Ogeeku was at Fan Expo!
Howdy, kids! Today I’m here to talk to you about Fan Expo. That may sound familiar to you. Because I did another article about it. But that article was before it happened. This article is after it happened. Just, you know, to clear up any temporal quandaries you might have about it. This will be a journal-esque sort of article about my experiences about Fan Expo and the wonders and delights I had there. On that note, I would like to apologize for this article going up a couple of weeks after Fan Expo itself. I had to get the pictures back from my camera-toting chums, and get everything set up right. BUT HERE IT IS. Also, if you want to see a better version of any of the pictures, click them! We got pretty good-sized pictures of everything, but we can only have them be certain sizes in the article. So feel free to click something you like! I highly suggest clicking the Miguel and Tulio pictures…You’ll know what I mean.
So today was my first day of the convention. It was actually the second day OF the convention, but I had no way of getting into Toronto yesterday, so I went today instead. I got up at six thirty, hopped in Josh’s carmobile, and off we were. We ended up in Toronto a bit after eight, found a pretty good parking spot nice and close by (to the tune of twenty-six dollars), and went to look for the ticket area. Once we found the long line, I hung out with Josh for a bit, then when I was sure that he was situated and wouldn’t get eaten by a bear before getting inside, I went hunting for the press area to get my pass. Thankfully the people working there were pretty helpful, and soon I was walking past the incredibly long line towards the press area. Yeah, it felt pretty good. I was the first press person to be there, a little after 8:30 in the morning. The doors didn’t open until 9:30, so I had about an hour of waiting to do before I could go in. The two ladies working that entrance were very pleasant, though. I chatted with them for most of the hour, just about this and that. It was actually really nice that they were chatty, it made me feel a lot more welcome and cheerful, which is a good thing to feel in a morning when you’re nervous and tired. Also some other press started to show up, including a pleasant guy that had flown in from Montreal just that morning to cover the convention. Yes, sir! I was among professionals.
So 9:30 came and went with nothing happening. Apparently they were there downstairs, but the door we were supposed to go through was locked. Which didn’t get sorted out until about twenty minutes later. Some of the press was pretty irritated at this point. But I got to go to a convention for free, so I was as happy as can be. We got in, got our passes, got into ANOTHER line, wherein I chatted with my new french buddy, Michele. I only bumped into him once after we got inside, hopefully he enjoyed the convention. Maybe I’ll even see him again tomorrow!
So we got in, and I went looking for Josh. I told him I was near the giant t-shirt stand that was more of a hut covered in t-shirts. As it turned out, this was one of two of them, leading to some confusion. But once we found each other, the wandering commenced. We walked around a bit, seeing the sights before it got too busy, and ended up in Artist’s Alley, where I bought a LOT of stuff. And had a number of lovely chats with the various people there. It was a lot of fun. I didn’t meet a single unpleasant artist, and came away with a lot of business cards, and a lot of prints of various pictures. Mostly Legend of Korra. Mostly Bolin. Seriously, any pictures of Bolin on his own I just immediately bought, and a few pictures of him with other people. I ended up picking up three LARGE prints of Bolin, Mako, and Korra all separately. I plan to frame them all and hang them on my wall. I also had many conversations about the show, and other shows. There were a lot of times where we’d just stand around chatting for a while.
And let me tell you, some of these people were GREAT at sales. I’m also pretty easily convinced to spend money. At one point, I spent nine dollars because a dude said he would sing the opening theme to My Little Pony if I bought a bead art thing of a pony. So I grabbed a Fluttershy (and a moustache key chain), and sing he did. On that note, Fluttershy is now on my fridge.
Also, there was a guy selling a series of books that looked quite interesting. They had apparently flown in from London for the convention. I’m very much looking forward to checking out the book, which appears to be an illustrated series of short stories. Dark, horror type stories. Exactly my sort of thing. And the writer was nice enough to sign it, and said that if I liked it and wanted to interview him about it, that he could do that. So that could be coming up in the future! I haven’t had time to delve into the book yet, as I got home, came on-line to write this, and will promptly fall asleep, but I plan to have the first book read by Sunday, so I have the opportunity to buy the next two, and see about that interview.
Also, there were a lot of cosplayers. This probably seems pretty obvious to you, but I had never been to a convention before, so I had no idea what to expect. And a lot of them were really, really cool. I got a bunch of pictures, first with Josh’s phone, then with Xerxes’ camera when he joined us, which he did just after lunch.
