Review: Raleigh Supercon 2017
Con-fam Unite! After a long Friday at the con, our con-family was finally at full strength. Jenny put on her red noodles, picked up her lightsaber, and joined us as a Sith Twi’lek. Jenny’s husband Chris along with Jenn’s husband Sergei both came to the con as well, each sporting a camera and ready to capture the memories.
One of the first experiences of the day was seeing probably my favorite cosplay of the whole weekend. Beatdown Boogie’s Chris Moore, who is an amazing friendly human being, walked around sporting a brilliant mashup costume… Dr. Stranger Things! A combination of Dr. Strange and Eleven from Stranger Things made for quite the sight. The two costumes meshed fantastically and I was delighted to see the painted waffle taking the place of Strange’s amulet. We came to call it the Eye of Eggo-motto! Shortly after, I found out that the first time Chris donned the costume, photos of it went viral. If you search the internet for Dr. Stranger Things, you’ll find his picture.
This was a con of many firsts, most important of which was that this con was my first one representing the Star Wars podcast Beyond the Blast Doors. The brainchild of my good friend David Amelotti and myself, Beyond the Blast Doors is a visual podcast recorded weekly for YouTube and other media outlets. Since starting in May, we’d consistently kicked around ideas for fan outreach. Star Wars is such a fan-interactive franchise that we knew we’d want to get people involved any way we could. Since we have backgrounds in news production, I figured it’d be a great idea to get some con coverage.
That’s where the Carolina 501st came in. This awesome group of Star Wars cosplayers and prop builders was so hospitable, all willing to talk and share their love of Star Wars with a random nerd like me. The Rebel Legion and Mandalorian Mercenaries also had a presence at the con, but the 501st led the Star Wars festivities with a huge booth featuring many props on display and even a “Shoot a Trooper” booth, where con-goers could donate to a charity for a few shots at a Stormtrooper or other Imperial personnel. So many of them were willing to help me out with the podcast, and I walked away with some great new friends!
Being a fan of Kevin Smith movies, and especially after meeting Brian O’Halloran the night before, I had to check out the View Askew panel. Jay Mewes, Joey Lauren Adams, and Brian O’Halloran all joined together to discuss their experiences and memories from their careers. They even gave us a bit of insight into Kevin Smith’s next movie, Jay and Silent Bob Reboot! They said Kevin was out scouting for locations over the whole weekend, which is probably why he wasn’t able to make it to Raleigh.
It seems to be a running theme with any con: hunger struck again! After skipping breakfast, many of us were starving by the evening. Upon a much appreciated suggestion, we were pointed towards Z Pizza & Taproom, which was a pizza place the likes of which I’ve never seen. The pizza was phenomenal, but it wasn’t the main attraction. The tap wall was self-serve, selling each of their eight awesome beers by the ounce. More importantly than the pizza and beer was the chance to hang out with our con-fam and share experiences from the past couple days. Fortunately the night was just starting, and we left the restaurant with a few more things on our agenda.
Jenn and Jenny took part in a late night panel, Let’s Get Spooky. The panel of cosplayers and horror enthusiasts explored the genre in various media from video games and movies to books and comics. Each panelist shared memories of chilling encounters, opened up about their inductions into the horror genre, and touched on the artistic inspirations for their chosen cosplays. Midnight approached and the panel opened up to the audience to welcome questions. The interaction was delightful! As far as panels go, this was the most relaxed and fun ones I have attended. I was also ecstatic to be invited to participate in a future Let’s Get Spooky panel.
After midnight had passed, we decided to check all of the night life events happening at the con. Never have I seen a con hold three separate late night events in the same building, so we had options. First, we decided to check out the cosplay karaoke party in the Marriot ballroom. It was just as lively as the previous night, but we quickly decided that the other events needed equal attention. Back in the convention center, Ballroom B hosted a cosplay rave. This huge room was a hub of activity, countless costumes and lightsabers tearing up the dance floor.
Our last stop of the night was the Nerdlesque Super Show. The ballroom was completely packed full of con-goers eagerly waiting. To everyone’s surprise and delight, Brian O’Halloran stepped out onto the stage as host of the event. Tank and I ended up sitting with the FSCW wrestlers to enjoy the performance. For the next hour, the filled-to-capacity Ballroom A was the sexiest place in Raleigh, North Carolina. Fans hooted and hollered, filling the tip buckets being passed around. The performers lit up the room in displaying the art of the tease.