Sunday, April 28, 2013

Post-C2E2 2013: Alone in a Crowd (Part One)

Roommate at C2E2 2012 as her alter-ego
This was the second year my roommate and I ventured to C2E2. And the second time where, despite having 3 Day Passes, we were dead on our feet before Sunday arrived.

I really wanted to walk Artist's Alley this year a lot more than last year. I wanted to find some original art to purchase for decorating our apartment as well as possibly find some artists to commission for work to be used in the re-design of this very site (or rather, design, as this stock template was never supposed to last this long). But we didn't make it to Artist's Alley until Saturday and by mid-afternoon it was so overflowing in spots that I couldn't even reach some of the tables. I grabbed some cards, though, as did the roommate. I only ended up buying a couple things. There were a few items I'd love to go back for, but there was no time and I'm better off waiting to spend the money (I tell myself).

Hopefully, though, I will find someone to help create some original art for this site (feel free to email with some examples of your work if you'd like to help. Any art I end up using will be paid for, the signatures and credit of the artist(s) will be displayed, and links will be displayed prominently on the sidebar leading to your own site/portfolio/ect).

Next time, though, I think we'll try to make an effort to hit up Artist's Alley either on Friday (which is always lighter) or only in the mornings. The crowds were definitely bigger this year and are probably going to be bigger next year.

 But, while the crowds grew, the variety of booths on the floor shrunk. This time around, it seemed that way too much was just the re-selling of mass produced items. A lot of the same t-shirts at different booths. A lot of the same toys. One booth blatantly had items that were marked "Exclusively at Walmart"- with the new Walmart logo and spelling. Hand-crafted things were hard to find and when we did find them, some just weren't worth the price. It started to really get ridiculous once we hit the steampunk booths. The same 20 mass produced pocket watches that are all over the internet at every booth, and giant price mark-ups on anything with gears glued onto it (and this is coming from a girl that owns a handful of items with that description).

The panel selections this year were much better than last year, however. Which probably has a lot to do with the increase in numbers. Kevin Smith was doing one of his An Evening with Kevin Smith events for a separate fee that sold out months ago. Patton Oswalt did a Q&A in the IGN theater that already had a line when we showed up an hour and fifteen minutes early.

Patton was fantastic and loose, despite how lackluster some of the questions were. Only about two girls asked questions out of the whole lot. I have this wonderful weird reaction to famous people I like and/or admire where I not only just freeze, I shutdown and implode. So, the roommate was elbowing me to see if I could come up with anything to ask and she would go ask it for me. But I couldn't. 

The best part of Patton's panel was the insult war he and Brian Posehn were having during it. Posehn was in the audience and started texting snarky geeky insults to Patton. Then Patton would read the text outloud and insult Posehn back (sometimes not in that order). Most of the comments were about each other's height (Patton being short, Posehn being tall) and weight (both being overweight). And Patton ended the whole Q&A with reading the final text from Posehn, which just read, "Go back to Dagobah."

On Friday, we only made it to one panel and to make sure we had seats, we ended up sitting in on the end of the Marvel panel on how to break into comics, which was very very awkward as all the advice was very outdated and referring to how the comic book industry functioned in the 90s. While it's likely that Marvel still functions like that, it doesn't seem like a great way to have a real career in comics. The next day, we did essentially the same thing, but were sitting in on the end of a Vertigo panel. The Vertigo panel seemed a tad more in touch with how the industry is today. Also: funnier. They were actually mostly just presenting on what was coming up next for Vertigo rather than intending to advise- but some of the questions were the same.

The one panel on Friday was the Felicia Day Q&A. It was packed to the gills but really enjoyable. She wasn't there to promote anything and she was, well, Felicia Day. How do you go wrong there? The thing I liked about Felicia's "panel" was that she knew how to encourage reactions out of the audience without making it seem trite. She requested that everyone that asked a question also tell her where the best pizza in Chicago happened to be. She then also started a slightly Packers/Bears battle without meaning to. But I love that she knew how to get people talking and feeling comfortable with her. Because she's Felicia Day.

There was one bug that starting to gnaw at me during the panel, though. Felicia mentioned that in the past 8 or so years, there have been more "geeky" girl characters and that it's nice to see that they are showing up more in shows and being portrayed as silly yet also brilliant. And the "fake geek girl" issue was briefly touched on. But... something didn't sit right with me.

