Awesome Con 2017- Day 2

Saturday, Day 2:
I spent the night driving around dead bodies in the streets and saving my town and my daughter from tiny glowing balls that were trying to invade our bodies. So I woke up exhausted and shaken from my nightmare. But David Tennant was speaking at 10:30, so I got my butt out of bed. I hauled myself to the Metro and arrived at 8am. However, I just missed a train by 3 minutes and had to wait 17 minutes for the next one. Even worse, there was an issue with the trains when I tried to transfer and it was 40 minutes until the next Yellow train I needed arrived. So I didn’t get to the convention center until 9:35, which was when the doors were supposed to open for seating. As I arrived in the registration hall, I heard one of the best quotes of the con from one of the volunteers “David Tennant is by the garage door!” It was only to indicate that’s where the end of the line to see him currently was.

I hurried over to the pretty sizable line that was weaving from one side of the room to the other. I heard my name called and turned to see a friend from grad school I hadn’t seen in over 10 years! It’s great running into people at cons, but I was still in my one track mind of “must get to end of line!” During the next hour, nearly the entire room filled up with the line and, as far as I saw, every one of the 5,000 seats ended up being filled. The line volunteers were amazing, though, packing us all in there and keeping order. They would say things like “Welcome to the line! This is all part of the experience!” and “You’re doing great! You’re almost there!” VIPS got in first. Not including them, I think I was about a third of the way from the front. There was a WHOLE LOT of line behind me; I cannot imagine much of that portion got in.

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There were some nice cosplayers in line near me, including a Rory & Amy Pond, a Kaylee & Jayne, and one of the kids from Stranger Things. I got into a short discussion with someone in line segment across from mine about Sense8 because I overheard the name of the show being spoken and literally butted right into the conversation he was having with the person next to him in line. Fun fact: I WILL NEVER PASS UP AN OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH ANYONE ABOUT SENSE8! The line was long and moved slowly. It dawned on me, after a while, that I might not get in at all. I’d told myself that my biggest rule of the weekend was to have fun and not be disappointed if I couldn’t see everything I wanted. So I was sad at the realization but also working through all the other things going on that morning that I could do instead. In the end, my section of the line was let in and directed all the way over to the far side of the room where there were a few free seats. About 30 seconds after we walked in, David Tennant took the stage. It still took me a couple minutes to get to a seat, but I didn’t miss a thing. YAY!

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10:30 AM-11:15 AM David Tennant Explores Time and Space

It was fantastic seeing the actor who portrays my favorite doctor in person, talking about his acting career and portraying the doctor. I loved his answer regarding how it’s possible to play a character that has lived so long and knows everything: You can’t really research being a time lord. It’s hard to convey the knowledge of millennia in a look, so you have to play him as a person yearning for discovery with brilliance and intellectual heft. His advice to actors was bold and honest: 1-don’t be late 2-learn your lines, 3-don’t be an arsehole. And, FYI, I’d love to read a Shakespearean take on the Marvel Universe. “I’d love to see Peter Parker get bitten by a spider in iambic pentameter.”

The fortunate part of sitting at the very end of the room meant I was one of the first ones out the door when the event was over. So I went straight downstairs and got into line for Felicia Day’s Q&A and got a great spot in line. The room filled up entirely, every seat taken, so I felt lucky to get one.

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12:00 PM-12:45 PM Felicia Day Q&A
Felicia was a little late, because of autograph signing, but she was apologetic and immediately commented on the DC humidity (which I hate too) “This is how Aquaman lives. It’s not good!” LOL She had a lot of great lines… “If you mess your kid up a little bit, they’ll be more interesting.” “I got to play [Charlie] for four seasons–that’s a good track record for a female on Supernatural!” “The gender balance is better now and no one is the worse for it.” “We’re all here to enjoy that thing we all enjoy together.” Felicia was a great mix of kind and funny and clever. It was like listening to her book again only there she was in person.

