So, what’s it going to be? Comicon in San Diego, Star Wars Weekends in Florida, D23 Expo in Anaheim or one of the other events that vie for your attention and more importantly, your disposable income. If you are at all interested in pop culture, the summer months are just chock full of things calling for your attention. One has to wonder if there is just too much of a good thing going on.
In today’s world of instant gratification, consumers have become more Vercua–like than we would care to admit. If you have it to spend, more opportunities to separate you from that disposable income exist than have ever before. When you toss in everything from film festivals to pop culture conventions and get-togethers around the world, the calendar never seems to stop. Another extended weekend, another event going on some place. Fanboys and fangirls can get their fill of every kind fandom and then some.
I get that to many follks, it all seems to have started with Trekkies and their gatherings. Soap opera fans took up the guantlet and music genre groupies ran with it. Professional sports would not think of holding an event without some kind of fan fest tied into it. The fans of the Bard make annual pilgrimages, to Ashland or elsewhere. And lovers of the stinking rose have been to Gilroy for the last 35 years. Harvest festivals and county fairs, let alone state fairs used to be the big local attractions. People made the trip to see or show the best around. From livestock to home goods, there was plenty to see.
Maybe that’s the real key to all of this. We want to see the elephant. Take it all in, if we can. Sure, there are the things we manage day in, day out. All those daily chores around the house or at the job; that never seem to go away. If we can change our focus for a while to something else we enjoy, parting with hard earned cash doesn’t seem so hard to do. And if it brings us that much closer to an interest, be it for a few hours, days or more, we will surrender and gladly join in.
For the record, I have never been to San Diego for Comicon. Been to Wondercon, both in San Francisco and Anaheim, too. Never been to D23 Expo, but have taken in some other events such as NFFC gatherings here and there. Been to regional sci-fi conventions, a few special tv show events, and more Star Trek events than I would like to admit. I’ve seen the other side too, worked as a volunteer and as paid staff at events. Covered a bunch for media outlets, too.
Scott Bakula once said that “Events like this were nice because he got to meet some of the folks who paid for his house.” I’ve spent enough time around guests at such events to come to know them as real people. More than the characters they portrayed. In some ways, that makes my experiences all the richer for knowing these folks in such a way. Even if only for a while. More than just another fan, glazing over at the eyes and foaming at the mouth. Meeting an idol, glimpsed often from afar or the other side of the screen. Finally in person. It can be overwhelming to some. I get that.
But, in most cases (I’ll save the stories for another time), these folks are just like you and me. The difference may just be what they do to make a living. Going to events or conventions, may make a few bucks now and then. And who can’t use a little extra cash…
Here’s hoping that where ever your travels take you in search of that diversion, you get something to carry you through to the next diversion. And that it doesn’t suck too much of that disposable income out of your pocket or put too much of dent into that plastic.