Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Joe's Fantasy Con experience

I know every local blog and news outlet has covered Fantasy Con extensively, but when have I ever cared about what other people are doing?

That being said, here's Fantasy Con.

The most frequently asked question I was asked leading up to Fantasy Con was "What's the difference between Fantasy Con and Comic Con?" and my answer before the event was honestly "The spelling". Now however, I can safely say that the difference is the spelling and also the fact that I had a lot more to do at Fantasy Con than I did at Comic Con. 

Belegarth fighting each other for the crowds entertainment
Frankly, I'm not a panel guy. I enjoyed going into the celebrity panels at Comic and Fantasy Con when the celebs were actually there, but hearing an "expert" talk about how much we do and don't know about the new Star Wars film, and Fantasy Con catered to my unique need. Let's start with the massive LARPing arena in the center of the convention. Big burly men in psuedo-medieval costumes bashing each other with foam swords and shields was a spectacle I haven't got to see since my early twenties. Mixed in was a more realistic group with blunted blades and authentic armor doing an impressive display of fencing and saber wielding. It didn't take long at all before my fellow MormonGeeks and I were screaming for blood with the rest of the crowd. 

Fantastic metalwork
The reenactment guys brought their blacksmiths to the event, who actually welded iron and armor for the crowd. This wasn't some cheap make-believe thing, they had real blacksmiths, and next to them glass blowers, and between them fire dancers. 

Yup. Fire dancers. 

The first time these folks lit up my jaw dropped. I watched these folks light each other on fire at least a dozen times, and I think most of those were on purpose. Again, this wasn't cheap stunts put on to kind of impress an unknowing crowd. This was a professional show with real fire and real... well dancers I suppose... and that was impressive. 

Vendors at this thing, while a lot less than Comic Con, were impressive to my little heart. First hour and I was squeeing like a fangirl when I met famous LDS director and star of God's Army Richard Dutcher, and got a signed autograph of the film that started the LDS film industry (For better or worse but that's for a different post). Days later and I'm still excited.

My new artwork. 
Fun fact about Joe: I collect art. Not big pieces like the Mona Lisa, at least not until my thieves guild can get better equipped. My living room currently features a Jack Skellington and Sally watercolor, a Calvin and Hobbs watercolor print, a digital Korra from Legend Of, a print of Christ holding a lamb a dear friend gave us for our wedding, and now a print of Angel Of Flight Alabaster by Howard Lyon. I also scored a free picture of a mermaid for my bathroom. Both are autographed and both bring joy to my little geek heart. 

Honestly I want to write more about all the vendors I saw, and I will later on. Let's just say I met a pile of amazing people and I hope to introduce them all to you in the weeks ahead. For now though let me get to the main event.

Stephen meets Lady Brianne of Tarth. 
Hate to say it, but the recent Hobbit films haven't really sparked my heart, so the thought of meeting hobbits and dwarves just didn't get me excited. Simon Pegg on the other hand, star of Shawn of the Dead and Scotty from the new Star Trek franchise, that's exciting. Our press passes got us up close to the British actor as he talked about his love of all things geekdom and making films that were both entertaining and had heart. 

"I wanted to be Luke Skywalker", he said to the audience. "I know all the kids wanted to be the cool Han Solo but as the little blonde boy I wanted to be Luke".  (abbreviated)

"When I make films I want people to feel something, people should feel something. If it's anger, sadness or happiness, it should invoke something. I hope my films invoke some sort of emotion in people." (abbreviated)

They do Pegg, they do. 

So on the whole, Fantasy Con was a hit. Comic Con can take a few lessons from this, bring more than just big names and vendors to the party, give the crowd thrills they can find without waiting in like or spending massive amounts of money, and we may be able to boost the number from number three in the country and up to number one, and give Fantasy Con another shot (Maybe not put it on the 4th of July) and I see this thing taking off like dragon chasing sheep. 

This is the biggest dragon in the world. 
Me and my new awesome toy! 
Not really a fantasy character, but It's Data and Spock!

Mermaids are always cool. 

Fountain set up for the convention. 
They had fossils and paleontologists. This was a huge thrill. 

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