Well, it’s been a Hell of a summer. But it’s time to start getting back on track.
To start with, let’s look at one of the high points of this season – this year’s ConnectiCon.
I’m just going to start by saying, I can’t claim to be a ‘from the beginning’ CTcon goer, but have done my share of years there to this point. With this statement in mind, I can say this was honestly up there on the best years have been there for.
Not bad considering I missed the window for panel submission this time out (though that may be for the better – after some of my thoughts on this season of Game of Thrones, that panel would have been a loooot of aired grievances.)
Before getting into the events was able to cover, I do want to give a big shout-out to Ctcon staff all around on this one. For the big turnout, this was some of the best crowd control I’ve seen at a con in some time. Where previous years had seen even pre-reg lines turn into full chaos, this year was a breeze all around.
It’s a minor thing in the grand scheme, but trust me, it’s the kind of thing that means a lot.
Now then, as far as events covered, I tried to get to a decent spread of topics. Sometimes successfully, sometimes less so, but this made for an interesting year – both as topics and guests went, there was a nice spread all around.
My one regret was that I wasn’t able to find out in time when the Tony Todd Q&A got moved to, so I missed out on that one (his arrival on Friday had been delayed. Not really anyone’s fault, just one of those factors that occurs with an event on any given time.) Fortunately, from seeing him around the con on later days, he looked to be enjoying himself at least.
And speaking of celebrity guests, after the unfortunate delay of Mr. Todd, I found myself heading over towards another guest q&a that had my interest from their announcement – The Lone Gunmen. I’ll admit up front, I’m not sure just how much these guys have worked together since The X-Files took them out in its final season. Based on the rapport I saw, however, I’m guessing they probably either stay in touch or just had that good a team dynamic worked out, cause watching them play off each other it was like they had still been at it after all these years. It made for a rather fun time as they discussed their work on The X-Files, their experiences with their own less than fortunate spin-off (an interesting mix of discussing network politics and some colorful behind the scenes stories), as well as future projects.
This last one makes for an interesting bit of ‘then and now’ timing. Inevitably, the question of the X-Files revival was raised and someone asked if they had been contacted. As Dean Haglund had left it at the time, they hadn’t been called by anyone yet. They were interested, but hadn’t been contacted. Flash forward a mere few weeks to the announcement of their returning despite their apparent deaths, and either things shifted fast or they had been keeping that reveal under wraps until everything was locked down. Either way, great to have you back, guys!
From there, I got to do a fair amount of perusing the con in general. The dealer’s room sweeps, the cosplays (and in the process realizing I should probably look into Steven Universe, cause that was EVERYWHERE), the artists’ booths, and in general just a lot of people enjoying the weekend. You know, the little things between events that help make a con.
Which, appropriately, segues into the next major panel I was able to make it to – a panel titled ‘Cosplaying While Black – Discussing Race & Cosplay’. I went into this panel ultimately not quite sure what to expect but interested in hearing this aspect of con culture discussed. The subsequent discussion made for probably one of the best I’ve been around for regarding some of con culture. While the core topic on its own was a great one, I was also struck by the sheer number of perspectives guests brought to the floor just from different ages and backgrounds (one of the standouts being a pretty cool Magneto cosplayer whose experiences with some of the earlier con scene were an interesting contrast to some of the younger people getting involved nowadays).
It was one of those discussions I had honestly hoped could last longer, even though I hadn’t gotten the chance to take as many notes due to the freeform of the conversation. Still, it made for a memorable hour and one I’m going to be checking for at future cons.
While we’re on the topic of different perspectives, it certainly informed one of the other panels I was able to make it to later on from there – Animated Horror From Around the World. It’s actually surprising realizing just how much horror has permeated into animation far beyond the short range most of us think to look in. Over the course of the panel, titles from several countries were feature, ranging anywhere from the lightly fascinating (a Mexican feature with more of a family friendly angle in mind) to the experimental (a French anthology collection) to the disturbing (a few here, with one standout being a short produced for the BBC called A Short Vision outlining the possible effects of a nuclear strike – it’s up on YouTube in full for the curious!)
Suffice it to say, I walked away from this one with a small list of titles to hunt down for future viewing.
On the heels of this interesting-cum-unsettling discussion, Saturday night did take a strangely upbeat turn. Continuing with a pattern from the previous year, this year’s con fell on the same weekend Hartford had its Riverfront fireworks show. So congoers had an area set aside to head out and watch the show, which made a nice mental palate cleanser after some of the interesting, if grim, subject matter of the previous panel.
With Sunday came two big things – first, the yearly con tradition of making that last sweep of dealer room markdowns. The other, and the much bigger of the two, was the q&a for one of CTcon’s big guests of honor this year. The one, the only, George Takei.
Seeing this it was no surprise why the man has become such a celebrity in recent years – seeing him with a crowd, he carries himself perfectly, being intelligent and humorous with his answers. As a q&a went, it was surprisingly in depth, which was a strength and a slight weakness here. On the one hand, it led to some genuinely great perspectives on things like his time on Star Trek, his personal life (including plans to publish a second autobiography), and some of his political views. On the other, it also became increasingly clear giving the man an hour wasn’t nearly enough time for even half the questions he was game to answer. In the end, one of those guests I’d go to another q&a for, as you can tell you’ll be getting some well thought out, but still from the heart answers from it.
All in all, as someone who wasn’t entirely sure on the long term of visiting CTcon going into this year, this one sold me on coming back in the future. Great work, guys! Looking forward to 2016!