Tokyo in Tulsa Puts Its Vendor Room a Nine Minute Drive Away in a Former Hobby Lobby

Update (7/14): Tokyo in Tulsa has now ejected artist Hanna Schroy (@elefluff)

Tulsa, OK based anime convention Tokyo in Tulsa is currently taking place this weekend, and while most people there are probably having a great time, one group of people, the artists and vendors, really aren’t. You see, for the event’s twelfth convention they’ve decided to host their artist alley and vendors in a rather unconventional location: a former Hobby Lobby a nine minute drive away from most of the con.

We the con is using school bus to ferry attendees between the vendors and the con proper, this isn’t exactly ideal. I mean, it’s hard to react to this with anything other than bewilderment.

They put the artist alley and vendors a nine minute drive away in a former Hobby Lobby. Just begin to process that.

Now to offer a little bit of defense for Tokyo in Tulsa’s organizers, it’s not a situation where the entire con is in one location and just the artists and vendors are located far away. The con is fairly spread out this year, with what appears to be their main programming venues also in various locations — but nothing is quite as far away from the con’s core as their vendor room.

Look, I don’t think there was any ill intent locating the vendors nine minutes by car away, but it certainly doesn’t bode well for the convention’s planning. I mean… someone literally thought this was a good idea. Multiple people likely weighed in on it. More than one person in Tokyo in Tulsa’s organization thought “yeah, people will be totally cool with having the vendor room and artist alley in a concrete floored, exposed drywall former Hobby Lobby.”

And even with the best of intentions, I really just question the competence of any con staff that made this particular call.

Trae Dorn

Trae Dorn has been staffing conventions for over twenty years, and is a co-founder of Wisconsin’s longest running Anime convention No Brand Con. Trae also writes and draws the webcomics UnCONventional and The Chronicles of Crosarth, which leads many to ask when the hell they have time to actually do anything anymore. Trae says they have the time because they “do it all quite poorly.”

4 thoughts on “Tokyo in Tulsa Puts Its Vendor Room a Nine Minute Drive Away in a Former Hobby Lobby

  • October 27, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    Project A-kon did this just last month. I have no idea why. They shunted the videos rooms to 2 different locations.

    Reply
    • October 27, 2019 at 2:25 pm
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      Video rooms used to be prime featured parts of cons. But they have fallen off the “important” list at many shows. Pushed to smaller rooms and reduced in operating hours, number OF rooms, and relegated to other buildings is just par for the course. Sadly. The only way this doesn’t happen is when the con leaders make video rooms a priority. But when those people step down, retire, or get kicked out, video rooms are vulnerable.

      Reply
      • October 27, 2019 at 3:14 pm
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        When I started working cons in the mid-’90s, the video rooms were one of the few ways people could easily see a lot of cintent. With the increased ease of acquiring & consuming content (Interner, Amazon, digital downloads, and yes, illegal file sharing) video rooms arent the draw they used to be.

        That said, having them in different locations is a bit ridiculous..

        Reply
  • October 27, 2019 at 1:31 pm
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    Talk about convention suicide

    Reply

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