Here is my report on FanX 2018, day two. I know you’ve been waiting for this with bated breath. (Probably not.) It was an interesting day, though. If you haven't read about my adventures thus far, catch up on Day 1!
Here's some Grunts and Friends walking down the street.
It’s now Friday and after getting up late after a restless night, we made the long, long hike around the back of the Salt Palace to go to the Xena Warrior Princess Panel. I guess I should tell you that our family was dressed up as Pokemon's Team Rocket Grunts, for Friday. It wasn't much - just black pants, black hat, and a tee-shirt with a big R on it. Anyway, I’m a fan of the show (Xena, not Pokemon) and have watched every episode several times. Lucy and Renee were great and told us that when they aren’t acting, they're just regular people taking their sick dogs to the doctor and their kids to the vet…or vice versa. Someone asked about a reunion movie and Lucy was stuck on how to bring Xena (Spoiler Alert!!) back from the dead. 2020 will be the show's 25th anniversary. A fan brought up the death of Ares’s actor – Kevin Smith – and Lucy said that everyone was devastated and that it was very hard to deal with. Mr. Smith died in 2002 of head injuries from a fall.
Look, there she is now! Just kidding.
They look so normal and actually have real lives. Imagine that.
After a long walk, again, to the nearest mall for affordable food, I just had to go back to the hotel to lie down for a little while. My husband didn’t stop bringing up the fact that we were probably going to miss David Tennant’s panel (he was right), but I couldn’t help it – my body just didn’t want to move for a while. I guess I should have trained for the weekend by running a marathon or something. I do regret missing David, though. Beside Matt Smith, he’s my favorite Doctor Who.
This is City Creek Mall. It's a very nice place for shopping and dining. Come Visit!
When I finally got up and we walked around the circumference of the Salt Palace (again) to reach the main entrance, we went to The Hillywood Panel – which was fun…but a tad disappointing. I thought that they were going to do a live show, but they were in a smaller suite of rooms, so they just showed their parodies on a screen. I can understand why, but mostly the girls sat at a table the whole time, and boy are they tiny. My shortest daughter said that she felt tall, for once, standing next to them during the photo op. (More on that, later). Bonus points – Osric Chau was there, too, but he kept jumping up and running out of the room during the parodies. He did stay for the question and answer part and I actually stood up and asked a question. I kind of had to stand up because the line to the microphone was next to the row that we were in, and the only view was of stranger’s legs, not the talent on the stage. I told Osric that I’m still hoping for season three of Dirk Gently (him too), and I told Hannah that she needs to be on the screen more with her sister. I like Hilly, too, but my favorite parodies have the sisters together – like Sherlock Holmes and Hocus Pocus. Hannah said that she loves the focus of directing, but she was glad that I enjoyed her performances. After we got home from the convention, I heard that Hillywood did perform on Saturday. My family hustled me out of there so fast that day, I missed it!
Later, we went to Gaten Mattorizzi’s (Stranger Things) panel. What a cutie. His 16th birthday was a day away and the convention surprised him with gifts given to him by Star Wars cosplayers. His panel helper (it was just one guy, a table, and two chairs on stage), had to tell him to stop trying to open the gifts and to get back to the questions. Gaten told stories of life on set with a bunch of kids and was very charming. He also talked about his disability and the way that it helps and hurts his career. If the audience has any say in the matter, Gaten is going to have a long time to act and perform. So many kids came to the microphone to tell Gaten that they loved him, everyone was getting teary.
Our photo op was scheduled for that afternoon and there was a colossal technical difficulty that caused much chaos, my friends. We were told to go to the photo op area (a long trek through the crowded vendor floor), where the family would be shown to the ADA waiting room. Sounds easy, right? Wrong! We had a hard time finding the ADA room, as the crush of waiting fans and harried volunteers were very difficult to see around. An ariel view would have helped, or at least someone who worked at the convention who was available for questions and knew what was going on. It was just an endless sea of milling Darth Vaders, Japanese anime Cosplayers, and Cinderellas in wide hoop skirts. I felt bad for the fans who wore costumes that had wings or large appendages. They either couldn’t move or tried to walk sideways.
After finally locating the ADA room, it only got worse. The room didn’t have enough chairs for everyone and I was envious of the ones who were in their own wheelchairs (so wrong, I know), because the wait went on and on. Finally, I made my way to the front of the room to ask why the photo ops were so delayed. Turns out that the digital printers had stopped working. This caused the photo ops to stop until a solution was found. I found out later that some printers were still working, but they were another long hike away to the second floor, that the fans had to go on to pick up their pictures. The situation would have been better if our fellow ADA families were offered any help. Water, information, anything. During the time I was there, a lady with a microphone (several yards away behind a curtain), was telling us important (supposedly) information about the lines and times for photo ops. The problem was that all we heard back there was ‘wah, wah, wah.' After I found an unhappy lady who worked for the convention that had some info, I relayed the information the best I could to the group around us. A little while later, that same lady was at the parting of the curtains yelling at us that she couldn’t help us -- 'go sit down and wait!’ Nice. She didn’t have a microphone, but I did hear her say that. My little family decided to forgo the photo experience, sadly, and found a way out of the crowd to another crowded line for a refund. Good times.
It was now time for dinner after finally making our way back to the main entrance. You wouldn’t believe how long it took to get through just the vendor floor. There were so many fans, at that point, that usually an empty space of only a foot or two was in front of us. We constantly had to bob and weave around Princess Zelda, only to stop short into the furry backside of Chewbacca. It was exhausting. My autistic daughter likes to lag behind and doesn’t like to be touched, so I was giving myself whiplash – always looking behind me to make sure that she wasn’t missing. If a fire had broken out, we’d be toast. Isn’t there a limit to how many people can be in a room, especially one where you can’t see the exit signs over the top of Godzilla’s head? We could have stayed for another panel, but the crowd was intimidating. We went on another forced march around the convention center to the mall and back to the hotel. I was very glad my son was there and was willing to carry my Con bag for me. It was hard enough just putting one foot in front of another, at that point.
Here's me getting attacked at the Doctor Who photo area. It's a good thing that my face is fuzzy. Can't have you know exactly what I look like.
So, not a perfect day. It had lots of great moments and it’s always exciting to be in the same room as celebrities and to be a part of appreciative crowds. It was also the day that my whole family was together, and since my kids are busy young adults, it was nice to get the chance to connect with them. The size of the crowd was intimidating and I didn’t think that it could get more crowded than it was then, by Friday afternoon. I was wrong.
I'm glad that I was there, problems and all. It was an experience not to be missed. Hopefully, the event planners will make sure that things run smoother for the next convention. It's a massive undertaking with more panels and things to see that I even had time for. I'll do better at enhancing my stanima beforehand, next time. Saturday gave us a surprise treat, so read on!
Bye for now,
Additional photos by:
Hang W, Steve W, and Chelsea C
Courtesy of Yelp.com