CourtneyK takes on the inaugural ComiKaze Expo
Over the weekend I was privileged enough to attend the first annual Comikaze Expo in L.A. While L.A. and I don’t normally get along, I managed to maneuver myself around and successfully plunk myself into the convention center, obtain my wristband and start exploring the floor!
Being that this was the first Comikaze Expo, there were good parts and learning parts. I was surprised to find that the whole of the convention was one floor. One. Meaning the panels were on the far walls behind black curtains, which made attending easy (loads of people just stood outside said curtains or swooped through and copped a squat wherever available, including but not limited to chairs or the concrete floor); however the lack of walls and super high cement ceilings made hearing the panelists more of a challenge. Compounded with the sporadic floor-wide garbled announcements, sitting audience for a panel became a gigglefest as everyone on the panels stopped, eyes swung to the speaker on the ceiling and softly shook their heads. It wasn’t as annoying as it sounds, but I was very glad for my chicken scratch notes.
The first panel I attended was Character Studies: Geek Girls in Popular Culture. I know, right?? I was thrilled to sit second row, hanging on the every word of Jane Espenson (writer-producer; twitter @JaneEspenson), Amy Berg (writer-producer; twitter @bergopolis), Sarah Watson (writer; twitter @SarahWatson42), Sarah Kuhn (writer; twitter @sarahkuhn), Jessica Mills (actress, writer; twitter @geekyjessica), and Stephanie Thorpe (actress, writer; twitter @TheStephThorpe). All professed Geek Girls and let me tell you, it was impossible to notate during this panel. I was too involved in the conversation the panelists were having with the audience. Bottom line: Geek not only doesn’t equal bad, but is steadily becoming THE thing to be and not in a trendy way. The heart, humor and soul resides in the female “geek” character (male geeks too!). I listed the Twitter handles so that more readers could have the experience of these terrific women. Enjoy!
The second panel I attended was the Meet the League of S.T.E.A.M. Panel (http://leagueofsteam.com/ and twitter: @LeagueofSTEAM) which is a fun little group of performers, prop-makers, writers, costumers, special effects folks; serious talent! The League of S.T.E.A.M. has appeared and consulted on the Panic! At the Disco music video (what’s that??? What MTV used to play exclusively, dear child) “The Ballad of Mona Lisa,” when the band sought guidance in a Steampunk look and feel for their video. The League also has appeared on location for live shows and events, including a show during a wedding reception! (I so wish I’d been invited to that!) I have been thoroughly impressed by the combinations of imagination and historical elements involved with the Steampunk movement. The mix of science and technology with olde timey leather and laces; it’s really cool to look at! Example: Damsel in this Dress (www.damseldress.com or www.damselinthisdress.etsy.com) which had the most impressive booth! I had to drag myself away from their rows and rows of incredible outfits. Go take a look; you may just fall in love with that style too!
STAN LEE WAS THERE!! I didn’t get to meet him, but I mentally sent him a hug and snapped a picture. He’s adorable, and a genius. That’s all!
Nestled among the booths of comics galore, posters, buttons, amazing artwork, clothing, random pieces of replicated weapons: I found a jewel. Anyone who knows LiamShow.com knows Kelly. And I GOT to meet and have my picture taken with the “Betch” herself! Like a true fangirl, I gushed, and repeated the famous line
“Shoes Betch. Shoes” and grinned like a moron. It was so cool! I also was able to meet the lovely folks at Pendant Productions (HI SUSAN!!), responsible for terrific audio dramas/comedies/dramadies. They had an audio presentation in panel form that was loads of laughs! I was also lucky enough to see and meet the people responsible for the California Browncoats (twitter: @CABrowncoats) booth, which fed my not-so-quiet-inner Browncoat.
I also saw things I’d never seen before: mainly, a Magick the Gathering and Yu-Gi-Oh card competition and a Warhammer 40K tournament. I was impressed at the details these players in particular insist on. Teeny tiny soldiers, robots, animals, scenescapes; seriously I was impressed. I stood and watched those for a good 10 minutes, however since I had no real clue as to what was going on, I felt really out of place.
I think the first attempt at the L.A. Comikaze Expo was a success! There was a lot to see, lots of people in impressive cosplay costumes, the tournaments, the booths, the celebrities. I think the next year will be even better than the first! The turnout of unwashed nerdy masses was not as huge as other cons, surely. But it was crowded! Parking was nearly impossible second day; and that I say is an epic win for Comikaze Expo 2011.