Thursday, July 26, 2007
Comic-Con Help & Guidance
All along I hadn't planned on attending Comic-Con this year. I went last year and it just wasn't really for me. Then I got a last minute invite and thought that maybe there was something off about my experience last year and I should check it out all over again with fresh eyes, if not for the comics and movie and tv promotion, then for the cultural and sociological aspects of it. You know, the people watching. K and I planned on going on Saturday afternoon, but when he told me today that my pass is actually a 4-day, I had to take a lunchtime bike ride to checkout all the mania. Experienced veteran attendees can tell you the exciting what whats about the convention, but I just wanted to point out some recommendations that I have if you plan on attending if you're a rookie or a newbie.
1. Expect to wait in lines. Lots of them. I was fortunate enough to have a professional pass, but if you aren't quite so lucky, make sure you PRE-REGISTER. Don't show up on the day you want to attend without your printed out bar code. Even if the line for pre-regs is longer, it moves 10 times faster. I went at noon, I imagine later in the day it will only get worse. And the bulk of the line is made to wait outside and that white concrete heat can be brutal. Once inside, there are lines for seminars, lines for the booths with the good swag, lines for Starbucks, lines for food, lines for bathrooms, and lines for autographs.
2. If you don't like crowds, stay home. Seriously, 123,000+ people are expected this weekend. Not only "regular" people, but costumed people who are strutting around just dying to have someone ask to take their pictures, and there is no flow of traffic. People see something and just stop and take pictures, change direction, what have you. If your patience runs thin, leave your cranky ass home.
3. Don't drive. Seriously. It's not even a parking issue, though you won't find parking. The issue is police controlled traffic on Harbor mixed with regular downtown traffic, mixed with increase trolley frequency, mixed with tourists who don't know where the hell they're going, mixed with taxis and shuttles and pedicabs and...well, you catch my drift. Park in Old Town or Mission Valley or shit, Chula Vista, and take the trolley.
4. Dress comfortably. I know this should go without saying, but unless you're costumed and love to suffer, this is not the time to debut your go go boots. I wouldn't even recommend flip flops because your toes are bound to get stepped on. Unfortunately I was in my work attire and I was sweating like an ape.
5. Take a backpack. Your gonna be given a lot of shit. Holding plastic bags is eventually gonna get old and make your fingers feel like they're gonna fall off.
6. Consider thoughtfully the things/ swag/ comics/ magazines/ newsletters/ junk that you pick up. I think I still have a bag of trinkets I thought I wanted last year that are still sitting inside a plastic bag inside some rarely used backpack in the back of my closet. Do you really want/need it? Are you really gonna use it? If not, say no thank you and walk away. You guys going nutso for that ginormous Smallville bags? You will never have occasion to use it EVER again.
7. Don't get hungry. Hungry equals grumpy. Take snacks and if and when you do get hungry, there are plenty of good places close by. If I were you, I'd skip the restaurants and head either to Ralph's on 1st & G and check out the deli, or go a little more up on 1st to Beach City Market, just past the Nordstrom and 24 hour fitness on the street level of Horton Plaza. They have a grill for burgers and salmon and chicken, as well as a salad bar, noodle bar, sushi deli (try their spicy tuna handrolls!), and regular deli, along with specialty foods and waters. If you can escape the convention in the afternoon, Cafe Sevilla has an amazing happy hour from 5-6:30 for Spanish tapas and Sangria. Other happy hours worth checking out: The Ocean Room ($1 oysters), Morton's (comp sandwiches on Fridays), or Rockin Baja Lobster for various specials. Oh, and as someone who works downtown, try to work your lunch around the standard corporate lunch block from 12-2p. Some of us gotta get back to work, k?
8. Bring a camera. You're gonna wanna take some pics.
9. Have fun! Don't expect to see everything. Take in small bits and don't just go for the big Hollywood movies or the major comic vendors...a lot of the smaller artists have some really good shit. (like don't forget to say hi to Randall Christopher at his Kleeman and Mike booth.)
Thanks to Kristian and Chris for the Industry Pass, and see you all at the Con.