In the garden city of Victoria, British Columbia, Gauntlet Games is making an impact upon the gaming community living in the municipality of Saanich. Not only is the University of Victoria nearby for this operation to cater to students but also, lots of nearby residents find this place convenient to get to. When some folks do not want to travel into town or elsewhere to get their fix in Magic the Gathering (MtG) or Warhammer, this place is happening. It has been in operation for more than a month now.
In what I witnessed after successive visits is a very open and bright place to visit. In what I see during the evening hours are a dozen people, if not more, playing one type of game or another. Myself, I was here to try out a few role playing game systems I have not played before and tried my hand at playing MtG again. There’s only so much I can enjoy out of the electronic version (side note: the company is making a huge mistake by not completing the Amonkhet story in Magic Duels).
Brodie Cawdell is the manager of this operation. When he immediately saw that the area of Gordon Head did not have easy access to a game store, setting up shop was fortuitous. He got the best spot at University Heights Mall. People passing by can gaze through the large windows and see the fun going on inside. Some folks do not understand the gaming culture, and most of the staff and customers here can explain. They love to talk about the hobby and give tips when they realize that the visitor is new to the game (or rusty like me).
I must say this almost every year: I swear I need to find lodgings in or around the University of Victoria (UVic) campus when Tsukino-Con is on. Saturday was a late start for me (again) but this was due to more than the time of travel from where I reside to Gordon Head. There was an added case of business before pleasure. I think the two things I must look into next year are finding accommodation on the UVic campus and bringing along a laptop to type an article between panels.
A number of Saturday panels caught my eye. One was a drawing session and chat on the subject of Osamu Tezuka’s Tetsuwan Atomu (Astro Boy) with Canadian Comic Hall of Fame artist Ken Steacy, the TeamFourStar Q/A with voice actor Takahata 101, Nanohabridged: Table Readings and Auditions Part 1, and the annual Tsukino-Con Swimsuit Showdown. Sadly, of these I only made it to two.
In hindsight, I would’ve included the Vikes Improv panel. I’ve heard they’re good but with years of watching improv on shows like Whose Line is it Anyways? (UK and American versions) and Canada’s own Don’t Lick the Pig, I was still suffering from improv burnout.
Comparing now to then it is still easy to spot a nerd out in public. They have changed little since the 80’s and can still be associated to their exaggerated predecessors of the 1984 movie Revenge of the Nerds. That’s not to say this is a bad thing, their jock counterparts can still be compared to the members of the Alpha Betas fraternity. Others are harder to notice until it comes to convention time. On the bus rides over to Tsukino-Con, Vancouver Island’s local anime and cosplay convention, they were easier to spot. Their costumes are this tribe’s version of war paint. They show their true colours. One example was the man dressed up as the tenth Doctor from Doctor Who, wearing a TARDIS backpack and holding a small pizza (even several billion years in the future, Gallifrey Pizza still delivers in 30 minutes or less). Or perhaps it was his female companion wearing an Elsa wig from Disney‘s film Frozen that gave it away. No matter how one spots a nerd (or geek), bus rides to Tsukino is the one of the best ways to make new friends.
Once you reach your destination at the University of Victoria (UVic) campus, unless you are in a rush to register before the opening ceremonies held this year in the David Lam Auditorium of the MacLaurin building (I missed them again), it’s a good idea to eat something if you haven’t dropped in at Kuma Noodle Japan (shameless plug) beforehand. The UVic Student Society’s (UVSS) Student Union Building (SUB) is a good place to start. Rather than take a lot of time and eat in at Felicita’s Campus Pub, I filled up on sushi at Bean Around the World (across from Felicita’s). But while in the SUB, if you are old school like me, seek washroom facilities elsewhere if you are uncomfortable with the thought of using the two unisex bathrooms that are available. Not all buildings on campus have been converted to reflect the views of the modern student.
Charles Ross will be taking part in University of Victoria Phoenix Theatre’s celebration of 50 glorious years of creating great theatre.
Charles Ross will be taking part in University of Victoria Phoenix Theatre’s celebration of 50 glorious years of creating great theatre. During this alumni festivity, he will be performing an exhaustive “One Man” Marathon (Star Wars, Lord of the Rings and Batman). The fun begins on October 11 and ends on the 17th. There are other shows taking place too, but I’m sure the nerds of Victoria, BC will be there for Ross.
For those who have not seen these shows, I heavily recommend to readers nearby to consider making a trip over to the south-eastern tip of Vancouver Island. Not many people realize this garden city is his home; for those who do not know what this part of the world is like, its beautiful for much of the year because of its varied (mostly British) architectural heritage, temperate climate and laid-back attitude.
To adventure here will imitate part of the hero’s journey Ross often puts across in his shows. To discover what that means requires attending a performance.
To learn more about this man and his works, including a look into how he approached developing each of these One Man shows, please look at these past interviews and look at his current works in progress:
This show highlights the musical stylings of bands like The Jonas Brothers and the modern sounds of the past decade. Like ’em or not, those who grew up to these tunes had a rollicking time with this production. James Shaw admits to not being fond of today’s music whereas I’m open; at least I keep up when he can not, thus making me the ideal candidate to look at this production. His limitations in what he likes to talk about make for better opportunities for me to talk about my fondness for modern Disney.
Opening night was not without a few chuckle-worthy moments, gaffes included; the group was able to roll with it and continue on. They also helped each other out on stage when lines were forgotten and I believe that’s the heart of what this program extols than to provide a higher calibre show other local professional theatre schools like Canadian College of Performing Arts works on. I’ve seen their production of Little Shop of Horrors years ago, and that was a memorable show to which I grinned like a Cheshire Cat from Alice in Wonderland when rubber bands were shot towards audiences!