Wizard World Portland 2017 Wrap-up

Well, days 2 and 3 of Wizard World Portland are in the books for me, and I must say that they went a bit better than day 1.

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To be fair, I did get to the venue over an hour before the doors opened today, despite my insistence that I didn’t want to do that. But I am physiologically incapable of sleeping in, so, as I ran out of ways to kill time in the mornings, I found myself with little option other than to make sure I got into the venue in a timely manner, instead of incredibly later than the scheduled opening time.

And, as so often happens when a bunch of fans get in line together, not moving, talking happens.

I was behind a father-daughter combo who were somewhat inexperienced on the con circuit, so I was able to impart some general con advice. I also ran into a couple of young ladies who have attended Salt lake Comic cons in the past, but who had recently moved to the Portland area.

Small world.

Anyway, once on the floor, I made the rounds. Still not a great crowd size, but better than Friday evening.

Oh, here’s a look at that extra space in the vendor and artists’ area I mentioned:

Weird, right?

And the photo area and autograph tables:

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Autographs to the left, HUGE photo op queuing area to the right, open photo booths (???), and a narrow walkway in front of the autograph booths. Never saw the photo area close to full, btw.

Anyway, so the crowd was larger, but not stifling, although it had started to pick up by early afternoon. I wonder if everyone was sleeping off their Herbal Friday night and had finally gotten around to starting their day? Maybe.

Caught Matthew Lewis’ panel Saturday, where he apologized for wearing Friday’s clothes and a baseball cap because his airline sent his luggage to Pittsburgh.

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Poor Matthew, his stinky clothes, unwashed hair… Stupid airline.

After Matthew came Tatiana Maslany’s panel,

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Tatiana Maslany paying close attention to a fan question.

and then Alan Tudyk, who changed things up by having his questioners come up onstage so that he could ask them a question after he answered theirs.

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Doesn’t he look so intent on being a good interviewer?

Also present was his incredible bag of shit, which he duly autographed and distributed to his fan questioners.

 

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I believe Alan is signing a call-sheet from Con Man Season 2.

I also caught a bit of John Barrowman’s panel.

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He’s always entertaining. Always.

And some magicians from the CW’s Masters of Illusion (who also entertained folks waiting in line prior to opening) belly dancing, cosplay displays, and some interpretive dance (?) and flexibility demos…

Oh: there was also a mariachi band.

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A. Mariachi. Band.

Yeah, you won’t be seeing this stuff at Salt Lake Comic Con, lol. Or at most other cons, either.

Did manage to sneak in a photo op with Tatiana Maslany, so that’s cool. Orphan Black is such a great show, I’m sorry it took me so long to start watching it.

Now, getting back to something I teased in day 1’s coverage. I heard from a couple of volunteers that the normal organizer of this event was pulled and sent to another event, and their replacements were a bit… uncommunicative. On Friday, the volunteers showed up and they spent the five hours until opening often in a state of non-work, as if no-one knew what to do with them.

So, between the overall floor layout, and the line management problems of getting people through security checks and bag checks, and weapons checks, before entering a pair of double-doors to the floor, the event felt a bit disjointed from that perspective.

Once inside, the experience of shopping and getting autographs/photos was typical. It’s just that the event felt… weird… overall.

I do think the event turned out okay, but this is the second Wizard event I’ve attended (I also did Vegas last February) that I have come away from, if not disappointed, then not as “wow”ed as I thought I might have been, given the reputation Wizard has.

Well, that’s not 100% true, as the unique flavors of Portland certainly gave this a different feel, but I still think it will have to be a pretty impressive lineup for me to travel any substantial distance to another Wizard event. The west coast events are always in play, but to travel back east…? I would have to think long and hard about that.

To be clear, this isn’t a knock on Wizard’s events, just a reflection of the realities of my con-going abilities. Funds are finite, and the cost-benefit (both real and intangible in terms of celebrity access) has to favor me.

Oh! Speaking of Celebrity access, by the way: a big shout-out to Abby Ferguson, the Press liaison at Portland (and who seemed to be running at 100 miles an hour the whole weekend), for taking care of me (and every other media person out there). She was able to get me a few minutes with the incredible Barry Bostwick, who hosted a Saturday night screening of Rocky Horror, and the video of our conversation will be making it up here in a day or two.

Now that the event is over, maybe Abby can finally get to finish a cup of coffee, donut, or whole meal. She’s earned it.

Check out my twitter account (@MWWoodring) for some videos I posted during the event, as well.

Now it’s time to prep for next month’s Salt Lake Comic Con FanX, only 25 days away, lol.

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Oh, so much fun.

See you all around.

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