Monday, November 16, 2015

Geek on the Street: Reporting Back from L.I. Who 3, 2015

The Official L. I. Who Logo
There are very few creative properties that can sustain a fandom for decades on end.  Shows get cancelled, movies get replaced with reboots, and books may lose their luster after too many sequels or the passage of time.  Yet, we as geeks are uniquely lucky in that many of our favorite creations have not only seen their original versions stand the test of time, but we continue to see them refreshed and revitalized for new audiences.  Such is the case with Doctor Who, which, in the humble view of this one Geek on the Street reporter, is one of the finest television shows ever created.  This past weekend I had the pleasure to share that love with a few thousand fellow Whovians at the annual Long Island Doctor Who convention, L.I. Who, now in its third fabulous year.

BB-8 loves Doctor Who
This convention, much like BronyCon, proves the power of an individual fandom.  Unlike some smaller conventions that struggle for programming as a two- or three-day schedule drags on, L.I. Who 3 had rich offerings, filled with interesting talks about the show’s development as well as dozens of spotlight panels on stars from the show itself.  The convention did a wonderful job of balancing nostalgia for the Classic Who series, which ran from 1963-1989, with a film produced in 1996, with the fervor for the current New Who program, which relaunched in 2005 and has brought a dedicated younger fandom into the Doctor Who fold.

Like many geeks of my age bracket, I came to Doctor Who with the new series, yet watching the new show sparked our interest in watching the classic program.  So, for me, L.I. Who 3 had almost endless possibilities of panels to see, celebrities to meet, and experiences to indulge.  And, because of the shows middle-range size, I was able to get autographs from every star in attendance that I wanted to meet.  I was even able to get a photo op with the Eighth Doctor himself, Paul McGann.  These sorts of up-close-and-personal interactions with the show’s stars, as I have said before, are often impossible or incredibly time-consuming at larger or non-fandom-specific shows. 
A Panel with Paul McGann

To refresh a point that I make again and again, Geeks on the Street: if you love a particular property, seek out fan events focused on that one topic.  I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!  This show was one of the MOST #GeekPositive experiences that I have ever had.  I met one of my favorite companions of all time from the show, Katy Manning, who played Jo, and she treated us with such warmth, hugging and kissing each person in her line and taking time to chat.  Every fellow fan that I encountered at the show or even in the elevator was friendly and chatty.  And the programmers themselves left nothing to chance,
Katy Manning
creating a seamless and pleasant convention-going experience.

I also want to use this show to talk about the pros and cons of VIP experiences at conventions.  I am a mega-nerd, so I often treat myself to large convention packages (often at the expense of other leisure activities like vacations).  At a show like L.I. Who the perks with our VIP package—entitled the Master’s Plan—were massive and very cost-effective, including two nights in the convention hotel, a personal concierge, a free comic book, a free autograph and photo op with a celebrity guest of our choice, front row seating for main panels, separate lines, and exclusive events.  However, I did not do a good enough job learning these perks in advance and inadvertently paid for a photo op that could have been free and waited in a line that I could have skipped.  Make sure if you purchase a VIP package that you are well-versed in what it offers you.  Along those same lines, make sure it is offering you something worth the price tag.  I have often been “sold” on a package because of particular swag perks and then end up with just a tote bag and poster that I never look at again.  My point: focus on VIP packages that include convention experiences and not just “things.”  Most takeaways are not as valuable as the actual goings-on at the show.

Although not the Doctor, this PhD doctor hopes you all join me for a journey through time and space soon.  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

No comments:

Post a Comment