I’ve had enough time back home to reflect on the craziness and fun that is the yearly San Diego Comic-Con. This was the first time I attended Comic-Con, but it absolutely blew away any expectations I had for it.
Had good flights from Louisville to San Diego (with a layover at O’Hare). The hotel (Sheraton at Symphony Hall) was only about five minutes from the airport and about the same to the convention center, that is without the crazy traffic around the center. The hotel is nice, with the exception of not having Wi-fi. Instead of wireless they have the old-school ethernet hookup on the desk. Luckily, I found an open wireless connection to hop on to, because I didn’t particularly want to pay for a wired connection daily. I went to Preview Night to pick up my badge and get nifty freebies. Many vendors were already setup and selling stuff on the floor. I had to go ahead and pickup the exclusive Doctor Who t-shirt at the BBC America booth.
So many people! I knew there would be a ton of people (the total attendance from the year before was around 125k, not sure what the on-site average is at any given point), but until you actually see how crowded the convention center is you can’t really picture it. I attended the “BSG, Caprica, and Beyond” panel with guests Richard Hatch, Michael Taylor, Bear McCreary, and Aaron Douglas. Not much new information, except that the BSG Orchestra is going on tour next year and possibly even play at the opera house in Vancouver. Also, Richard Hatch really seems to enjoy doing these panels. After the panel I mingled around the floor. I met Magda Apanowicz (Lacey from Caprica) and Aaron Douglas (Tyrol from BSG) on the floor and got their autographs. Also got a photo taken with Magda. The QMX booth is so amazing, the attention to detail they put into their recreations is amazing. I picked up a couple Firefly tees, a Jayne wristband, and a poster of the first Cylon war (as seen on Adama’s wall). I also picked up a Jayne hat from the CA Browncoats booth. At the end of the day I went to w00tstock, which was a couple blocks down from the hotel. w00tstock is a concert of the geeks put on by Adam Savage and Wil Wheaton. The highlight for me was the Rifftrax (MST3K also) guys doing a live riff of some PSA from the 60′s. I only stayed for about half of it, due to it starting late, because I wanted to go to the CA Browncoats screening of Serenity. It was great to see Serenity on the big screen with a room full of fellow fans.
People lined up super early (as in before the convention even opened at 9:30) for Ballroom 20. I almost thought I wasn’t going to get into the room atleast for the first panel due to how long the line was. The beginning of the line inside the building wasn’t organized, no one knew where to go. Luckily I guessed correctly because I made it through the long zig-zag outside of the building and back inside to the room. I stayed in Ballroom 20 through three panels. The first panel was the SGU panel which had Brad Cooper, Robert Carlyle, Alaina Huffman, David Blue, and Ming Na. The highlights of this panel were David Blue and his geeky-ness and Ming Na. Either she is just naturally very bubbly or she had a few drinks before hand. Overall the panel was kind of boring. The second panel was the one I really came to see, Caprica. The panel had Ronald D. Moore, David Eick, Magda Apanowicz, Alessandra Torresani, Sasha Roiz, and James Marsters. This panel was more interesting than the first and had a new trailer for the second half of the first season, which unfortunately isn’t coming until January. The last panel was the Big Bang Theory. I was pleasantly surprised by this panel, it was really entertaining throughout the whole thing. Barenaked Ladies played the show’s theme with everyone in the audience singing along. This panel had the full cast of the show, the two creators, and moderating was WHEEEEEEEEATON! The last panel I attended Friday was the one for the Cape. This wasn’t so much a panel as an airing of a rough cut of the pilot. The pilot shows promise, but still needs editing work and such. The cast (including Summer Glau) and creators were there for a very brief panel after the airing. Rounding up the day I met Alessandra Torresani (Zoe from Caprica) and Ron Glass (Book from Firefly/Serenity). I was thinking about attending the live Rifftrax showing, but the line was much too long for the small room it was in.
Met Mark Sheppard (who has been in everything.. from Romo Lampkin in BSG to Badger in Firefly), who is such an extremely nice guy. I waited in the Guild line to get their autographs and pictures taken with them, two words.. Felicia Day. I got in line early to get into The Guild panel. I sat through the Sanctuary panel, which I’ve never seen. The Guild panel was pretty awesome, they aired the next unaired episode and the new music video “Game On”. The panel was held in the Hilton next to the convention and who did I happen to see… Joss Whedon. I called it a day fairly early on Saturday, ending my first Comic-Con experience.
Left out of San Diego around 1:30 Pacific, before the crowd hit the airport, and got back in to Louisville at 11:30 Eastern. Had to work the next morning, but sleep wouldn’t come.
I may end up going back to Comic-Con next year, if not I may try Dragon*Con, a less Hollywood controlled convention of considerable size, held in Atlanta, Georgia. Of course there’s Cyphan 2011 next year too!
Last weekend I attended my first convention, Cyphan, in Wheeling, IL. This was a first year sci-fi/fantasy/horror convention, but it felt far from it. Everything was well planned and put together, Mike and his staff worked hard and it paid off tremendously. The first day had several seminars and of course the dealer hall was open. The dealer hall had some very nice products in it, especially at the steampunk booths. In the evening there was a costume show where everyone showed off their costumes, including a spot on 10th Doctor (David Tennant), Batman, and Number Six. Following the costume show was a magic show put on by Ron Fitzgerald. Ending the night was a very entertaining show put on by Hot & Heavy Burlesque. Saturday was absolutely filled with things to do. First there were two special guests this year: Battlestar Galactica’s Nicki Clyne (@nickiclyne) and Firefly’s Jewel Staite (@jewelstaite). Both had photo-ops, Q&A’s, and autograph signings. In the evening the Browncoat Bash was held, here Jewel and Nicki came out and talked to everyone. Right behind the bash was a wedding reception that had been planned to be happening at the same time as Cyphan, so that storm troopers would come in and do their thing. Closing out the night was the Imperial Ball, Jewel and Nicki joined in on the fun here as well, look around on their twitters or blogs and you’ll see some pics of them on the dance floor. The last day there wasn’t a lot going on as expected, but I managed to buy a few things at the dealer floor before I left.
Cyphan was worth every penny and I will without a doubt be attending next year. I met some cool people, saw some awesome costumes, and got to meet Jewel and Nicki.
Before attending Cyphan this year, I hadn’t planned attending any other conventions this year. However, I’ve decided to go to the San Diego Comic Con, in a few weeks. Granted it’s not the small personal feel of Cyphan, but it’s still something to experience.
I also have to give big kudos to United Airlines. The main zipper on my luggage got ripped off in the conveyor at ORD. I went to the United information booth to get some fragile tape or shrink wrap so I wouldn’t lose anything until I could get to some place that sold luggage. Instead of giving me shrink wrap, they replaced my luggage without hesitation. Thumbs up!