Speaking of lunch, that is when we bumped into the best cosplayer of the day. If you follow me on twitter or have me on Facebook, you might already know that I refer to Cabbage Guy. Cabbage Guy, a recurring character in the Avatar series, is something I never thought I would see. And it was awesome. We immediately wanted a picture, but he convinced us to wait until we got inside so he could have his cart set up. That’s right. He had a cart. A CABBAGE cart. And yes, it was full of cabbages. We eventually hunted him down (yes, we were looking specifically for him), and found him! We got a picture, and then a group of people cosplaying a pro bending group showed up. Awesome. Another picture!
At some point, we went to a Q&A session with John Rhys-Davies. What a great guy. He took every question he was asked and turned it into a rambling story about this and that, but it was so interesting that we all hung onto every word. He made us laugh repeatedly, and I learned that apparently he REALLY did not like the show Sliders. But he told us stories, answered questions, and in the end we gave him the standing ovation that he really deserved. What a classy gentleman.
After this, we went to find a dude selling a card game. Xerxes had checked out the booth a couple of times earlier, and this time we were going in to chat with the guy and maybe buy the game. We ended up talking with him for a good…fifteen to twenty minutes, and found out that he’d only just finished the game on Wednesday. Two days prior. Also, I should add that he had an awesome looking booth, and a great costume that tied in with the game.
Yeah, kind of like that. I assume that by the time I edit this, there will be a picture of him and his booth here. There’s a good chance that by the time this article goes up, we will have tried out the game, and I will be sure to let you know how it goes. There’s an interesting social aspect to the game, so it’s not simple cards and luck, which I’m sure will prove interesting. And he was also a fine gentleman. Aberrant Apothecary was the name of his game!
I think that roughly sums it up. I know I missed a few things, but I’m really tired, and am about to go pass out. Six thirty in the morning is not a time that I like to be awake. Actually, the last time I was up that early? It was when Ogeeku did the twenty-four hour live stream and I just didn’t sleep. True story. Margot knows how that goes.
Anyways, that’s day one. I’ll pop back tomorrow night and update day two. But I had a wonderful time. I did not meet a single unpleasant person, I met a lot of really cool people and saw a lot of amazing costumes. I managed to not spend all of my money in the first day, but I’m sure it will all be gone by Sunday. There’s just too much cool stuff to buy. Yay!
Best Part of Day 1: Cabbage Guy and Artist’s Alley. Also, meeting some cool press people!
Worst Part of Day 1: A couple of the press people were less cool. Most were nice, though. One was a bit of a dick. Also, I am not used to crowds this large. Thank goodness for anti-anxiety medication.
Another exciting day at Fan Expo. The day was fun before we even got past the ticket area. Yeah, I had to buy a ticket today, as my press pass only covered the other days. I guess more press came in on Saturday, since it was the big day. Ah well, if I’d been around at the press door, I wouldn’t have gotten to talk to the two lovely girls in the line in front of us. Amy and Lia, I believe their names were (and I hope I spelled those right). Both attending their first conventions, both very nice once we got talking to them. One of them (Lia, I believe), was even trying out cosplay for the first time. A bold move, for her first convention. Dressed in a skin-tight latex (or some other material, I don’t know these things), black heels, and a black mask, I believe she was doing a Catwoman. I never did get around to asking, but we did get a picture of her! The other girl, Amy, had homemade Pokeballs on key rings and an equally homemade pac-man necklace, both of which were delightful. Looking back, I wish I’d gotten a picture of that too, but hindsight will get you.
So we started off the day by making a couple new friends, even though we never really bumped into them again for the rest of the day. If they’ve somehow found their way here, hi there! Sorry if I’ve gotten your names wrong. And also, I hope you had a wonderful day at the convention. I know I did!
So anyways, once we actually got inside, things kept going in a pretty uphill and awesome direction.
Today we hit up a few more of the panels, since the John Rhys-Davies one was so good. We started off with the Lost Girl panel, which was quite entertaining. There will likely be a picture in here at this point.
Then we wound up in a VERY long line for the Alan Tudyk panel. Personally, I feel it was well worth the wait. The man was charming, very pleasant to everyone, and very entertaining. It did not seem to be his fault that the panel started late and ended a bit early. These things just happen, I guess. But damn that’s a good-looking man. I wish we’d gotten some pictures, but we were in the back of the room.
