Report on Unplugged Expo

Who wants another convention less than a month after Fan Expo? Well, if there’s one thing Fan Expo did, it left me with an appreciation of the benefits of smaller conventions. Unplugged Expo didn’t claim to be a full-on convention; apparently the second floor of the Primrose Hotel was originally rented for a cancelled gaming event. With only five weeks to set up and minimal marketing, they only only aimed to make it a weekend of awesome.

The people who still want another convention after Fanexpo are the people who know how to have a good time at conventions. They included convention regulars like Dr. Holocaust and Tom Savage, and of course many cosplayers from all varieties of media. Amazingly, there was only one Homestuck wandering around. For a sampling of the Cosplayers, check out TdotComic’s gallery on Facebook.

Despite the convention originally being a gaming event, the gaming room was rather limited, and apparently more people were using their Nintendo DS’s than the provided equipment. The dealer’s room was also rather limited, although a vendor with ceramics is something not typically seen on the convention circuit. I’m personally a bit annoyed that Red Moon Creations sold out of Autobot ensignia Steins, but I’m sure I’ll have another chance to buy them.

The artist alley (sharing a room with the main event stage) had Tights and Fights exhibiting, who thanks to a power outlet were able to actually run a demo of their web series. This made their display much more persuasive than their representation at Fan Expo, and I think that once Kick-Ass 2 comes out their Capester website could be a big deal. Also, early marketing for ConBravo! confirmed that internet rock star Brental Floss will be showing up at the convention next year.

One of the more interesting guests of the convention was “Runaways” artists Adrian Alphona, who divulged details about an upcoming anthology of artwork by Canadian talent, True Patriot, which is something for TdotComics to keep an eye on. The rest of the artiest alley had the usual sketch artists and prints for sale that I’d expect from most conventions, including friend of the site Marvin Law. The Spent Pencils studio filled up a lot of the available floor space, with over 12 artists showing off their various projects.

The con’s masquerade was held on the Sunday, and disappointingly only had five performances involved, although they were all entertaining. The event was merged with the mercifully short closing ceremonies, and then the stage was filled by people dancing the popular Gangnam Style dance. More and more people got up, and soon everybody who wasn’t rushing on stage to dance was rushing to take pictures of the crowd. While everybody was standing, all the chairs apparently vanished to begin the dance event. Those who didn’t stay at the dance all went to Golden Griddle.

 

Maybe it wasn’t a weekend of awesome per se, but it was quick and fun enough to be worth the trip to Toronto on a spare weekend. None of the events on the schedule really grabbed my attention (although I missed all of Saturday), but I had a nice time chatting and dancing with old and new friends. There were a lot of people to see, but not many things to do. It’s still unknown if they’ll try to cram all of next year’s occupants into the same mirror-laden hotel space during a week when people still aren’t used to their academic schedules, or if instead they’ll pick a date when I won’t have to choose between Unplugged Expo and WrestleCrisis.

For other similar upcoming events in the Greater Toronto Area, check the TdotComics Calendar. If you know of any event that’s unlisted, please let us know.

-Michael Ryan, September 27th 2012
Now I never have to hear Gangnam Style again, right?

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