Tag Archives: FanX 2015

My FanX 2015 Adventure

FanX1So here we are at the last day of FanX 2015. I can’t believe it. It seems like only two months ago that this event was announced, and now is almost finished. Ok, it was only 2 months ago, which makes it pretty impressive that they were able to get it all put together as quickly as they did and that things have gone as smoothly as they have so far. Mt experience this time around was not as much FanX as I would have liked, maybe, but it was definitely quality over quantity for me. There is a lot going on in the geeky mormon household this weekend, and FanX has had to take a back seat to some of it, namely my oldest son’s baptism. That’s ok. While I welcome events like this as a great escape from reality with a bunch of like-minded people, reality does not stop and sometimes has to take priority. What I did appreciate this time around was how much time I got to spend at the con with my wife, just the two of us. That kind of time is always welcome. I don’t want you to think, though, that just because my time was limited, that I didn’t get to do a lot of great stuff. Here are the highlights:

I Thanked A FanX Volunteer or Two

FanX2If you saw my post from the other day, then you’ll know that I encouraged attendees of FanX to stop and tell a volunteer thank you. I did that while I was there. I thanked a few, but here is a pic of one of my stops. These two are two very hard-working fellas. The gentleman in the lighter shirt is Tony, and he was the head volunteer over all the other volunteers, which means for the past couple of months he has basically had two full time jobs, his day job and then the volunteer job. Of course, since one was volunteer, that means he was working two jobs, but only getting paid for one. Spencer, the gentleman behind unworked as his assistant during the con, so I am sure the two of them have been going nonstop the last couple of days. Tony does a lot to say thanks to his volunteers, so I thought it would be good to thank him as well. I didn’t do any other pics with volunteers because they were all working so hard to make the day great for everyone there, that I didn’t want to interrupt that. For the most part, I saw some really great work from all the volunteers we encountered. Well done.

I Met Some Members of Rogue Squadron

FanX3I saw these folks set up for some photo ops, and thought it would be cool to get a picture with them. I love Star Wars, and I thought these guys looked pretty good and the backdrop was great, plus the droid int the foreground, the whole thing looked pretty good.  One thing I will say about FanX this year is that there seemed to be many more spots where you could stop for photo ops like this, something that FantasyCon did last year which I thought was great. In addition to this spot, there were some other photo ops set up by Salt Lake Comic Con like the Trolls from the Hobbit. There were also some other spots set up by vendors like the TARDIS, which for the first time was set up in a booth area with an established line, instead of just some random spot on the floor. It was more organized than any of the previous cons, which was nice. However, the line was long, so we didn’t get our picture there.

I Bought Some More Pictures for My Geek Wall

FanX7I have a real problem. An addiction. When I go to these events, I am drawn to the art prints like a moth to the light. I can’t help it. I know my geek wall is getting full, so I need to limit myself when I go and make purchases. Before hand, I se my limit at one. One print, that’s it, and it needed to be either Marvel or Harry Potter since I have neither of those on my wall yet. Absolutely no Doctor Who, because I already have three Doctor Who pictures on my wall. As you can tell from this picture I failed at that part, miserably. I saw this print, and I had to have it. This is the TARDIS at Bad Wolf Bay, and it is beautiful. My crappy phone pic doesn’t do this print justice. The artist who did this painting did two of my other Doctor Who pictures , so needless to say, I like his stuff. Here is the unfortunate thing, I asked for his card and he was out of them, and he gave me his website, and I didn’t write it down. I have a brother-in-law who is going back today and he is going to find out for me, so I will update this post when he does.

FanX6Most of the artists or any of the booths that sell prints (some of the booths just have a bunch of prints from random artists. I prefer the booths with the actual artist there to sign their work) have a deal, where it is so much if you buy one, and then less if you buy two or more or whatever. This particular artist charges $20 for the first print, and then $10 for each additional. So I saw this one of Arrow from the TV series, and it looked amazing, so I got it as well. Please stop by this guys booth when you go today. I believe it is number 1623, and he has a bunch of random prints hanging up behind him (they’re not his), and then his own original stuff is framed on the table. You’ll know you are in the right place if you see the picture of the TARDIS at the Salt Palace and a picture of the Bat Signal over Salt Lake City. His stuff just looks amazing.