I headed straight for the Legendary Comics event line after this and talked a lot with a guy behind me in line. It’s SO NICE to be able to talk Classic Who with fans now and actually know what I’m talking about. And it’s also just so nice to be able to talk Classic Who with anyone, actually. He showed me some of the great photos he took of the Doctor Who Experience which he’d been to… did he say 4 times? It was either 3 or 4. At any rate, it was a great conversation and a lovely way to pass the time in line. I believe this line is also where I spotted someone cosplaying as an Ewok and that was awesome.

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1:15 PM-2:00 PM Legendary Comics: Monsters & Myths
Honestly, I didn’t know anything at all about Legendary Comics, but I definitely enjoyed getting to hear the creative team talk about their project, Firebrand. Urban fantasy is my favorite genre, and it was great to hear about the world of magic and sumernatural they created. And part of it takes place in the Seattle Underground, which I’ve been in. What a brilliant place to set it! I also like that it’s a 3-woman creation team responsible for it. They definitely sold me on Firebrand.

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Legendary Comics 1Of course, the real reason I was in attendance was because I wanted to see John and Carole Barrowman. I missed Carole’s Q&A earlier, so this was my chance to see her. And I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to get into John’s Q&A later, so this was my chance to see him again. I AM SO GLAD I WENT! They talked about their new project, Cursed, and I was hooked from word one. John entered wearing a kilt and sporran (I couldn’t get a good photo from where I was sitting, sorry). Then, with mood music and mood lighting as well, he proceeded to give the introduction to the series. As someone who slept with a poster of Scotland over her bed for all of her years as a teen, the quickest way to my heart is to say “Bonnie Prince Charlie” in a thick Scottish accent. And, yep, there was John doing just that. Cursed involves Bonnie Prince Charlie just after the Battle of Culloden when something supernatural happens to curse his descendants. The story takes place in modern day with one of these descendants, Charlie Stewart, who falls victim to the curse. So it’s got history and Celtic legends and supernatural elements and drama all wrapped into one. It’s like they’re writing it just for me! What a joy it was to hear them talk about it and answer questions in a more informal setting as well. They talked about working together on projects (it involves teasing and lots of wine) and about what makes good sci-fi (the story) and what they have in common (a love for Kit and Game of Thrones). And I hope to never lose the memory of John in a kilt, thrusting his pelvis at the mention of his photo op with David Tennant later. LOL

I attempted to get into Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding, but when I arrived at the room, it was filled to capacity and there was a short overflow line already. It was only about 10 people long, but there was no knowing if anyone inside would leave. So I decided not to wait around just in case. I had things to do! I bought an expensive and not very tasty vegetable wrap from the food cart near the meeting rooms and borrowed some space on a bench next to a nice gentleman by the street level windows. I ate and watched a whole family of cosplayers working on their outfits, including applying more makeup to an adorable Beast Boy.

Then I headed to the exhibit hall with one mission: find the Supernatural Impala and sit inside it. I was shocked to learn the evening of Day 1 that I’d somehow missed seeing the Impala… so I desperately needed to fix this situation. I did indeed find it (and ran into another friend who, like me, was skipping out on library volunteering that day in order to attend the convention). There were actor-worn outfits you could put on to pose for photos in the car, but I didn’t really care about the photo op (and putting on clothes that tons of fangirls put on didn’t really appeal to me either, though I did pet them a little). What was exciting to me was being INSIDE the Impala. They did a great job tricking it out–cassette tapes, visors signed by cast/crew, a duffle in the backseat, a trunk full of hunter necessities. It was amazing to just get those details that you only get from being there–how soft the steering wheel was, how much give/slidy-ness the seats had, how close the seat and steering wheel were to each other, how the door latch worked, etc. I didn’t take nearly enough photos and felt too shy to go back and take more. And my time inside is kind of a blur because I was so thrilled. But it was SO WORTH IT.

