Katsucon from a wheelchair

Remember when I said I wouldn’t miss Katsucon for anything? It looks like I was put to the test. On Thursday night, I injured my foot on a Metro escalator (an MRI today will let me know whether it’s a break or a fracture), and have been confined to an air cast ever since. But I still made it to Katsucon on Saturday, even if I did have to limp there!

I’ve been a proponent of disability rights for a long time, but being temporarily disabled myself really gave me a new perspective on how we run anime conventions. I went to Katsucon to interview artists and staff members on the new fanart policy, but I ended up doing a lot of firsthand reporting on what Katsucon is like for somebody with limited mobility. I am happy to say that Katsucon was especially disability-friendly! Here are some photos I took from a wheelchair point of view:

After getting my press pass, the first place I stopped (well, that John wheeled me to) was the Anime USA booth! It looks fantastically patriotic, in light of our 2011 theme: “Service and Duty.” In my opinion, Theo’s astronaut suit and Kevin’s poster art are the best parts. Plus, they gave me a balloon to tie onto the back of my wheelchair.

After seeing Kevin’s gorgeous poster art, I had to stop by and visit with Kevin at his Artist Alley booth. It’s especially apparent in this shot how low to the ground I am.

Lots of cosplayers were extremely accommodating when I wanted to take photos of them. They posed low to the ground so I could get a good shot.

At lunch time, we went to a place called Freshii where the only seating was in high-up bar stools. My friends sat up there and handed me my food and drink from the table.

And because I brought my own chair, I got front row seating, both at Charles’ “Dead Like Us” panel on Shinigami…

…and at the masquerade!

I bought myself a Lolita inspired headband from my friend Bune, who was selling at Artist Alley. You can see it in this photo, which we took with a bunch of friends from my alma mater, the University of Mary Washington.

I was too low to see most stuff in the Dealer’s Room. After taking this photo, I cheated a little and stood on one leg to get a better view.

My only real mobility problem at Katsucon was when it came to elevators. (Isn’t that the case at every con?) But since I was in a wheelchair, people always made sure to let me on the elevator, no matter how crowded. Later, John and I found a “secret” elevator and never had to wait again!

For more photos, visit my Flickr page. And stay tuned for my followup on fanart at Katsucon!