I count this weekend a success. I slept a total of nine hours the entire time, the alcohol gods blessed my liver with imperviousness (not always a guarantee), my mother demonstrated a level of fierceness I can only hope to achieve, and I had an absolute blast.
I saw so many people who I never get to see.
I got to people watch at a convention, which really? Is one of my favorite things to do. The beauty of conventions is that people totally let their id out. Or at least, their inner Spiderman. Or Indiana Jones. Man, there were a lot of Indiana Joneses. And even though I personally have no problem with it, I know many people will be overjoyed to hear that I saw more normally-dressed Princess Leias than Slave Bikini Leias. (Leia choked Jabba with her chain. If that's not owning it, I don't know what is.)
I was pretty impressed with this show. Each year, Reed Exhibitions gets the hang of running a large scale comics convention a little more. They needed more floor space, yeah, but hey, even San Diego could use more floor space. The only problems I saw this year were a shortage of people managers and bad panel scheduling.
A friend of mine was in line to meet Milo Ventimiglia on Saturday, at a booth near Aisle 1500. I stood with her for a bit, and was appalled at both the way the line was completely blocking the aisle we were next to, as well as the sheer rudeness of the people trying to get through. People pushed, shoved, and knocked us with bags, with barely a mumbled apology. I stood with her for a good fifteen minutes, and it was only towards the end of that time when a member of the Con Staff showed up with some volunteers as she struggled to explain line control and traffic management to them. (Really? It's that hard to understand the concept of "Separate the line from here to here so that people can get through"? Seriously, the kids she had with her totally didn't get it.) I'd had enough of that particular shenanigan, so I moved on when the other friend who I'd directed to my location arrived. I have a sneaking suspicion that line control was an issue in a lot of places.
For instance, I also almost got caught in the Saturday 4pm Panel Kerfuffle.
I was hoping to hit the Quickstop Entertainment panel, not for the Kevin Smith content, but to see Jonathan Coulton and Paul & Storm. When I got downstairs to the hallway, I made it only so far before I was told I could go no further. No explanation was given.
I walked around to a different area, and discovered a potentially dangerous situation. The hallway was being blocked off, and the escalators were not running. Behind the escalators was about 20 feet more of hallway, and then walls, and the security team was barking at the amoeba of people I was in to "move back! move back!" This made me nervous, as there were easily about 30 people around me, and not much further back to go. I made the executive decision to go back upstairs to the con floor, because it was too easy to imagine that situation getting worse. I got more nervous on that point when the security guard told me I had to get back as I was trying to get around the escalator to walk back up on it. Thankfully, he let me pass when I said that was my intent, but well, that could have gone pretty badly, you know?
I didn't find out what had caused the problem--bad panel management--until today. Much as NYCC wants to be, it's not SDCC yet. I'm not sure it can ever fully be so. I don't know the full offerings of the Javits Center, but it doesn't seem to have its own version of Hall H or Ballroom 20. One of the saving graces of the SD Convention Center is that by having several such large spaces, it removes a few thousand people from the traffic flows with each panel. Furthermore, the center's staff, as well as the convention's staff have traffic flow down to a science. I know that neither the Javits' nor the convention's staff have the experience to handle that yet. The larger issue, however, is that I'm not sure that the Javits even has the layout for such specialized crown management. You can't simply just go in one door and exit the other side like in San Diego.
So uh...I guess maybe scheduling two "Women in ______" panels against each other was the least of the worries?