The Laughing Lotus event center attracted fans of all ages to the second annual Marysville Anime and Art Convention (MAACON). People came from as far as San Francisco and Redding to play their part in the Cosplay and Dueling Pencils contests. Costumes portrayed characters from anime shows such as Black Rock Shooter, Blaze Blue, The World Ends with You, Italia, Black Butler, and more.
Danielle McCullah, dressed as Himeji from, “Idiots in Test” won first place in both contests this year, receiving two tickets to Sac Anime as the grand prize, along with other drawing supplies and goodies. She says, “I’m really proud to have won. The costume contest took me by surprise; there were so many awesome costumes that I almost didn’t enter but I’m really glad I did. MAACON is amazing. It’s so cool that we have an anime following in this area. It’s hard for people to take the time and spend the money to travel to other cities or states for larger conventions so it’s nice to have one here at home to tide us over.”
Andrea Olsen, dressed as Hatsune Miku – who is a digitalized anime Pop singer that has real “concerts” and music videos – modeled in a long pose for all of the artists who were competing in the Dueling Pencils contest. Olsen, a former Yuba College student fresh out of a year-long modeling contract, mentions that this was her first anime convention. “Growing up I was always a ‘closet geek’ and I came to this convention because my friends recommended it to me. I’m glad I did; it’s really interesting and I’m having a lot of fun!”
Gallery 34 sculpture artist and jewelry maker, Deirdre Hammons says, “I think the event is great – we are nourishing minds and creativity here today,” after a session by Jennifer Young. Young is Gallery 34 artist who does freelance graphics, illustration, and film makeup and effects, and designs clothing, costumes, and jewelry. Young hosted MAACON’s, “Using imagination to inspire creativity,” panel. Inger price, another Gallery 34 artist – who classifies herself as a sculptor, painter, creative shenanigans instigator and participant, who makes things and does stuff – hosted a panel called, “The business of art,” where she described different tricks and tools to use when trying to get hired or begin working for yourself in the art business.
Lisa Caldon, owner of the Laughing Lotus, says, “We have so much talent here, and this quickly-produced-art is barely scratching the surface when it comes to the potential some of these artists have.” She also explained how the idea of opening the center was inspired by her grieving process. “After Evan’s tragic death, I wanted to create a place for therapeutic humor and arts – a safe place where people of all ages could go for family-friendly fun. Swinging a hammer and knocking down walls was a part of my personal healing process.” She added the outdoor tranquility garden because she wanted a beautiful place where the community could go to reflect, honor, and remember loved ones. The center’s grand opening was on the birthday of her late son, Evander, to honor his memory and his love of art and anime. It offers other events such as comedy shows, yoga,and more, and can be rented out for gatherings such as weddings, birthdays, and celebrations of life. For more information on the Laughing Lotus, find it on Facebook or visit the official website at www.1happychi.com
ALL PHOTOS BY ALEXIS GRISSOM-PACK