Monday, March 11, 2013

Oz Comic Con Perth 2013: Day 1 Review

Wow. Oz Comic Con Perth was fun and hectic and I don’t even know where to begin. For the first time the event was held in Perth it was damn successful with what seemed to be about 30 thousand people over the course of the weekend. There were cosplayers (how friggin cool is that Iron Man??!!!?), stalls and guests of course, and my review is going to be from the experience as a con-goer. Please follow me under the cut for tales from panels and epic lines.

Cons usually mean early starts and long lines. I was so glad that I got a VIP pass that allowed some express queuing, and after a slightly longer wait at the front, it proved worth it for the rest of the weekend. Once inside I headed to the token line to get half of the tokens for what I wanted done on the weekend; today a photo and autograph with the delightful Emilie Ullerup and a photo with the one and only William Shatner.

As people were still lining up for entry and tokens, I used the shorter lines for autographs to get my autograph from Emilie. Robin Dunne had gotten a last minute job offer and hadn’t gotten on his flight to Australia, leaving Emilie as the only Sanctuary guest (I say only but Callum Blue was a Sanctuary guest, more on that later). She seemed to be in good spirits considering that she had been expecting to share the stage with him and I had heard she was pretty shocked the night before at the cocktail event. We discussed her character on the show as she signed my season 1 box set; hers the last signature I needed to complete the set. She said she didn’t get a copy of the DVD which she was sad about because it was so pretty and a nice thing to have. This was about the point where Jason Momoa disrupted our conversation, armed with a Danish and a roguish grin. He was admiring Emilie’s pictures and they shared some friendly banter. It’s really nice to see different actors making friends on convention circuit.

Once that was done I strode off to the first panel of the day for me; Colin Ferguson.

I’d heard that he was entertaining and charming, and I had seen and liked Eureka. I didn’t expect there to be as large a crowd as there was for him, and people decked out in full Sheriff Carter or Deputy Lupo uniforms. It warmed my heart. Colin himself is every single bit as entertaining and charming and the hype would lead you to believe. He captivated the audience with stories of horrific injuries on the set, tech difficulties and prop mishaps. He bounded around the stage with incredible energy for someone who had spent so very long on a plane over to see us, but it was clear that he was excited to be in Perth and really loved being able to connect with his fans. More stories from Colin in the Day 2 review.
Once Colin’s panel was over I headed back to the main area for my photo with Emilie who complimented my skirt, was bubbly and was generally adorable, before meeting my brother and heading to the VIP Stargate Panel. This panel was Jason Momoa, Teryl Rothery and David Nykl. This panel was hysterical. 

We were very lucky to have Jason do a panel more or less devoted to Stargate. His new found fame in Game of Thrones and in Conan, often means that he gets questions relating mostly to those roles. Those of us who love Stargate love him as Ronon and it’s clear that it’s this role that has a very special place in his heart. Hearing him goof around with David about the things that happened on set and how close they all still are was fantastic. His best story from the panel, that he did not repeat the following day, was about his Stargate audition and how some friends of his had accidentally dislodged the gas in his house the night before. After a harrowing morning involving fire departments and gas inhalation, Jason struggled to the audition where he performed, and passed out sitting in a chair. When he was woken, he was also told that they didn’t understand ANYTHING he had said in the audition; he was so out of it. He explained the situation to them and a couple of hours later... got the job! Amazing. He claimed that he had decided to just show up drunk to every audition after that.

Teryl Rothery is an absolute sweetheart, keeping the boys in check and bringing little kids up on stage. The best was a little girl that she sat between Jason and David to ask a question... but the girl had to come up the stairs because jumping the stage in a dress would be “unseemly dear”. Her story about Don S Davis nearly moved the entire audience to tears. A question was asked about her favourite memory of Don, and as most people including Teryl started crying as she told this magnificent story of a man whom she dearly loved and was her close friend, and who, when he met his wife, was terrified of making any move on her. After encouragement from Teryl to both Don and Ruby, a group of them went out to dinner and then came back to Teryl’s house for a night cap. It was there that Teryl walked back from the kitchen to discover Don and Ruby ‘necking’ in the living room! The way she told the story as well was just so full of heart and joy; I think we are privileged to have heard it and the audience certainly thanked her for sharing.

