Wizard World Portland, Day 1

Just a quick update on day one of Wizard World Portland.

Flew in, checked into my hotel, unpacked, and headed over to the Convention Center to pick up my credentials.

First, let me just say that line management here, like it so many other conventions, seems to be more than a bit disorganized. Little to no effective line management in the pre-entry queuing area prior to opening, coupled with a bottleneck of requiring everyone to go through a two-line wide security check made for a slow opening day. This is despite the fact the crowd seems small compared to other conventions I’ve attended such a Salt Lake, Denver, and LA Comic Cons.

Made a quick pass of the floor to see what’s what.

I’m not really sure how I feel about it right now. This space is plenty ample, but the number of vendors and artists seems underwhelming. The walking lanes are spacious, and while that would normally be considered a good thing, here it just feels like it’s place holding to disguise a lack of vendor involvement. Also there is an extra aisle between vendors that are located back-to-back, at least in the artist alley, and while that is indeed great for them, I don’t recall having seen a phenomenon like that at any other convention either.

The autograph / celebrity area seems very disjointed, with celebrities in two or three different spots on the floor, separated in large part by the queuing area for the photo ops. This has the effect of putting perhaps 10 feet of space in front of most autograph booths which doubles as a walkway and a lining up area for the celebrities.

And speaking of the photo ops, there are two booths, which is fine given the size of the crowd, but they’re open, facing out into the waiting area which seems a bit strange to me as the photo-ops tend to be more private at most conventions, which lends them an air of intimacy despite the fact that they are normally over so quickly.

However, in keeping with the creedo “Keep Portland Weird,” there is an abundance of strange things at this convention that you might not see at other conventions, notably Salt Lake Comic Con. On various stages scattered across the convention floor, there is an EDM DJ, a gaming stage where gaming podcasters play to a crowd of as-yet unfilled chairs surrounding them, and a stage where cosplayers perform such varied stunts as contortionism, acrobatics, and interpretive dance (as best as I can tell).

The “main stage” was unused tonight although there will be plenty of panels there tomorrow, including John Barrowman, Tatiana Maslany, and Alan Tudyk.

Cosplayers were not as numerous as one would expect, although I did see a few Deadpools and one classic Jester suit Harley Quinn (but no others).

Tomorrow, we’ll see if they’re entry procedures are any more streamlined, and if the floor gets fuller with fans and feels busier as opposed to this evening.

Now, at the end of a long day, I’m getting ready to unwind and prep for tomorrow. More as I see it, straight to your eyeballs.

Remind me and I’ll tell you what some of the volunteers told me about day 1, too. Oh, and my close encounter with Kato Kealin, lol.


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