We wandered around a lot today as well, delving a little more into the merchandise section than we had on the previous day. Josh almost bought a Master Sword, but it was a little pricy. I mean, it’s probably worth the two hundred dollars, but that’s like…a lot of art prints. Or food, or rent or whatever other people spend their money on. And yes, I acquired more art prints today. I also bought a toy! Well, a figurine, anyway. An old Star Wars thing, a Thrawn figurine from the 90′s, still in the original packaging. I’ve read a lot of the books, and so far Thrawn is pretty much my favourite character in the entire Star Wars world. Getting a collectible figure of him felt great. Ripping off the packaging and playing with him felt even better….Okay, yes, I’m kidding. He’s staying in that protective plastic, so nothing can hurt him.
We also bought a couple new Pokemon decks to try out, since we run our weekly card tournament, and we’re always on the look-out for new decks. We only got in one test game, though, because we wanted to try a game the card game we’d bought yesterday. The Aberrant Apothecary. And I’ve got to say, it was a lot of fun. We got in a couple of games, which Xerxes won both of, but the second game he tied with Josh (but later won in the tie-breaker), and only beat me by one point. The game will definitely be getting its own write-up later, and I look forward to talking to the dude tomorrow about it, especially now that I’ve had a chance to get a few games under my belt.
We also spent a lot of time today just hanging around the Artist’s Alley and chatting them up. I bought a few more prints, as I mentioned, including a particularly awesome Legend of Korra print. Yes, most of my prints have been of that show. So have most of my buttons (note the above picture of the beginning of the collection). I managed to snag one of the last two copies of the poster that the artist had, got him to sign it, and then stood around chatting with him and Josh for a good twenty minutes or so.
And let me tell you, I absolutely love speaking to artists. I may not fully understand their craft, because it’s so different from mine. They draw and paint and create their wonderful works with their own mediums, and I’m confined to my writing. I don’t begrudge them their talent, though. Well, maybe a little, but only out of jealousy. But that’s not the point I’m trying to get at here. Connecting with an artist makes the work they do that much more important to you. When I look at that piece, I don’t just see a propaganda-style picture of a guy trying to organize a revolution. I see a beautiful work drawn by the guy who I chatted with about anime, art, and all sorts of things, the guy who recommended an old anime movie to me because he thought I’d like it (he even wrote it down on his business card for me). When I look at some of my other stuff, I see the great conversations I’ve had, the laughs I’ve shared in my brief times knowing these artists. It helps stir more emotion in me than just the pictures on their own. Not to say that the pictures don’t stir up emotions on their own. I mean, have you SEEN any pictures of Bolin? Talk about emotion right there. And one of the prints I picked up today was an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous picture from Avatar (Last Airbender, not the blue people one) that stirs up all sorts of emotions every time I glance at it. It not only brings about the emotions I already had for the characters, but it also creates new emotions by putting them in this new scene. Plus, it’s gorgeous.
On that note, I would like to take this opportunity to link to some of the artists I saw this weekend! This little section here will be full of different links, so if you feel like looking at some arts, start clicking some of these words in this paragraph. Just click. If it’s blue, you haven’t seen it yet! If it’s purple, check it out again! Words! Links! Man I had to find a bunch of business cards for this section here. Seriously though, there’s some good art if you want to click some of the things. And I’m not just saying that because I needed more words to link to things. Some of these artists are really, really talented. Like steampunk? Bam. Awesome Monkey Island picture, which Josh totally bought? Right here. One with awesome Sailor Scout pictures, which I almost bought but spent all my money on Korra stuff? We got that. The artist that did the Megaman family portrait that was on Ogeeku’s Facebook not that long ago? She was there too! And in my opinion, her Link and Zelda pictures are even better thant he Megaman one. Josh has them framed. We’ve also got a 19-year old dude who can already draw better than I could if my arms were robots designed to draw things. Also, I am glad my arms are not robots. But cool guy, great comic book art. This Spiderman one is a personal favourite from his collection. I could make an entire post talking about how cool some of these artists were and how awesome their stuff was, but that would take way too much time. So instead, check out some of the links. Don’t be afraid to click the ones that are clumped up, either. Just because they didn’t get their own sentence doesn’t mean they’re not awesome, it just means I have a lot more stuff to talk about.
