May 2, 2008

Calgary Expo

The show started off early for our group, as we had to be there extra early to put finishing touches here and there.
The convention officially started at 10:00 a.m. but we got there around 7:45 a.m.

Having worked at the ECCC for the past 4 years, I've built an all-purpose kit of things that have come in handy on a spur of the moment basis.
It has things like, staples, band-aids, double-sided tape, a hole punch, scissors, hand sanitzer, etc...
I brought this kit with me to Calgary and again it proved it's weight in gold.
Right before the show began, an exhibitor came up to Palindrome looking for a needle and thread. I happened to come by at the same time, so he referred her to me and in my bag of tricks I just so happened to have what she needed. She was very grateful and proceeded to call me MacGyver from then on whenever she saw me.

One of the Canadian volunteers showed up closer to when the show began and so was not there when the T-shirts were given out to everyone.
She spent at least an hour before the show running around freaking out because she didn't have a shirt. I told her, "You have a badge that says volunteer. You don't need the shirt. It'll be okay." This wasn't good enough, so I gave her my shirt (I hadn't put it on yet) and just wore my CBLDF T-shirt for the day. She stopped freaking out and all was right with the world again.

The show was pretty straight forward.
I spent all day running all over the convention floor getting water, food, etc. for guests as needed.
Nothing new to report there. That's pretty much my gig at these things, and I love it.
I get to meet the guests and I don't have to wait in line to talk to them. Awesome.

There were lots of attendees in costume. I got several pictures (I'll do another post with all of them later) but to whet your appetite, here is Red Sonja & Slave Leia:

Leia is Liana K. from the "Ed & Red's Night Party" in Canada. She was a hoot to be with and her husband was fun as well. Really great people and I hope to see them again soon, maybe in Seattle in the near future.

Right after this picture was taken, I went to the volunteer room to put my sketchbook away. (I had been carrying it at the time to get a few sketches lined up)
It disappeared shortly afterwards and I could not find it anywhere.
I was literally running willy-nilly around the show floor and may have gotten side-tracked before getting to the volunteer room, so I may have placed it down and forgotten where I left it.
But everyone I checked with did not remember seeing it at all.
It was a total drag and really bummed me out, as it contained almost 11 years worth of self-portrait sketches that I've collected over the years. Somebody obviously thought it was cool enough to keep for themselves, so I considered it lost.

The day wore on, and despite my sketchbook set-back, I had a great time.

I left the show early (around 6:00 p.m.) to head back to the hotel and get ready so I could go to the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra that evening. The theme that night was titled "Sleeping Beauty, An Evening of Enchantment" and contained works by several of my favorite composers as well as a few I wasn't familiar with.
The venue was only half a block away from the hotel, so I walked there after showering and getting dressed.
It's typical for Hotness and I to have a drink before a show so I went to the bar and ordered a Cosmopolitan. The bartender said they didn't do mixed drinks, only straight alcohol.
I asked what types of tequila they had. Only Jose Cuervo was available, so I opted to just have a water instead. (Ick! Jose Cuervo!)

There was a quartet of flutes that was playing before the show in the lobby, which was nice.
I had gotten tickets in the upper balcony, so I made my way upstairs before they were finished and waited to find my seat.
The performance was sold out, and I can see why. The music was fantastic and the totally worth the experience.
I sat next to an older couple and we made small talk between songs and during the intermission. They invited me to join them for coffee after the performance, so we had coffee with Key Lime Pie and cheesecake and talked about all manner of things.

Two cups of coffee later, I made my way back to the hotel where I ran into the crew and guests from the Expo.
I stayed and chatted a bit in the lounge with them and then went to my room which Palindrome and I were sharing.
I was wired from the caffeine and tired from being on the floor running around, not to mention depressed about losing my sketchbook, so getting to sleep that night took quite a while.
The next morning I was up early again. Only this time I didn't have to be at the convention until closer to 9:00 a.m.

I packed up my suitcases and took them downstairs, as we would be checking out that day and heading to Banff that night after the show was over.

I bought coffee in four 1-liter containers from Starbucks in the hotel lobby to bring for the guests. The show venue didn't have any place to get coffee until after the show opened, and by that time the lines were long and the wait even longer. This was very much appreciated by everyone. (Mental note: Do this at ECCC both days)

The second day of the show went pretty much like the first, only the attendance was much lower so getting through the crowds was a lot easier. I was able to talk to guests and exhibitors more and it was nice to get feedback from them about how they felt the show was going.

I ran by Karl Kerschl's table and got a picture he was doing for an attendee of ROM: Spaceknight.
Here's the basic sketch and finished product:

I also stopped by and talked with Miriam & Mike from Real Gone Girl Studios.

They've been coming to ECCC for a few years and I picked up all her current issues of "Jobnik!" last time I saw them.
She currently has a collected volume coming out soon, so please be sure to pick it up.
It's sort of a semi-autobiographical story of her time in the Israeli military.
Also, a belated congratulations to them both! They were married shortly after being in Seattle last year.
Check out Mike's awesome R2-D2 tuque!

Around 4:00 p.m. I tried going to the lost and found to see if somebody had turned in my missing sketchbook.
Along the way I poked my head inside one of the panel rooms and asked if they'd seen a grey, 3-ring binder.
Lo and behold they had seen it, and not only that but they still had it in the room!
They said they thought it looked important, so they just held onto it until somebody showed up to get it. This was great news and I kept it tucked under my arm the rest of the day so I was able to get a few more sketches to add to it.

As a guest or a volunteer to the show, we were given a copy of the 2008 Calgary Expo Artbook.
Most of them had been passed out, but a few of the guests still needed theirs so I made the rounds to make sure they got them.
On my list were Greg Rucka and Mark Waid. They insisted on paying for their copies since the money went to a good cause. Darick Robertson was sitting between them and had already recieved his copy. When the other two paid me, I said to Darick "So, these guys paid for their books. What about you?"
To which Greg and Mark busted up laughing and told him "Yeah! Step up man. You got money!"
It was a fun moment as Darick tried to explain that he contributed to the book with art already.

I was a hit with Daniel Logan, and he gave me an autographed picture as a thank you for making sure he was taken care of during the show.
I stopped by "Ed & Red's" booth to get a picture with Power Girl (Liana K.)

I also got a signed copy of "Parting Ways" by Andrew Foley.
Man, I love being a volunteer at these shows!

After the show was over, we all went out to dinner before taking the bus up to Banff.
My legs hurt and I was so tired from running around the show floor both days.
It occured to me that I hadn't eaten anything in over 24-hours.
My last 'real' meal was the dinner at Coco Brooks on Friday night. After that, I had a piece of cheesecake and 4 vanilla Oreo cookies (from Mike & Miriam).
No wonder I was exhausted!
I had a chicken cashew stir-fry and a Coke.

Soon after we boarded the bus that was taking us to Banff that evening.
But that is another post ......

1 things people had to say:

Dr. Zoltar said...

Awesome post! And I absolutely love Red dressed up as Power Girl. It sounded like a blast and I'm tempted to go next year myself!