On Saturday, after the line for Patton Oswalt, we decided to head right up to wait for our next panel: The Fierce Females of Television. Originally, there had been some thoughts of staying put so that we could see the 1960s Batman panel with Burt Ward and Julie Newmar (my roommate even played with dressing up as Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo... and getting a copy of the movie for Julie Newmar to sign. I adore all things Batman and especially Julie Newmar, but we cared a lot more about the Fierce Female panel and knew we could get better seats for that than we'd manage in the IGN theater without VIP badges. 

So, we were third and fourth in line for the Fierce Females, but we were smart. The room was lined with people that couldn't get seats because they didn't come soon enough. There was a ridiculous under-estimate of how big of a room would be needed for the panel. The speakers were Ashely Eckstein of Her Universe and Star Wars: The Clone Wars; Janina Gavankar of Arrow, The L Word, and The League (she's Shiva!); and the Queen of the Nerds- Jane Espenson. 

Ashley, Janina, and Jane
 While all three are awesome ladies, this was a ridiculous theme for a panel- at the very least, it should've been longer. Anyone that has ever heard or read Jane Espenson speak on writing knows that she should basically be getting the IGN theater treatment. She was the first to arrive and got a huge applause just on her own. Last year, we went to her Husbands panel (which happened again this year, but we missed it) and we both walked away high on inspiration from Jane and suddenly desperate to create our own web content (my roommate got over the buzz in a few days/weeks- I did not). Janina really didn't get to speak much until the end about how it is difficult to be a strong minority actress and how the current issue is that she's mostly getting casted as cops, lawyers, and lesbians because strong female characters tend to be those. And Ashley didn't get to speak enough about both voice acting and the troubling realization that led her to create HerUniverse as no one bothered to create quality sci-fi inspired clothing specifically for women before.

They talked a little bit about a lot of things and were only able to briefly consider it. But even before the panel started, there were things being said that don't get said enough: like how drag queens and transgendered people should be included in panels like that one with women and how there have always been more women then men cosplaying as the TARDIS and what exactly that means (Is it that it's so open to creativity that anyone of any size can feel comfortable making it their own? Is it that we've almost co-opted the TARDIS as a female- even before it was brought up in the show- because of a lack of female characters that fill that role of strength and amazing power?).

Maybe that's why such a large crowd (which was very mixed gender-wise) was drawn to that panel. We just want someone to be asking the questions outloud that no one else seems to bother to voice. I still wanted to hear more. I wanted Ashley's take on how difficult it is for women to get into voice acting- especially dramatic voice acting. I wanted Janina's take on why all the strong women role are cops, lawyers, and lesbians but not always people that are given a spotlight in shows that have those characters. And I wanted to ask Jane about if she thinks that there's a flaw with most mainstream writing where writers tend to favor to write characters that are writers.

The bug that started to gnaw on me on Friday started to gnaw a little harder and deeper.

Here is one of my favorite costumes from the con, to brighten things up while I try to figure out what this bug is:

We went back to the floor after that panel, having some time before we'd sneak into the Vertigo panel in order to get good seats for Peter Davison's panel. This was when Artist's Alley was getting tight and I was starting to feel discouraged with what I was able to see. I felt like I was surrounded by things that belonged on Escher Girls. I was really struggling to find existing pieces of female superheroes powerful poses OR in perspectives that didn't have their boobs be the center piece (and often with their nipples showing through the costumes as well). The powerful poses thing was almost ridiculous- as anywhere I looked, there was a female cosplayer doing one for a photo. It's not that difficult to figure out- a powerful pose is one that someone that feels strong and confident naturally stands in! Ugh.

Insert random awesome Cyborg Darth Maul:

So then there was the Peter Davison panel. Which I have no pictures of as I was worried about my phone dying before I got home (as the CTA plotted to make the weeks I planned to take the Green Line as frustratingly difficult as possible). He was AMAZING. I almost typed "Awemazing" because my brain couldn't comprend the mixture of amazing and awesome that he was. Just a lovely lovely man with the patience of a saint. You can tell that he has been doing panels for decades because he could turn the worst questions (and non-questions) into chances to tell wonderful anecdotes. I could've listened to him for hours. I did feel terrible for him with the amount of awkward "So... you're, like, related to David Tennant now, right? Is that awesome? Can you tell him I love him?"-types of "questions". But, seriously, if you ever have a chance to go to an event with him speaking, I really recommend making an effort to go to it.

But one of the questions he was asked was about how Doctor Who has gone from obscure to mainstream- first in Britain and now, in a much smaller window of time, in the US. He brought up how fandom brings people together and all of a sudden, I found myself whispering in a sad tone to roommate, "... but it doesn't."

She agreed. Later on, we were at dinner and trying to figure out why we felt that way.

See Part Two for the rest of my thought process on that matter.

No comments:

Post a Comment