April 28th, 2012
Day 2 started out fairly calmly. I managed to wake up at a reasonable time after recording the weekly podcast. Again I drove to the nearest park & ride, dropped off my car & made my way to the BMO Centre via train. This time there were no issues so I managed to get to the con with some time to spare in case the weekend crowd happened to be massive.
And it was. There were way more people than I had expected to be and we were all herded by con staff through separate entrances for ticket holders & those buying day passes. Once inside the BMO Centre I scoped out the exhibitors hall before heading to the second Star Trek related panel consisting of Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton and Levar Burton. They had great chemistry together & even took pot shots at one another.
Brent Spiner in particular was hilarious. He really had the crowd in the palm of his hands. Unlike the McFadden/Crosby panel this consisted of a lot of playfulness & joking around. Instead of doing a short interview, the floor was opened to questions from the audience. And once more there were many well thought out and intelligent questions that stayed away from any typical fanboy/fangirl-isms. Some of the topics included the story behind how Levar Burton got his iconic role in Roots, Reading Rainbow (complete with sing-a-long), how social media affected each of their careers, projects outside of Star Trek and recollections from the set.
Levar Burton really hated that visor. According to him he lost 80% of his vision when he wore it and bumped into everything and everyone. This panel was way too short as it seemed like the 3 on stage were just getting warmed up. But it was an enjoyable 45 minutes. Once it concluded the massive crowd exited the Corral & a massive log jam in the hallways started. It got so bad that we were instructed by staff to go back in to the corral to allow the common walking areas to clear up for fear of the fire warden shutting everything down. Yes, it was that crowded.
When things settled down I battled my way to the photo op area. I had to ask where the line ups for areas 1 & 2 were. Apparently the answer was everywhere. I’m not kidding. You had to listen for a guy with a megaphone scream out the name of the photo op you are waiting for & then shove your way through therelentless sea of people to get to your assigned queue.
With that said I started to have flashbacks of Anime Expo 2009 all over again & that did not give me a good feeling. Would I be denied my photo op because of incompetent crowd control? It sure seemed like it until I was allowed in with the masses once the staff got the OK from the various star’s agents. Once properly queued I took the long walk to the front where I was instructed to remove my jacket & bag before entering the photo op area. Once inside there were instructions to keep your hands at your side at all times. I noticed some did not listen but considering that I had hell of a time just getting to the photo op I would comply to prevent the ordeal from being fruitless.
Then another line where I had to wait for close to an hour for my photo to be printed because my photo was lost & the printers started overheating in the photo area. After somewhat impatiently waiting I finally got the result of photo op #1.
Then the difficult task of trying to get out. As I barreled my way through people I accidentally hit a girl with my backpack while passing through which angered some fat cow behind her.
The girl had her head down buried in her phone & I politely said “excuse me”. It’s not my fault if she refuses to take a step back & gets whacked.Let this be a lesson to all you who attend conventions, keep your head up or you’re going to get rocked. Is it really necessary to be tweeting, facebooking or texting while you are walking in an extremely crowded area?
Have some common sense & pull over to a wall or corner & do that shit where you won’t be in the way of other people. Whoever it is can wait & it will be better for your health in the long
run. After escaping the insanity of the exhibitors hall I found a quiet place to rest. After an hour the staff booted everyone into the merch hall. I ended up buying a t-shirt & a plush thingy. I’m not exactly sure what it is but it’s cool.
In the end the second day exposed a serious issue with this convention and that is crowd control. There needs to be some serious reworking of how traffic flow is handled. What I witnessed was a death by trampling should a fire alarm have gone off. For the photo ops. Crowding people randomly in high traffic areas with no clearly marked meeting place is a piss poor idea. The people I talked to in the crowd were confused & frustrated at the lack of organization.
These issues really need to be addressed for next year. Perhaps I would have not encountered the nosy mad cow if the crowd control situation were addressed. Otherwise, not a bad day. I have to do it all over again tomorrow. I pray the clustetfuck is minimized but I doubt it.