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Yes, it is Worldcon time again, this time with Chicon 7, the 70th annual World Science Fiction Convention. It started on Thursday, august 30th, and runs through the holiday weekend, with an incredible line up of guests and events. One of the most important events each year is the presentation of the Hugo Awards, which has John Scalzi as Host and Toastmaster, and will be held at 8PM CDT tomorrow, September 7th. If like me you can’t be there physically, you can actually watch it Live on the Worldcon UStream channel as well as on the Hugo Awards CoveritLive page. You can go to the Worldcon UStream page now and watch last years Chelsea Awards, Hugo Awards, and a quite amusing presentation of Just A Minute that had me laughing up a storm. If I had a vote of what program out of this years offerings should also be sent out live or included as a recorded online video it would have to be the Filk Opera version of Tanya Huff’s Choice of Ending.

This weekend is Otakon, the by fans, for fans convention covering Manga, Anime, and all things Asian pop culture like. It takes place at the Baltimore Convention Center and the surrounding Baltimore Inner Harbor from July 29th through the 31st. Their schedule is huge, and for the last handful of years they have sold out the convention center, which is a lot of people. They generally try to hold back a block of tickets for same day walk up sales, but you have to be there awfully early in the morning to get them. One of the movies scheduled to be screened this year is Bunraku, currently on the film festival circuit and looking quite tasty, as you can tell from the trailer. The unscheduled Otakon event that got the most YouTube coverage last year had to be the fire drill, when 30,000 Otaku were all on the streets of Baltimore at once.

For all those Neko moments, this is the unbeatable apparel accessory; brainwave powered cat ears by NeuroWear. The first video is their commercial, the second is various people at a Con trying them out and getting them to react. Two details immediately spring to mind while watching these, the first being that in the tryouts, everyone has a sensor smack in the middle of their foreheads while in the commercial it is in the models hair and a lot less obvious. I have to wonder whether that is a design improvement they have made or just another case of inflated advertising promises. The other interesting detail is that some wearers in the tryouts were able to simply control them on their own, while others needed artificial stimulation to generate a specific reaction in the form of an aromatic in a small blue jar. This would lead one to believe that the different ear action patterns are caused by calling up specific types of brain activity, which should give method actors instant mastery. I expect we will be seeing a lot of these among the Cosplay addicted over the next year, and I am sure the Furry’s will be adapting them for many other species. New toys!

This Saturday, April 2nd, the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C. will be doing the Ninth Annual National Cherry Blossom Festival Anime Marathon. As usual Otakorp (the folks who bring you Otakon each year) are co-sponsors for the event, and the D.C. Anime Club will be helping to host it, also as usual. This year’s presentation includes a special remembrance of Satoshi Kon and his amazing body of work, which include Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers, and Perfect Blue, and they will be showing his award-winning Paprika on the big screen. If you have only seen this on a TV before, now is your chance to see it the way it was meant to be viewed. The day starts out with the Hayao Miyazaki classic masterpiece Kiki’s Delivery Service for children of all ages. They will also be running a few titles from Makoto Shinkai, his excellent The Place Promised in Our Early Days and a preview of his new work, Hoshi o Ou Kodomo or Children who Chase Lost Voices. The theater is very nice and the price is free, but you want to get there early before the tickets are all gone. I can also recommend the non-film portions, like the Cosplay Competition and the reading and book signing with Roland Kelts, who will also be doing the presentation about Satoshi Kon. Hope to see you there!

Doing the first Cosplay video montages (a fancy word for slide shows) brought back so many memories for me the other week, I figured I had to do it again. Cosplay is a way to express yourself you usually can not do without risking psychiatric ward time; thank ghod for Cons!