FanExpo Boston

Zach Callison is meme trash – pass it on.

I’ve been attending conventions since 2009.  My first con was the inaugural LeakyCon in Boston, followed by recurring attendance at a now defunct convention focused on queer transformative fan media, a single stint at Anime Boston, and my sort of “forever” con – the one I try never to miss – Arisia.  Throw in a couple of one-or-two day mini-cons, like MICE and LadiesCon (which are wonderful and tons of fun, just not the full convention experience as I have come to know it), and con-going isn’t exactly a lifestyle for me, but it’s something I’m well familiar with.

Prior to FanExpo, the most “commercial” con I’d ever been to was Anime Boston, and my understanding is that even AB is still run by local groups.  FanExpo, on the other hand, is the rebranding of Boston Comic-Con, and is a worldwide exhibition organization – they run tons of the other cons under the FanExpo and MegaCon name.  So this was an experience that was very, very new to me – the majority of my con-going experience has been very, very much “by fans, for fans.”

I was supposed to meet-up with a couple of people who ultimately did not show (one who was legitimately sick, and one (my brother) who is just a mega-flake-and-a-half), and I can tell you unequivocally that, especially as someone with social anxiety, having a companion would have elevated the con-going experience exponentially.  There were a lot of free photo ops – there were fully clad Jedis with replica lightsabers, life-sized functional R2D2s, a set piece from the Mos Eisley cantina (complete with Greedo corpse), a replica of the control hub for the TARDIS, life-sized Simpsons couch (with life-sized Simpsons family), and Olmec from Legends of the Hidden Temple (dude, that show was my jam!  Did anyone else turn their backyards/rooms into temple-esque obstacle courses when they were kids?).*  Any of those would have made amazing photos – and made my Insta feed vastly more interesting – but I don’t feel super comfortable approaching strangers on my best days, less so when I’m handing them a valuable possession and just trusting they won’t run off, and I was feeling especially overloaded because of the sheer size and scope of the con already, so approximately zero photos were taken that day.  And that’s a shame; I really would have loved to capture some of that stuff for posterity.

But none of that is the fault of FanExpo.  What FanExpo did do that no other con has done for me before is put me within arms reach of people I deeply admire and fangirl over.  I got to see, for instance, Jeff Goldblum charm the pants off a gaggle of cosplayers, as well as what felt like the entirety of the audience in the Main Stage theatre that day.  I honestly think he must be adept at hypnosis or… I don’t know, something, because while I’ve always liked and enjoyed Jeff Goldblum, I’ve never been a Goldblum “fangirl.”  But man, seeing him up on stage (from an actually pretty close vantage point) just made me absolutely giddy.  He has, ahem, uh… aged well.

I also had the opportunity (though I didn’t take it, because I hadn’t thought ahead) to ask questions of the cast of Steven Universe – I got to hear Zach Callison and Dee Dee Magno Hall sing snippets of “The Room Where it Happened” and “The Schyluer Sisters” (Hamilton meets Steven Universe??  Yes, please!), and I got to participate in a singalong with the cast, which was beyond awesome. Sure, there was some waiting in line, but the wait was maybe 45 minutes for sixth/seventh row seat for Goldblum and fourth row seats for the Steven Universe cast (and only then because the first three rows were reserved for VIP Pass holders), and while in line I got to oogle some of the best cosplayers I’ve ever seen.  Not a shabby trade off.

Capping my evening off, I got to see Boston’s Unscripted Musical Project, an improv comedy troupe that improvises a new musical comedy every night based on audience suggestions.  They were so far above and beyond what I expected (I’ve seen an exceptional improv performance or two, but I’ve seen way, way more terrible improv performances), I actually wish they’d had longer than an hour to perform (though I imagine that’s probably “capacity” for them in terms of being able to sustain an improvised musical, and it’s damn impressive as is.  I just would have liked more of them, is all).  It was nice to see something geeky – and seriously, I mean this is a genuinely affectionate way, but improv is geeky as hell – but not fandom-centric.  It’s one of the things I love so much about Arisia – there’s plenty of fandom, but there’s a ton of stuff to cater to people’s love and interest of other non-fandom geekish interests.

Anyway, all in all, I think a day pass was more than enough for me, though I would happily go back for more of the same next year, assuming I wouldn’t be going alone.  I could have spent hours more wandering the dealer’s room and artist alley, but that likely would not have been the best case scenario for my mental health (serious sensory overloads) or my wallet.  As it was, I spent $40 on four beautiful prints, and am so, so happy that I downloaded the FanExpo app, because I can go through the dealer’s room listings and bookmark more vendors for future online perusal (minus the sensory overload).

And, as happens after every convention, I now feel very, very inspired to be creative, but am immediately dissatisfied with any creative output.  Damn my brain.

I don’t think I’m slated for another con until MICE in October, which will be another one day affair, and then Arisia again in January, which will be nice – Arisia at this point kind of feels like home.

Any fellow con-goers have favorite convention stories to tell?

