Sorry about the delay in this week’s posting, but I spent the weekend at CONsole Room, a Twin Cities volunteer-run convention in its second year. I will freely admit, this is one of the places where my civic geek pride shows; Minneapolis/Saint Paul has a long, proud tradition of volunteer-run cons, including the largest in the country (CONvergence, which will be over Fourth of July weekend) and a wonderful bunch of small-to-medium cons that are put together by really great people. I’ve come to prefer them vastly over the for-profit cons, mainly because I think everyone’s nicer. When you help out at a convention, you take a little bit of ownership of it, and that makes you feel like you’ve got a bit of an obligation not to wreck it for everyone. I think that contributes to a warmer, friendlier atmosphere, which is a great thing.
But enough about cons in general. This specific con featured as its Guests of Honor Colin Baker (the Sixth Doctor), Gareth David-Lloyd (Ianto Jones from Torchwood), and Ellie and Joseph Darcy-Alden, who were in Season Seven’s Christmas special (“The Snowmen”). I didn’t see much of Gareth David-Lloyd, Torchwood not really being my thing, and I missed the Darcy-Aldens as well. (My wife and kid saw them, though, and said they were full of great stories about Matt Smith being gleefully eccentric on set.)
Colin Baker, on the other hand, was everything you’d expect. In fact, I half-suspect he puts on a bit of a persona at conventions to match his televised self; he was delightfully arch, filled with wit, and just a little bit winkingly pompous in a way that suggests he doesn’t really believe a word of it. He did a live commentary on ‘The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot’, with a Q&A afterwards because as he freely admitted, he got a bit engrossed in the story while it was going on. He also did an interview each day, commented on one of his old stories, and generally bounced about the con acting charming to everyone. He can come back any old day, is what I’m saying.
We also had great panels. Admittedly, that’s something of an act of egotism, because I did five of them, but there were a lot of good topics with some interesting ground to cover and I thought that the audiences had some wonderful questions and great insights. (Okay, so I did accidentally derail the ‘Age of Ultron’ panel for a bit by mentioning my “Avengers Go to Hogwarts” post for this blog, but we got it back on track. Mostly.)
The video room was excellent as well. Last year, they did a mix of ‘Doctor Who’ and other classic British TV, but this year we had two rooms and could do both at once. The British TV room featured a nice blend of rarities and pop-culture icons that got frequently referenced in Who, and the Who room had a good mix of new and old episodes that went from the black and white era all the way up to “Death in Heaven”.
In general, it was just a really pleasant group of fans and a really good run of programming, and I’m looking forward to the next one. I freely admit I’m signal boosting a bit here; Jason Tucker, the convention chair, put together a great group of people that ran a wonderful con, and I’d like to see more people there next year. And since it is a volunteer-run convention, if you like it, you can always do more to make it a success.