18 November 2009: Convention and concert report

I’m sorry that I haven’t blogged much in the past week or so — I’ve been busy with the usual round of work (for which I went to a trade show), gaming, genre TV, and seasonal events. I’ve also raked numerous bags of autumn leaves. On Saturday, 7 November 2009, Janice and I went into Boston for the Christmas Craft Festival at the World Trade Center. We didn’t buy lots of arts and crafts, just foodstuffs.

We got turned around a few times while trying to get to the Compleat Strategist, but we managed to eventually visit that game store and Pandemonium Books and Games in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We enjoyed a late lunch at Mr. Bartley’s Burger Cottage, one of the best places for hamburgers in the area, and walked around the book shops of Harvard Square, which we try to get to quarterly.

On Saturday, Nov. 14, we returned downtown for the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) and Star Wars in Concert. Janice and I stayed overnight at the Courtyard by Marriott Tremont, which hosted the genre entertainment convention. The ballrooms at that venue were adequate in size, but the hallways and elevators were a bit crowded.

We caught the tail end of the session featuring Corin Nemec, star of Parker Lewis Can’t Lose and Stargate SG1, as well as the career retrospective of character James Hong, who has worked in movies for more than 50 years! Hong was funny, doing impressions and mentioning his numerous roles in films such as Blade Runner, Big Trouble in Little China, Mulan, and Kung Fu Panda.

Janice and I had lunch at the Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery before taking the
train to meet former co-worker Ken G. and his girlfriend Kahmmie at the Boston
Garden. Star Wars in Concert was excellent, featuring the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, a large screen showing clips from all six movies, and even lasers and pyrotechnics.

We had difficulty choosing whether to focus on the talented and precise musicians
or on the well-organized vignettes introduced by C3P0 himself, Anthony Daniels.
On the way into the arena, we gazed at some props and costumes from the two
trilogies, as well as people in costume. I was pleased to see many children (some waving toy lightsabers) in the audience and to see that George Lucas’ space opera lives on.

We then returned to the hotel, grabbing dinner at the International Burger Bar before attending more convention sessions. Unfortunately, because of the concert’s timing, we missed the guest of honor, Star Trek and Mission Impossible‘s Leonard Nimoy. Still, we did get to see Gareth David-Lloyd from Torchwood because his room was on our floor! In addition to the usual aging male fans of comic books and old television shows, there were younger, often female anime and horror enthusiasts, multiple generations of Star Trek fans, and people in outlandish costumes.

I was impressed by the number and variety of panels at the NEFX. That evening, Janice and I sat in on sessions about technology (and “technobabble“) in Star Trek, steampunk media (about which I hope to blog more soon), and archaeology in science fiction. The steampunk sessions were led by comic book author Everett Soares and the fun troupe “the Penny Dreadfuls.”

On Sunday, Nov. 15, we went to the knowledgeable Paul Gavins’ panel on “suitmation” vs. computer-generated imagery in kaiju (giant monster) movies. We also picked up a few elements of steampunk garb at the dealers’ room. I’m looking forward to visiting the Super MegaFest and the “Harry Potter” exhibit at the Boston Museum of Science in the coming weeks!