Saturday, April 6, 2013

WonderCon look-back: A Bones-Sulu reunion AND a hit panel on video

What a difference a year makes.

A year ago we were drowning in a monsoon that ruined the mood at what I called "strip mall con"—the normally San-Fran-based Wondercon, San Diego's little brother relocated to Anaheim for a year or two and struggling then to share parking with two high school sports events at the convention center there. Meh. People were drenched waiting in open air for slow, overwhelmed and distant shuttle buses.

This year? Wow, and not just for the very welcome sun:

FIRST, I pull off a successful meet-up for "The Con of Wrath" (more on that soon)...

... AND enjoy the largesse of some table space at the hubbub of Enterprise-D chair photo opps thanks to Huston Huddleston (rear, left) and his booming non-profit restoration project and science center "New Starship"....

...WHERE we had a McCoy-Sulu reunion with Grant Imahara of Mythbusters (left and right), soon to be seen as the helmsman opposite my doctor in the new Star Trek Continues indie online series—the pilot episode to debut at PhoenixComicon May 24 (more on THAT later, too!) ...

...PLUS have a wealth of Treklanders drop by: longtime Trek illustrator-author (and Voyager designer ) Rick Sternbach and Voyager illustrator Tim Earls .,.. PLUS post-production producer Steve Welke, all of whom recorded vidchats with me for the blog for later: look for them soon.

...and Steve!

PLUS a genre psychology panel I was asked to join that garnered a lot of news attention, recorded on homespun video for posterity (with a cool opening sequence)—and more on THAT later as well.

We even worked!—and got in an interview on the run with one of the dealers who was a pivotal key in the saving of "The Con of Wrath," our documentary on the 1982 Ultimate Fantasy show in Houston that was Stat Trek's most glorious failure. You "Wrath" supporters will hear more about that as well.

I also made it over to the CBS Blu-ray Remastering panel, for the great clips and reaction from another full house (at left) to the Okudas, producer Roger Lay, doc director Robert Burnett and even Brannon the Braga back on his outreach effort. I was sad to hear., though, the offhand news that longtime TV Trek set decorator Jimmy Mees had just passed away. (More on him soon, as well.)

All in all, from my admittedly narrow point-of-view on 2 of the 3 days the weekend, my two days at WonderCon WERE a wonder—a good mix of fans, coming from all across the genre spectrum of course, even as the Trek variety tended to find me—and in surprisingly and healthy numbers, judging by both the panels and the obvious cosplay. I really, really was amazed at the contrast between last year and this—both in numbers and in Trek repping. It was a good year for the show in deed, where I heard totals jumped up from around 40,000 last year to 50,000 this time. With the entire convention center uncontested by high school cheerleaders and girls volleyball championships—confusing the anime fans boys with cosplay photo meltdown—things overall seemed more settled, and folks having a more leisurely and settled time.

I still miss, however, the lack of anywhere to go NOT associated with the nearby hotels—as helpful as they are, overflow choices are still limited. With Anaheim set up to fuel Disney full-time or to host events whose members hit Disney for the night... there's just no mom-and-pop or local nightlife or pubs/eateries in walking distance. And heaven forbid you give up your hard-won, hard-paid parking spot in midday or early evening! Whether WonderCon returns wholly to San Fransisco's Moscone Center, or maintains split campuses now in both OC and the Bay, is among the choices the WC has said it will consider... based on venue vibes like this. Wherever it is held, WonderCon is enjoying the boom of popularity as many regional comic-cons enjoy these days as people shy away—or are forced away from ticket sales shutouts—from megamonstrosity CCSD and its 150,000 bodies in July.

Finally, though—just a big thanks to everyone who came and braved the sunshine this year, and offered up some fun chat or good cosplay, or both:
Ex-Brit Ben Paddon of L.A.'s own TShirt 

Especiale gracias to you guys-n-gals who made it to any or all three of the panels I was a part of, including our "traditional" Saturday evening Trekland "Between the Cracks" show—even if we did have to have it in the "classroom" room, you stuck by. And look for those psych-panel video and donor tribute posts before much more time gets by.

Oh—and you wanna say something about the Hawaiian shirt? Well, GO ahead. Disrespect the uniform.

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