Thursday, May 03, 2012

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2012 - Saturday

I was up and online early Saturday morning. The first panel I wanted to catch wasn't until noon, but I was trying to figure out what was going on with the Phelps twins, who play Fred and George Weasley in the Harry Potter movies. They were a late addition to the con, and there wasn't any info in the program guide about when they might be doing a panel, and the volunteers I talked to on Friday night didn't know anything about it. So before I went to bed, I tweeted @calgaryexpo and asked about it. During the night they did respond, but it wasn't very helpful - it just asked if I had gotten the update newsletter, which I hadn't. I did eventually find a copy - there was one in Trevor's goody bag, but not mine. Anyway, it didn't list a panel, just their photo ops, so I assumed that meant they weren't doing a panel.

But I was up early, so we headed down early and got there around 10:30. We basically walked right in - the only delay was simply the volume of people who also got off the same c-train. I wanted to walk down 'autograph alley', but it was literally such a dense crowd we could hardly move, so we gave up and headed into the exhibit hall. The problem was that they had all of the big stars down one aisle, and all of the old wrestlers down the other, so 90% of the foot traffic was stalled in one area.

The first panel I wanted to see was in the Corral, which was fairly empty during the Fringe panel right before the Star Trek one. We got seats and listened to the Fringe actors, and even though I don't know the first thing about Fringe, it was fairly entertaining. I need to check out what else John Noble has been in, because I really enjoyed him. While we were waiting for the Star Trek panel, we were joined by my new friend Stephanie who came all the way up from Lethbridge just for the one day. We secured decent seats further up after the Fringe people left, and were entertained by Spiner, Wheaton and Burton (Data, Crusher and LaForge). It was a fun panel, and each of the three of them got a fair amount of spotlight time. Burton's stint on Reading Rainbow came up, and the crowd sang the RR theme song. There was a lot of imitating Patrick Stewart's accent, discussion about Wil being easily amused, discussions of Timmies, and bashing of Microsoft, which is always a good time! The whole panel is up on YouTube, courtesy of 'oilcountryDon' if you want to look it up.

Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton and LeVar Burton

A lot of the panels during the weekend were moderated by one of a trio of talk show hosts from the Space channel. As a trio, I find them highly annoying. However, thankfully, apart from each other they weren't bad at all. Still, I would rather just have the dynamic of the actors without having another person added into the mix.

Trevor left part-way through the panel to secure a place in line for the Sanctuary panel, since that was really the MUST SEE panel of my weekend. Isn't he great? However, it turned into a bit of a gong show. Steph went off to do her own thing, since Sanctuary isn't her thing (but I mean really, how can Sanctuary not be anyone's thing?! :) and I went to try to find Trev. The crowds outside the Corral were dense, so instead of trying to struggle upstream, I just went to a spot near the start of the Sanctuary lineup, meaning to meet up with Trevor as the line progressed by my spot. However, once a large chunk of the line had gone by, it completely stopped and there was no more line. My cell phone couldn't connect, and since there was no line in sight, I hopped on to the end of what was passing by me into the theatre doors, and managed to snag two decent seats. The panel was supposed to start at 1 pm, but by 1:15 it hadn't started yet, although I'd managed to get enough cell reception to let Trevor know where I was and that I had a seat, since they'd stopped letting people in. SO CLOSE! I almost didn't make it, and that would have made me cry!

Shortly after 1:15, Amanda Tapping and Christopher Heyerdahl came out with the Space channel guy and sat down. It gets a little blurry in my memory, because I was trying to start the camera recording at the same time as Trevor was standing down in the doorway looking for me, and it seemed like ALL THE THINGS were happening at once. Amanda was needling Chris for checking his cell phone on stage, and he was talking about how he had a text from Ryan Robbins, and that Ryan wanted a Biggie head-slap (Chris plays two characters on the show, and this one, as a sign of affection, smacks people on the back of the head, like Gibbs from NCIS). 

Now, my Ryan-radar was already in full gear, because of this great historical western that's filming its second season in Calgary RIGHT NOW. Chris is in it, which is why I started watching and keeping an eye on what was going on with it (but he's not on Twitter, which makes things more difficult), however, Ryan IS on Twitter, and on April 20th he tweeted that he was packing up in LA and heading back to Canada for an exciting opportunity. 50% wishful thinking and 50% knowing that his good friend Chris was in Calgary meant that I immediately responded asking if he was coming to Calgary for Hell on Wheels, knowing that it was a huge leap, but not being able to resist the urge to fan-girl. Of course, the details were still confidential, so he couldn't reply, but on April 24th, he tweeted that he was on his way to Calgary, and there may have been a bit of flailing going on in my office. I KNEW that he was coming for Hell on Wheels, because it's the only thing filming here right now, and I made sure the Comic Expo knew about it too, just in case they could squeeze him into the Sanctuary panel as well. Really, I tell you, if fan-girling paid money, I'd be a rich woman. :)

But thanks to being so excited and trying to do too many things at once, I missed the surprise of Ryan walking out on stage, and managed to not get any usable photo or video! D'oh! Thankfully Trevor was able to rescue the camera from me and get really good video footage of the rest of the panel, which you can find on my new YouTube channel, MichelleEdits.

