Empress and Her City: Blerdcon 2019
There is so much to talk about with my experience of Blerdcon this year. Unlike last year, where I only attended for one day, this time I was there for the full weekend. That's right, an entire con weekend that I'm condensing into one blog post. If you're interested in seeing the recap from DC Kawaii Style, please refer to this link. You can compare my experience of Blerdcon to last year by reading here.
WHAT IS BLERDCON
"Blerdcon is an event that highlights and celebrates Blerd culture and creates a marketplace of ideas where sharing that culture can take place with proper context, attribution and positivity in an inclusive environment.
Blerdcon is derived from the term "Blerd" which is short for black nerd. Blerd culture encompasses creatives, fans, producers who are and have been contributing to every fandom, but don't get the recognition or notoriety.
Blerdcon celebrates our connection with LGBTQ, the disabled, POCs and the international community! All are welcome to partake in the experience as we are an open community who love all the same nerddom. " - Blerdcon
A Blerdcon Memo:
I'm touchy about community inclusion, especially as someone who frequently finds themselves at some form of intersection within identity. Blerdcon markets towards the Black Community and in some cases, this is what draws in many people. I was hoping to see some changes in how Blerdcon was structured in its third year. I can say they did make some changes. This year I saw a physical program, although it ran out rather quickly. There were incredible panels and diverse content in programming. The Jfashion show run by Sweet Bitz and DC Kawaii Style is a particular game-changer. In convention spaces, there is a lack of room for those who want to dress in Jfashion styles, which is surprising for an area free of judgment. It makes sense that conventions are a great space to navigate and test Style. However, perhaps this falls in line with diminishment towards alternative Black people and what is recommended as appropriately niche for Black people. One of the best aspects of Blerdcon this year was the Jfashion show and the colorful presence of alternative Blerds. WORST part of Blerdcon were the Hotel people cutting back on AC all weekend and taking elevators to the third floor for panels. I wasn’t even staying in that hotel but yet I was vexed.
Read about Cosplay at Blerdcon by Luke Plunkett
The Panels but Jadedisland Panels
I'm spoiled only in a sense I get an early idea of what panels I will attend because of DC Kawaii Style. My kawaii community of intellectual fashion misfits releases information about which members are running panels well in advance. This grants me, and other members a chance to not only support our community members but see the content we are invested in. This time around I was 3 panels. Two assisting my community and one run by me. I did attend some panels that were not community run but still of interest.
So Goth We Were Born Black [18+]
How to Survive as a Plus Sized Lolita
Why Am I Crash Bandicoot Orange?? Troubleshooting Make-up for J-Fashion While Black
Do it for The Culture: Intro to Afro Kawaii
Spoken Nerd: Where Poetry and Fandom Meet
My panel on "Black Femmes and Creative Writing" blew me out the water. I was nervous planning for the panel, and to see such a big turn out shocked me. The Blerdcon staff member told me I had over 60 people cramped in my room. Even now, I'm in shock that my panel was successful in this manner. We had such a passionate conversation on an aspect of writing that made me feel encouraged to panel again.
Meeting my Art Heros at Blerdcon:
OKAY enough about the nerdy program can we talk about how amazing it is to see your friends at Blerdcon and then also MEET your heroes. This year I got to reconnect with a friend I met in 2018 at Blerdcon. Kelsey and I had a hoot and were able to grab dinner at a local Chinese restaurant in the area Friday night. I made sure to behave and ordered food I was able to eat. Still, my heart was filled with much love to see my friend again and spend time with them. I kept bothering Kelsey's table at Artist Alley every second I was near it. ANOTHER hero that I was fortunate enough to connect with was Middnite Designs. The artistic talent behind the covers of my web series. I was delighted and unbelievably stoked to see my friend and see her tabling. I know both of these artists will get far, and definitely are the people I am a RIDE or DIE for.
KAWAII BOSS SQUAD
I got to spend most of my Blerdcon Weekend with Ren/Fairy and her partner. I loved every second of hanging with my friend and fairy inspiration. Her style reminds me that gentle kawaii can often be the most fierce.
Did I mention I got to meet COLA and NYMPH the jfashionistas I aspire to be like in person?! I was freaking out because WOAH, my Kawaii heroes were physically in front of me, and also just really lovely. Honestly, the Jfashion show had all the people I want to interact with in alternative spaces. I was able to get professional-grade makeup done for the show from WeLoveTeeTee. DID YOU SEE ME?! I had pink eyebrows and was fully living for my yamikawaii bittersweet look for the show. ON top of the glory of seeing some of my favorite Instagram influencers in the kawaii community. I got to meet the Designer behind UN-RE Designs another artist that I RIDE or DIE for. If you ever peek at my lookbooks, a lot of my pieces come from Un-re, and I won't quit using her giant buttons in my coords.
Outside of meeting some fantastic people, I also got to see my community put in work in real-time for the Jfashion show, panels, and our casual meet. I was so excited to work with Sharifa (Sweet Bitz) again in another Jfashion show. She a pink genius and I stand by her vision so much. Also, the fearless leadership from the Admins of DC Kawaii Style never ceases to amaze me. I hope that in the coming years of Blerdcon that they include more programming for alternative styles, guests, and events at the convention. I think having these options sets a con apart from just being another convention.