While I am not into comics, action heroes, video games or fantasy, I was an early fan of the Big Bang Theory TV show. As a result, by osmosis I have become very curious about cosplay and the comic-con culture.
Calgary Expo (our comic-con convention and trade show) has grown exponentially since its inception in 2006. Today it is the second largest in Canada with attendance exceeding 100,000 people.
As an everyday tourist, how could I not go this year and see for myself what our Calgary Expo is all about.
I was in "people watching" heaven with all of the costumes and displays. There were smiles everywhere and everyone loved to get their picture taken. The Calgary Expo has many interesting elements - a mini film festival, educational workshops, autograph and photo opportunities with your favourite fantasy character.
After people watching for an hour or so, I headed to the lecture halls and found a Special Effects Cosplay Photography with Vancosplay workshop. This was way out the universe I operate in, but I did get a couple of good tips on some software that I might play with. Always learn something!
Next I checked out the short film "Downtime" about a frustrated husband desperate for some downtime, who heads out on an impromptu fishing trip. It probably won't win any awards but it was interesting to watch.
I missed the "How to Nerd-provise! An Improve Workshop" which would have been fun, I have always enjoyed improv and have been curious about giving it a try. This would have been the perfect opportunity.
I did attend the "Conversational Klingon: Express Yourself in a ConLand" class by Joseph Windsor a University of Calgary PHD student. I had no clue what he was talking about, but the audience loved it.
The big surprise of the day was having Canada Post at the end of the Klingon lecture unveil two new Star Trek posters. I am a sucker for surprises.
It is all about the kids!
The highlight of day one were the children who seemed to be in awe at what they were seeing.
Day 2 POW: Parade of Wonder
Day 2 began with everyone gathering at the Eau Claire Plaza starting at 9 am to register, make final costume adjustments and to take lots of pictures.
Again, everyone was keen to have their picture taken, it was an urban photographer's heaven.
The route went from Eau Claire Plaza, north on 3rd Street SW to Stephen Avenue Walk, where it proceeded east to Olympic Plaza for the Calgary Expo Official Opening by the Mayor.
The parade lasted about 20 minutes and everyone seemed very pleased - those who watched and those who walked. I think the photos speak for themselves.
The downtown air was electric with excitement!
The Parade on Stephen Ave.
Olympic Plaza Calgary Expo Opening
Day 3 and 4 were were amazing with thousands of colourful characters of all ages, shapes and sizes animating Stampede Park like I have never seen it before.
The lectures and panel discussions were very interesting with talks about everything from the Zombie Apocalypse by two University of Calgary professors, to a discussion of Cosplay and body image. The panel discussion with Jackie Cruz and Lea Delaria of Orange is the New Black to a standing room only audience at the Boyce Theatre, was one of the best improv comedy shows I have seen in years.
For an urban guy who loves colour, street animation and people the Calgary Expo is now near the top of my list of my favourite Calgary festivals. I love that it attracts people of all ages and from all walks of life.
I also love how it animated Stampede Park and demonstrated to me how the Park is truly a community park and not just about the 10 days of Stampede.
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