Anime Crossroads 2013

Anime Crossroads is our local anime convention, where we have always helped with the dealers' room. In the last couple of years, we've been given steadily increasing responsibility until we have been running it.

This year Anime Crossroads was held over the weekend of December 13-15, 2013. In past years it was always held at the Indianapolis Marriott East, but this year when we started planning our bigger, better con, we discovered that there simply wasn't going to be room for all the cool new things we were doing. So we moved over to the Wyndham Indianapolis West, over by the airport.

This meant new problems. Obviously, we were going to have to get a new hotel staff used to working with us, which meant a whole new set of glitches and problems to iron out. But for my husband and myself, it meant we would no longer have the convenience of having the hotel just down the road from us. And in December, with the possibility of iffy weather, we were concerned about having to drive all the way across town. So we decided to get a room at one of the outlier hotels for the two nights of the actual con, although we hoped we'd be able to get home all right after setup on Thursday.

Because we were dealing with a brand new hotel, we decided to get over to it right after lunch on Thursday. And it was a good thing, because there were some glitches in the layout of the dealers' room. I was very glad to have purchased a 25-foot professional-grade tape measure, because we made thorough use of it laying out the booths with tape markings on the carpet at each corner to make the boundaries of each booth clear.

It felt like it took forever, but as it turned out, we actually got done quickly enough that we could let dealers start setting up early. I was happily surprised at how smoothly load-in went, especially since the setup at the new hotel didn't lend itself to as good of logistics as the loading dock at the old hotel. However, most of our dealers were pretty cool about working with us, and moved things in quickly. Also, a few of our really big dealers had reduced the size of their setups this year, concerned that the change of venue might result in reduced attendance.

When it came time to close for the night, we were able to get the dealers' room locked with relatively little trouble, and headed back home. I picked up some things I'd promised to lend to some of our dealers who'd forgotten key store fixtures (they certainly weren't doing anybody any good sitting in our garage), and put them in the van before we turned in for the night.

Friday morning came far too soon, especially since we had to carry out the stuff we'd take with us to the hotel where we were staying the next two nights. We headed over to the con hotel, and much to our consternation we discovered the loading dock open. I was about ready to tear someone a new one, since this would be a major security breach -- but when I got inside, I discovered that the appropriate authorities had indeed taken care of opening it and seeing to the security issues.

We were able to get our remaining dealers moved in and set up with relative ease, although we did have to resolve a couple of conflicts over space. I even had a little writing time.

In the afternoon we got checked into our sleeping room and moved our personal belongings into it. Then I ran back home to check the mail, since we were anticipating a shipment in the next few days and didn't want it sitting all weekend, especially since it was a food item that might be of considerable interest to the local wildlife (particularly the ones with bandit masks and ringed tails). As it turned out, the shipment hadn't arrived, but my health insurance card had, so I was just as glad to get it safely inside.

When I got back, we had supper, and we settled in to what looked to be a reasonably boring evening. But just as we were getting ready to close the dealers' room for the night, we had a fire alarm. That hotel has the weirdest fire alarm, which just makes this little dinging sound rather than the usual siren blast. It turned out to be a false alarm, but the evacuation wreaked havoc on our dealers' close-down procedures. They didn't have time to cover their merchandise, and some of them didn't even think to grab cash box or coat.

As a result, we had to stay for an extra hour, trying to make sure that all our dealers got back in to finish their close-down procedures before we closed up for the night. It meant we were really late getting over to the other hotel and our sleeping room, and as it turned out, a few dealers didn't get the word until we'd already left.

Not to mention that we'd gotten snow in the later part of the evening, which meant that we had to clean the van off before we could go anywhere. It also made parking at the other hotel tricky, since they had a steep driveway and a small parking lot. But I was very glad to get in and turn in for the night.

On Saturday we got up and had the hotel's free breakfast. Then we headed back to the main hotel to get the dealers' room open. That meant dealing with the last bit of aftermath from the previous evening's fire alarm, and a whole bunch of other niggling stuff that really drains at a person. It's especially frustrating when it's compounded by problems with communication within the authority structure of the concom, which left us wondering just where we stood, and whether there might be generational issues.

However, by the afternoon we had gotten things squared away to the point that I was able to get "A Separate War" out and get some work done on it. I also tried to get some work done on a short story that I wanted to get done for an anthology, but couldn't seem to get it moving again.

After the dealers' room closed for the evening, we headed over to the other hotel and decided to take a soak in the hot tub. However, it turned out that the water was more the temperature of bath water, and the jets didn't work properly. Apparently there was a problem with the pump so that it didn't produce any appreciable power. After a while we gave up and headed back to our room to take it easy for a while before turning in for the night.

On Sunday we had to get up early to get breakfast and then get our stuff back out to the van so that we could get checked out in time. Then we headed back to the main hotel and got the dealers' room opened. I wanted to get some writing done, but I was so tired I couldn't even think, so I ended up looking at a bunch of historical pictures at CollectSpace.

In the evening we helped our dealers load out. There'd been some concerns about ice on the loading dock ramp, since it's really steep, but the hotel staff really busted their humps to get it cleared. As a result, load-out went really smoothly, and we were able to do our final walk-through and return the room to the hotel a little ahead of schedule.

However, this year there was apparently no dead-dog party. We asked around, but nobody knew anything, so we finally ended up carrying our personal possessions out to the van and heading home to scrounge up some supper there. We were feeling rather downhearted by that point, and wondering whether we really wanted to continue with our role in the dealers' room, especially if there were scheduling conflicts with a convention we wanted to be able to sell at.

Copyright 2014 by Leigh Kimmel

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Last updated April 19, 2014.