AMBER LOVE 18-NOV-2013 Jeff Mach Productions and Circuit Six held the first GEEK CREATION SHOW in Piscataway, NJ last weekend. The objective of the show was to educate attendees through panels that covered a massive array of topics from The History of Chocolate to Science/Math Myths to interactive discussions like Doctor Who trivia or Star Wars vs. Star Trek. To say it brief: It was a blast! By the way, this who event was a benefit for the Tesla Museum.
My trusty colleague Jesse Parrino helped me cover some ground because the schedule was filled with activities in the various salons but not overwhelming like something you’d find at a comic convention. The salon rooms were small and intimate so speakers didn’t use mics but there were definitely times when it would have helped because those accordion “walls” are paper thin. The one main complaint I have the panels wasn’t the content; it was simply how rude some audience members are. If you’re in a panel and you already know the subject or you are there only to rest, please be quiet and the let the rest of the audience hear what’s being explained. This happened to me in both the cosplay panel and the 3D scanning panel. Also, I’m sorry to say this, but …. babies. I don’t get it. I know you love your bundle of joy but the entire world doesn’t want to deal with your baby whining and throwing toys or running freely through a panel room. I’m sorry. I know they’re precious little creatures but they are also disruptive and no one’s responsibility but your own.
The Radisson Hotel staff, especially in the bar/cafe, was exceptional as were the production volunteers. Even when the registration staffers didn’t have the information I needed, they were sweet and patient and waited for head master Jeff Mach to confirm the press credentials. It was easy-peasy as us old timers say. In the bar, even when food wasn’t being prepared due to an actual kilted wedding taking up the kitchen staff, there was a steady flow of absinthe. Friday night we polished off the last of a green and Saturday was the Edward III white variety of which I consumed far too much but I have a hard time resisting that delicious licorice flavor. The problem was I was waiting until 5pm on Saturday for the kitchen to resume and by then had enough of the drink in me that I forgot about eating.
The panel I wanted to attend on Friday night was canceled at the last minute. I heard one of the speakers had car trouble and couldn’t make it so that may have been the case. Instead Friday was pure relaxation sitting around a table with a couple friends and the staffers before going home at a reasonable time. I could have stayed for the dance or other socials but I knew Saturday would be long and exhausting. Saturday I went to three morning panels: Leveling Up Your Storytelling by Tom Sims, Clothing Your Character, and 3D Scanning. I then spent a great amount of time in the bar before the delightful strangers I befriended suggested we watch Celebrity Jeopardy and the burlesque show. It was definitely more fun than I was expecting.
In the storytelling panel, Tom Sims gave some clear examples of how lying in an autobiographical tale gives it some punch and makes it more compelling. Then he chose audience members to tell stories about real experiences and gave suggestions where completely fictionalized details that are believable could have been added to create drama or comedy flair. I enjoyed Tom’s candor and voice projection. I don’t know if he’s actively a public speaker in his life but he came off comfortable with the topic and engaging with the audience.
I was happily surprised with the cosplay panel because I had only ever attending one other convention’s cosplay panel which was horribly disappointing. These three ladies from Maudumn Faust Presents had a ton of budgeting ideas. They had a lot of materials and tools to do real demonstrations which they accomplished with the help of audience members who were allowed to keep their five-minute creations. It was all done with only scissors and items like bed sheets and fleece throw blankets or cheap sale items right off the rack that were quickly modified. I didn’t realize there would be as much costuming at GCS as there was but I discovered that besides all the Doctor Who craze (and those fans ALWAYS dress up) there was a partnership with Katsucon to have an official Katsucon Mobile Cosplay Contest.
As a non-tech person, I was very interested in the 3D Scanning lecture. It had a continuation later for the 3D Printing component of it but I only attended the scanning demos. Anthony Ur works on US Army video games. He demonstrated the different software packages, talked about costs and pointed out where some are free open source programs, and he took the time to scan audience members. He had scanners ranging from $90 to $15,000 but left the $60,000 scanner at the office showing it via a video of the scanner in use at car accident scene. Anthony was a great professional speaker who took questions throughout not reserving them for the end. However, it seemed that when anyone asked a question, three-quarters of the room took it as a sign to talk loudly amongst themselves rather than listen. This was also one of those moments as I said earlier where there were clearly people who already knew about this technology who couldn’t politely stay quiet for those of us that didn’t. I was feeling some pangs of anxiety to begin with and as these already educated people would interrupt the speaker, it got worse because, to be blunt, I felt too stupid to be in that room. Math and Science classes may as be taught by someone speaking in that Charlie Brown adult voice that’s incoherent. Despite not really knowing how lasers or lights work in the scanners, I thought it was exceptionally badass that dudes sitting in chairs were turned into 3D mesh models that could eventually be printed.
After that the carefully planned schedule I had in my calendar was ignored. Later at night was Celebrity Jeopardy featuring Uncle Yo, Harley Quinn, and everyone’s favorite dark arts teacher Professor Snape. There is no question that anytime Nigel appears on stage singing or as Professor Snape that he’ll steal the show. He’s always spot-on and entertaining. This was one of the events that I didn’t expect to care about but I laughed myself silly throughout.
That was followed up with the ending event, the White Elephant Society’s burlesque show. By this point, the absinthe had kicked my ass. I didn’t pay too much attention to the performances and would occasionally close my eyes and rest my head on the perfect stranger next to me. Hey, it’s a Mach show, we’re all family by the end of it.