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While I was searching for the Impala, I noticed a mother and daughter pair carrying a gorgeous Hamilton art print. Naturally, I stopped them to ask where they’d bought it. So after enjoying sitting in the Impala and internally squeeing SO HARD, I went in search of the exhibit space. Just when I thought I wouldn’t find it, I stumbled upon it (almost literally; the art was displayed up on the walls of the space but also on mats on the floor. I checked out all his pieces, and I loved some of the Harry Potter ones. But, ultimately, I bought the Hamilton one. The artist had a lovely conversation with me about how the current state of things (how we’re blaming immigrants) is really just a repeat of what we’ve seen before and how it has not gone well historically when society tries to use minorities as scapegoats. Among the examples we were throwing back and forth, he mentioned the Polish and I said I was Irish and he said “Well then you know!” as if I’d been there at the turn of the century in person to have lived through that discrimination. Or as if what the Irish faced upon coming to America could even begin to compare with what Africans had to go through in this country. Not that ANYONE’S struggle is any less valid than anyone else’s. But the point is, people forget that this is not new to our country. It was definitely an enjoyable and spirited conversation.

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I headed back upstairs to the main hall so that I wouldn’t miss Jason David Frank, the Green/White Power Ranger. Power Rangers was definitely a presence in my formative years, and I loved the green ranger (though, to be fair, I loved them ALL. And while Tommy Oliver was probably at the top of my list if I’d had to rank them, I don’t really remember playing favorites). By the time I got there, they had already started seating, but there was a line formed outside the Main Stage. A volunteer was asking everyone if they were there for JDF or John Barrowman. It was only 3:30 and John Barrowman was going on at 5:30, but there was already a line for his Q&A! I headed in but heard the people behind me answer “JDF or Barrowman?” with “Uhhhhh green power ranger guy?” LOL The place was definitely not full, so I needn’t have worried. I sat down and waited. And waited. And waited.

The Wait
While waiting in the Main Stage room, advertisements/messages were displayed on the big screens. It was lovely to have something to watch to pass the time. And I’ve captured them below for the full con experience because I was there for at least an hour, waiting for Jason David Frank and got to know them quite intimately:
Is Japan Cool?- Here are some cosplayers from all over the world for no explained reason but in Japan. People seated in front of Kate remark: these are characters from very old fandoms…
Baby Driver Trailer- Oh, here’s the trailer for that movie they talked about in the event you didn’t go to. It’s a heist movie with lots of driving. Uh huh. The cast is decent though. And it’s got a good look. And the music is neat.
Crystal TARDIS- David Tennant at a booth! Crystal TARDIS! *shows picture of a crystal TARDIS figure with Peter Capaldi’s doctor inside, not David Tennant’s* Your doctor preserved in crystal forever! That doesn’t sound creepy at all! He’ll be PRESERVED. *shows more of Peter Capaldi’s doctor in a TARDIS* And when the lights turn off… *shows Peter Capaldi’s doctor in a TARDIS glowing blue* It glows! *shows the stand that makes it glow with Peter Capaldi’s doctor, taking away all the magic of the glowing illusion previously showed* Get yours today! *quickly finally shows the one with David Tennant*
Is Japan Cool?- Here’s a guy who owns a noddle cart sets up for the day and makes bowls of soba and ramen for his customers. Awww.
Emoji Movie Trailer- You’re going to laugh not just at the jokes in the trailer but at the fact that we actually came up with a decent plot for an emoji movie. Seriously. Also Patrick Stewart does the voice of Poop. You’re so there, right?
Planetarium- Have you been here yet? You’re at a sci-fi con, so you probably love space. Come see the planetarium!
Baby Driver Trailer- Hmm, this actually looks good, doesn’t it? And it’s got some interesting reviews. And it’s fun to say Tequila every time Jamie Foxx says it in the trailer. Maybe you’ll remember to put it on your Netflix queue.
Is Japan Cool?- Here are some reasons to come to Japan: Sumo wrestlers, harajuku girls, this tower in the distance, um… pubs? You like those, don’t you? Oh busy scramble street crossings. Um… capsule hotels? Crap, we’re running out of reasons. Umm…. vending machines! We’ve got those! Seriously, just come to Japan. Please. It’s cool. We promise.
Awesome Con 2018- Next year, we are taking the exact weekend that the Association of Writers & Writing Programs conference had this year in 2017. And probably Kate is the only one in attendance to realize this.
Is Japan Cool?- We have cosplayers! People in front of Kate: these costumes are really old and outdated
Baby Driver Trailer- Oh man. This movie looks awesome. This shit is bananas, dawg! It uses music the way the rest of us use air! Tequila! I mean, look at him driving! This is amazing. Tequila! That’s some Oscar shit right there! What the fffffff?!
Main stage schedule for the day- here are some events you might have missed or might be sitting here waiting for at this very second. Just in case you’ve forgotten why you’re still sitting here here
Great Courses- Hey, we know you want to learn some things! We have a way for you to learn it with no tests. A geeky guy like me? I’m going to want to dive into as many as possible!
Is Japan Cool?- Seriously, we’re not sure yet. We need more validation from you. How about we give the winner of the costume contest a free trip to Japan? Do you love us yet?
Costumes are Not Consent!- Speaking of which, if you’re being harassed, see a staff or member of the Brute Squad for help
Baby Driver Trailer- HOT DAMN YOU HAVE TO GO SEE THIS MOVIE NOW! WHEN IS IT COMING OUT? YOU ARE PRETTY SURE THIS IS GOING TO BE THE BEST MOVIE EVER!!

