Tuesday (Thursday) notebook: Calm Before the Con 2021.
It’s actually happening. I can’t believe I’ll finally get to go to a Con, for the first time in over two years! (Yes there was the Fan Expo Christmas market in December 2019, but that doesn’t reallllly count…)
Fan Expo Limited Edition 2021 won’t be the same as the normal, pre-covid versions, but by golly it’s already feeling as close to the real thing as possible. In-person. Both buildings. Celebs. Merch. Umm…cancellations. Well, I think the “cancellations” are a tad more understandable this time, what with a global pandemic still on, and the potential labour difficulties in Hollywood.
Oh right there’s still a pandemic. So yeah-masks, distancing, and I’ve already shown my proof of vaccination. Restricted eating places, and likely longer lines. But you know what? It’s all worth it, especially since it means I get to hang out with friends, some I’ve been able to see over the last two years, some I’ve only ever chatted with on instagram.
Sure, Bill Shatner and George Takei are still committed to attend, and that’ll be fun. I’ve never seen Takei in person, so that’ll be a treat, in part because of how important the original Trek conventions were in his appreciation of the show, the genre and his character. I’ve seen Shatner here before. I hope he goes for more than half an hour, but at his age, who can blame him. The guy’s been to space.
I kinda feel like a shill writing this. I promise it isn’t an ad. I even mentioned the usual cancellations. I still wish FXC would just be honest with us about their celeb booking policy. I also seriously wonder why those “cancellations” keep happening. Most importantly, I really wish and hope they start to lean into the reality of what it is: not SDCC north-northeast, not NYCC north, but Fan Expo Canada. Get Canadian talent in. Get Canadian podcasters and commentators in. Give EK Johnston, Paul Sun-Hyung Lee and Simu Liu their own, full-length panels. Also, to be fair, keep bringing in folks who are filming shows down the street. (Jonathan Frakes’ last-second arrival in 2019 was a big highlight.)
But, and I’ve gotta repeat it: the biggest reason I’m excited is an opportunity to see friends, spend time with them, enjoy this fandom thing together. “Convention” means “coming together.” It means something we haven’t been able to do in-person for a year and a half, something that thanks to vaccines and other measures we can finally return to doing.
So yeah-I’m excited. All the digital cons were fun, and I hope they continue, but really they weren’t the same. Especially now that I’ve gotten to know so many more folks in the fandom community right here in Toronto. There’s nothing “calm” about it: bring on the Con!