I worked the registration desk on Friday morning. You all want to know what that was like, right? (if not , you can skip to the next paragraph, I’ll never know.) It was, in a word, HECTIC – but surprisingly efficient in its own way. Most of the Friday attendees had signed up in advance, so all we were doing was trading paper tickets for badges on lanyards. I did learn how to use a credit card machine, so that’s good (you never know when it might come in handy). We had one other volunteer my age, who had signed up to work the desk all day, every day, for the entire event. She just likes helping out, I guess. Most of the others were quite young – the youngest, I’d guess, was maybe 12, but they were all eager to help, even if that meant clipping 1,000 lanyards onto 1,000 badges. Which it did. It was fun to see all the people who showed up in costume, and the four-hour shift went pretty smoothly and quickly.
Then I got to go see some programming! This was what I really wanted to do, not so much the buy-stuff-at-the-vendor-hall thing (though I did both). First up was a panel with Wil Wheaton, Yuri Rosenthal, and Aaron Douglas. They talked about acting, and voice acting, and just generally told funny stories and gave each other a hard time. As we all filed out, I heard one guy say “That panel alone made this the best con ever!” Guess I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed it.
A group called the 501st Legion was there. They describe themselves as the “Definitive Imperial Costuming Organization” but what this really means is mostly people dressed up as storm troopers and Sith Lords from the various Star Wars movies. Imperial Trooper Training ran outside the main entrance, all day on Friday. They had an obstacle course set up, and let kids (or grownup kids) run the course with light sabers. By the next day, the Arizona branch of the Rebel Legion was running Jedi training, so we had good AND bad guys all over the place. Both groups do a lot of charity events, and they also gave some talks about costuming, both specific to Star Wars and more general.
I really enjoyed talking to the people from Willitmakeit.com – they are Knight Rider fans who happen to run a company that provides vehicles for tv shows and movies, so of course they own (and displayed for us) both KITT and CARR, with those running lights across the front and everything.
Also outside, there were a variety of games that people played, usually in costume. A Cosplay Dodgeball game went on for several hours, and there were pick-up games of RedRover on the back lawn. Teams changed as people joined or left, and I think the rain was starting to wash off some of the zombie’s skin, but it sure looked like everyone was having fun! There was also a zombie brain-eating contest. The less said, the better on that one.
I attended the second round of comic trivia (I had attended the first round Thursday night and was appointed to the Black team). Once again, I didn’t know ANY of the answers, but most of the audience did. One guy knew the EXACT weight of a particular character; another guy got so excited waving his hand around hoping to be called upon that he literally fell out of his chair and landed flat on the floor (he wasn’t hurt). The team nature of the event, though, means that I got to take credit for team points anyway, and the final results are supposed to be posted later on, I assume somewhere on the Phoenix Comicon site.
The top event of the day/night, though, had to be the Rock Band Blow-out. Wil Wheaton describes it much better than I ever could over at his blog. Or you can probably find dozens of clips of it on YouTube.