Also, I’d like to mention a few sites in particular that I stopped and chatted with. One of them was a group talking about a project called Geneered, which looks awesome. Going to be a series, and possibly a cartoon at some point in the future, with genetically engineered people and a bunch of superhero types. It looked REALLY cool, and I hope that they will have lots of luck with their project, because I’d love to see what comes out of it. I also picked up a couple books called The Bear Stories, because…Well, I love bears. And this bear in particular seems to like swearing at people. Be warned, this is NSFW, but I laughed, so maybe you will too! They also gave me a free CD with some of chiptune music, so neat. The other site I wanted to mention was for a graphic novel called Yi Soon Shin, which appears to be about a real-life Korean general who won a battle against some crazy odds. Unfortunately I didn’t come across the book until my last day there, and was tapped for cash, but Josh liked what he saw, and picked it up. I plan to steal his copy of it, and maybe toss up a review on here when I’m done. Because hey, who doesn’t enjoy a good graphic novel? Plus apparently there’s a scene that the guy was trying to explain a pose to an artist, and had to look up porn to find someone doing the correct pose. And that just intrigues me.
So to the artists in your glorious alley, thank you all for being so pleasant and social. It makes your art connect with us on a much better level, and helps us appreciate it even more than we would already. And if you have artistic talent and an interest in trying out your own booth, I highly recommend it. Some of these people are here on their first year, some of them are returning from prior years, and I’m sure many of them would recommend it as well. And if you do decide to get your own booth, there are a few things to keep in mind. Get business cards. Seriously, I have picked up SO many business cards this weekend, and plan to check out each and every one of them. Business cards do help. Also, make sure you register as soon as you can, because these tables sell out fast. And lastly, be social! You want to connect with these people, not just make a sale. Also, happy people are much more likely to spend money anyways. But talk about it, show your passion, and people will walk away impressed.
Hm, let’s see, what else happened today. Ah, after we were testing the Aberrant Apothecary (boy is that fun to say), I happened to recognize somebody walking by. We were about to leave (the convention was closing for the evening), and I asked her if she used to work at a video game story near my old house. As it turned out, she did, and we chatted a bit. Small world. She was there with a group of LARPers, which we’re meeting with tomorrow, so I’m very much looking forward to doing a write-up about that. I have never seen actual LARPing, so I’m very excited. For those of you who are extremely confused right now, it stands for Live Action Role Playing. Think Dungeons and Dragons, but instead of sitting in a dark room rolling dice, you’re sword-fighting with foam swords and talking with people dressed in costumes, playing the part of your character. I’ve always been fascinated with the premise, and tomorrow will be the perfect opportunity to explore it a little further. Needless to say, I am excited.
Well, that about covers it for today. Time to get some sleep so I can get up bright and early and head in for my last day at the convention! LARPers, artists, and merch, oh my!
Best Part of Day 2: Chatting with the artists, and have a few good Star Wars conversations with a couple people we bumped into. Also going to the celebrity panels. Alan Tudyk was as amazing as expected, and the cast of Lost Girl was pleasant, funny, and witty.
Worst Part of Day 2: Oh god my ankles burn like fire. I am not used to this much walking. Today was easier, with the panels we attended and their chairs, but two days of standing and walking are beginning to take their toll on me.
Well, guess we’re getting near the end of this thing. And let me just say that I had an amazing time at my first ever convention, and I want to thank this website for giving me the opportunity to represent them there. So we showed up bright and early, and I meandered over to the press door that I’d gone through the first day. I sat around for fifteen minutes reading a Star Wars book, and when they opened the door and saw that I still had my press pass from Friday, they told me I could just go straight through the front door. So I ended up inside about an hour before the thing was properly opened. It was a little weird seeing the area with only staff and people setting up booths wandering around.
When things opened up and the others got in, Josh and I immediately headed back to Artist’s Alley. All things considered, this is where we spent the vast majority of our time at this convention, because the artists were just so damn pleasant. We swung by, talked to the dude selling the card game we played the day prior (whom we had dubbed ‘Apothecary Guy’), let him know that we’d tried out his game and enjoyed it. Always a pleasant fellow to chat with. There will be a link here, if Xerxes’ article is up about the game yet! Otherwise keep an eye out for it!
We also headed up to see the LARPers. They had two events set up for the day, one at noon and one at three. So we had to decide between John Barrowman and Cristopher Lloyd. Sorry Captain Jack, maybe next year. I still love you, though.
So Josh and I wandered over to the room they had booked, and checked inside. Tons of foam weapons. Needless to say, we began dueling immediately. We’ve had plenty of experience with fake swords from our old lightsaber dueling days. Don’t judge. We ended up breaking into groups of either heroes or monsters. Logically, I chose to be a monster. Josh decided that he was better suited to heroics. That’s all right, it gave me a chance to wail on him with a foam sword. And honestly, who could ask for anything else?
