Last month, I attended my fifth Bricks Cascade. It was a big show and I had a lot of ups and downs this year.
I came in to this year’s show unprepared. I was coordinator for a theme, but I’d barely even looked at the registered models. I had a half-baked plan to give out some trophies of my own (as a sort of blog promotion), but I didn’t get bricks engraved in advance. I had a bunch of models to show, so I tried to put on a happy face and dive in.
It was a tight fit to get all of the boxes in my wife’s car, but I managed to get everything down to the convention center in one trip. I’m usually at the hall early, so I dispersed my models and circulated.
As the day progressed, the tables filled up. My theme (Steampunk) was a bit light, but others started to get crowded. There were a few places where my models wound up in funky positions, but thanks to attentive theme coordinators, most of that got worked out and I was quite happy with the visibility of my models.
The one exception was a bit more painful. I had a large model that I was displaying in a theme that was new to me. I staked out a nice location early on, hoping that later arrivals would be able to work around me. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. Another attendee effectively edged my model off the table (with the theme coordinator repeatedly moving it for them).
I just didn’t take this too well. No one ever talked to me about the situation. My model just kept getting moved. A few of my other models got moved too, but in all of those cases, I had given my blessing. As Thursday wore down, I was losing my cool.
The first day ended with me losing my shit at the attendee mixer. Bricks Cascade very graciously provides pizza and refreshments on the first night of the con. It’s a great chance to chat with other folks and be social. Unfortunately for me, a vegetarian, the only non-meat pizza option looked basically the same as another meat option.
I got frustrated and communication broke down. I made more of a scene than I intended and left. I definitely could have handled myself better, and I wish that I had.
I came back on Friday determined to be better. For the most part, things were better. With the hard work of my friend Cory, the steampunk theme (and our Streets of Brass collaboration) looked great. I worked with the other theme coordinators in my area to make sure that tables were shifted and everything looked good. I played some games and had a good time.
Saturday I came in just before public hours to find out that the one model that had been moved repeatedly had been relocated to a different theme altogether. Still, no one had talked to me about it. In a huff, I picked up the model and carried it to a gap between the steampunk and mecha themes.
This is when the theme coordinator involved finally came to ask me what was going on. I wasn’t very calm about it, but I explained that it seemed to me that they didn’t have room for my model and so I had moved it where there was room. Sigh. I tried after that to make the best of it, as I was now able to show off my best models more during public hours.
The rest of the weekend was a blur. I spent the public hours talking and showing off features of my models. I won a trophy for the model that I’d had to move in a theme that it wasn’t even registered for. I gave a couple of interviews. There were fun and prizes after hours too. I drank whiskey and was a bit too brash.
Now that it is a couple of weeks later, I am still processing my experience. I had a good time and the convention was a lot of fun, but I had some very specific problems. Most of my problems have to do with being finicky and struggling with my own inter-personal skills. I’m already thinking about how I’ll shift my approach and expectations next year.
In short, it was a good show. LEGO conventions are great and you should attend them if you are a builder. Even a socially awkward jerk like me can make friends over the shared love of our hobby.
I’ll leave you with a slide show of my favorite builds from the show.
Keep building and enjoy!