Nerdtopia (SLC FanX Part 1)

Oh yes, it’s that time again. The time where I geek out and it’s incredibly awesome.

This past weekend was FanX, the fan “xperience” of Salt Lake City. Basically like small comic con. Because just big comic con later in the year isn’t enough. Here in Utah, we’re only satisfied with two comic cons. It’s true: we have the highest attendance per capita of any comic con in the country, and we have been repeatedly ranked as the “nerdiest” state in the nation. It says so right here.

I went, naturally, and I’d like to tell you about it.

There are three things about comic con.

  1. Celebrities
  2. Film/writing/gaming panels
  3. A veritable smorgasbord of geekdom

So I’ll write three posts and this first one will be about celebrities because I am somewhat idolatrous.

You’ve got your celeb panels, where the lucky famous person gets to answer fan questions for an hour. Then you’ve got your photo ops where you can have a pro picture taken with the lucky famous person. Then you’ve got the autograph booths where you can pay for an autograph and/or a selfie with the lucky famous person. I did all of these things, of course.

Here are some highlights from the panels.

Felicia Day: “Our homework for life is to figure out who we are and express that in this world. The cool thing is that it never ends.” She talked about how whenever we do something, learn something new, or go somewhere, we become a different person. We’re always growing, so we can always redefine ourselves and continually change what we’re putting out in the world – hopefully for the better. I really liked her, because it was awesome to see how an actor so well-rounded with other hobbies and interests and how all of those things influence her work. And she is super smart and level-headed, so that’s pretty awesome, too.

The Doctor Who Experience with Matt Smith, Billie Piper, and Karen Gillan: Mental illness and other struggles were brought up a few times in this panel and I loved the responses from the actors. Matt Smith said: “Don’t ever retreat into yourself. Always reach out. You are never alone.” Even if that reaching out sometimes is just binge watching Doctor Who (or whatever), you will then automatically have a community of the other Whovians (and they are an awesome community to belong to), and you’ll have someone to talk to about something, even if it’s not the thing. One girl, while asking her question, became too emotional to continue because of just such an impact Doctor Who had on her life, and Billie Piper insisted she come up on stage and sit on the couch with them.

Ray Park: I loved for the martial arts that kept being brought into the discussion. Hearing his story from how he started martial arts to how he got the role of Darth Maul which led to other roles was really inspiring with this message: if you work hard enough for what you want, you will get it. And he taught all the kids in the audience this move, which was adorable.

Billie Piper: Billie and Karen had their own separate panels from the Doctor Who Experience (I didn’t make it to Karen’s). I was able to get in the queue to ask Billie a question, and I asked her something I’ve been wondering since I got to Scotland: what is it about British pop culture, from Shakespeare to The Beatles, to Harry Potter and Doctor Who, that makes it get so popular worldwide, so that it changes the world? Her first answer was that all Brits are incredibly talented (true). But her real answer was because the weather is so miserable so often in that country, people have to stay indoors so much, they just think and get angry and then they sit in pubs stewing, and then they start writing, and because of all this brooding, it comes out brilliant (also true).

Carrie Fisher: This was the BIG ONE. And she is so awesome. At the beginning of the panel, she asked if anyone had a Coca-Cola. A very prepared fan in the audience did, and he brought it up to the stage for her. She knelt down to get it from him and then kissed him for probably two good minutes. “You bring me what I want, I give you what you want.” That man’s life will never be the same. My favorite and most inspiring thought from her is “Everyone’s got to glitter at some point.”

Tom Felton: Tom Felton said he thinks the world would be a better place if we all acted the way people act at comic cons, all the time. This is because everyone supports you when you do something awesome by cheering and clapping, everyone is in a constant state of excitement which slips often into euphoria, and everyone has something in common, and there is no (or no visible) judgment. We’re all there, we’re all nerds, and even though we may not all be nerds about the same things, we can appreciate someone else’s unreasonable passion about whatever because we have our own (and usually in several areas). It really is a little slice of paradise. And can I just say that Tom Felton is one of the nicest, most laid back guys I’ve ever met (I can say I’ve met him cause I got a picture with him, right?). And he said “Hello, Lovely” to every woman who asked him a question. What a gem.

People, if you haven’t been to a comic con, go. If you feel like you’re not hard core passionate about much, you will be by the end of the con. And your life will be greatly enriched for it. There’s another one in Salt Lake City later this year. Join us.


One response to “Nerdtopia (SLC FanX Part 1)

  1. Pingback: Look Down, then Reach Out | Coming Through the Rye·

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