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?-? PM Jason David Frank Q&A
Just as I was beginning to get annoyed, he finally showed up. Apparently, he’d been tied up signing autographs. Which, yeah, I get. He gets paid to do those. But unlike Felicia Day who was a few minutes late and very apologetic and had sent word to us explaining why she’d be a little late, JDF just rushed in and was all over the place and not that apologetic. He kept talking to his assistant/companion/manager (no idea; he never bothered introducing her to us) and trying to get Facebook Live up so he could run contests on it during the panel. And, yeah, I get it. He was flustered and has ADD and his mind was probably in twenty places at once… but I felt a little offended that he wasn’t giving us a little more respect and appreciation for turning up to see him and waiting through a hell of a lot of self-doubting advertisements for Japan. I dunno. Maybe I just expected someone more professional or maybe more calm and centered as someone so studied in the martial arts. He did do a good job talking to some of the fans who were… well, more obsessed than I am, let’s put it that way. And he gave away two headshots. But he didn’t start off with an intro to his recent work/projects, just jumped right in assuming we had some idea who Bloodshot was (maybe that makes me a bad fan for not knowing, so it’s partly my fault). And he did give a lot of good advice about being positive “I can. I will.” and “At the end of the day, it’s about fun and making you happy, not money.” It all sounded great… but it just didn’t ring as true as it could have, I guess, if he’d respected out time and shown up on time. He did make me laugh when he was talking about being asked who would win in a fight, the green ranger or the white ranger. “Me! They’re both me. I’d win!” And of course, there was also the universal truth of “Spandex don’t lie!” In the end, I think he did the best he could to save the event. I’ve just never seen an actor treat his fans quite like this at a Q&A before so I hadn’t expected it. But actors are allowed to be imperfect people too; I don’t want to be too hard on him. But I didn’t really enjoy hearing him speak the way I’d hoped to.

I used the back doors of the room as a shortcut to get into line for John Barrowman, which worked out wonderfully. I remembered standing in line to see John Barrowman at Awesome Con last year and looking up toward the food place to see one of my friends sitting and eating. I looked up this time and there she was again! Ha! Plus, I definitely got in, despite not having stood in line at 3:30.

