I had a blast last week when I went out of town to attend the 10th anniversary Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo with a few of my friends, my second-ever Expo experience. They mocked me for bringing my ginormous suitcase, but after four days of buying items at the “Con”, all of my shit still fit in one bag. Just sayin’. For anyone unfamiliar with this event, it’s about the oddest, awesomest, geekiest way to spend a weekend. Thousands of people converge on the Expo grounds over four days to mingle, shop, and attend panels hosted by actors, authors, and industry leaders.
The panels are my favourite part. This year I had a chance to be part of Neil Patrick Harris’ video message to his kids, hear Hayley Atwell speak beautifully about female empowerment, appreciate G.o.T. actress Gwendoline Christie’s genuine surprise to see so many fans, and watch David Morrissey crack jokes with Scott Wilson. If you watch The Walking Dead, you know why that’s funny. I also got to see Jewel Staite, Jason Momoa, Graham McTavish, Brett Dalton and Ming-Na Wen. The panels gave me an inside scoop on some of my favourite stars that went beyond what you can usually dig up online, and the chance to see these people just be themselves was really fantastic.
Of course, no Con would be complete without my second favourite thing: spending lots of dough on shiny things. I spent a lot of time checking out the exhibitor tables this year; some of them sold items you can definitely find online for less, but the majority of them were artists and artisans selling unique items made with their own two hands. I not only had the chance to find one-of-a-kind pieces of art and jewellery, but I also got to personally tell the artists how much I appreciated their work. My best acquisition this year was this beautiful wolf’s head, handmade over more than 22 hours by one man and his scroll saw. The artist is the one who sold it to me, and his humble smile when I told him his work was amazing was the best part of my whole trip.
There’s just one thing that was kind of bizarre. This time around, my friends talked me into shelling out for a V.I.P. ticket. They told me it would come with a pretty great swag bag and an improved Con experience. What they didn’t tell me was how much I’d feel like an ass hole when the prestige bestowed by my V.I.P. lanyard let me skip literally any line anywhere, regardless of how long everyone else might already have been waiting, and enjoy priority seating at all of those amazing panels. For some reason, I even got to buy my coffee first!
But while I was a little unsettled by that kind of treatment, the rest of the weekend was pretty amazeballs. If you’re the kind of person who gets really excited about the geekier side of life, you should definitely check out your nearest Con. There’s just so much to see and do, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
PS – If you’re a good little geek, my post title got “So They Say” from Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog stuck in your head. You’re welcome.