The weekend of May 18-20 saw the premiere of NAUTICON, a 21+ con held right on the tip of Cape Cod at the Provincetown Inn. Comics, cosplay, anime, sci-fi and fantasy all came together for a weekend of high-octane drinking and low-key debauchery. Before I go any further, let’s get this out of the way: I am friends with three NAUTICON staff members, and went to the show to support them, but I didn’t know what to expect and frankly, I was worried that I’d be giving the show a bad review. Brutal honesty can be awkward, and ruin a perfectly good friendship. However, I was pleasantly surprised by NAUTICON. Surprised? Hell, I had a blast. I felt pumped and energized at con’s end. You didn’t read that wrong. I felt like I had more energy, and was more alert and happy by the end of the show than when I got there. If you’ve ever done the exhausted zombie shuffle on the last day of a con, you know how rare that is.
By midnight of the first night, I’d co-hosted a panel on how to budget for a con, hit the dance floor (those of you who know me, stop laughing), and made a half dozen new friends in the gaming room. I also got to see a Flying! Inflatable! Motorized! Shark! gliding through the air, scaring the hell out of more than one attendee. You need one of these. Somewhere in there, I missed the Single Malt Whiskey tasting event, but I’m proud to say that I more than made up for it. 2am found me standing on the beach under a crystal-clear night sky, trading Harlan Ellison stories with anime industry legend Jan Scott-Frazier while drinking “Mermaid Pee”. I recommend that drink for anyone who needs to dissolve an engine block.
Saturday — the big day. This being a 21+ crowd, nothing was scheduled until noon, giving early risers like myself a chance to hit the town and the beach and enjoy Provincetown before diving back into the fray. And what a fray! Panels, panels, panels! Anime running nonstop! And the variety of dealers — yes, you could buy the expected anime prints, but there were also leather masks for sale, steampunk gauntlets, graphic novels, and Victorian jewelry. Cosplayers roamed the halls while opposing bands of Jedi smacked the crap out of each other on the beach. I have it on good word that “Proper Porn for Distinguished Ladies” was a… spirited… gathering, enjoyed by all who attended. I also missed the three hour harbor cruise, but caught the end of the Miss Nauticon pageant after my last two panels ended.
The Only Con of the Con: by this point, I was famished, but the hotel grill was now closed. Every time I tried to get out of the hotel to find a restaurant, I’d be pulled into another room for another twenty minutes of >shudder< fun. Finally, I started walking into town, but came right back — the parties out in the streets seemed a lot more dangerous than the ones at the con. Thank God for vending machines!
The evening wrapped after midnight again, first Tom Weyland hosting a collection of downright filthy Pokemon outtakes (HILARIOUS), and then Jan Scott-Frazier talked about her career in the anime/animation industry. I have to say that for me, Jan’s talk was the highlight of the weekend. She’s led a fascinating life and isn’t afraid to name names or bring up the darker parts of her past. Catch her show on the con trail — highly, highly recommended!
Several people, guests and attendees alike, told me how much fun they were having and how great it was to have a show where you didn’t have to watch your language. NAUTICON isn’t a booze-up free-for-all; far from it! But it’s tapped an undiscovered niche — adults being able to drink, curse and dress provocatively, but still act responsibly while they just plain RELAX.