Entertainment, life, travel

Con, Con, Everywhere a Con

In a few weeks my next adventure will be going back down to California to visit my cousin for four days, with one of them being spent at WonderCon at the Anaheim Convention Center. I am not sure what to expect from this convention as it will be my first time attending and all I know is that it is put on by Comic-Con International, who runs the huge San Diego show. I am really into pop culture and these conventions have become  favorite events to go to. Going to panels, walking the exhibit floor, sharing experiences with people and seeing all the art that people come up with are some of my favorite things about the conventions. I have been to many different ones on the west coast and it got me thinking about my favorite and my not so favorite. Here are the ones I have frequented and my thoughts on them.

San Diego Comic Con SDCC has definitely been the best con I have been to and it is a ‘you must go at least once in your life’ convention. It is pretty big and a lot of people attend. You definitely have to be ready to be surrounded by people almost the whole time, be ready to sleep outside in line to get into panels that are on your bucket list and be ready not to eat a decent meal for a couple of days because you are spending hours in Hall H to watch panels or hours in line. I know, this all sounds horrible, but I have honestly had the most amazing times in the years that I have gone. The con is four days, always held in July and registration for tickets is usually early in the year. It is a good idea to scope out hotel/airline prices right after you get tickets. My first time going was with my best friends in 2010 (you can read about my full experience here) and we were easily able to get four-day passes with preview night almost a year before the con (this was the only time going to SDCC that this happened for me). I got the idea of going from the coverage of it in Entertainment Weekly and pitched it to my friends the summer before.  We managed to see a lot of fun panels  and I got to attend a couple of fun parties. It was an awesome first experience.

I have been back twice with my cousin, scoring a Thursday ticket in 2013  and then somehow managing to get all four days in 2014. Even though we only went one day in 2013, we saw a few movie panels and got a lot of cool stuff from walking the floor. The 2014 trip was awesome because we saw almost all of the panels that were on our list. This was my first year of sleeping outside, which I had vowed I would not do, but if you have your heart set on seeing certain things then you have to make sacrifices! In two days we only got eight hours of sleep, but it had been totally worth it. We were able to see some pretty awesome movie panels like Marvel (Ant-Man and Avengers), The Hobbit, Mad Max and some cool TV panels; Game of Thrones, the Walking Dead, the last Sons of Anarchy panel and a special WB panel of Gotham, The Flash and Arrow.

 

We have tried every year since to go back and have not had any luck getting tickets. This has become a huge downside to this con. It has become so popular that now it is difficult to go. They changed their ticketing soon after the first time I had gone to an open registration and you have to sign up for a member id through the SDCC website. The ticket site is now a randomized system where you log in, you get placed in a virtual line and you basically sit in front of your computer for an hour waiting to be picked to buy tickets or wait for the site to tell you it is sold out. It is a frustrating system! But, San Diego is still a fun place to go and even if you only get a one day ticket or nothing at all, there is still so much outside of the con and you never know what cool things you will get to see or the people you will meet. It is helpful to follow the San Diego Comic-Con Unofficial Blog for updates on the convention and when open registration will be.

Rose City Comic Con – It was exciting when this started in Portland and every year has been a good show. After more people showed up than anticipated in 2012, the first year it started, they wisely moved it from the Double Tree to the convention center which definitely provided more space. The convention center floor is very open and I never feel like I am too crowded when trying to navigate it. RCCC is slowly getting bigger and they have definitely improved the show over the years when it comes to guests. It is nice to have a local con and to support local artists and shops. It runs in September and this year has been expanded to three days.

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Batmobile at RCCC

Emerald City Comic Con – ECCC happens in March and is a four day convention. I like going to Seattle and a lot of my friends go to this con too so having a group of people there makes it even more fun. I have gone a few times since 2011, but it has been getting more crowded and Seattle is becoming more expensive to stay the weekend. Usually it is who the guests are that help me decide on going. They do always have cool exhibits, like a Lego display or costumes from a movie, and they have a ton of vendors and artists in the exhibit hall. Plus, Seattle has so much to do in the city in case you need a break from the madness. One of the highlights from attending has been meeting John Noble and Jasika Nicole from Fringe. They were two of the nicest people and I got a photo with them, plus they were nice enough to sign it for me right before the convention closed for the day.