David Nykl sounded like he missed Stargate and touched Jason when he told him that of all the people that he could work with he’d really want to work with Jason again.

I miss Stargate. I think that’s what the actors and the fans in that panel took away. That we all have a big hole where that show used to be.

After the panel we found friends and tried to find food in the wild... with little success. Bene had gotten a stunning photo with Aaron Ashmore, whose panel I missed in favour of the Stargate one. She said his panel was good, though he had endured many fans coming to him and accidentally complimenting him on his twin brother’s work.

William Shatner had been feeling unwell and was having a rest when I made it to his photo line. The poor man; it was a long day. I sat in line and chatted with many different fans about their con experiences, which is a massive part of what I love about conventions. People were really excited about Shatner... so was I. When he came back he was seated on a chair and people came in like a carousel. There really wasn’t any interaction, he was just too tired. I was still so excited that I look ridiculous in my photo! DENNY CRANE!

Emilie Ullerup’s panel was next on our list, so we headed to stage two on the little plastic seats and were engaged for the next hour by a talented and kick arse lady discussing how she came upon the role of Ashley in Sanctuary, how Amanda Tapping had mentored her and what she was hoping to do in the future. 

She’s a new wave in the smart action heroine. Blonde and stunning doesn’t mean she won’t kick your arse and look completely believable doing it. Ashley certainly had a lot of strength and a lot of moves but also had deeper issues, and her stories about training for fights and stunts as well as discussing reactions to the big reveals for her character were great. Her work on Supernatural was brought up, and it was a shame to see the age old comment from that show that their female fans hate the females in that show was being passed on to new actresses when they guest starred. That’s a discussion for another time, but disappointing on their part.

Grabbed some water and some pitiful cold chips with Bene before heading to the main auditorium for William Shanter’s panel. I was worried about it because he was so quiet earlier in the day and so tired. I was ushered to the second row, right in front of where he would be standing and the auditorium slowly filled to a decent crowd. We all waited patiently for the man himself to grace the stage. 

I have decided that I would like to go to more conventions with lots of older actors, because they are incredible storytellers. William Shatner is no exception to this, answering questions with both thoughtful insight and good humour. There was pin-drop silence from the crowd as he spoke. Everyone clapped after every response. There was a reverence there; a respect. It was a lovely thing to be part of. The man is also genuinely funny; don’t let him fool you with his quieter moments and his limp, he’s got a striking wit and a response for everything. He accidentally made a few Star Trek references and blamed his failing ‘hippocampus’ which really only made myself and my friend Ricky want to yell “HE’S GOT THE MAD COW!” which of course is a Boston Legal reference. When he was done, I don’t think anyone quite believed it, and I am sure no one wanted him to stop. He was magnificent.

My favourite story delved into his belief that fans and the mythology of something like Star Trek are intrinsically linked. That they formed the basis of ritual and of growth for some people in modern society. That fans attend conventions not to see actors primarily, but to meet other people and share experiences and stories; to form friendships and to grow. This is what has made him write and talk about fandom and about the role that fans, conventions and stories play in this day and age. It’s all very interesting and heavy stuff. Apparently you can read about it in his books which I am considering getting, ‘Get a Life’ and ‘Shatner Rules’.

A lighter story was about music and his spoken word songs. He gushed about the art of writing music and touring in his one man show, about Ben Folds and about the power of songs. He also went on a big HUGH JACKMAN IS FANTASTIC monologue that was amazing, and told funny jokes about the wide expanse of Australia. If you get the chance to see Shatner talk, I highly recommend it.

Feeling like we had gotten our monies worth we trudged one last time into the main area to look at stalls and make decisions about tomorrow. People were queuing for final autographs and we collected our photos, looked at a great Black Cat cosplay and wandered away.

A very good but exhausting day. We would need to be up bright and early for the next one. Find out what happened on Day 2 of Oz Comic Con in the next post!

1 comment:

  1. Great review. I had an awesome time on Saturday, the vibe was great and the best part were the people who had put such great effort into dressing up. Well done cosplayers!