Ryan Robbins, Amanda Tapping and Chrisopher Heyerdahl at the Sanctuary panel.
Photo courtesy of

The first thing Amanda talked about was the future of Sanctuary, which is in limbo right now thanks to  a whole bunch of factors, and while she didn't have the news we were hoping for, it was good to know that Sanctuary isn't dead - she said its chest is still rising and falling, and she's standing by with the paddles. So here's hoping! Sadly, thanks to the crowd control issues, the panel ended up being only 31 minutes instead of 45, but I'm SO THANKFUL I managed to get in at all! They're just a wonderful bunch of people, and it was so neat to see them in person, particularly Amanda, who I've been a fan of since I started dating Trevor and he introduced me to Stargate.

All the excitement meant that I was STARVING, so we headed back to the autograph area to meet Steph for lunch at the Ceili's pub tent. The food was a bit pricey, but it was better than Stampede hot dogs, and we shared a table with a Newfie from Edmonton and did a lot of people watching. We braved the bathroom, which was DISGUSTING, and then managed to wander down autograph alley.

I hadn't been planning to get any autographs (that whole unemployed student thing) but while we were standing around Amanda Tapping came out to her table to the cheers of the people in her VERY long lineup. As much as I'm a fan, I didn't want to pay $40 and stand in line for the rest of the afternoon, but we happened to be standing by Chris' lineup, which was short, and I was speculating that if Amanda had arrived, he soon would be as well, which he did. And since I was there and the line was short, I got in it. :) Steph went to wander the exhibit hall, and Trevor and I hung out in line. Chris was letting everyone take photos as well, which was really nice of him. The Shatners and the Stewarts don't do that sort of thing - well, to be fair, so many people want to see them that they can't take that time with everyone - but I'd rather just meet a Canadian actor and feel like I actually met him or her. And for once I haven't been replying my conversation over and over wishing that I'd said everything all different - I was coherent and normal. As normal as a 31-year-old woman in a Starfleet mini-dress can be, anyway. :)

Me meeting Christopher Heyerdahl

After all that excitement, I needed to do something a bit quieter, so I headed to a publishing panel in one of the nice plushy conference rooms. The two women doing the panel were Krista Ball (an Alberta author who I saw at When Words Collide last year) and Margaret Curelas from a small Edmonton publishing house. They had both previously worked with 'my' publishing house, Edge, and so I was interested to hear their perspectives on the industry. Sadly, there was something very loud and distracting going on in the conference room next door, and the panel was a lot more basic than I was expecting, but at least I got to sit in a comfy chair for a while. :)

Trevor and I met back up (he'd been wandering the exhibit hall) and he told me about this vendor who had cheap DVDs, including some of the Stargate seasons, so I was able to acquire season 3 for $15, which is a heck of a deal! Who knows when I'll get time to watch it, but at least it's in my collection now. We went to the Coco Brooks (a GREAT local pizza chain) stand to get a bit of a snack, and shared a cheese pizza and a fruit smoothie. I was very entertained by the crowd of people who were camped out on the floor by the stand - I thought it looked like a refugee camp.

A geek refugee camp

We met back up with Steph and caught the last panel of the day - 'Stump the Nerds' with the local 404 geek comedy troop. The person on the troop who I knew doesn't appear to be with them anymore, and the whole panel was pretty special. It was supposed to be PG-13, but I would have given it a 14-A, and some of it was just strange!

I'd heard rumours throughout the day that the fire marshall had stopped anymore people from coming in, but I didn't realize the extent of it until I got home and online again. What a gong show - I'm HEARTILY thankful that my OCD tendency to be over-cautious and early meant that I didn't miss out on any of the fun things that happened on Saturday! My priority before bed was to get my Sanctuary panel video up on YouTube, which ended up being a lot more work than I'd expected, and we were up till midnight, but it's online in three parts, and the first in the series has over 1700 views! Everyone wants to hear Amanda talk about the future of season 5, apparently!

I was going to post a couple of costume photos, but this had turned out to be so long I'll have to give major kudos to those of you who are still reading. (Hi, Mom - happy birthday! :) Stay tuned for Sunday's recap!


Shelli said...

I LOVE that you wore a Star Trek mini dress!!! Hardcore!!!

MichelleH said...

Not really THAT hardcore...I just ordered it from Think Geek. There are some people who spend an incredible amount of time and money on costumes - I think that's hardcore. :)