 

 

Wizard World Comic Con This may have been the con where I got to meet the Chris’, but I find the Wizard World ones over priced and unorganized. WW does events throughout the year in different US cities. My first WW was in 2015 in Portland and I went because of the guests. In 2016, they were adding people from the Marvel casts to almost every city but Portland. My best friend and I wanted nothing more than to take a picture with Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth so we ended up canceling all of our Emerald City Con plans (we had everything booked!) to go to Philadelphia. While touring the city and eating Philly cheesesteak was a lot of fun, the convention was frustrating. We decided to only go for one day since we had limited time and ended up spending most of the convention in line due to photo ops being so behind. There were so many people waiting for pictures and the lines were still huge after we had gotten done. The picture itself was so fast; being a hi,  get ready, snap the photo, out the door. The night before we had talked about how we wanted to pose, but when it came time for the picture we had no time to ask and both of us could not even say one word to either of the Chris’ anyway! At other cons, I have actually gotten a chance to talk to people who I was taking a picture with or getting an autograph from so it was a little disappointing.

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Our Chris pic

Everything was running behind by almost two hours and there was barely time to see all of the exhibitors on the floor between my photo and autograph. Then by the time I had gotten done, the convention was closing. I read some stories online later on about how some people got turned away from the photo ops they paid for because the guests  were out of time and had to be somewhere else. The upside of the weekend was being in a new city. I did have a great time with my friends and had good chats with people I had met in line so not all of it was frustrating. I did not attend the show this year in Portland and if I do attend this con again, it will definitely depend on the guests because $50 for just one day is too much!

I have had a lot of fun at conventions and love going. What makes it even better is having friends who are just as nerdy as I am and love to go too. I am excited for WonderCon and will probably attend Rose City again this year. I hope to some day get back to San Diego and some day attend the New York City Comic Con.

 

 

Entertainment, travel

Final Comic-Con thoughts

My last thoughts on Comic-Con with my favorite/least favorite moments and some more pictures of the favorite/cool things I saw. Would I do it again? Most definitely! I think this was a learning year and I know now what to do/what not to do.

Favorites:

Meeting Nathan Fillion: I had a bummer of a day on Friday when I couldn’t get into True Blood autographs or the panel. It made my day seeing him and getting his autograph. He was one of the people who was on my list of “celebrities I would want to meet.”

Castle panel: Another Nathan Fillion choice! He was very entertaining and they gave out a cool Castle water bottle. They teased a little from season three and they made him and Stana Katic read out of “Heat Wave”. Probably was my favorite panel.

Thursday, Hall H: I really loved listening to everybody talk; alot of the celebrities on the panels had some interesting things to say. It was worth sitting there all day and the three hour line wait. Expendables was highly enjoyable with all the stories going around about filming; seeing Tron footage was cool too. Loved listening to JJ Abrams and Joss Whedon talk about their projects and their thoughts on movies, tv and each other.

EW/CBS Fandemonium party: This was the highlight of my evening festivities I participated in. Entertainment Weekly sure knows how to treat their fans. On top of free snacks and drinks they added the CBS celebrities to the mix and an awesome swag bag. I got to meet my favorite columnists and loved chatting with them about television. Also met some cool girls that I hung out with for the night (which added on to the fact that most people I met were really nice and liked to chat).

Vampire Diaries autographs: This surely was an accomplishment! I didn’t want to give up on this and even though the mob was atrocious, I ended up getting what I wanted. All you have to do is wait it out! Loved talking to Ian Somerhalder.

Least favorite things:

LINES: Some of these are terrible! There is a line for everything including going down the escalator and crossing the street. I always felt like there was a line to get into a line.

The WB booth: I loathed this booth the whole weekend. If I go back next year, I am going to skip autographs and go to the panels. I don’t know if it is worth it being squished for almost an hour. I know that both WB and the security tried their best but they really need to move this booth somewhere you can have an organized line. They need to designate a better time and place.

Not getting back into Hall H on Saturday: I had already been into the hall in the morning, but because of the stabbing incident I missed out on the biggest event later in the evening which was the assembling of the Avengers. Also missed out on Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. I think I have learned my lesson on leaving my Hall H seat when you know something big is going down later in the day.

Missing out on True Blood: The one thing that I was looking forward to the most and I didn’t get to see any of it. If I go back next year I will definitely need to prioritize better.

Here are some of my favorite things that I saw like props and costumes with the mix of celebrity sightings. 

