OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Tips for attending a convention

0
517
James Fujita.jpg

Americans love comic books and they also love animation.

For proof, just look at U.S. box office numbers.  Collectively as a nation, we’ve been going to see a lot of “Deadpool,” “Captain America” and “Batman v Superman” as well as “Finding Dory” and “Zootopia.”

Americans love comic books and they also love animation.

For proof, just look at U.S. box office numbers.  Collectively as a nation, we’ve been going to see a lot of “Deadpool,” “Captain America” and “Batman v Superman” as well as “Finding Dory” and “Zootopia.”

Or, consider the growing popularity of pop culture conventions. I spent part of my Fourth of July weekend at Anime Expo in downtown Los Angeles — and the convention center was packed. There were pedestrian traffic jams in places, and it was hard to get around without stepping into somebody’s cosplay photo.

Still, if you can stand a crowd, there is a lot to see and do at a convention — from video screenings to autograph sessions to shopping to taking photos. Going to a convention can be a lot of fun, but it does take a little preparation:

When you first arrive, be prepared for a possible wait. WonderCon in March didn’t have a huge line, but WonderCon was also smaller than Anime Expo. The line this year at Anime Expo snaked from Pico down to Venice and around the corner.  Luckily, they provided tents for shade, but the line is one reason why it is always a good idea to bring bottled water to any convention.

When you feel you need more than a refreshing slug of water, don’t eat at the convention center.  Convention center food has earned a reputation similar to that of airport food — it is frequently expensive and not worth the wait in line.

When I go to an event at the Los Angeles Convention Center, I often find myself eating in Little Tokyo in the evening.  Anime Expo has clearly been a huge boon for the Little Tokyo neighborhood, and I saw a lot of cosplayers wandering around Japanese Village Plaza and Weller Plaza.

Of course, eating in Little Tokyo does require getting to Little Tokyo.  Luckily, downtown Los Angeles is the crossroads of Southern California’s growing transit network.

At the moment, getting from the Los Angeles Convention Center to Little Tokyo by rail means getting onto the Blue Line (or Expo Line) at Pico, transferring to the Red Line (or Purple Line) at 7th/ Metro and transferring to the Gold Line to East Los Angeles at Union Station — it’s not as hard as it sounds, and you can always follow other convention people who are probably doing the same thing.  You can also get off at the Civic Center Red Line Station and walk from there, but the Gold Line’s Little Tokyo Station is more centrally located.

In a couple of years, the Regional Connector will eliminate all of the transfers and turn LACC to Little Tokyo into a one-seat ride.

People do seem to enjoy conventions — you can tell by how friendly and helpful people generally are.  There is a lot of bumping into other people going on, a lot of accidental walking into photos and a lot of lines for autographs or for special events — and yet, I hear a lot of “sorry about that” and other polite language.

All in all, Anime Expo was worth the effort, and I would gladly go again.

James Fujita is a former GVN news editor. He works for the Visalia Times-Delta in California’s Central Valley. Fujita can be contacted at jim61773@yahoo.com

OUT OF LEFT FIELD: Tips for attending a convention