Funko Pop! Vinyls are all over the place. Three booths side-by-side are guts overflowing with the generic looking figures. Turn again and another booth is chockas with the stuff. Blank eyes for all the aisles to see.
Other than plastic dowels poking for a look-see in bags and backpacks, entry lines are smooth, no hassle. No clogging up. A free flow of bodies pass through the gates on all the possible entry points. No need to sidle through turnstiles.
Half of Heritage Hall is gone. Up now a wall with construction sinking a chasm on the other side. It doesn’t make itself noticed until the last bank of stalls stops the visual. And then it’s there, a blank spot sitting as a drop off unto a void. Walk up to an endless hallway that reveals itself to be a painted illusion.
The VIP/four-day pass comes with a tote bag made with a stiffer plastic, liable to jab your arm and cut you some bleed time. It does not slouch. It stands firm, ready to sneak attack you months later when clearing out the boot. The other half is a T-shirt chosen from about eight designs. Green or black, take your pick. And pick of the first two rows of the panels. Chairs of which insist that your legs broach the space of those on either side.
It’s the day after the news of Supernatural ending at the fifteenth season. Ruth Connell gets teary talking about the time on the show and what it means to close it out instead of being cancelled. A bloke on the right cannot help but interject and cut into the answers and all the questions, shouting with whatever tidbit that comes to mind, making it more about being that audience member who knows it all than sitting in and waiting for other people to talk. Toiletries filter out into the crowd, those asking questions getting something from the hotel of that Connell stash.
Kevin Conroy strides on to the panel, clears his throat and starts with, “I am vengeance... I am the night... I am Batman!” The third question from the crowd asks for the quote. Not in the frame of wanting to hear it again but as if never having been in the seats inside the first 10 minutes of the actual panel itself.
Amber Benson, Emma Caulfield, James Leary & James Marsters form the Buffy panel and get as much time as any other time slot yet squeeze a lot of answers through. They field quite a few that draw out their responses, thinking it over and getting in with the retrospection.
Mark-Paul Gosselaar starts off with a touch of gruff, like the panel is an intrusion on a weekend. Then the ease comes out and the game is on with Gosselaar taking questions quick and earnestly. Two askers manage to find themselves with the cube-mic multiple times, turning it into a battle between who can ask more questions in two parts lobbying from Saved By The Bell to The Passage and back again. Another bloke beside chews manically from a bug of nuts, drops one, picks it up, and continues chewing full tilt.
Down on the floor, Val Kilmer sits in a corner behind a curtain behind a maze of ropes. No photos from the floor any span of metres away. No selfies inside the booth either. Not like the rest of the actors, voice artists and wrestlers on the floor, mingling and standing under the harsh lights of the jumbotron.
The red carpet lava moat around the celebrity floor manages to flow, people actually moving themselves along the arena with little to no pausing for gawks. All the lines this year fish up against the side walls for the names drawing in the masses like Tom Kenny. For those with smaller queues, a snaking fashion with the constant question, “Is this the end of the line?”
Autograph and selfie costs are not listed at any signs the end of the line, but at least the volunteers ushering people about know their list prices. Wherever they have the celebrity photo shoot room is well away from the main thoroughfare and makes a huge difference compared to last year’s knee-on-neck squeeze through the doors.
Busiest is the Sunday. There’s more heat space to navigate. Parents abound dragging in their under 10 ankle-biters for no cost admission compared to the full price of Saturday. Broken feet are all the rage, no less than five people cart around with a knee on a scooter strapping in a boot.
Cosplayers seem to spend most of the time over in Patterson Ballroom, well away from the traffic. A few here and there walk about, but the throng are getting a walk up and down showcasing against the others in gear. So many plain clothes keep the costumed numbers on the weaker side of the ratio.
One booth subjugates a python, subjecting it to the horror of being passed about like a doll. People line up to strap the snake on and take a photo with it. Who cares about any distress or treatment of showing up an animal like that. It’s a prop to them, not a living being.
The haul: Nothing.
An easy walk with quite a few laps around the entire convention floorspace and not have to feel the sensation of someone’s backpack grilling your chin.
Clocking 35,000 steps wandering from Rupp Arena to Heritage Hall and all through the crannies of the Lexington Convention Center over three days of the four days of 21-24 March 2019.
Reviewed on Wednesday, 10 April 2019