Heroes and Villains Commandeer MegaCon Orlando | Valencia Voice
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Friday was plenty busy, but Saturday is a crushing glut of sheer humanity. Exact figures are hard to come by, but roughlypeople attended MegaCon in Its organizers expect a similar level of attendance for Here in the endless exhibition hall of the Orange County Convention Center, an immense mammary moon has coaxed the necklines of at least one third of the attendees and half the vending staff into low tide.
There are two reasons for this surfeit of ample pride: The unabashed capitalism of MegaCon should surprise no one. Cons are expensive, and this one is no exception. A runty gyro and a bottle of soda cost me thirteen dollars.
T-shirts you can buy online for about fifteen dollars cost twenty five here. Many of the collectors items and handcrafted goods available in various booths are even more expensive. Nerd gear by the bucketful. The best part of the vending area is Artist Alley. Here you can bask in the warm glow of indie commerce as individual illustrators and artisans cheerfully display their work.
- Heroes and Villains Commandeer MegaCon Orlando
Their gift for small talk and evident passion make it easy to forget that they, too, want your money. The proprietor, a friendly giant with tattooed arms, describes his work with a moving sense of pride. I bought one of his masks as a gift for my friend, Michael. Plus, he and his wife Heidi are being nice enough to let me stay at their home in lieu of a motel.
Saturday is also the day when the bigger celebrities most often appear, one of whom is Eliza Dushku. It may surprise you that, on her own, this kind-of-famous actress draws as big a crowd as three cast members of the original Rocky Horror Picture Show. For those who have no idea who she is, or only remember her from the cheerleading flick Bring It On, you should know that Dushku was once a prodigy of Joss Whedon.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer a.
Nerdland Diary: Three Days in the Tropics of MegaCon
Persona-wise, Whedon is warm, funny, and laser-focused. Watch this parody commercial he made during the election. But he is not just high geek royalty, or merely an articulate, charming spokesman for geek culture. Joss Whedon is a perfect example of the highly specific, occasionally insulated, genre universes that geek fandom tends to accentuate.
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Disciples of Joss call their fandom the Whedonverse. Like it or not, it is a legacy that Eliza Dushku must bear. Dushku imbued Faith with enough complexity to merit a recurring role in the Buffy spin-off, Angel. After those shows ended, Whedon created the series, Dollhouse, with the explicit intent of showcasing her versatility as an actress.
Dollhouse lasted barely two seasons but, like all Whedon creations, it still has its die-hard fans. In other words, Eliza Dushku is kind of a big deal to to a specific breed of nerd. The first time was inat DragonCon in Atlanta, and back then it seemed like she never quite felt the love. Four years later, it seems like Dushku has found her Con-groove, appearing at once charming and a little offbeat.
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At the end, a young man asks her advice for writing strong, believable women. Dushku says that strong female characters need more than just awesome fight scenes. Watching her, a Buffy fan can feel secure that the people who helped shape their cultural touchstone are not only kind and decent, but are also equally attached to it.
She is relatable enough to be believable, but just distant enough to not trample the myth. Is this what Eliza Dushku is really like in person? Afterward, I go back to Artist Alley to pick up some postcards to mail to friends. I badly need to sit down, and I know just the place to do it: A shadowcast is where a group re-enacts a movie or TV episode as the original plays on a screen next to the stage. As it gets going, the show takes on a very advertant Rocky Horror vibe. Costume changes are quick, public, and sloppy.
Clearly, the actors are having gobs of fun, so the audience does, too. Sunday begins as my friend, Heidi, and I are carting her yawning four-year-old daughter down I Keeping the pace of the past forty eight hours is something that I am no longer built for. I have only one goal for the rest of the Con: Felicia Day is a very bright star in Nerdiverse. For the past fifteen-odd years, she has done a remarkable job turning geek identity into an effective brand.
Early in her career, Day had a recurring role in the final season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Her web series, The Guild, won ten awards during its six-year lifespan. Once inside, Heidi and her daughter whisk off to Artist Alley. I make my way to the photo op area, where a crowd gathers around a yellow rectangle taped to the concrete floor of the exhibition hall.
To the left is a long row of prefab barriers. Inside the rectangle is a man in a matching yellow shirt. This low-tech mode of crowd control vaguely reminds me of a post-apocalypse, as if the Man in the Yellow Shirt got to decide who will eat and who will toil in a salt mine. But maybe I just have an active imagination. The front of this line abuts a row black-curtained booths. After about twenty minutes, a woman emerges from the nearest one and starts herding people inside. A voice booms from behind the curtain.
I look at my watch. Felicia Day is standing in a tiny stall with an orangish-yellow, Olan-Millsy backdrop. A bright light flashes.