Friday, Fri-yay: July 27th, 2018

& (1).pngTrying a new graphic out.  I’ve used the phrase “Fri-yay” on social media before, and yet it wasn’t in my head when I made the original graphic for my Friday posts…?  Don’t know why.  Anyway, I think “Fri-yay” is a good in-a-nutshell take on what I post about in these entries, so we’ll see how I feel about it given some time.

Also, holy crap, have I honestly gone a week with nothing?  No posts?  I’d really hoped I’d have found my groove by now, but to no avail, I suppose.  Well, anyway.  Not going to let this get me down.  NOT ON FRI-YAY, DAMMIT.

Thursday marked the second-to-last day of summer session for me; I’m on-site on Tuesday, and then on our plane on Wednesday.  That’s been enough to buoy me up, but beyond that:

First, I’ve been looking around for on-the-plane distractions for me, since flying makes me nervous, and discovered that Dollar Tree carried Extreme Dot-to-Dot books.  I’m not going to purchase any for the flight itself, because when they say extreme, they mean it, and I’d want a steadier hand to complete the pictures, but wow.  Some of the picture number close to five hundred dots, and the books retail on Amazon for between $8.85 and $12.95, so if these books sound intriguing to you, keep your eyes peeled.

Second, SDCC happened, and we got the next new episode of Steven Universe, called “Legs from Here to Homeworld.”  It’s… it’s a lot.  And yet, so very little.  But worth watching, if you then don’t mind having to wait until who-knows-when to see the rest.  It was originally an app exclusive, but is now free to watch, no log-in required, on the Cartoon Network website here.  (We also got a movie announcement, which is squee-worthy on it’s own, but I’m still a little bitter that we get a CN movie and Teen Titans GO just got a theatrical release, grumble grumble).

Third, GISH starts tomorrow!  One positive thing about not having posted all week is that I now have a couple of half-finished entries that I can hopefully power through tonight and cue up for the next ten or so days, because I will be leaving mid-GISH (which I expect to take up most of my time pre-vacation) to head to Florida, and between those two things (and daily life duties) I will have time for basically nothing else.  Anyway, I am hype for GISH and really happy with my team this year.  I will be posting about the experience afterwards, but if you have questions, I once again recommend the official website.

That’s all for this week!  I will be in Florida next Friday, so I likely won’t be posting, but expect an extra long Fri-yay post the following week!

How is everyone out there?  What’s keeping you all going?

 

Feel Good Friday/Friday Faves: July 6th, 2018

onnie & CaroleHey-o, Friday!

So, Fridays mean a little less when you’re not actively working.  Actually, this Friday is a little bittersweet, because it means we’re coming to the end of the week I had off between the regular academic year and the ESY, but either way.  This has been a busy week for us, and I still want to celebrate the little things that made me happy.

First, this week has a new five-episode Steven Universe arc, “The Heart of the Crystal Gems” – the last of which is airing tonight – which included some really adorable moments, some great lines (“Pssst, it’s me.  I’m a horse”), and some fantastic character development.  I’m thrilled for the final episode, which is double length, and, based on what I saw in the teaser trailer and what already has (or rather, hasn’t) transpired, I’m looking forward to some great moments tonight!

Watch Steven Universe here at Cartoon Network, or on Hulu.

On a related note, here’s a great little article on this arc, talking about queer representation in the show.

Second, I took my son to see fireworks for the first time, and he loved them.  Ever since he found out that we’d be going to Disney World in August, he’s asked if literally everywhere we’ve gone in the last week or so was Disney World.  The local fireworks this year took place at a large, outdoor shopping center.  When we got out of the car and he took in the vendors, musicians, and outdoor seating, his first reaction was, once again, “Is this Disney World??”  He had a blast dancing with his friends, hanging out, listening to music, and watching the fireworks – “I never want to leave this Disney World.”  Sigh.

At least we know the real Disney World won’t be a let down, given what his standards apparently are.

Third, Bear and I spent a long, long time yesterday collaboarating in his Toca Boca activity book.  I love all things Toca Boca – they have a great gender-neutral children’s line (honestly, I wish some of the stuff came in adult sizes), great exploratory games, and a quirky sense of both design and humor, and their activity book is no different.  The activity book is a Target exclusive, but it’s a lot of fun and a really good quality, so if you can find it (or order it) I would definitely recommend it.

Fourth, today is the day I buy my FanExpo Boston tickets!  This is far from my first convention, but this will be, by and far, the most commercialized con I’ve ever been to, so I’m not entirely sure what to expect.  A lot of my con-going friends regularly hit up FanExpo and seem to have a good time, so I’m hopeful; a friend of mine, whose judgement I trust implicitly, said they spent their last foray exclusively in the dealer’s room and had an amazing time just chatting with vendors and other fans, so I can only assume that branching out into the other panels and events will be just as enjoyable (and if not, hey, just head back to the dealer’s room).

That’s it for this week.  What’s made your week brighter?  Please feel free to share in the comments!