FanX4Every time we go to one of these cons, we try to find something little for the kids, something that represents what they are into. This year we found the artist booth of Adrian Ropp. You can find him at the website ChimChum.com. His style is Disney inspired, so he draws other characters as they would look in the Disney animated universe. My oldest boy loves How to Train your Dragon. My little girls all like My Little Pony and Jak like Ninja Turtles, so we found these four prints for them and the kids loved them. I thought they would like them because of the bright colors  and the style just seems so appealing to kids.

FanX5For me, I found this print. It is of the Thundercats, which is one of the first things I remember obsessing about. Even before Ninja Turtles. I loved this show as a kid, and for whatever reason, unlike other popular titles from my youth, this has never really gained a lot of traction today. There was the ill-fated Cartoon Network remake of the show, but other than that, nothing. You hardly see anything Thundercats at these cons, so when I saw this, I had to snatch it up. This is what they would look like if Disney bought them and did an animated Thundercats movie. Who knows, maybe it will happen.  They’ve bought everything else from my childhood. Except it wouldn’t be hand drawn animation, it would be computer animated.

We Went to the Ultimate Doctor Who Xperience

This was a great experience, maybe the highlight of the night for me. Matt Smith was really great, as were Karen and Billie, but I think Matt stole the show. He told some great stories that had nothing to do with anything, but they were entertaining, he demonstrated how to do the drunken giraffe dance, and he just acted and sounded like the Doctor. It was almost like having 11 back. For some folks, that may be what they really want. I am happy with 12, but it was cool to see “11” again. There will probably be highlights or the whole panel that will show up on YouTube, so you can check that out there. I didn’t take any pictures or video because we were so far back that it didn’t seem worth it, so I’m sorry about that. I will try to do better next time. The biggest thing, for me, that came out of the experience, was when a fan asked all three of them if they would ever be back on Doctor Who. Matt Smith did not even hesitate when he answered “Yes.” I don’t know if it is just that he wants to come back some time, or if Moffat already has some kind of crossover planned with 11 and 12. I am wondering if it might be the latter. Karen said maybe, but only because she said no at first and has already come back since then, so who knows. Billie said if she came back anymore it might start looking a little sad. But Matt Smith is definitely planning on coming back some time. The big highlight for any of the people there was when a woman broke down crying because of how much these people meant to her when her mother was very ill and passed away. She couldn’t even get to her question, and was kind of shuffled off by one of the volunteers manning the mic. The three stars came over to her to give her a hug from the stage, and then asked her to come up on stage with them, and she was able to stay there the rest of the show. It was classy by all three involved. That highlight, I am sure is already up on YouTube.

The Real Highlight for Me

I mentioned this last night when I posted on Facebook, but one of the real highlights was meeting a reader of the blog at the convention. It is always nice to know that your stuff is being read and followed, even by just a few. So it was great meeting Braden at the show. Plus I ran into a few other folks I had met previously who let me know that they were keeping up with the blog as well. Thank you everyone for reading it. That makes my day to find that out and to meet you folks.

That was the end of my FanX adventure. It was a short one, but as you can see it was high in quality. I can’t wait for Comic Con in September. I am already planning for it. I may need to find a way to condense what I have on my geek wall, or it may just have to expand somehow. The other option would be to stop buying, but that doesn’t seem like the right one for me.

My FanX 2015 Top Ten-A Poor Man’s Guide

So, you’re planning on going to FanX 2015, which starts one week from today, and you don’t have a lot of cash? I fell you, brother. You’re not alone, but sometimes it feels that way. Sometimes it seems like all the con has to offer is Photo Ops and Autographs, and you just can’t afford it. Have no fear, you’re friendly, neighborhood geeky mormon is here to help. I know there are other lists out there, highlighting all the great guests coming and what not, but this list is my list, and hopefully you might find it useful. I have tried to include only free things, so other than your entrance into the con, this list won’t cost you an arm and a leg. There are a couple of exceptions, but trust me when I tell you they are minimal. I also only included one activity for Saturday, because I won’t be at the con on Saturday, so believe it or not, there isn’t much that excites me that day. Everything on this list is legitimately something I want to go to while I am at FanX, so if you go to these panels you may run into me. Fell free to stop me and say hi. I would love to meet you. Anyway, to the list!