Things got started, and we played through a number of different scenarios, where the monsters ranged from alligators (with little alligator hats. seriously, this happened) to goblins. And it was SO MUCH FUN. A bunch of people swinging around foam weapons, yelling numbers, and tossing around small “spell” packets? Waaaaaaay more fun than it should have been. I’m probably not even doing it justice. Honestly, I could make an ENTIRE article about this, and hopefully will be doing that in the future. In fact, there’s a new player event that they’re hosting at the end of the month, and I’m trying to coerce as many friends as I can into attending it. If that is successful, that will be its own article right there. Could lead into an entire series of articles, if it goes as well as I hope it will! But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. The point is, LARPing was a lot of fun. Josh and I both had a blast, the people were really pleasant, and they also have a nifty website. By the time I bring this over from my template here to being on Ogeeku, there will be some links in there. And also, if you’re within driving distance of Puslinch, Ontario, consider coming out on the 23rd of September for the new player event. It’s free, and unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong, I will be there.
All right. So after the LARPing, Josh and I wandered outside seeking hot dogs from the hot dog stand that gave us all of our lunches during the convention, and hit the car for the sports drinks we had stashed in the trunk. After chugging one or two of those, we headed back inside, met up with Xerxes and his friend, and prepared for the Cristopher Lloyd panel. There was a rather large line waiting to get inside, but since we are press, we started our OWN line! With blackjack! And hookers! Okay, so maybe we just waited around next to another door that they didn’t plan on opening, which they then opened for us when we flashed our press passes. And they were really cool about that, too. They let us bring in some extra people, as only two of the four of us had press passes. Another woman even managed to slip in behind us, mistaking them opening the door for us for opening it for everyone. But she was pleasant, so we’re okay with that. You’re welcome, mystery lady! We got our seats up near the front, and settled in for the panel.
And man, we were not disappointed. Cristopher Lloyd is awesome. And surprisingly energetic. He didn’t sit down for the whole thing (again, that picture right above is from a different panel, which is why he is sitting there), choosing to stand on the stage closer to where people stepped up to ask their questions. He made us laugh, multiple times, and let slip that it seems he will be reprising his role as Doc Brown in another of Telltale’s games. Neat! He was even nice enough to say a few of his famous lines from Back to the Future. You’d think that at this point, he would be tired of saying “Great Scott!”, but he obliged us and even did the jaw-drop that goes with it. He graced us with a couple more of his lines, and a good time was had by all. And we were up in the second or third row for the whole thing! Thank you, press pass! It’s a shame we didn’t realize until the last day of the convention that the press passes can get us into things. But then, there’s always next year! Because oh yes, I plan to be back.
After the panel, we wandered around a bit, hung out with some of the artists, as per usual. We even offered to stick around and help a couple take down their stuff, but they seemed to have it all handled. Oh, and there was a booth that was just fantastic to me. I had bought a print from them on the first day (Bolin, from Legend of Korra, with roses in one hand and Pabu on his arm. If you’ve seen the show, you know EXACTLY which scene it is depicting), but the corners of the print got a little bent! I’d gone up to them at the end of the previous day to check if they had more of the prints in stock, and they did. So I popped by again today, and apparently they had mostly sold out, but they were saving their last print for me. I was REALLY appreciative, because it was one of my favourite prints from the convention. If you two stumble across this article, thank you both, so much. The slightly bent Bolin has a place on my wall, and the nice pristine one is awaiting a frame to keep it safe, sound, and awesome.
Sunday ended a little sooner than the previous days, closing two hours earlier than the previous days. But man, did we have a good time. Fan Expo was a wonderful experience, and was perfect for my first ever convention. I am already looking forward to going back next year, and hopefully using another press pass to slip past the lines again. Because man, if I could have skipped the line for Alan Tudyk on Saturday, I would have had another…hour and a half or so to explore the convention! But that line was still well worth it.
Best Part of Day 3: LARPing! Also, Cristopher Lloyd’s panel. And final chats with awesome artists!
Worst Part of Day 3: I was so tired by the end of this. I just had no energy left. And also we discovered that we missed our very own Beergutz, who had a booth! It would have been awesome to chat with her, maybe hang out one day after the thing wrapped up.
And now at the end of the article, I will toss in any pictures that I couldn’t fit in anywhere else! Because I can!