Tuesday, July 07, 2015

CONvergence Round-Up

Sorry about the lack of posting last week, but I was at CONvergence last week. If you've ever been to a con, you're probably already nodding your head knowingly (if you haven't, may I recommend CONvergence? It's very nice.) Trying to do anything apart from attending a convention while you're at a convention is a nightmare, because the convention has so many attractions and events that you can't even do everything you want to do there, let alone everything else. Just feeding the cats was a challenge, so blogging kind of went by the wayside.

The convention itself was wonderful, as always--one of the things I adore about CONvergence is that it has a very robust harassment policy combined with a volunteer-driven ethos that helps to promote good con-oriented behavior. CONvergence is an entirely volunteer-run convention, and everyone is encouraged to participate before, during and after the convention in making it run smoothly; in my experience, this cuts down greatly on bad behavior from attendees, because the person staffing the Operations desk or serving food at the Consuite might be you tomorrow. It helps make everyone more empathetic to the challenges that crop up for even the best-run conventions.

Part of that means that my convention started the day before the con; I helped out with badge pickup over in Registration. That's always fun for me because I get to see, over the course of that day, almost all of the 6000 attendees, and chat with them (albeit briefly). Meaning if there are any old friends attending (which there usually are), I at least get to say hello.

The next day I mostly spent with my child--we attended a panel on YA literature, wandered the dealers' room, had consuite food, and learned the history of the extremely short-lived Sid and Marty Krofft theme park. (It cost 22 million dollars and closed after six months due to a combination of bad location and bad logistics.) After I put the kid to bed, I wandered down and watched a collection of trailers at Cinema Rex (the con's movie room), which included a 'Suicide Squad' trailer so bad I'm literally hoping it's a fan trailer.

The next day, I live-tweeted the "Nobody Will Pay You If You Don't Ask" panel, about how to monetize the work you put into your hobbies (it was mostly about crafting, but there was some good writing info too) and then did my own panels, "Marvel Movie Round-Up" and "Cheesiest Post-Apocalyptic Movies". I think both went well, although I'd love to hear what other people thought in the comments if you were there and also read my blog. (Unlikely, but you never know!) After that, I hooked back up with Kidlet for a Squirrel Girl panel and then took him back to the room to sleep. Then I picked up my wife (who had to work both Thursday and Friday) and we came back to take in the extremely funny Killer B's Improv Show. They strip the soundtrack from random film clips (ones the panelists have not seen) and then the comedians and musicians provide live music and improvised dialogue to them. It was very funny, and I even recognized one of the movies they did.

Saturday, my wife took a well-deserved "me time" day and I took our child along to the "Worst of Doctor Who" panel (not quite as funny as it sounded, but Joseph Scrimshaw was good) and to my "Doctor Who Season 8 Round-Up" panel, which I think went well but again feedback is always nice. Then we saw a special presentation by the University of Minnesota's Raptor Center--they come every year and do a live bird show with rescued wild birds of prey. This year we got a saw-whet owl, a great horned owl, a kestrel, a turkey vulture, a peregrine falcon, and a bald eagle (on the Fourth of July, too!) We got seats right next to the crates, so we were about two feet away when they took out the birds. It was absolutely amazing.

After that, Kidlet went to spend some Mom time and I attended the Agents of SHIELD panel, which I enjoyed. The panelists had a lot of interesting things to say about the show, they enjoyed it (it's always frustrating when you get a panel where someone's uninformed, but it's much worse when you get to a "fan panel" where nobody's actually a fan) and the audience was great too. We were going to do another panel with the kid at that point, on foley, but he told us he was feeling pretty maxed so we went back to the room with him and then headed out to meet up with an old friend for dinner. (It's around here that I clarify that we were part of a large group, and that there was an adult in the room at all times. Just in case you worried.)

Saturday ended with two absolutely perfect panels; "I'm Sorry, I Haven't a Clue" involved Paul Cornell and Lee Harris doing a live version of the classic BBC radio show, which was so funny I almost literally fell off of my chair (I propped myself up against the wall), and "Cult Classics: So Bad It's Good" involved a discussion of the movie 'Executive Koala' that made all of us ponder the immortal question: EXECUTIVE KOALA?

Sunday was much quieter--Kidlet and I saw 'The Lego Movie' together, and then I went and did some volunteering to close out the con. It was, as always, a wonderful experience, and I'm already looking forward to next year!

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