10. KidCon Crafts

At least one of the days, we will be braving FanX with the children (probably Thursday), which means that this caught my eye. KidCon is not new, it has been around since last year’s FanX and made an appearance at last September’s Comic Con. FanX was pretty good, but Comic Con was less than impressive.  I am hoping that it will be great again this time around, because it is a great place to come and enjoy with the kids. What gives me hope this year is that they will be doing crafts at the KidCon, and they’re free, according to the website. Two reasons why this is awesome: 1. Kids love doing crafts and 2. It gives them a cool souvenir from the con that costs you nothing extra and is totally unique to them. Yay crafts! They even have a schedule on their website of which crafts they will be doing when. You can check it out here.

9. The Vendor Area

This can get very expensive, so control yourself. That being said, you can’t avoid the vendor area. It is a big part of what is at the con. It is not just people selling stuff, though, so it is really worth checking out. There are some unique things, but beware, a lot of the things can be found cheaper on the internet. Another thing to watch out for is comic book vendors. There are a lot of them there, and some are less reputable than others and may or may not charge more than they should for what you are getting. My suggestion, stop by Black Cat Comics. Greg and the gang will take care of you. If you insist on spending your money in the vendor area, wait until the last day, you’ll get better deals.

8. Artist Alley

This is one of my favorite parts of the vendor area. I love looking at the different artwork here in Artist Alley, and you can usually snag a signed print for not too much, which goes great on your geeky art wall, which I assume everyone has, just like me. Usually these booths are manned by the artist themselves, so that is even cooler. These aren’t usually the really famous artists, although some of them are here as well. Check it out, and if you do spend money, it will be helping to feed a starving artist for like one night.

7. “She Turned Me into a Newt!”: Monty Python’s Holy Grail Turns 40

Monty-Python-and-the-Holy-Grail-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-4975811-845-468One of the best things to do at these conventions if you don’t want to spend a ton of extra money is to go to the panels. I’m not talking about only the celebrity panels, but the con offers panels on a variety of interesting topics, and there is something for everyone. This one looked particularly interesting to me. If you didn’t know that Monty Python and the Holy Grail were turning 40, don’t feel too bad, neither did I. When I saw this, though, I thought, “Sign me up.” I love this old, quirky comedy, and I think there are a lot of fans of the show out there. What could be more fun than running through all the memorable scenes and quotable quotes? Nothing. It would be an hour well spent. This panel is at 12:30 PM on Friday in Ballroom B.

6. Voice Actor Script Reading

FanX 2015 has some great voice talent coming to the show. These are some amazing performers who do something that everyone thinks is easy, but it’s actually really hard. A year ago, I would not have been that interested in this, but I saw a documentary on Netflix called I Know that Voice, and I realized just how amazing these actors are. It would be a ton of fun to sit in a room and listen to and watch these performers read through a script together. The details don’t tell us which script they will be reading, but I am sure they will read something off the wall and unexpected, which will only add to the entertainment factor. This panel takes place on Friday at 4 PM in room 250 A.

5. Official Cosplay Contest

MASTER_COSPLAY-1024x791This is an event not just for Cosplayers, but for members of any fandom. If you, like me, lack the skill, talent, or ability to build costumes like you see others wearing at the con, then hopefully you, like me, can appreciate how amazing said costumes are. This is a great opportunity to see the best of the best. The actual show starts at 6 PM on Saturday (this is the one Saturday event I mentioned), but it is after hours of judging and competition that runs through the whole day. The participants, most of them have worked long and hard on their costumes, and now you get to sit back and appreciate the fruits of their labors. The admission is free, and it’s a great way to make sure you don’t miss any of the best cosplay at the con. Of course, this event is in the South Ballroom.

