This was CONvergence's 10 year anniversary, and they made sure to make it big this year, starting with extending the con to 4 days. I had a great time, and now am exhausted. Here are some highlights:
Thursday: Went to panel "Fanzines Invented the Internet". It was interesting to hear from guys who were connecting long before the GUI (graphical user interface) we're so accustomed to, and long before the World Wide Web. It makes a good parallel, since fanzines were started for the same purpose - to stay connected and share ideas with others with similar interests. They also talked about the shift from printed zines to online zines, but didn't say much about how the internet changed how printed zines are used today. They didn't even seem aware that printed zines continue to exist and be a vital part of independent publishing.
Thursday night we went to the Opening Ceremony where they did a very funny interpretation of Austin Powers, Cereal Mascot Smackdown, a panel on Paranormal as TV Journalism (I'm completely hooked on Ghost Hunters), and topped it off with a few room parties.
Friday: Started off the day at the Copyright: Ethics in Action panel. They discussed how confusing copyright laws can be, and each panelist talked about their own experiences with dealing with (or avoiding) copright issues. There seems to be a consensus that even though copyright laws were originally created to encourage creativity, it's become more of an issue of greed, and tends to stifle creativity in some cases. One panelist recommends that copyright rights be reduced to 40 years or the life of the creator, whichever comes last, and I agree. There was also some discussion about Creative Commons and copyleft, which I'm a big fan of, but the panelists suggested avoiding altogether because there are no real laws to back it up.
We went to a few more panels that days, but the the best part was probably watching The Super Inframan at the Cinema Apocalypse room. It's a Chinese knock-off of the Japanese Ultraman, and it's bad but completely hilarious. Later that night we went to the 22nd floor of the hotel to watch some distant fireworks, then went to see a performance by Solylent Theater (a comedy troop "made out of people"). Finished off Friday night with more crazy room parties.
Saturday: Slept in, then went to the Working in Comics panel. The panelists were a good cross section of comics professions: a penciller, an inker, and a colorist. The only drawback was that they all work for big comics companies, and there wasn't anyone representing an independent publisher. About halfway through the panel, Scott had a hard time breathing and I ended up taking him to the emergency room. They think it's either asthma or a panic/anxiety attack, so they prescribed an inhalant and 5 hours later we headed back to the con.
That night we went to the Masquerade, one of my favorite events, but there are always some amazing costumes that you see out and about, but don't perform in the masquerade. In fact, seeing all the costumes is probably my favorite part of the convention - where else can you see Mary Poppins, Superman, Santa Claus, and a Klingon having a drink together? We ended the night at Killer B's Improve Movie Show (like a live Mystery Science Theater), and skipped the room parties after Scott's rough day.
Sunday: Woke up feeling ready to go home. Maybe 4 days of CONvergence really is too much? First we went to the art auction pickup, where I won a print of "Mouse with Pearl Earring", and found out that I'd sold "Hellfire". The we went to Iron Artist, where four artists and one puppet fight out an epic art battle. In the afternoon we went to see Peter Mayhew speak (Chewbacca), then to the Women and Comic Books panel. The panelists mostly talked about superhero comics they liked, and how so many people don't understand that even women get into superhero comics. But, I don't like superhero comics, so I didn't recognize most of the titles they talked about (except for a few that I tried but didn't like).
The biggest disappointment was when someone in the audience asked for recommendations of comics by women, or what to recommend for women friends, and there wasn't a mention of Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis". I thought about raising my hand to say something, but I thought too long and the panel was over before I got my nerve up. I also wanted to mention Alison Bechdel and "Fun Home", Lilli Carre's "Tales of Woodsman Pete", Renee French's "Micrographica", and Megan Kelso's "The Squirrel Mother" as some of my favorite comics by women artists. Oh well, maybe I'll be braver next year.
Oh! Next year! I can't wait...
(for more photos, check out luckycreature's flickr site)