Dallas, like Texas itself, is big. Big food, big crowds, big stadiums, there’s nothing small about this city…including the temperature in June. Thankfully, the Kay Bailey Hutchinson convention center provided a terrific venue (and plenty of air conditioning) for the most recent FanExpo show.
The pandemic had shackled a lot of people to their homes, but they turned out in impressive numbers to see celebrities, do some serious shopping, and dress up in cosplay as their favorite characters.
In true Geek News Now fashion, I not only attended the event but felt compelled to hand out awards to those that were deserving.
The Thirst is Real Award: Pecos Pete’s
Hailing from Dripping Springs, this “beverage distributor” had longer lines than some celebrities did. Three stations were set up where you could buy your mug and savor their various flavors including “Round Rock Root Beer” and “Hill Country Sweet Tea”. The mug could be refilled as often as you want, if you didn’t mind waiting in line. The wait might be worth it as the flavors were refreshing. I enjoyed the various Texas names for their drinks, even if “Dallas” wasn’t included this time around. Hey Dallas, you can’t have everything!
Bring Your A Game Award: SKG RetroGaming
Emulators aren’t exactly new, but what SKG does is put together a great-looking emulator and cram it full of games. Seriously. The “basic” box holds 2600 video games. That’s right, every single game from Atari 2600, Nintendo Entertainment System, Super Nintendo, and Sega Genesis are yours (US versions of the game).
Oh my bad, that’s not enough for you? How about jacking up your game to the Loaded Ultra box? With that you get a whopping 8000 games. Coin-op arcade games, Playstation games, TurboGrafx, Game Boy, Game Boy Advanced, Game Boy Color, SEGA Dreamcast, and much much more.
It would give the Angry Video Game Nerd’s collection a run for his money.
Pay No Attention to that Celeb Behind the Curtain Award: Gina Carano
Gina Carano has more “rise and fall” in her career than a Six Flags roller coaster in Arlington. She was one of the most recognized faces in women’s MMA. Gina was a hit actress in the record-breaking “Deadpool” movie. She became a Star Wars fan-favorite in “The Mandalorian” series. Then she was hit in the face with a social media 2×4 backlash after commenting about voter fraud and mask mandates. Now she’s hitting the trail again, starring in a western called “Terror on the Prairie” and had a massive line of fans waiting to see her.
But that wait took longer than most people wanted as the (now blonde) actress was the only celebrity at the Dallas event to receive fans behind a veil of black curtains. The reason for this was never fully explained but she did appear to have a good time meeting people who supported her.
Looks Like You’re On the Wrong Side of the PAAAAAAAAANEL Award: Brendan Fraser
Declaring that this is a true “Brennasaince”, this panel was an absolute delight. When asked if he would want to be in “The Mummy” 4 if it were to be made, Fraser shouted “YEEEEEEESSSSSS!” before the question was fully asked. In addition, he announced that one episode in the upcoming season of “Doom Patrol” would be a musical.
“We couldn’t do this episode unless it had singing and dancing in it,” he explained with a grin.
He spoke at length about how he felt about the support he’s received in the past few years and what it was like working on the sets of the first two “Mummy” movies in addition working on his earlier movies like “Airheads” and “George of the Jungle”.
“I really tried to just be myself in those roles,” he said. “Those days were a lot of fun and kept me fed. I was hungry!” he laughed.
When asked about the notorious CGI in “The Mummy Returns”, Fraser laughed it off.
“At the after-party, I shook hands with this group of guys. ‘We’re the CGI team’ they said. ‘Oh…how nice…’ I muttered back. ‘We know’, they replied glumly. ‘It was a rush job, okay? We wanted more time!'”
It’s the Little Things Award: FanExpo Dallas
Big cons are all about money.
Big cons only care about big name guests.
Big cons never care about the little people.
Phooey, phooey and hogwash, I tell ya!
Not only were the staff and volunteers courteous, but the showrunners set up a terrific Family Zone away from all the hustle and bustle. Did I mention this Family Zone came with a box fort? A Lego pile? A backdrop of Hogwarts to take pictures against? Oh yeah…DID I MENTION THE BOX FORT??
But beyond that, since the event went on during Father’s Day, they set up a place where you could write something about your dad on a large banner. Leaving a sentimental testimonial about the old man? That’s a nice touch.
Your Line is HOW Long?? Award: Ashley Eckstein
I fully expected headliners like Elijah Wood, Ric Flair, and Ming Na-Wen to draw a big crowd. However, as soon as the doors opened on Friday until they shut on Sunday afternoon, Ashley Eckstein had a crowd lined up to get her autograph.
The voice actress for the beloved Star Wars character “Ahsoka Tano” who also founded the “Her Universe” business (bought out by “Hot Topic”) was incredibly popular at the Dallas event with fans camping out for nearly two hours to see her.
I’m Never Leaving My Jammies…Or The 80s Award: Saturday Morning Cartoons
As I stepped into the darkness of the convention meeting room, I didn’t know what to expect from a panel titled “Saturday Morning Cartoons.” The folks at Nerds Know put on something special. This was no Q&A about cartoons or a lecture on the great tools of the past. It was something completely unexpected. It was literally a room of people sitting around watching cartoons and old commercials. The Nerds Know group also added to the atmosphere by offering cereal to the group.
We were literally sitting around on a Saturday morning watching cartoons and eating cereal. As convention panels go this was something completely different and out of left field. However, it was a welcome change and a different type of panel one that drew up fond memories of my childhood.
You want MORE? Check out our Facebook page for images of cosplayers, the crowd, merchandise we saw, and a lot more! Want us to cover an event near you? Drop a comment and we’ll check it out!
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