4. I’m Hooked on a Feeling: How Marvel Turned Guardians into the Biggest Blockbuster in 2014.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Team-Photo-High-ResUnfortunately, we just found out that Guardians was not the biggest blockbuster in 2014. That being said, it was my favorite blockbuster from 2014. And it’s not even close. That surprised me, since I was originally thinking that Marvel was making a bad decision with this property. Then they announced some of the cast, like Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista, and I thought, “See? They’re not even trying.” I have seen the error of my ways, and now realize that Marvel is simply the most amazing studio out there, and from now on, when their films come out, I will just be prepared to give them my money. But how did they take a property no one had heard of and turn it into such huge success? This panel will discuss that, and I want to hear about it. It is on Friday at 8 PM in room 250 A, so a great way to end your night on Friday.

3. Karen Gillan Panel

Karen-Gillan-will-play-th-001Amy Pond was one of my favorite companions on Doctor Who, and she was one of my wife’s favorite companions, so this is a must see panel for us. Here is the one problem with these big celebrity panels: They fill up quickly. I have this one on the list , but honestly, I don’t know if I will make it in because I don’t know if I will be willing to wait in line for it.  However, I think it will be entertaining if we do make it in and worth the time to sit and watch, not just to hear about Doctor Who but Guardians as well. The panel is on Thursday at 5 pm in the South Ballroom.

2. Christopher Lloyd

Christopher-Lloyd-as-Doc-BrownGreat Scott! Who, in my generation, did not grow up watching Back to the Future? In my opinion, it was one of the greatest SciFi trilogies of all time, and one of the main reasons was Doc. Christopher Lloyd has always been one of my favorite actors as a result of my love for those movies. What a cool opportunity to go and listen to him talk about all of his adventures in Back to the Future and beyond. I can’t imagine that he will disappoint as a speaker and presenter. This is another one that I want to go to badly, but I don’t know how quickly it will fill up. Hopefully I can find a seat somewhere, maybe in the very back. I just want to get inside and be there, that’s all. The panel is on Friday at 11 AM in the South Ballroom.

1. Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience

Doctor-Who-007This is the one thing that will for sure cost you money, and if you don’t have tickets, I’m sorry it is sold out. Before you get all upset because this is a list of ways to have fun at the con without spending a ton of extra money, just know I bought the tickets when they went on sale and I bought the general admission tickets that were $15 each, so it wasn’t that expensive. I couldn’t pass this up. Matt Smith was one of my favorite Doctors and he was my wife’s favorite Doctor, so we both really wanted to go.  I am not getting a photo-op or an autograph, because that is way too much, but really, the more interesting thing for me is listening to these actors and performers and participating that way. This event is on Friday at 5:30 in the South Ballroom.

There you have it, my list of 10 things to do and see at the FanX that won’t cost you an atom or a leg, except the Monty Python panel which may literally coat you an arm and a leg (‘Tis but a flesh wound!) If you would like to check out the full panel schedule because, well, you’re into different stuff than I am, then look here. Just know that the schedule is always subject to change, so be ready and willing to be a little flexible.

Did I miss anything that you are dying to see? Let me know in the comments.

FanX 2015 Brings us The Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience

Geeks are a funny breed of human.  One thing that defines us is our passion.  We don’t just like our fandoms, but we love our fandoms with an undying devotion and passion.  It is the reason why all across Utah, Whovians were glued to their Facebook and Twitter feeds this morning.  Salt Lake Comic Con had teased that they might be breaking the internet with an announcement today, and left just a picture of the TARDIS.


This picture appeared from Bryan Brandenburg to the Salt Lake Comic Con page on Facebook, driving Whovians throughout Utah into a frenzy.


That was all.  That was enough.  Whovians throughout Utah could not wait to see what today would hold  for them.  The anticipation was so much for some that they couldn’t sleep. I literally saw someone post that they could not sleep last night in anticipation for this announcement.  I predicted that maybe we would get a two for one announcement, and they would announce both Karen Gillan and Matt Smith.  I knew that Bryan had teased before that maybe Karen would be back, which would be big news, but not break the internet big.  I figured the only way they would do that was by announcing both.  I think most of the fans out there thought the same thing.  I am not a particularly smart person, so I am sure other people figured out the clues.

