Denver Pop Culture Con 2019: Day 2 Diary

I loved how our costumes matched the posters behind us…and the Big Blue Bear staring down at us. The Colorado Convention Center is surrounded by community art, such as that huge bear. Photo credit: Patricia Vollmer

The second day of Denver Pop Culture Con, which was a Saturday, is really when the flood gates open up. The lines start EARLY, and with multiple entrances, things didn’t appear too overwhelming. But once they were all in the Colorado Convention Center, phew, it was elbows and…more elbows!

I was stationed at the upper level entrance closest to the vendors and artists, and I was able to capture the 10am start….

…which wasn’t quite as wild as I was hoping. Oh well!

My next door neighbor and her family — definitely a Critter family — were reporting from down at one of the lower entrances, which served as the queue for the 11am Critical Role panel, the headliner event of the weekend. She even found her family in this picture. How cool is that?

The Kids

On Day 2, we brought our 16- and 14-year-old sons. They each had final exams on Day 1, otherwise we probably would have let them skip school. I had given them a debrief of Day 1 on Friday night, and told them of a few things that I particularly wanted them to see.

As full-fledged teens now, it was easy to hook them up with a little spending money and send them on their ways. One of the wonderful things about the Denver Pop Culture Con experience is that folks can truly feel more safe: the program works extremely hard to make sure everything is family-friendly, and seeing all the groups of teens walking around together brings a smile to my face.

Side note: While part of me embraced the freedom of not having my head on a swivel keeping tabs on my sons, there was part of me that was saddened that they were striking out on their own. I understand that being a Geek Parent means that our kids may not exactly like the same things we like, but I still fully plan to support what they do like. I don’t know exactly what they were doing most of the day, but I am confident they had a good time, and that’s what counts, right?

After shrugging their shoulders at most of what I had showed them, they proceeded to find all the gaming booths they could. I’ll say more about that momentarily.

I had insisted my sons check in at lunchtime, and they did. Instead of fighting the crowded as the overpriced food court, we agreed to head out to the 16th Street Mall, which is two blocks northeast of the Colorado Convention Center. A five minute walk. Since we had been in the convention center since before 9am, it wasn’t difficult to have lunch on the early side to beat the crowds.

I don’t photograph my food often, but I did want to make a point in my live-Instagramming that there was perfectly good food a short walk away. There were also numerous food trucks in the vicinity. In 2017, the last time I was at DPCC, our family wasn’t at all happy with the long lines, high costs, and mediocre-at-best quality of the food court. Highly recommend either packing your own food (especially for younger, pickier eaters), or venturing off-site for lunch.

Gaming

As mentioned above, my sons were all about the gaming at this year’s visit to DPCC. They tend to meander in and out of comics and as of now, they aren’t following any comic series. Unfortunately for them, gaming is a smaller part of DPCC.

They were able to take advantage of the family’s press credentials to get early access to the tabletop gaming exhibitors, many of which had tables set up ready for players to sit down and try things out. I saw many people waiting for their turns at these games later in the day, but the early access afforded my sons the chance to get a very good feel for one of the games they ended up buying: Eschaton by Archon Games. My youngest son described the game as “Risk, but not quite.” This weekend we have promised our sons to sit down and play as a family. Meanwhile, I think my sons have been playing almost daily since they brought it home.

Blizzard Figurines

Blizzard Entertainment made a special appearance at this year’s DPCC with a massive booth set up near the Pop Culture Classroom activities area. Fans of Overwatch got a real treat: complimentary “Cute But Deadly” mini figurine mystery boxes.

My family got three of them over the course of the weekend. Even though my sons play Overwatch routinely, they weren’t as interested in the figures. But my neighbors’ kids tried to collect all 12, and we worked with them to complete their collection this past weekend. My neighbor told me they were giving away the figures by the dozen by Sunday afternoon.

I have to admit, they ARE pretty cute, aren’t they?

My neighbor and I were texting back and forth Sunday evening trying to even out our Overwatch figurine collections. Cute, aren’t they?

Panels

My husband and I visited three more panels on Saturday; I will be writing more details about Ming-Na Wen and Cary Elwes later this week. I only caught the second half of the George Takei panel, and I’m certainly glad I did.

Ming-Na Wen

She’s simply amazing! The “spotlight” types of panels were well done: the guest answers a couple of questions, and then dedicates most of the time to audience Q&A. Ming-Na’s event was delightful: her first question was about the last scene in Agents of Shield Season 5, in Tahiti. “What did Agents May and Coulson do on Tahiti?”

For those who follow Wen on social media, you know how blunt she can be. She was pretty blunt in her speculative answers <wink, wink>.

George Takei

George Takei had a different feel to his panel. He opted for something unmoderated. I noticed just one white chair on the stage, for him, and he didn’t use it once. He opened his panel discussing two upcoming projects he’s been involved with. I came in after about 10 minutes, straight from the Ming-Na Wen panel next door, and just caught the end of his announcement of a graphic novel coming out in JulyThey Called Us Enemy, featuring his experiences in the Japanese internment camps in Arkansas and California.

The second project was a reveal about the second season of AMC network’s horror series The Terror. In the spirit of such anthology series as True Detective and American Horror Story, The Terror’s seasons feature completely different plots, settings, and characters. The second season is titled The Terror: Infamy, will be set in a west coast Japanese internment camp, and will star Takei himself as a camp elder. In fact, on June 4th several photos and plot points were revealed. You can read more about them here. The Terror: Infamy will premiere on AMC on August 12th.

After the announcements of those two projects, Takei told some stories of his relationship with Gene Roddenberry, including the story of how he dripped water all over the note with Roddenberry’s phone number after first receiving a call from him. He also took a few audience questions.

Cary Elwes

The final panel we stopped at was Cary Elwes, the British actor known for his iconic role as Farm Boy/Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts in The Princess Bride. As I had mentioned in my DPCC preview post, Cary Elwes was my teen crush after The Princess Bride, and I had made a point to see as many roles he’s been in as possible, from Guilford Dudley in Lady Jane to Pierre Desperaux in Psych. I plan to write more about the Elwes panel, but for now I’ll share this picture, which included my plan to ask him about his role as the “evil sellout meteorologist who meets an unfortunate demise” in the film Twister. That movie had come out in my first year as a meteorologist, and Elwes’s role, IMHO, was one of the corniest I’ve ever seen in film. Alas, we ran out of time before I could ask my question.

More Cosplay

I had featured the family cosplay in a separate post, but I will close my Day 2 diary with some of my favorites, even if they weren’t necessarily groups. Click on the thumbnails to see them up close!

I’m afraid that’s all my family and I could muster this year. My oldest son is working on his Eagle Scout project this coming weekend, so we needed to give up the third day this year so he could do some of his planning.

We were happy to hear that Denver Pop Culture Con for 2020 will be during July 4th weekend, and perhaps next year we can even take the plunge and get a hotel room so we can start to take advantage of the evening activities.

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