Thursday, August 20, 2015

Geek on the Street: Reporting Back from BronyCon 2015

Logo for BronyCon, 2015
Did you know that Friendship is Magic?  Well, I certainly do—and so do approximately 10,000 of my friends from around the country and world!  Between August 7th and 9th, we descended on Baltimore, Maryland, rechristened Baltimare for the three-day annual BronyCon convention, to celebrate that idea.  This was the site of a fun-filled convention experience built by the niche fandom surrounding the animated television program, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.  For all of you fledgling Geeks on the Street, I want to encourage you to find this sort of specific convention for your particular fandoms.  They are incredible experiences in which you can indulge your fanaticism for the minutia of one geek property instead of being distracted by dozens of things that you love.  Plus, you can meet literally THOUSANDS of other fans who love this one thing as much as you do.

I have attended Pony Conventions, as well BronyCon specifically, in the past, though my motivation to make the trek down to Baltimore (I was only in town for day one of the con) was motivated by the fact that John de Lancie would be appearing at the show.  Famous for his role of Q on Star Trek: The Next Generation, he has now seemingly struck fandom gold a second time by voicing Discord on MLP:FiM.  He gave a wonderful Q&A style panel, answering fan questions ranging in subject matter from “Who is best pony?” to “How do you prepare for your roles?”  He was charming and kind to all of the fans in attendance.
John de Lancie, as seen on screen during his Friday 8/7 panel at BronyCon, 2015
And boy, did Mr. de Lancie draw a crowd!  We stood in line for his autograph for well over an hour.  To my fellow geeks: this experience taught me the importance of pre-planning a convention experience and of ranking what one’s priorities for the con are.  To make a one-day trip to a con not only possible, but successful in terms of a celebrity meet-and-greet, I needed to spend a number of hours planning out hour-by-hour of my itinerary for the day.  This allowed me to be in the right places at the right times to maximize my chances of getting my John de Lancie autograph.  In addition, knowing that meeting de Lancie was my main goal for the con allowed me not to be distracted by the dozens of other exciting things happening during the hour I spent in that autograph line.  I was here for this experience and therefore waiting in line was the best thing I could be doing with my time.  Being organized and doing a great deal of pre-planning streamlined my convention experience, helped me to avoid con-stress, and allowed me to live out my convention dream in the most complete way possible.
Long Distance View of the Screen during the My Little Pony Writers' Panel

Once I achieved autograph glory, I was able to walk around the vendor’s hall and snag a couple of unique MLP items and take in an excellent show writers’ panel as well as an edition of Match Game played by the convention’s celebrity guests.  Even more special was just being in the convention hall, seeing all of the amazing pony costumes and feeling the energy that emanates from the Brony fandom.  It was a really fun and warm environment, one in which “Friendship is Magic” is not an abstract concept but a real lived part of the fan experience.

Sign at BronyCon's Exit
So check out the smaller conventions, a piece of advice which seems to have emerged as a theme for my blog posts this summer, especially those about the particular things you love the most.  For those of you who have never worn your Geek on the Street badges in public before, these can be a great place to start: you already know you like what the con’s events will be about and you already share something important in common with everyone else in attendance.  Pony conventions never fail to remind me that in my love of My Little Pony is a whole community of others who share this passion; no matter what you love, there is a similar community out there, just waiting for you to join it.

Until next time, this is your official Geek on the Street Dr. Kelly wishing you a Glorious Geek Day!

Article by Kelly I. Aliano, PhD

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