Tuesday, March 8, 2011

The Adventures of Mathman and Dragongirl Continue!

In addition to all of the wonderful artists and art to see at Emerald City Comic Con there were, of course, many panels featuring various actors, writers, artists, and geeks. My husband and I attended five panels over the weekend, one on Friday and four on Saturday. All of them were quite enjoyable, I have to say. There were several more we would like to have seen, certainly, but we tried to limit ourselves to the ones that really called to us (okay, to me), so that we could still have plenty of time for all of the other wonderful things we wanted to do!

The first panel we attended, Friday afternoon, was the Wil Wheaton Awesome Hour. As you might guess, this panel featured none other than geek superstar Wil Wheaton. He read a few excerpts from his own works and then the floor was opened up to audience questions. In person I found Wil Wheaton to be just as human and as humorous as he comes across in his blog, which is just a joy to read. As much as I love to read his thoughts on writing and gaming and his updates on whatever projects he happens to be working on, my favorite posts are always the little "slice of life" entries he puts up from time to time. He is a real person, and he is extremely adept at capturing those moments that we all have in our lives that make them worth living, and putting them down on the written (or typed) page to share with others. You can imagine that I was pleased as punch that his first reading was one of those "slice of life" stories. This one about a moment of bonding he and his son had over his comic book collection. I did manage to get it on video, but it is of truly poor quality, very long (around eight minutes), the audio starts to get choppy at the end, AND Blogger doesn't want to upload it. So. No Wil Wheaton video for you. Ha, ha, I kid. Luckily for you, there were many other people there, some of them much better at capturing video. These are a little long, but of good quality, and the two stories he told us, enjoy.

I also was pretty excited that he announced that he was able to tell us the return date for the rest of this season of Eureka, though I have already forgotten what it was, sigh. But I remember that it was quite soon, so yay! 

Saturday was our marathon day of panels. We attended four in a row. I was a bit concerned that we wouldn't be able to get in for the first one, or get good seats, or that they would kick us out between panels. I was worried that I would be stuck in that seat for four plus hours and not even be able to get up and run to the restroom. It turns out my fears were pretty much groundless, yay! This year ECCC rented out the super mega huge panel hall, capable of holding up to 3,000 people. I only saw one panel line for that room the entire time we were there, and it was for the panel after the last one we attended. (Though I think there were lines for the last few we saw, but we were already camped out). They didn't clear out the room in between panels, and there were restrooms in the back of the hall itself. My husband and I did screw ourselves over a little bit after the first panel though--we got there about forty-five minutes early and were able to snag seats in the sixth row, but after the panel, it looked as if people in front of us were getting up to leave so we thought we'd hop up and get some closer seats. Except what really happened was that everyone in row two and back was standing up milling around trying to do the exact same thing...we thought we had seats up closer and while my hubby went to secure them, I told someone else they could have our seats. But, someone beat us to the closer seats, so we actually ended up moving back a bit further after the second panel. Not too far, thankfully, we were still in the front section of seats. But, valuable lesson learned for future conventions.

Anyway, on to the panels. First up was The Guild, featuring Wil Wheaton (again), Amy Okuda, and FELICIA DAY! It was a lot of fun, let me tell you. The format for the panels was that ECCC brought in a local celebrity personality to host each panel, talking with the actors for a little bit about the show and each actor before opening up the floor to audience questions. Felicia promised that season five of The Guild is in the works and does feature a convention, but would say no more because, as she pointed out, she hasn't actually written it yet.

She and Wil talked about gaming a bit, Amy talked about gadgets (she doesn't game much in real life, but LOVES tech and gadgets). Fans asked about how they have managed to embrace their geek pride and how they deal with people who still give them crap, or how they would suggest others tackle that issue. Wil and Felicia drew naughty doodles (and gave one of them to the first question-asker). Someone asked the group in general (but Felicia specifically) about their thoughts on fan art and fan fiction. Felicia professed her love for fan art but stated she hasn't seen any of the fan fiction, and that she isn't likely to seek it out since as the writer for legal reasons it is better for her not to have seen it. Wil was in full support of this, admonishing that once seen it CANNOT BE UNSEEN. I think he has found a few stories about Wesley Crusher...

Wil Wheaton, Felicia Day, Amy Okuda, and the moderator.

Wil doodles something naughty on the table...

The next panel was the Fringe panel, featuring John Noble and Jasika Nicole. They were absolutely adorable! I had completely forgotten that Noble is a Brit, don't ask me how. His accent made me all giddy, and I just wanted to hug Jasika. They talked about all sorts of different things on the show, as well as Noble's work in The Lord of the Rings movies and Jasika's musical background. One of the fans told them that he and his friends all have a viewing party and then eat or drink whatever Walter eats and drinks on the show each week (even things like his cough syrup cocktail). I feel this is ill-advised (Noble very graciously did not call the guy a kook), but to each their own, I guess. He tried to suggest though, that Walter not eat so many Red Vines, as they were getting sick of them. But there is so much fail in that suggestion for so many reasons that I'm just gonna leave it at that. Though man, did that panel ever leave me craving Red Vines...

