potter fan, to someone who lives and breathes World of Warcraft.
I was actually working at the Exclusive Books stand all day on Saturday, so I didn’t have a huge amount of mobility, but I still managed to get pictures of a few amazing exhibitors. As I took pictures, I tried to pick up business cards, but I seem to have misplaced some of them, so if you see pictures of any of your stock in this post (or you know who it belongs to) please let me know so I can credit you and link to you! You know I’m big on supporting small and local, so next time you want a new t-shirt or a magic wand, here are some places to find them:
I’ve seen Cult•POP around at a few markets, and I always fall in love with their designs. Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Carrie, and Stranger Things inspired designs are sure to make film and comic buffs smile. If you’re more into celebrity culture, there are a host of Kardashian-themed shirts, or a great one featuring our very own president…
The stunning drawings on offer here blew me away. In addition to having prints for sale, he was working on pieces over the course of the day, which I thought added a nice touch.
You can see some of his drawings on his Instagram, and DM him to arrange orders.
PE School of Aikido
Okay, so not technically a stall, or a product you can buy, but the PE School of Aikido were one of the groups doing martial arts demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday. My manager and his wife were involved (sparring in the top picture), so Alan got some shots of them (he took a LOT, so if you’d like to see more, I’m sure he’d be happy to let me use his photos in another post). I’ve never watched an Aikido demonstration, but it’s a very graceful practice, and despite the baking sun, I really enjoyed it.
For more information, you can head to their website.
Port Elizabeth Museum
I haven’t visited in a while, but the Port Elizabeth Museum holds such a special place in my heart. I mean, IT HAS DINOSAURS. THAT MOVE. AND ROAR. Okay, be cool, be cool. Aside from the awe-inspiring dinosaurs, the museum also has maritime history, period clothing, a Xhosa beadwork exhibit and – my personal favourite – a curiosity corner, as well as temporary exhibits. For reals though, even just the dinosaurs are enough to make the R45 entrance fee worth it. Did I mention they move and roar?
For more information, visit their website.
Accidental Asylum have some of the coolest products I’ve ever seen. Even though I’m not entirely sure what some are inspired by. I’m guessing their figurines are original designs, or tributes to video games I don’t know? Either way, the attention to detail is amazing enough that I still want everything. In addition to their sculptures, they do props, costumes, illustrations and concept design.
For more information, you can find them on Facebook.
Big thank you to Saiyuki Kashuri for helping me out with the following two stall names!
How adorable are these plushies? A Harley Quinn cosplayer walked away with a Mr J doll, and I had my eye on their little Koro Sensei plushie, from Assassination Classroom – they made his funny tentacles look so cute!
For more information, you can find them on Facebook.
Spirited Away plushies are everything I never knew I needed. That goes double for the little Deadpool poking his head into the side of the picture.
You can find Kuroneko Crafts on Facebook.
Con.ect also had some other great local businesses like Inks M.D, Allure Handmade, and Artifactory. Check out my post on Confuze for more information on them!
In addition to all the cool things for sale, there were Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer 4000 games being played throughout the day. You could also take part in a 24 hour LAN session. The cosplay masquerade was the highlight of Saturday for me. Keep an eye out for a post with all my favourite outfits! Overall, Con.ect was a great experience, and I’m really keen for next year. The organisers did a fantastic job, and I’m excited to see how it continues to grow. Hopefully next year I’ll be working the event again, but with a Velvet Library stall instead! I’m already thinking about cosplay ideas too…
I think the biggest misconception about events like this is that you have to be an uber-geek to enjoy yourself. Or worse, that “real geeks” will judge you for not knowing enough. People think they won’t be accepted unless they can name every superhero off the cuff, recognise which edition of a manga a cosplayers outfit comes from, and know the rules of every board game ever. But people really aren’t going to judge you for not being an anime or D&D buff. The truth is, geekdom is probably one of the most inviting subcultures. They’re just excited to express their passions. If they meet people who relate to that, great! They’ve made a new friend. If they meet people who know nothing about their favourite series, they’re excited to have the opportunity to educate them on it. And they’ve still made a new friend.
(Fair warning, if you purport to know everything about a superhero/manga/game after watching/reading/playing one installment, people probably WILL judge you. Just be open about the fact that you’re still learning, and they’ll be excited with you.)
I consider myself a geek, but I know next to nothing about gaming, and very little about anime or manga. But since becoming friends with people who likes those things (and do not at all judge my noob status) I’m slowly learning, because they’re excited to introduce people to the things they love! So whether you can recite the stats off every Pokemon card, or you just think Pikachu is super cute, head to Con.ect next year, and do exactly what the name tells you to.
If you liked this post, you might enjoy CONFUZE FAIR AND MY NEW FAVOURITE SMALL AND LOCAL BUSINESSES and VEGAN BLISS AT RHUBARB AND LIME.