CyPhaCon is a wonderful little convention in my hometown that takes place every April. I’ve been lucky enough to attend most years before moving to Baton Rouge. I sadly had to miss the last two years, but was joyfully able to make a triumphant return this year. I didn’t really tell anyone that I was going, so it was great to see some of the surprised reactions from friends and catch up with everyone. I almost couldn’t walk more than 10 feet without getting hugged.
It’s been a bit of a joke for years that it’s very difficult for me to attend a convention without working. This year was no exception as I went and worked with Mechcorps Entertainment. Mechcorps is a company based out of Houston, Texas that provides combat mech simulators in the form of giant pods that run Battletech Firestorm. While piloting in the pods is a blast, it’s the crew at Mechcorps that keeps me coming back for more and there are many members of the group that I consider family. Eight of us volunteered this year, with 4 vols on each shift. All the Mechcorps vols go by a callsign while working at the pods. My callsign is Inky Phoenix. I was lucky enough to be on a team with Deadmeat, Grunion, and Shameless, who are all awesome guys. It was a wonderful weekend.
Sticking with the pods for a bit, one of the highlights of CyPhaCon for me is the charity Mechcorps battle, which is usually organized by my friend Dusty who is in charge of the
SWLA chapter of the North American Assassin’s Creed Guild. Before moving, I ran the SWLA Browncoats, a Firefly fan group. Although not much has happened with the group since I left, I was pleased to see that the Browncoats are still represented with a great team heading up by one of our founding members, Billy. The Browncoats have managed to win the battle every year since the last year that I competed with them. Other teams competing this year were 3 different chapters of the North American Assassins Creed Guild, some very entertaining gentlemen from the Take One improv group, and a new Witcher based fan group. Dusty managed to bribe me onto his team since my team was full and his team needed a well-trained pilot. The groups managed to raise over $200 for the convention’s chosen charity with my beloved Browncoats taking the top spot for the fourth year in a row. I am a very proud Captain.
Take One put on some great performances during the convention and I was lucky enough to catch one. My friend Suzanne is in the troupe and I’m extremely proud of her. She’s always been amazing and talented. It’s great to see her succeeding with the troupe and was great to get to chat and catch up with her after the performance. The group is absolutely hilarious and I highly recommend checking them out.
I also got to see my friend Brandt a.k.a. Professor Shyguy, a master of the chiptune genre put on a performance in the 10 forward lounge. He is really talented and insanely creative. His performances really are fantastic no matter what the venue. He’s working on a new album and although the Kickstarter for it has ended, you should definitely check him out.
Aside from the aforementioned friends, I
didn’t really interact with any of the guests except for one exception. A friend of mine was Ian Sinclair’s handler, and we ended up visiting a bit. We ended up talking about baking a lot. Seriously though, he is a super nice guy, really cool, and he really loves his fans. Can’t say enough nice things about him, so definitely go say hi if you see him at a convention.
Vendors and Artist Alley seemed a bit smaller than in the past. I was sad to find that there was almost nothing in the way of board games or tabletop RPGs and equipment for sale. But there were some awesome finds. My favorite convention artists had a table together although only one of them was working it since the other two were off at Fan Expo Dallas. Morgan Allain, a.k.a. The Inkling Girl is an amazing artist and all around cool chick who I’ve been lucky enough to know for many years. I picked up several of her magnets (eventually our fridge will be completely covered by them) as well as 3 prints, a phoenix that I’ve been eyeballing for quite some time, her latest rendering of David Bowie, and a lovely portrait of Mogget from the book “Sabriel” by Garth Nix which is a favorite of both me and Morgan. Seriously, go read it and the rest of the Abhorsen trilogy. Her husband Danny and our friend Jim Ferguson were in Dallas, but Morgan was holding down the fort for all three of them and even let me pick up prints from both of the guys that I had pledged through a recent Kickstarter they did together. Jim tends to focus on 80’s movie nostalgia for the most part and I have several of his prints at home including a gorgeous Tardis and the ball scene from Labyrinth. This time I picked up “Mischief Managed” and great print from the Harry Potter films. From Danny, I picked up the dragon from his beautiful bones series which focuses on various creatures and what lies beneath the skin.
Twootie Tarte was also there with her glorious bath products and I must admit, I did splurge a bit. Loot includes milk bath salts, a bath bomb, a Lapras bubble bar, and a soap shaped like the Hylian shield for the wifey. I also picked up a deluxe mystery gift, which will remain a mystery, but I was very pleased with the contents. I received 3 full sized products including one that I had wanted to try. Defintely check her out on both Facebook and Etsy.
Other con loot included a Sailor Senshi themed T-shirt, a Ravenclaw hat to wear in the kitchen at work, mini D20 earring and bracelet set as well as a raven skull print for Johanna, and several random food stuffs. There was an amazing baker there that I enjoyed chatting with who had great treats, including red velvet macarons and coconut cheesecake bars.
I wish I had taken more pictures of cosplayers, but it seems most of my pictures are of me with friends. Check out the official CyPhaCon Facebook group to see some of the amazing costumes from the convention.
CyPhaCon really is a great convention with an amazing staff and a fun atmosphere. They keep it family friendly and have been smart enough to keep the convention relatively small instead of going too big too soon and flaming out like many other conventions. The variety in programming and guests is also always nice. It is a convention that I definitely recommend and is especially great for families and first time con attendees.
There was one thing at CyPhaCon this year that was very difficult, and that was the gaping hole left by the death of one of their staff members back in December. Erin Leigh Morris was dear friend and loved by many. She was a volunteer with CyPhaCon for several years and was a founding member of the SWLA Browncoats. Her kindness, enthusiasm, and love will not be forgotten. We miss you Erin. We always will.
Nixie’s CyphaCon Gallery