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Entertainment, travel

My Travels: Comic-Con Adventures

Airport welcome

I decided to write about everything after the week was over because I didn’t have time to do it! There are a couple of things that I learned at my first Comic-Con. One, if you have a seat in Hall H and something awesome is coming up, then don’t leave. Two, no matter how perfect your schedule is and how many things there are that you would want to see, it can’t happen. There is a lot of decision making when it comes to Comic-Con; for me it involved TV vs. movies or panels vs. autographs. This is going to be a long one, so bear with me!

Finally aquired the bag I wanted!

Wednesday, preview night: For Wednesday it was basically our walk around the exhibit hall night. We got into San Diego in the afternoon and Addie and Anna were kind enough to let us store our bags in their room until our room was ready. We headed over to the convention center to check in and discovered a handy trolley system not far from our hotel that would drop us off in front of the convention center. We walked around the hall for the evening and checked out all of the vendors while being handed tons of swag. I had so much stuff by the end of the night I was already thinking about where I would store it on the way home. Including the ridiculous sized bags that we got, I ended up with four of them by the end of the weekend. It took me two hours to find the Vampire Diaries one I wanted and finally some guy traded me his bag. I got to try Pinkberry frozen yogurt for the first time and it was so good I went back again two nights later! We also had our needed In and Out burger for dinner. Overall it was a fun night.

Thursday: Big movie day. Dan, Mindy and I got to the Hall H line about seven and it was good that we got up early. Hall H is where all of the movie panels happen and there are ridiculous lines outside to get in. We waited almost three hours and actually scored decent seats and in between panels scored even better seats. On the agenda was some pretty good stuff. Megamind was first with the attendance of Will Ferrell, Tina Fey, Jonah Hill and a life-size cardboard Brad Pitt. Will Ferrell and Tina Fey were pretty funny together and I loved it when Tina stroked the cardboard Brad while it was on her lap. She said it was “something I always wanted to do.”

Jeff Bridges in attendence

Tron was after and I really liked the panel. They showed eight minutes of footage and the new trailer in 3D. I am pretty excited for this movie and it looked amazing. Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen were all in attendance. Jeff Bridges gave us a lecture on recycling plastic water bottles, thought that was interesting. Battle: Los Angeles and Salt were next with Aaron Eckhart/Michelle Rodriguez for Battle and Angelina Jolie/Liev Schreiber for Salt.  Battle: Los Angeles reminded me of District 9 and it looked pretty cool. I don’t love Angelina, but it was interesting to hear her talk about all the stunt work she did for the movie. It was impressive.

Bruce Willis, Helen Mirren, Karl Urban and Mary Louise Parker showed up for Red. After seeing a better trailer, I am more interested in seeing the movie. All of the cast were entertaining during the panel. Bruce Willis seems like a leader and a chill guy. Karl Urban is awesome and he even yelled out “are you out of your Vulcan minds.” I can’t wait for another Star Trek. Love him! It is cool to see Helen Mirren in a bad-ass role when she normally plays, well, the queen of England! It should be an entertaining movie. After Red was the awesome JJ Abrams/Joss Whedon panel moderated by my favorite Entertainment Weekly writer Jeff “Doc” Jensen. It was cool to see them talk about movies, their work and how much they like and respect each other’s work. It was cool hearing about Lost from JJ Abrams and how much he loved the finale.

Expendables men

The Expendables was the last movie panel that I attended for the day. The moderator’s first thought about the movie was “it is an old school kick ass movie”. Randy Couture, Dolph Lundgren, Terry Crews, Steve Austin and Sylvester Stallone were all there with Bruce Willis stopping by for a quick cameo. It was definitely a man’s panel! It was pretty entertaining though and they showed some cool fight scene footage. When Sylvester Stallone walked in everybody started chanting “Rocky”. It was pretty awesome. He also talked about how there was always a hospital trip for someone during shooting the film and that Steve Austin broke his neck in a fight scene! These guys are hard core. I had to leave the panel early and missed out on more footage but only because I was going to an Entertainment Weekly/CBS party.

Celebrities in attendence at the EW party

I was one of the lucky two hundred fans to get in thanks to EW writer Michael Ausiello and seeing his post on Twitter. I have to give props to EW and I like them even more now because they know how to treat their fans. They did free drinks and free food along with appearances from actors of Criminal Minds, NCIS, the Big Bang Theory and Hawaii Five-O. It was so cool seeing Daniel Dae Kim (Jin from Lost) in person. I didn’t get to get a picture with him but did snag one with Jerry O’Connell and he gave me a high five. I also met Jeff Jensen, Lost fanatic/writer for EW and Michael Ausiello. I told Doc Jensen how much I loved his writing and his passion for Lost. I also told him how much my sister Beth liked him too and he told me to say hi to her! She enjoyed that. Both of them signed my EW issue I brought with me and Michael Ausiello was fun to talk to. They gave out an awesome swag bag too complete with a Survivor buff. Overall the day was awesome and I was really happy that we made into Hall H for all of the cool panels.

