I spent some time sampling the fan-life experience from coast-to-coast last year.
March saw me trekking down to Kansas City for their PlanetComicon convention. This is a massive Comic Convention, meaning most of their guests are wither Media stars or Artists. The artists you will find behind their tables either drawing for commissions or selling their artwork. Media guests have a table area also where (for a price) they meet their fans, sign autographs and have their pictures taken, but they also do Q&As to talk about what it is that they have done that we find so great. Last year I got to hear Ming-Na Wen talk about her work in Marvel's Agents Of Shield and Erin Grey talk about her tie in Buck Rogers. Friday is always the best day to get into these panels as Sunday the center is so full that there is not even standing room available. Karen Gillan had a line outside her Q&A just for a place to stand. But as far as showing off a great costume, Comic Cons are the place to be. Whether you are with a group like the 501st, who always put on a great show, or by yourself, people are always wanting to pose with you or just capture the image of your wonderful workmanship.
In May I participated in the annual Klingon Jail and Bail at Demicon (held in Des Moines, IA), raising almost $500 for their charity.
Later that month I participated in several panels at Kansas City's ConQuest before heading down to Orlando.
I had been scheduled to march in 9 of the DisneyWorld Star Wars Weekend parades through Hollywood Studios but was only able to make 8 of them. That first Friday my gout flared up again and I was unable to even bend my knee that first day. After starting a regimen of steroids, I
was again able to walk and march in Saturday's parade. And what an experience it was. As you come out of the gate, to your right by the Curio shop in Hollywood studios always sits a group of people who cheer on each of the emerging groups of characters. I got a rush every time they shouted out for the Sand Troopers that I was a part of. But that rush was nothing like the one I got that first Saturday as I was marching up the main street and realized I was where I was, what I was doing. It's a feeling I hope never to forget, it was phenomenal!
(Parade photo by Justin Groetzinger)
In August my wife and I made a trip to the Worldcon in Spokane. And since it was in Washington we took the opportunity to go on an Alaskan cruise out of Seattle. Well, the Science Fiction Museum(at EMP) is in Seattle. So we made a stop there. As our luck in SF travels would have it, we had managed to attend the Orlando Science Center the year they had a Star Wars film-used models exhibit while we were there and Kennedy Space Center had the travelling Star Trek exhibit a few years earlier, the SF museum was hosting the Star Wars costume exhibit. We got to see a lot of the screen used costumes from all 6 of the movies. The museum is a fascinating place even without the traveling exhibits and if you ever get to Seattle I urge you to make a trip to it. They have a Dalek!
To round out the year we made a trip to Wichita KS for the startup of a Doctor Who convention called Time Eddy. I just couldn't believe the number of guests they were able to pack into the weekend. Not only did they have Colin Baker and Nicole Bryant, but companions stretching all the way back to Peter Purves , a companion of William Hartnell's doctor. They had great panels with all the guests talking about the functioning of their craft but several fan panels (that I got to be a part of). The Doctor Who conventions I have been lucky enough to attend have all been packed with guests but still small enough to have a great time with everyone. (Time Eddy photo courtesy of Michelle Nash)
I am looking forward to what 2016 brings for if it builds on 2015 the way 2015 built on 2014, great things are ahead.