StarFest - Jim's Report

Hello readers.  As you may have gathered from my Professional Gamer article this week, I’ve been at StarFest this weekend.  More specifically, Crystal and Chris have had a table set up to sell art and plexiglass, and while I have gone to a few panels and talked to a lot fans.  In the end, Chris spent a fair amount of time away from the table to take pictures, so I was often filling in for him to help run the table.  Helping run a table for a whole weekend, is not the perspective that I am used to at a convention.  In this case, it meant that I got to watch the convention crowd walk past me, rather than being part of that crowd myself.

In total, I was able to attend three panels/events.  The first was on Saturday in Avistrum, a kid-friendly Harry Potter themed space.  While I was there, an “instructor” presented a lecture on the History of Magic as it related to lucky charms and talismans.  He talked about the various symbols associated with luck around the world, then provided the kids with materials to craft their own talismans.  The kids all seemed to be having a lot of fun with the whole event.  It is really welcoming to see a convention that is not just kid-friendly, but makes an effort to have dedicated spaces and events for kids.  This was something that I haven’t seen in the other Denver area conventions, but I think it would be worthwhile for more of them to include this type of programming.

The second panel I attended was about recent and future exploration of Mars.  The panel was presented by Carrolyn Collins Petersen with help from engineers Christopher Grasso and Pieter Kallemeyn.  The panelist discussed recent missions, including Spirit, Opportunity, Phoenix and Curiosity, as well as the upcoming mission, Insight.  This happened to be the first time that I had heard anything about Insight, but it sounds like a very interesting and scientifically promising mission.  At its crux, Insight will help us to define the inner structure of Mars.  The mission will include three primary scientific instruments: a seismometer, a thermal probe, and an X-band radio transponder.  The planned mission has a 700 day duration in order to collect the detailed measurements required to characterize the inner structure of the planet.

The third panel that I attended was called “Star Wars as Story”, and included local authors Betsy Dornbusch, Carrolyn Kay, and Lisa Manifold, and was moderated by David Boop.  The panel looked at Star Wars and Campbell’s “The Hero’s Journey”, and discussed how the authors applied these story elements in their own writing.  The authors noted that in most cases, these story elements come out naturally in dramatic writing and therefore, authors who push against the norms tend to be more interesting.

Finally, in sitting around and watching the crowds go by I got to see a lot of great costumes.  The most surprising to me was a guy wearing a Starfleet uniform based on Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  I, like many others, have never been very fond of the movie, but I still enjoy the costume design (at least for the male Starfleet crew and officers.

In conclusion, the convention was well run.  Staff and volunteers were easy to find and friendly.  Being in the Crowne Plaza is a blast from the past (NDK used to hold their convention here).  The fans were fun and full of passion.  I’m planning to come again next year, and hope to meet a lot more fans and creators.

The Gameslave Podcast - Episode 208

Hi everyone!  We're back from StarFest (ComicFest) and here to discuss our adventures there and the upcoming release of Hulk's Mash.

Show Notes:

  • StarFest 2015
  • Hulk's Mash Event
  • Absolute Duo (Anime) 

The Professional Gamer - April 25, 2015

Hey everyone! We had a great time at ComicFest / StarFest. Then went back to work with crippling deadlines. Which means, I'm well behind on getting our interviews out on podcast.  Look for those in the next few weeks. This also means I haven't spent a whole lot of time with enjoying myself in the evenings. Regardless, here's what I've been up to this week.

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StarFest / ComicFest

We're at ComicFest today selling some sweet art stuff. Come down to the Hilton Garden Inn at DTC today and check it out. Artist alley is open from 10am today and Jim will be running around interviewing people. We hope to see you there!

The Professional Gamer - April 18, 2015

Hi readers! This week has been another busy one at the office.  With the boss gone, I'm responsible for keeping things moving along on a lot of projects.  In spite of that, I had managed to have some geeky fun this week.  I'm thinking more about the role of media in the world and how comics work.  I also played some video games.  And I, along with Crystal and Chris, will be ComicFest tomorrow.  Come over to the artist alley and say hello, and maybe buy something?  Regardless, read on to see how I spent my geeky week.

Watching: I have again spent most of my week watching episodes of the PBS Idea Channel.  At this point, I've watched 100 of the (currently) 145 episodes.  The most interesting episodes this week have been the discussion about what fiction is and whether it exists.  Crystal and I had some fun discussing the issues brought up in these episodes.  My opinion is that fictional realities are as real as any other cultural constructs that we deal with everyday like the nation-state or money.

Reading: I'm still making my way through Understanding Comics.  I'm now in the last section and should be finished early next week.  I'm really enjoying the book still, and every page provides a new revelation on the craft of comics.

Playing: My gaming has again been limited to Fantasy Life and Hyrule Warriors.  Crystal and I are now concentrating our efforts on the Termina Map in Adventure Mode, which frequently requires you to compete against an AI team to collect more keeps, KO's, or rupees.  This competition adds an interesting twist to keep the game interesting.

That's all I have for this week.  We'll be at the ComicFest portion of Denver StarFest tomorrow, so please come by and say hello.  Have a great week and game on!

StarFest 2014

StarFest 2014

Despite having been been around since 1977 (5 years before I was even born) I somehow had never been to StarFest here in Denver. Well this year I decided to right this wrong and took time to visit this grand convention of not just science fiction geekery, but geekery of all kinds. I didn't have the time to immerse myself in the convention the way I would have liked to, but it did allow me to talk to, and witness, a geek culture I honestly didn't know much about; the LARPer (Live Action Role Play).

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