Then there was panic on a Salt Lake Comic Con group page.  Someone had found out that Karen Gillan and Matt Smith were already scheduled for the 31st at Walker Stalker Con in San Francisco. This caused some to assume the worst. If they were already scheduled to be at one con that weekend, how could they make both. A few were a bit calmer about it and were able to talk them away from the ledge. San Francisco is not that far away from Salt Lake. It takes less than 2 hours to get there on a plane (trust me, I fly that all the time), which means it was still possible that the 2 of them could come here on Thursday and Friday and then fly to San Francisco on Saturday. Celebrities do stuff like that all the time. In fact last year, when Karen came, she came the first day straight from the airport. It is not that strange.

This, then led to each of us checking our Facebook pages every hour to see what Salt Lake Comic Con was posting, since they post at the top of each hour. 9:00 brought some Doctor Who facts, but no announcement. 10 am gave us an ugly DeLorean, which my eyes cannot un-see. This left us with the obvious theory that they would announce Matt Smith at 11 am, since he was number 11. Nope.  They announced Karen instead.  People were excited, but this just fueled the idea that maybe, just maybe both were going to be here. I thought maybe they were waiting until noon, since he was technically the 12th Doctor now (thanks, Moffat). However, they threw us a curve ball by announcing him first on TV. Once that happened, word spread like wildfire throughout Facebook that it had been announced, they were bringing us the Doctor and Amy.  I do want to point out that the Facebook announcement did hit shortly before noon, so maybe I was right.

Of course, almost lost in all of this was the fact that we already had a pretty solid Doctor Who guest previously announced. Billie Piper was already announced as a guest.  So now, that means we have two of the most popular modern companions and Matt Smith, the 11th Doctor coming.  There had to be some kind of major panel announcement, right? Similar to the Star Trek TNG experience last year.  How could they pass up such a great opportunity?  Within hours, they announced that there would be the Doctor Who Ultimate Xperience. Which should be pretty epic.  Matt Smith, Karen Gillan, and Billie Piper. It will be pretty amazing, but will it be ultimate? I think it might be.

Lat year, as they announced all the Star Trek folks coming, there was one face missing from the crowd.  Patrick Stewart, and everyone was hoping that he would make it.  He didn’t for the panel on Thursday night, but at the panel, it was announced that he would be there on Saturday only. I don’t think they knew for sure until right before the panel that he was coming for the one day. These folks are super busy, and even if they want to be there, sometimes they are not sure if or when they can make it. Behind the scenes, even though the con had begun people were still working on getting another big name guest, and their handwork paid off.

Why do I bring that up?  I think they are still working behind the scenes to bring in number 10. I think they want this experience to really be the ultimate experience, and David Tennant would make it that, even more than it already is. I would buy my tickets now (I actually already did), because they will sell out, and you might be kicking yourself when they announce that Tennant will be there.  That’s all speculation on my part. I don’t have any kind of inside source, but that is my guess. Salt Lake Comic Con posted their video of Billie Piper, as a reminder that she would be there too, and then said there was possibly more coming, they may have something else up their sleeve. Some think it was the Ultimate Xperience, but I think that was a foregone conclusion. I think they are working on getting David here, and they might just make it happen. Have faith, my fellow geeks, they can and will deliver.  Today was a big day, but we still have 20 more days until the con itself.

After everything was announced, I just wanted to find a corner and another Whovian or 2, and just sit and geek out. It’s what we do. We get excited, and then we want to share that excitement with other people who are equally excited. I wanted to do this so much, that I spent a few minutes inside an FYE by my house. They normally carry quite a bit of Doctor Who stuff, and it happened to be right across the street from where my daughter’s girl scouts meet, and I was early and had some time to kill. I wasn’t the only one. I walked by a couple walking through the store, and the gentleman was in full on 11th Doctor cosplay. It was awesome. There was another young geek there who was just out of his mind excited about Doctor Who and everything Doctor Who. It was great. We were all out, celebrating today. It reminded me of the opening scene in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, when all the magical folks are out in the open in the muggle world. That is what my trip to FYE was like. It made me happy to be a Whovian, in Utah, a place that didn’t even exist on most geeky maps until recently, and is quickly becoming the geek capital of the world. Go us.