So through a haze of heavy traffic, we got to Comicpalooza on Thursday afternoon. We got checked in to the hotel, and I headed over to get our passes. (Walking the length of the large hotel, then half the length of the large convention center, when there aren't a lot of people yet but you can hear movement and distant voices echoing through, is a very Bioshock experience.) I found a small outpost of civilization, got the passes, walked back without being eaten by zombies. Then I went to a press interview thing the convention was holding and did a couple of quick interviews. We went down to meet up with friends for drinks (including Diana Dru Botsford
whose books you should check out), and then went out to dinner. (Luckily we knew people who would fight the traffic to come to the hotel to pick us up, because once you get parked in the hotel garage it's better not to leave it.)
Friday we went up to the pool on the 23rd floor and went swimming and sat in the hot tub. It was a gorgeous pool, really nice, and I'm glad we went that day because we had no time to do it the rest of the con. I didn't have a panel until 5:30, so we were able to do the con floor.
The con is basically three stories of giant convention center, with the entrance and skyway from the hotel on the second floor, where a lot of people were walking back and forth, etc, and the third floor, where the gaming, the panels, NASA, the celebrity q and a sessions, the wrestling ring, the roller derby (not kidding) and the bands and other events. The first floor was registration and the dealers' room, artists' alley, maker faire (3d printers, robots, science!, laser tag, virtual reality game booths, etc), food court (barbeque, stir fry, Cuban sandwiches, deli, etc. The pulled pork sandwiches at Southern Lady Barbeque were delicious) and the celebrity signing booths.
The con was bigger this year, and had the entire convention center, which allowed them to (I think) make the aisles bigger and not crowd the front of the room with the dining tables and the kids' play area, so there was far less crowding. The crowd flow seemed to work pretty well, as far as I could tell.
And it's a very diverse crowd. Houston is a very diverse city anyway, and you saw every kind of people, often in costume, and every age from 60s and 70s down to babies. Lots of women, lots of teenagers, lots of families with young kids. (Often in costume.) The con has a very exciting, vital feel, and you see a lot of people smiling and just having a great time. I think this is the future of fandom, and I like it a lot.
(Oh, and despite all the kids (day passes for kids were $10.00 and there was a programming track of kids activities) there are cash bars scattered through the dealers and artists areas. And a roving bar on a bicycle. And a booth for Virus Vodka
giving samples in test tubes.)
We shopped a lot but didn't buy much, because after paying for hotel and food there wasn't a ton of money left. I did get a Doctor Who t-shirt, a couple of comic books, and SGC and Stargate Atlantis uniform patches. There was some beautiful original art, which was very tempting. And the light sabre booth. Oh god, the light sabre booth.
(Conversation I had with my husband: "No, no, no, you can not have something that expensive that's just a pretty toy."
Him: "If I get one I'll get one for you too."
Random man: "That's the way to do it."
Me: "No, no, (picking up a gorgeous silver and blue thing labeled Azure Reaper) no, no matter how pretty and wonderful and absolutely perfect toy it's-- No!"
We did not get light sabres even though he threaten to whine about it in the car all the way home.)
There weren't many celebrities on the floor yet, by Joel Hodgson from Mystery Science Theater 3000 was there, and I am a huge fan. But I have a weird phobia where I am terrified to speak to them. So my husband went and got a picture with Joel Hodgson, who asked why his wife was hiding twenty yards away by the pillar, and my husband told him why, and he pointed at me and called me cute and adorable. So that was my idea of a happy celebrity encounter, where I can have it at a safe distance.)
I did my first panel, Fifty Shades of Fae, about fairy in books, media, etc, which went really well. By then it was 6:30 and we and the friend who was staying with us went across the street to a nice restaurant for dinner. We're sitting there, eating, and I suddenly look up and coming in to be seated is George and Brad Takei. So that was pretty enormously cool. (We also saw Stan Lee coming out of the hotel restaurant the next morning.)
This is getting long, and I still have a lot more to tell, so I'll continue in another post.
(The rest of my photos are on my tumblr in the comicpalooza tag
.)Comicpalooza Report Part II