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?-? PM John Barrowman Q&A
JohnBarrowman2As always, John was hoot. He was dressed as a TARDIS and in high heels. He even brought his husband out, who was dressed in Captain Jack’s greatcoat and little on underneath (Scott must have an amazing amount of energy and patience to keep up with that man!). John told some extremely entertaining stories. He sang “I am what I am.” He gave great, inspiring advice as well. John is just a born entertainer and loves feeding off his fans’ energy. I went a little super-fangirly when he mentioned that S.E. Hinton messages him on Twitter (SQUEEEE!). I laughed at his story about his 50th birthday party (Stephen Amell in a speedo sounds like a great birthday present for him), about him getting the call about being in Doctor Who, and about him trying to find the gas tank on his DeLorean. I took 4 pages of notes, actually, so I’m having trouble trying to sum it all up. But: his thoughts on the recent Star Wars movies are similar to mine, he would like to kick the crap out of Nazis with Captain America and have Captain Jack trick Hitler into committing suicide, he would like to play Charlie if there were an adaptation of Cursed, he also associates Australians with Tim-Tams, he deliberately backed up onto Daleck wisks because the operators inside can’t look away, and his story about meeting Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) in Who Tower where she greeted him simply with a nod and the word “Captain” is just amazing. But the best part of the whole thing was when the kid was upset upon learning that Malcolm Merlin was not going to come back to Arrow and John got down and hugged him because he was upset about it too. I LOVE that he understands that characters he plays mean so much to the fans. There were also some great LGBTQ-friendly moments. “Your sexuality doesn’t define who you are. Your heart does. The rest is icing on the cake” and “If someone doesn’t like you for who you are, tell them to piss off.” The Q&A really ran me through every possible emotion.

I was feeling good upon leaving. His Q&A was supposed to run from 5:30-6:15, and at 6:15, Wil Wheaton was having his Q&A downstairs. But when I looked at my watch upon getting downstairs, it was already 6:55! Jason David Frank’s lateness must have thrown everything off, and I hadn’t even been looking at the time to realize it. Luckily, I was right outside the room I wanted to be in for a 7 PM event.

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7:00 PM-7:45 PM Slash of Our Ancestors: History of Fanfic
A few minutes into the panel, a friend appeared in the doorway and took the seat beside me. He said to me “I figured if I was going to run into any [members of the Harry Potter group] it would be here.” LOL! I love running into friends at cons. Anyway, this was an interesting panel about the history of fanfiction, with a particular emphasis on slash fanfiction. The talk went from zines to archives to message boards to LJ to AO3. “You know you’ve built a useful internet tool when people start putting fanfic in it.” There was also some good analysis of fanfic itself–how attitudes in society get reflected in fanfic and so some tropes aren’t used any more, about the rules of fanfic (rule 1- punctuate; rule 2-don’t tell the actors), how it’s becoming normalized but there’s still a stigma, how it created a safe space for queers to explore, how we used to kill off wives and now just write threesomes, how quality/standards are different because we can’t mentor new fans any more, and how terms themselves have changed (actorfic=RPS), and how anime’s fic culture evolved differently. I also came out of it with a handful of recs I now need to track down.

We headed to the room the next event I wanted to attend was being held in in time to catch the ending of MAGfest’s event where people got to use green screen and actually be in a video game. That was pretty cool!

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8:15 PM-9:00 PM The Shipping Game Live!
Run by geek dating site DragonFruit, this was a card game similar to Slash, which I’d just played the first time last week with my Harry Potter group at our annual Game Day event. In this version, cards were drawn from a large deck of characters and one person had to argue the pairing as an OTP while the other had to argue NOTP. Then we audience members decided the winner. I find shipping across fandoms a lot of fun in games like this, but especially when it results in an interesting, viable pairing. I was shocked when the audience did not go for Clark Kent/Iron Man! In fact, the audience voted NOTP on nearly every pairing but the last two. They didn’t go for Princes Zelda/Black Panther despite the fact that they’re both royalty. And I can’t remember what they decided regarding Han Solo/Moaning Myrtle. It was a lot of fun listening to pro & con arguments for these crazy pairings.

We were headed to the same Metro stop, so we called it a night and traveled back home. The wait to switch trains was not as long as the night before (probably because it was a little earlier), and it was nice to have the company. I made a late night Walmart run and then still did another load of laundry when I finally got home around 10:30.

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