April 10, 2005

Adventures at Ad-Astra

Yesterday I went to Ad-Astra, a long running sci-fi and fantasy convention in Toronto. I had never been to this particular convention before, and normally I wouldn’t really go to a show like this, there were some special circumstances here. I got to hang out with some good friends who I don’t get to see very much, and I was also arranged to be given the distinction of helping out at the convention as a Stage Ninja for the Masquerade. Unfortunately I was stupid and forgot my camera at home, so that means no full report. If I get some pictures from the other folks, I’ll post them on the message board, but until then you’ll have to accept this scan of my convention badge as proof that I went to this convention and had a good time.

Ad Astra Badge

This was a smaller-scale convention than the ones I usually attend. There wasn’t a lot to buy that I was interested in. I did find some cool ninja-related pins though. The other Stage Ninjas bought some too for the occasion, but for me they will be day to day wear. I also bought these two Godzilla comics. Check out the one with all the blood! That’s so awesome.

Godzilla comicsGodzilla comics

As a Stage Ninja, I helped to set up and tear down elements of the stage. During the masquerade itself, my job, being a tall ninja and not a small ninja, was to be a “catcher“, essentially staying in front of the stage and catching anyone who accidentally took a spill over the edge (which was probably not even a foot off the ground, but whatever). Thankfully, nothing like that ever happened. But it was really cool to be so close to the action. If I had a chair, I’d have had one of the best seats in the house!

It was a fun masquerade. Pretty short when compared to the Anime North and National Expo Masquerades, but from what I understand there had been a dwindling interest in costuming at this convention over the years, but the people involved went out of their way to make costuming a bigger part of the convention this year, and so we surpassed our targeted number of masquerade entires by a wide margin. Way to go!

There were some amazing costumes, but I think that everyone’s favorite entry, by far, was the first entry in the juniors division. It was this tiny little boy, who couldn’t be much older than 3 years old, dressed as Neo from The Matrix. He got up stage and enthusiastically started doing kung-fu poses, having the absolute time of his life. Adorable.

Of course, the other duty of the Stage Ninja is, when a problem with the audio seems like it will delay the masquerade for awhile, the MC makes the call for “Ninja Dance!“. All the ninjas go up on stage and dance and act silly for the audience. Well there was a technical difficulty towards the end, and so I certainly did bust a move. There’s probably video of that somewhere.

Other than that, the day was mostly spent hanging around chatting with my friends, eating instant noodles, and helping people out when I was called upon. A great day, all in all, and I needed that. I’m glad I was there. The people want to get the same crew of ninjas together next year, so it looks like I’ll probably be going back again.



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