LeakyCon Reflections: General Musings

It’s been just about a week, so the time for reflections on LeakyCon Portland is drawing to a close. Soon will be the time to look forward to LeakyCon London, LeakyCon 2014, or Wrockstock Wreborn or whatever its called. But for now, indulge me in one last look back at LeakyCon, as I go over my general thoughts and experiences of the con.

Special Events: Over the past decade, these have become the bread and butter of cons, but in the past couple years they have skewed more and more towards things that don’t interest me, like jam-packed Starkid concerts, the Lizzie Bennet Whatevers, or the increasingly ridiculous lines for autographs and pictures. Now, a lot of this is because of the ending of the series and the skewing of LeakyCon towards multi-fandom, so stuff like the Mina Lima panel is becoming increasingly rare. And hey, that’s fine – I totally get the importance of appealing to your user base, and changing with the times. It just means that I can’t comment on most of the big headlining events.

I did attend the Fittie 5k however, and that was a lot of fun. For one thing, the route was beautiful, offering a taste of everything Portland has to offer – trees, water, running both on and UNDER bridges – it was also just generally well-organized, with the volunteers cheering your finishing of the route being a particularly nice touch. I would very much like to see this become a Leaky tradition.

The commencement ceremony left me a little cold, but part of that is because of a minor philosophical difference with the current scope of Leaky – the tl;dr is that while I get why they’re going multi-fandom, it seems more like the Tumblr version of multi-fandom (read: SuperWhoLock) than the truer sense of multi-fandom you get when going to ComicCon or current Anime come, and so it rubs me the wrong way when something claims to be about all fandoms when major fandoms like Homestuck, Hannibal, Avatar, Off, and most video games, are left out. Heck, even Supernatural was weirdly absent from everything but the vendors hall, and despite its strong panel presence, Firefly was entirely snubbed from the opening ceremonies.

The writing was good, and the lyrics were especially good, and there was a definite air of spectacle to the whole thing, but as someone who’s not big into Rent, it all kind of washed over me. However, it seemed to be a huge hit with the intended audience, and there was obviously a lot of work and effort put into it.

The Wizard Comedy Jam was a lot of fun, though I left before Joe Moses unfortunately (I missed the beginnings and ends of a lot of panels in an attempt to get to the next panel on time). The highlight was definitely Andrew Slack’s “motherfucker”-laden performance, though I particularly enjoyed getting to heckle Justin Finch-Fletchley live and over twitter – at the same time. The Team Quiz was decent, but even at a multi-fandom con, having only one Harry Potter question was weird. Moreover, the people running the quiz seemed to have misjudged their audience slightly, or just skewed things really difficult, because the series of questions on 80’s cartoons and comics book minutiae was lost on the SuperWhoLock audience. I did decently though, so I enjoyed myself.

The Esther Earle Rocking Charity Ball was pretty much like every other con ball – decent but not really up my alley. I knew about 7 of the 30+ songs played, and most of those were the older songs, the meme songs, or Ke$ha. Everyone else seemed to know the Stepfordian pop songs being played though, and had a good time, though I missed Paul DeGeorge as a DJ, because he played the Pokemon theme song, and that’s honestly the only thing I remember from the LeakyCon ’11 ball.

Then there was the closing ceremonies, which was the final Pottercast. Now, as someone who has been a Pottercast fan for a long time, I enjoyed this event and it had emotional resonance for me, but if you weren’t a huge John Noe fangirl back in 2007 or whatever, then I can see how this could have been an anticlimactic end to the weekend – after about an hour, people started to slowly stream out. I also think the lack of a leaving feast was sorely missed – it’s a great opportunity to have everyone gathered together in small easily-identifiable groups so you can say goodbye to everyone, instead of the faceless sea of people in rows of chairs, so hopefully the leaving feast will make a comeback in coming years.

Panels: Panels are always going to be hit or miss, with usually at least one person enjoy and one person hating pretty much every panel. I do feel the schedule was a little wonky – Friday was actually rather sparsely populated with panels, whilst Saturday was jam packed with more panels, and more big-ticket ones too. I enjoyed at least three-quarters of the panels I attended, and there was a nice variety. I was especially pleased to still see some academic analysis panels going on, in the midst of the Sortings and Sing-alongs and Socials (“Meetups” doesn’t start with S). The Thursday meetups and sing-alongs were a little packed to the gills, but for the most part, people were able to get into the panels they wanted to, and panels started and ended roughly on time (with the exception of that one panel that went on for four hours). Next year I would love to see more varied fandom representation in the panels – more video game panels, a Homestuck panel, maybe an anime meetup, a Hannibal panel/meetup/brunch, stuff like that.

Vendor Hall: The vendor hall was spacious, well-laid out, and even at peak traffic times, things didn’t feel as claustrophobic as during some previous LeakyCons. There were a nice variety of stores and things on sale, though my favorite part was definitely the Craft Fair, which had by far the most interesting and most varied items on sale.

Staff: The nice thing about having the con at an actual convention center is that the staff are trained for and used to huge amounts of people, which is a nice comparison to the sometimes overwhelmed hotel staff of years past. All venue staff were polite, and I heard some people say they had similar opinions of us, which is always nice. I’ve seen a couple complaints about the con staff, but I never had any problems, and they did a good job of wrangling lines, keeping registration amazingly speedy, and making sure panels ended on time.

Welp, that about wraps things up for LeakyCon Reflections week! On Monday I’m going to take things in a somewhat unusual direction, and then we’ll be back to discussing outdated wizard rock shit that no one cares about!

…Hooray?

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Michael
    Jul 09, 2013 @ 11:19:29

    Hello, my name is Michael Amann, I’m the founder of a geek rock band Scych and we also do Wizard Rock I was excited to hear bout LeakyCon and I actually when to college in Oregon. My singer is a professionally trained classical wedding singer who is a huge Harry Potter fan. I am also a fan of the books, characters and HP world with more wizard rock on the way. We plan to elevate this form of music to it’s highest possible level, i.e. provide the pro quality you hear in movie scores and trailers while extolling the lore and even expanding on the stories in our music and videos. We are long established musicians and not a fly by not operation. Our latest track is called The Eldruhn Wand and it about the history and lore of the Elder Wand…http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EFYsNf-K7wI&feature=share&list=UU2h0D5CYHK-KJDeF9j1nkuA

    Reply

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