Awesome True Blood outfits

Friday: This was True Blood day so Mindy and I dressed up in our gear. Our goal was to try to get autographs and/or get into the panel. This was the one thing I was looking forward to. I scouted out the WB booth for a while, but there was too much chaos. Nothing was organized and WB/Comic con security could not control the crowd. Too many women were hovering for the line.

Nathan Fillion!

Alas we were not successful so we decided to try to go to the panel. We got in line for the ballroom, but as I was checking Twitter I saw a tweet from Nathan Fillion that he was in the exhibit hall signing autographs. This was decision #1 so Mindy, Dan and I decided on Nathan Fillion. The line for the ballroom was heavy and we probably wouldn’t have gotten in so we left and booked it to the California Browncoats booth where he was. We bought the Serenity comic they were selling for charity and even though he had to be somewhere, Nathan Fillion still went along the line to sign autographs. We snapped a quick picture of him and he left. This was one of my favorite moments of the week!

Flynn’s Arcade

We went to the Tron arcade after and on our way we ran into Thomas Jane who snapped a pic with me. At the arcade they had this really cool setup of old school video games, including Tron. They gave out Flynn’s Arcade tokens and had a cool Tron bar area in the back complete with techno music and the trailer showing every couple minutes. Afterwards the three of us split up and I went to a Tweethouse get together on the USS Midway. William Shatner and other Star Trek actors were on hand and other celebrities including Tyrese Gibson and Mark Valley were hanging around. It was nice to get out for a while and the Midway was pretty cool.

Ryan Reynolds

Saturday: Started off in Hall H again and attended the Harry Potter/Green Lantern/Sucker Punch panel. The Green Lantern looks pretty cool and Ryan Reynolds is pretty easy on the eyes! There was the cutest little boy asking him about how it felt to recite the Green Lantern oath and he recited it for him then gave him an autographed Green Lantern comic. A lot of the celebrities I saw were nice and cool like that. They even gave a lucky audience member Green Lantern ring off of Ryan’s finger! Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) showed up to talk about Deathly Hallows and there was some awesome footage shown. I am very stoked about this movie after seeing more clips of the first part. Looks like they are going to include a lot of important stuff for the fans, was very happy about that. They gave some cool swag out at the panel along with a Comic-Con exclusive Green Lantern comic and a cool HP shirt.

Vampire Diaries cast signing autographs

I left after HP and went to the WB booth to see if I could score Vampire Diaries autographs. I encountered the same madness from the day before and debated staying. I didn’t want to give up so I endured being squished for forty-five minutes! It paid off though and they selected me to go in line! It was truly an awesome moments. I got to talk to Ian Somerhalder and he even gave me a fist bump! And yes ladies, he really is that sexy and smoldering in person! Most of the cast was in attendance and I got a cool signed poster. Couldn’t get pictures with them, but I took some of the jumbo tron. I decided to skip the TV panels to get back in line for Marvel.

I finally got to the front doors of the hall only to not be let in because of some crazy nerd stabbing another nerd with a pen near the eye over a seat! The whole hall was madness, along with cops and an ambulance and they wouldn’t let anybody else in. I was bummed out because Harrison Ford and Daniel Craig were there for Cowboys and Indians then the whole Avengers cast showed up during the Thor/Captain America panel. Dan and Mindy did get some cool footage and I was glad that they got to see the panel. We finished our night with some dinner and drinks and went back to pack. Cool side note: Mindy and Dan ran into Ryan Reynolds and Dan got to shake his hand!

Castle cast

Sunday: Last day at the con and it was pretty enjoyable. I went to the Castle panel and got to see Nathan Fillion again. They talked about season three and showed some clips of the new Richard Castle book along with a teaser of season three. Nathan Fillion is such a cool dude! When people went up to ask questions he signed stuff to give to them. He even signed a package of Oreos and his wristband from a party the night before! He was hilarious too. There was the cutest little boy in a Malcolm Reynolds outfit and Nathan was kind enough to shake his hand. I was glad to get into the panel; it is one of my favorite shows and definitely a highlight of the con. We walked the exhibit hall for the rest of the day and then made it to the airport.

