I have a lot of love for conventions (I even wrote a play about one – 2007’s GeekGasm at the Toronto Fringe Festival). Getting caught up in the atmosphere of positive energy at these events really recharges my batteries. If you’ve never been to a con, I can’t recommend it enough. At the risk of sounding flaky, they really do feel like a gathering of the nerd tribes, and I think a lot of what I love about the atmosphere comes from the carnival-like vibe and the opportunity for those attending to openly express their geeky passions without self-consciousness or irony.
This weekend I was a part of the horde that descended on downtown Toronto for Fan Expo (cheers to all the folks I got the chance to chat with). For those unfamiliar with the convention, Fan Expo is essentially Canada’s version of Comic-Con with the unique feature of bringing together the fandoms of comics, science fiction, anime, horror and gaming under one roof. That mixing of genres is one of the reasons I try and attend Fan Expo every year – not only do my own interests cross many of those borders, but I appreciate the opportunity to be exposed to something new that I wouldn’t necessarily have encountered in my own circles.
As usual Fan Expo did not disappoint, and I’m happy to say that gamers were especially well represented this year with an excellent roster of celebrity guests and seminars (I’ll cover that specifically in part two). For now, here are the highlights (please excuse my crappy photography).
I am continually impressed by the great costumes I see at cons. Seriously, these costumes aren’t only a great showcase of artistic talent and attention to detail but also a triathlon-level display of endurance and fortitude (shuffling around for eight hours with thousands of people is hard enough when you can breathe properly and use the bathroom easily). I salute you! (click to enlarge)
Hasbro were in full effect with a large pavilion on the show floor and some great Lego displays. Too bad WOTC weren’t there to join them.
There was a wicked Frankenweenie pavilion with sets and stop-motion models from the upcoming film. The level of detail was incredible, and since most of it will probably be impossible to see in the movie it was nice to have the opportunity to appreciate it up close (any props you see with writing on them are actually legible – most filled with references to Burton’s body of work).
Toronto After Dark
A personal highlight at this year’s Fan Expo was finally meeting Adam Lopez and the rest of the folks from the Toronto After Dark film festival for a face to face chat. Not only did they have one of the coolest t-shirt designs at the con (Cthulhu devouring the Bloor Cinema), I was able to get the scoop on the festival’s first 10 films: Rec 3: Genesis, Excision, Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning (featuring the return of Dolph Lundgren and Jean Claude-Van Damme!), Grabbers, A Fantastic Fear of Everything, Dead Sushi, Doomsday Book, Wrong, Lloyd the Conqueror, and Sushi Girl. A very promising lineup. With the addition of the Darkcade (a showcase of indie video games), things are shaping up very nicely for the festival in October.