Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Science Fiction Convention - Polaris 24 in Toronto (July 16-18, 2010)

For the past 8 years, my youngest son and I make a yearly pilgrimage to the SF con, Polaris (aka Toronto trek) in Toronto. This year my son brought his lovely GF, a Kelley Armstrong fan. (Her very first con. I hope she wasn’t traumatised.)

Attended the Mind’s Eye Preview, a 24 episode web series debuting in November 2010 created by Guelph’s Synn Studios (www.synnstudios.com) and Lynnvander (www.lynnvander.com). Mind’s Eye looks interesting, and the lads (many of whom seemed to be named Tom) were clearly a particularly dedicated and professional bunch. I attended all of their filmmaking panels and picked up a great deal of good, sensible advice. I was, however, rather disturbed by the combined effects of sleep deprivation and Red Bull on young males.
Anyway – check out www.mindseyeseries.com.

Yes, things got a bit of a strange with Nancy Leslie & Lesley-Dee Dylan’s X-Rated Rumpy Pumpy: Blackadder panel. I thought it would all be fairly naughty, as it was last year, with the obligatory turnips handed out as positive reinforcement to those with sharp wits and excellent dialogue recall.
This year it was a bit different, as costumes were provided, and as one of the few shameless females present, I ended up being photographed in various compromising positions with a prop udder. I milked the panel for all it was worth. /Rim shot
The gentlemen present were somewhat on the shy side, so it fell to me to break the ice. There’s something both disturbing and enchanting about mature men giggling like schoolgirls. Incriminating photos will eventually be posted.

Got into a huge laughing fit during a panel over the creation of the Church of Ernie, with Pastor Bert presiding and the image of Cookie Monster NOM-NOM-NOMing wafers. I suppose ya had to be there.

Saturday :
One of the actor guests of honour was the lovely Lindsay Wagner, of Bionic Woman fame. I am not much for meeting celebrities, even those I like. I don’t bother with autographs or photos, but I did attend her talk that afternoon. She is truly as beautiful as she was 30 years ago. She’s a great speaker, and regaled us with hilarious anecdotes about filming the series. I do recall the BW did not take itself too seriously and that was one of the reasons I loved it. Bionic Woman is coming out on DVD soon.

I had no clue who any of the other actor guests were. I kept running into some guy named Kai Owen from Torchwood. Haven’t watched Dr. Who since Tom Baker, or Star Trek since TNG, so I had no clue who these people were. I felt rather out of touch.

One of the best attended panels, booked into a small room, was Gender Roles and Feminism in SF. The room was packed. Both men and women seem frustrated with the 1 dimensional female characters depicted these days. The early Scully, the early Leia, Sarah Connor and Ripley resonate SO well with both genders. Is it simply that the male writers who dominate the industry do not know how to properly write women characters after a certain point? These days Carrie Fisher makes stupid money as a script doctor punching up female dialogue in optioned scripts, so that surely is part of it.

Zombie panels were more popular than Vampires. Streampunk jewelry and fashion is HUGE. Steampunk Hats were the dominant fashion in the dealer's room. I am noticing a lot fewer American dealers. Crossing the border is a nightmare, so I suppose they just stay on their side. A pity, really. American artists used to come up but now they just sell their original work online, so the content of art auctions have become a bit lacklustre. (BTW... Artist Heather Bruton did a fine job as auctineer.) But I long for the days when large originals works were on display and for sale. The auctions lasted for hours. Original art from bookcovers and from White Dwarf & Dragon Magazine created intense and dramatic bidding wars. I miss that. Few cartoons, except from Chad Wm. Porter and he sold every piece he brought.

Excessively hungover from Saturday night (I recalled going on a booze run for one of the Synn Studio guys, then chatting up Lar De Souza until 3 am) I shuffled about with other overhung conzombies seeking light breakfast food, prepacking the car, then waiting for my final panels.

Copywrong and Digital Media Rights turned out to be the best panel of the con for me. As technology makes it possible for us to generate and distribute our own content, it’s becoming disturbing how easily creativity can be destroyed when corporations use copyright law to control ideas and “vault” them rather than allow them to be legally shared and new derivative concepts to blossom. We all agreed that a USE IT or LOSE IT patent provision is going to be essential or we are culturally screwed.

All in all, a good con. No Sailor Bubbas (google it) this year, though. Am disappoint.

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