Friday, May 04, 2012

Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2012 - Sunday

I've been a bit slow with getting Sunday's recap up - after going five days with only cursory checks of emails, Twitter, blogs, Facebook, and Pinterest, I had a thing or two to catch up on. :)

Sunday morning I had been planning to go to the early service at church, which would have put us down at the Stampede grounds around 10:30, but since the first panel I wanted to catch was Amanda Tapping at 11:00, and in light of the chaos on Saturday, I figured the earlier we got down there the better. I got up before 7, and saw on Twitter that people were already talking about lining up, and the Expo twitter account was recommending that people be down there by 8:30, so I was a little concerned when we weren't there till 9 and the line was ENORMOUS. However, the line was actually moving as they ushered people along - I'm actually not really sure where they put all the people, because when we got into the autograph area, it was only about 9:30 and the vendor area wasn't open yet - they opened it as we were arriving. Trevor headed off to do his own thing and I went to track down Amanda Tapping...

The doors to the cushy conference rooms wasn't open yet, so I tagged onto a loose bunch of people standing around outside them. One of them commented on my Princess Bride t-shirt, and we got to talking a bit. The one girl was saying that she had come all the way from BC to see the Sanctuary panel the day before, but had been one of the unlucky who didn't get in, so I told her about my YouTube video of the panel. The security guard finally got permission from the higher ups to open the doors around 10, and by shortly after I had snagged a nice seat for the panel. I had some time to read, and listen to the people around me discuss fun things like Stargate, fanning, and Tumblr. The girl from BC I had talked to mentioned that she had a Tumblr, and that she was posting daily updates, so I tracked her down. I'm a wee bit jealous that she's also a student with a family, but managed to come all this way for the con, and do photo ops AND autographs with BOTH Chris AND Amanda. :)

This is her blog about Saturday:
And here's her blog about Sunday:

I find 'meeting' other fangirls through the magic of the internet to be incredibly fascinating. But that's probably a whole blog post in itself, so on with Sunday.

Amanda Tapping and a couple of other people started a charitable foundation called Sanctuary for Kids, and the panel was about the work they do. I mostly went because Amanda could make reading the phone book sound interesting - I already support a bunch of charities and can't really take on any more. But I was very interested to find out that one of the charities they work with is one that I sort of know - Next Generation Nepal. Last summer, the university had what they call 'the common reading program' where all of the first-years read the same book. The book was Little Princes, and it was about how Next Generation Nepal was founded. I highly recommend the book, and they do a lot of good work with children in crisis. Nepal is rife with human trafficking, and Sanctuary for Kids also supports a Nepalese charity that works with women who have been trafficked. They also work with a charity in Haiti that helps abandoned disabled children, and one in Vancouver that works with mothers and children who live on the streets. Amanda and Damien Kindler fund the administration costs for Sanctuary for Kids out of their own pockets, and choose charities with low administration costs, so that a dollar donated to the foundation is still a dollar going to the children in need. Pretty cool, hey?

Amanda Tapping

After that, I headed over to the Corral to meet Trevor. He'd sat in on the Futurama panel (he's a fan, I'm not!) and gotten us good seats for the next Star Trek panel. Troi, Riker and Worf were very entertaining, and had somehow managed to avoid having a Space channel 'moderator', which was great. Sirtis calls Michael Dorn "Dorny", Frakes kept singing the first line of O Canada, and they teased each other (and the not-present cast members) a LOT. I didn't know that Sirtis had been in an episode of Stargate, so I need to look that up now. (She needs to be told that tights aren't pants though! :P) One of my favourite bits was when they started heckling a group of people in Starfleet uniforms who were trying to sneak out early - turns out the people that were leaving were going to get in line for their TNG photo op. lol... Here's a link to the whole session: I love that I can re-watch so much of the stuff - it all seems to happen so fast at the time.

Marina Sirtis, Jonathan Frakes, Michael Dorn

After all of that laughing, I was ready for lunch. Trevor got in line for Wil Wheaton, and I battled the crowds for chicken fingers, a burger and fries. Lots of work, let me tell you! When I joined him in line I was pretty concerned that we might not get in, since it was in the same theatre as Saturday's Sanctuary panel fiasco, but they were much more organized, and we ended up with pretty decent seats.

Wil is a fun guy - I never had any particular opinion on Wesley Crusher, but I really enjoy the Big Bang Theory, and I follow him on twitter. The nice thing about about him is that he's a geek too, and he's really great to interact with as a fan. One guy asked Wil to say hi to the guy's wife who couldn't be there, and Wil was really nice about it ( It was a great panel, although some of the gaming stuff he referred to went over my head. He mentioned that he's working on the second installment of a book reviewing all of the TNG episodes from the first season, so I tweeted him about my copyediting business. I'll probably never hear from him, but one of the nice things about fangirling is that sense of limitless possibility - who knows what might happen when you're only limited by your imagination? Agam Darshi from Sanctuary just accepted my Linkedin request, so you never know... :)

Wil Wheaton

After that, we had an hour before the final panel, and I REALLY wanted a fresh-squeezed Stampede lemonade, so we slogged against the crowds to the far side of the venue for snacks. We were talking to our friend Courtney who works for Stampede catering, when there was a loudspeaker announcement about the Phelps brothers, and that the Harry Potter panel had just started in the theater we had JUST left! Oh my, was I ever CROSS. After I had tried to sort it out on Saturday, here it was, and we were too far away and disorganized to get there. Hopefully they'll have a better organized Harry Potter panel next year! Tom Felton (Draco Malfoy) had been supposed to come this year, but then ended up not being able to, so hopefully in 2013...

And then the panel I've been waiting for since they announced that the ENTIRE cast of TNG was coming to Calgary - Sir Patrick Stewart himself. Not only am I a fan of Captain Picard and Professor Xavier, I'm a fan of Sir Patrick's work with the Royal Shakespeare Company, and most recently, the version of Hamlet he was in with David Tennant (Doctor Who). The panel was wonderful - he told the story of how he found out about his knighthood, and in a moment that made me squee with glee, he FACEPALMED. I don't even remember what the topic was, just that an internet meme came to life right before my eyes. Over on YouTube 'YoungJim409' has video of the entire panel if you want to check it out. It was a great way to end a fantastic con!

Sir Patrick Stewart

I was really happy that the Expo quit the procedure of giving every star to cross the stage a white Calgary cowboy hat, and the cheezy 'oath' that goes with it. It was SO annoying last year, and when you only have 45 minutes for a panel, I don't want to hear about white cowboy hats, I want the guest star to be speaking about interesting stuff! So that was a good change. As someone who does quite a bit of conference planning (although on a much smaller scale, of course...) I appreciate and am overwhelmed by the effort that goes into running this thing - it's amazing, and I'm tired just thinking about it.

One thing I need to stay on top of for next year is being a bit more situationally aware - this year Gates McFadden and Denise Crosby cut across a line right in front of me and Christopher Heyerdahl walked right next to me, and I didn't even notice until it was too late to say something witty. :) I don't remember if I had any close calls like that last year, but in 2010, my first con, I literally nearly ran over Paul McGillion (from Stargate Atlantis) as I was coming out of the washroom and he was going into the one next door. Trevor was watching and laughing at me...but I really need to get more on the ball about paying attention to what's going on around me. How does one train for something like that? If you have any ideas, please let me know. :)

May the 4th be with you!

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