Thursday, October 24, 2019

twenty five years of anime weekend atlanta

25 years of AWA? That CAN'T be right. Fact is, when a bunch of Atlanta anime nerds got together in 1994 and said "let's put on a show," we figured we'd get maybe a hundred attendees, we'd show some anime and sell each other some junk and look at each other's costumes, and maybe we wouldn't lose too much money. Then we could tell each other that we'd done it, and then we could go on about our business.  

AWA 1995 cosplay contest (photo: Lloyd Carter)

As it turned out, more than 300 badge-purchasing fans showed up. We did show lots of anime, lots of merch got moved, lots of costumers turned up, and the convention actually wound in the black. Year One wasn't even cold and we were already making plans for next year.

AWA 1995 vendor table

Twenty five years later, the convention has moved six or seven times, has grown exponentially right along with the popularity of Japanese animation, is held in world class convention facilities using state of the art AV equipment, and yet, still retains some of that "let's put on a show" attitude. It's still staffed by a crew of volunteers - some 25 year veterans among them - and everybody's looking forward to dropping their regular life for a few days and immersing themselves in the anime con world. 

I'm one of those 25 year lifers, and even though the out-of-body-panic of the early years has faded to a dull roar, I still get a kick out of presenting panels and screening goofy shorts, and I hope I always will. 

Here's what I'm up to this year: 

Thursday night the SuperHappyFunSell is in full effect, in a new venue but still jam packed with pre-loved bargains from the closets and crawlspaces and storage units of the Southeast's most troubled anime hoarders. Bring cash!

Three separate panels on three separate days celebrate twenty five years of Anime Weekend Atlanta! I'm gonna be on at least one of these!

Friday night Anime Hell is back for two hours of tasty short form Japanese animation or Japanese or animation or whatever seems to make people laugh. Guaranteed to confuse!

Followed as always by the anime parody dub showcase Midnight Madness! 

Saturday at 4 the Mister Kitty team of Shaindle Minuk and Dave Merrill will be showing you seventy years worth of terrible comics badness. Free comics for all while they last, too!

Totally Lame Anime's moved to a new time and a new place, Saturday afternoon in the Grand Panel in the Waverly! Still a big dumpster fire though! 

And on Sunday at 2 we'll be going back fifty years to groove on the fantasmagorical freak-out happenings happening in the Japanese animation of 1969! Can you dig it? 

-Dave M