According to Noble, he feels that the show could just go on forever. Wouldn't that be awesome? It is clear that he loves playing this part, and Jasika also seems to really enjoy Astrid. She hinted that there is a really cool Astrid episode coming up later this season and that she hopes her character(s) gets some more front and center screen time as the series continues. One thing about the series that they weren't too enthusiastic about, however, are their scenes with Gene the cow. Apparently working with a live cow on set is not a picnic. Though let's be honest, that probably shouldn't be a surprise. I managed to capture a little bit of the panel on video, this one is much shorter than the Wil Wheaton clip (only about two minutes), and just a little sampling (of much poorer quality, but what can you do).

After Fringe came Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner (of Star Trek The Next Generation). I am not a huge Star Trek fan, just for lack of exposure more than anything else. I have been slowly getting into it, and my husband of course grew up watching The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine. This was the panel that he was really excited to see, and kind of my carrot  for him sitting through the first two panels with me (he doesn't watch The Guild or Fringe, not because he doesn't like them, just because he has never had the time to get into them). I quite honestly expected most of this panel to go over my head, being full of Star Trek references I did not get. I was pleasantly surprised, however, that it instead was funny as hell. As my husband said, these guys have been doing this for so long that they just came out there and started making stuff up.

Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, and moderator.

Goofing around.

I have to admit, there were a few things that my husband had to explain to me, but for the most part I laughed my ass off the whole time these guys were on stage. Also, they talked about Wil Wheaton a surprisingly lot. That amused me. I felt a little bad for the fan who asked Spiner to sing the "Lifeforms" song that Data had performed in one of the movies, because he couldn't remember it at all. But, as he rightly pointed out, probably everyone in the audience knew it better than he did, because he had only seen the movie once or twice and once he had recorded the scene hadn't really thought about it any more. I found it an interesting commentary on the fan/actor relationship, actually. As fans, we will read or watch something over and over, possibly memorizing part (if not all) of it during the course of events. Certain lines or scenes will stick with us forever, speaking to us on a direct level, and it is a common assumption that something that so profoundly influenced our own world must of course have done the same for the writer or actor who brought that to us. But really, no, it was just a job for them. There may be certain bits they enjoyed more than others, but it is very rare for the actor or writer to get anywhere near as deeply immersed in these universes they create as we the fans do.

Anyhoo, it was a lovely panel nonetheless. It was like swimming in a rainbow with thousands of beautiful naked babies, really.

And finally, we come to one of the big ones for me. It is a toss-up to say which panel I was more excited for, The Guild, or Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The Guild probably won out, but just because Felicia Day and Wil Wheaton are right now two of my personal heroes. But still, Buffy! With Nicholas Brendon AND James Marsters? I mean, come on, how awesome is that? Clare Kramer was there as well, and even though she was only in one season, the guys treated her like one of the family, and it didn't seem like she was too left out of the panel.

This was a fun one, to be sure. I love that Nicholas Brendon is looking so deliciously geeky as he ages. To the girls who were sitting next to us Friday night during the Wil Wheaton panel griping about the fact that Nicholas Brendon now has grey hair even though he's about ten years younger than James Marsters (who dyes his hair and works out religiously because he likes to play ACTION roles), well, all I have to say to them is phttbt.  I like me a geeky looking man who can accept that part of life is growing older (and wiser), and who is okay with a little bit of grey. This should come as no surprise to anyone who knows my husband.

Anyhoo, the panel was a lot of fun. In contrast to Wil Wheaton, Brendon and Marsters openly embraced the glut of fan fiction out there for Buffy, even the stuff that pairs up their own characters romantically. Brendon honestly seemed a bit more perturbed about the turn that the comic books have taken in pairing (SPOILER) Xander and Dawn together than about the existence of Spike/Xander slash fic. Marsters, on the other hand, who had just said he actually hasn't been following the comic books and didn't know what was going on, was quite surprised to learn about that particular turn of events. I actually managed to catch that question on video. It was awesome. Even with the camera shaking (because I was laughing so damn hard) you can still see Marters' reaction in this one. I think most of the fans were on the same page, man. Seriously.

True story: Yesterday morning in the airport we were browsing the magazine stand and we saw the Michelle Trachtenberg Maxim issue. I think the store clerk thought I was a little bit nuts because I was giggling so much at it. You know what, it was a bit racy, Marsters, I agree.

In another moment of musical letdown, someone asked Marsters if he would sing a little bit of one of his songs from the musical episode of Buffy (which there had been a screening of the night before). He was game, but couldn't actually remember the words. After a valiant effort he exclaimed that he didn't do covers and that was that. Still, props to him for trying. He also was asked if we'll see him on Torchwood any more, and while he said he hasn't been asked back, he did declare that he would say yes in an instant if he was. This made me very happy.

The Buffy panel actually got cut a bit short--ending right on time even though it started late due to other panels running over. The last panel of the day was Shatner and he apparently had to start exactly right on time. Hubby and I debated staying for that panel, but neither of us was really gung-ho about it and we had had enough of sitting around by that point, so we decided to head out and stretch our legs by walking the floor a little.

All in all, I really enjoyed the panels, and I am so glad we got to see as many as we did. It was good times.

I will have more convention review goodness for you tomorrow, but for now I am gonna scoot. I've got to take my daughter to her Little Gym class and then go pick up a certain video game that comes out today...and sadly, we don't live far enough into the future yet that the laundry is gonna do itself. Which is a bummer really. Can someone get on making that happen soon? Free cookies for anyone that does!

Alrighty then. Ciao!

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