So I went to Phoenix Fan Fest 2015 at the Arizona Cardinals Stadium this weekend.
I went last year and noticed it was 95 % dealer’s room and 5% the three conference rooms, outside area and the autographs area. This year that did not change. It sounds like this was a bad thing, but it wasn’t really broken so trying to fix it would have been detrimental.
Let me talk about the events I saw.
I was unimpressed with the lightsaber group on Friday that did their swinging. Now, there will be those who will say that as a member of a possible competitive saber group that Anexandros is just being a jealous loser, but the show on Friday started late while the crew fiddled around getting the stereo setup and the saber swingers stretched. That is a fast way to get your audience to walk away. Cirque du Soleil doesn’t start with the stretches,. They do that stuff for the half hour before hand. I didn’t even bother with their Saturday show. I heard complaints it seemed forced, but didn’t get more than that.
The Karen Gillan panels were held across the street at the Renaissance Hotel.
This sends a message, implied or otherwise, that she would cross the street for the $ignature$ but not the free panel. There was also a rule of “no video or pictures at all” during the panel , which is usually reserved for exclusive content. Sean Maher also had a no video rule. After a previous story, (Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you), I walked in and walked out of the Sean Maher panel, but it looked like it went very well.
The Nerdy Name That Tune panel was great, even if no-one can figure out the Tiebreaker… (Who ya gonna call). It would have been nice to see the groups all the same size, because the earlier groups were significantly smaller than the later rounds.
The great and massive portion of my time was spent traversing the grid of the Dealer’s Room. Mostly because that was all there was exciting to do there. It was a lot of walking for not much payoff if you weren’t planning on buying anything.
I go to con for the shows, the panels, the costumes.
The costumes at cons are in general amazing and there were oh-so-many at this one, but very few of them made me reach for my camera and rush to snap. I got the impression that with few exception, the major costume designers were wearing their hand-me-downs and last years fashions, those pieces that they know aren’t huge bang for the buck but are great in group cosplays. Now don’t misunderstand me. I saw candycorn Homestuck horns, I saw the Hulk, I saw Deadpools and Stormtroopers. I saw a wide variety, but few of them popped. Also for a convention called Fan Fest, I didn’t see as many devoted areas for the fan groups as I had expected. There was a StarWars area, a Justice League and Marvel area (they seemed to be sharing), along with the Transformers who finally found someone willing and able to make Soundwave (Congrats!).
We saw an area for the Pirates and a zombies area. Oh, and the Dr Who fandom had a group too.
Surprisingly, outside of making something or being in someone’s workshop, this was the first time I had seen raw WORBLA in a public setting, thanks to the Phoenix Hive of the 105th Squad. It was nice to see the material respected and see the process inviting for the new builders who attended the convention.
I think Phoenix Comic Con should market the event in future publications as a Nerdy Christmas Market. We should have a better idea of what we are getting ourselves into with so few but persistent long… quiet…talking…drifting…panels.
Possible options that were brought up were a Meet-N-Greet/HiveFives for the autistic who have trouble with the long lines with meeting the guests or who get overexcited in the busy environment. We went with an autistic boy who almost knew more of Tom Cook’s work than Tom Cook. Both of them charmed each other greatly.
I high fived Dirk Benedict. as I am always a fan of A-Team and I love a Starbucks warm handshake. HE shared a story about fighter jets that was entertaining to listen to, discussing that fighter planes don’t need scary names because with all those bristling weaponry, they are scary enough on their own.
Overall, it was a laid back convention.