After weeks of hoping, waiting, and speculating, on July 6, PopCon, the first annual pop culture convention, finally descended upon the City of Angels and has opened up its doors to the eagerly awaiting public. Now that it had finally arrived, I began the day hoping to get a taste of what PopCon had to offer. So, I threw on my media pass, grabbed my recording device, and stepped inside the LA Convention Center to see what all the fuss was about.
The first thing I noticed when I walked into the convention room was the large amount of tables set up everywhere, and the huge variety of them. There was a smattering of everything, from booths for organizations and clubs -- such as the R2-D2 builders club amongst others -- to tables promoting celebrities of all types, like James Hong (Kung Fu Panda), Margot Kidder (Superman), Alisa Reyes (All That), Tony Curran (League of Extraordinary Gentlemen), and more. I decided to visit the organizational booths first.
One of the more interesting of these was the Star Cars exhibit, a collection of both replica and set-used cars from a breadth of different movies. As Jon Merker -- owner of the 2010 Bumblebee replica car -- says, "We have screen accurate movie cars", including "Batmobiles, Herbies, Nightriders, and all types of cars." Best of all, the "'77 Camaro", "[one of the] Nightrider[s]," and the "Horace the Hatebug" were all used in the actual movies, making this a great place to get some amazing pictures.
Other great booths included the R2-D2 Builders club booth -- a club that builds incredibly lifelike versions of R2-D2 from Star Wars, the Dumbledore's Army booth -- which is, according to the head of the group, Nora, a "Harry Potter meet up Group" for (21+) Harry Potter fanatics to "get together, get dressed up, and have a great time" -- the Mandalorian Mercs club, and many others that are all worth taking a look at.
Now, while all these clubs were great, for me, the big draw were the celebrities that I was now -- quite literally -- bumping into at every turn. So it was at this point that I decided to turn my attention towards them; it was also at this point that I found myself surprised over how many there actually were.
On top of those already mentioned, Billy Dee Williams, Mark Ryan, Katie Leigh, Cindy Morgan, Andre Miripolsky, and many others were also all there taking questions, signing autographs, and generally having a good time with all the Con goers. Best of all, I got to sit down with quite a few and ask them a few questions.
First, I had a chance to talk with Tony Curran (also of Underworld: Evolutions fame) and got some tips about pursuing a career in acting, the most important being "remember your lines and be on time." Plus, he shared with me some fascinating stories from working alongside Sean Connery in League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (apparently, imitating his voice is a good way to get on his bad side).
Also while I was there, I was able to talk with Alisa Reyes -- one of the cast of the classic teen show All That -- about her experiences on the show ("absolutely amazing") and her career since her days with Nickelodeon ("busy and filled with variety"). I even learned all about some of the crazy stuff that went on behind the scenes of Caddy Shack and Tron from the incredible Cindy Morgan. Overall, it was candid moments like these that really made this Con what it was.
But, I suppose the big question everyone is asking is was I impressed? Was it really worth it to drop the twenty bucks on a ticket and spend an entire weekend traipsing around the convention center? Well, I am pleased to say the answer to both of these questions is an emphatic yes.
Even besides the amazing booths and people, there were several fashion shows (for humans and dogs alike), movie screenings running throughout the day, live music, and entertaining magicians. I also got to sit in on a psychic panel and learn more about the psychic industry, one of my more unique experiences there at the convention. Something about this sheer amount of things to do and see -- as well as the welcoming atmosphere and the great people -- really made this convention stand out in my mind. True, it's not as big as some of the others you'll see out there; however, the star power and the familial nature of some of the people you'll meet really made my day at PopCon a thing to remember.
So, if you have even the slightest interest in Science Fiction, comic books, or pop culture in general, come on out to the LA Convention and experience this amazing new Con -- you'll feel right at home!
By Clarissa Burt with Tyler Fleck