One of the many cool costumes

Overall it was an awesome trip. Everybody was really friendly and besides the freaky pen fight, nothing else that was crazy happened. There were so many cool costumes too and I loved that everybody got into it as much as they did. It was fun being a nerd and talking to people about TV and movies. Everybody had their exciting moments with Addie meeting her favorite comic people and Dan and Mindy got their comics signed that they brought. I got to meet some cool people along the way and the celebrity sightings were awesome! You have to keep your eyes open every second because they are everywhere (I kept seeing Dennis Miller everywhere and I also saw Adam Corolla).  I might have only gotten to see a few things I wanted, but it is impossible to see everything on your list.  I think a trip for next year will be in order with a few days tacked on for San Diego. We didn’t have time to explore the city and I definitely want to next time. Until next year!

Entertainment

My Comic-Con Hopes – Part II

San Diego Convention Center

So last time, I laid out the events that I knew was going to be there and what I hoped was going to be there. Since then the site for Comic-Con has finally put out the four-day schedule and there has been massive planning amongst myself and Mindy, who has posted her thoughts on the schedule also. After mapping out my plan, there are a few days where it will be TV vs. Movies. I think though, no matter how much you plan everything out, this whole thing is not going to be what you expect it to be. I think it will come down to the day of and the things I will get to see will depend on the crowds. I did plan alternatives in case I can not get into a room that I want to be in. There are definitely going to be some late nights and early mornings, although hopefully not too many early mornings because I am going to be on vacation!

My schedule (or what I hope to see):

Awesome swag bag

Wednesday: Preview night, not sure what to expect here. I think we are planning on walking around and seeing what kind of SWAG we can get. Also, there supposedly will be movie screenings somewhere. Not sure what time or what movies yet though. They probably will let everyone know that night. Hope to get a good night sleep because Thursday is going to be big.

Thursday:  Hall H is hopefully going to be my home, will have to get there early in order to get in and get a good seat.  For my evening I am crossing my fingers that I get to go to the Ausiello/Doc Jensen Entertainment Weekly party. That would be amazing because the Lost writings of Doc Jensen was how I got started doing my blogs in the first place and it would be cool to meet him. If not I am looking at going to a “Serenity” screening put on by the California Brown Coats. Awesome schedule for the hall is:

-10:00-11:00 Megamind 

-11:15-12:45 Tron 

-2:15-3:15  RED 

-3:30-4:30  Joss Whedon and JJ Abrams

– 4:45-5:45 Expendables

– 6:00-7:00 Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World 

Really looking forward to all of these, especially JJ Abrams. I love Lost, Fringe and Star Trek. Hope he talks about Star Trek 2. If we can get a good seat in Hall H the day is going to be amazing!

Yes please!

Friday: My ballroom 20 day. I might have to sit through a bunch of tv shows that I don’t watch in order to get into True Blood. This is a MUST for me. I didn’t buy my Merlotte’s waitress outfit for nothing! Also on the schedule is another Joss Whedon panel and the Entertainment Weekly: Girls Who Kick Ass panel. Have a few other panels I am looking at in case I don’t get into any of these. I also signed up to volunteer one day and I am hoping this could be it since the morning is pretty open.

Vampire Diaries

Saturday: Another big day. In the morning is Green Lantern and Deathly Hallows. Sad the cast of Deathly Hallows won’t be there, but looking forward to seeing more clips of the movie. Clips of Green Lantern would be cool too. In the afternoon is Fringe and Vampire Diaries. In the evening is Thor/Captain America and Kevin Smith. This is going to be the day where I will have to choose. If I leave Hall H for the tv panels I really want to see there is a chance I won’t be able to get back in for the Marvel and Kevin Smith panels. This is going to be a day to have extremely good luck. I do have a lot of back up stuff to go to if I don’t get into the things I absolutely want to see. I am aiming for the tv panels though so I can do some articles for my Examiner page.

Sunday: I definitely want to get into Castle. It is one of my favorite shows and I really like Nathan Fillion. Also hoping to make it to Glee but if I can’t then I will probably spend the day walking around the exhibit hall.

So only five more days until the big event. My planning is coming together and now there is just the last-minute shopping and the packing to do. I hope to get to see everything, but if I don’t at least I will still have gone. I am going to go in without expectiations and just have an amazing time. Also, it is going to be nice to be able to go to a place and let my nerdiness out into the open without judgement. I am really looking forward to meeting more people who have the same love for tv shows and movies that I do. Check back for updates and pics next week!