[Editorial] Sounding off on the Nerdy Convention Scene in Victoria, BC

ConventionBy Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)

I have attended many pop culture style conventions in the past 25 or so years. Some took place in my home town of Victoria, British Columbia but more off island. I am sad not many local shows have a footprint of lasting more than five years. Attempts have been made to centralize all aspects of geekdom, but to pull it off needs a proper committee of dedicated folks. I’m aware most of the businesses along Nerd Row (on Johnson Street and Broad) are in communication with one another, but this community was not in place till the early part of this century.

In terms of history, a major comic book type event (which was a one-off) took place at the Empress Hotel in the late 80’s which had a who’s who of talent (from New York even), which Big Brothers and Big Sisters organized — my introduction to the scene — but since then, everything else which followed never compared. Van Isle Con is a step in the right direction, and although a short commute is required to get there, I’m wondering what’s next? Are there individuals willing to make something happen within the capital city?

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[Victoria, BC] Gottacon’s Last Dance (2009-2015)

gottacon RIP

The Geeks of Victoria will most likely be mourning a loss of a gaming convention. It did an admirable job of hanging on for more than five years. When compared to other nerdy conventions that ran in this city (toy shows don’t count), that’s twice the power but thrice the bad luck since it’s move from the Pearkes Recreation Centre. In a statement issued Monday evening, Gottacon Conventions will no longer be continuing. They cite financial losses and the lack of internal support to keep on going.

Hopefully other shows can help carry on the torch, as this city needs more geeks with power to keep nerdom alive.

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Tracking GottaCon’s Foodie & Game A-Fair? It’s a Deadbeetz.

Gottacon 2015 BannerGottaCon has shifted in direction for the 2015 year, and that’s to make use of all the available spaces as possible for their gaming fair. For such a dramatic shift, I’m surprised they did not have a huge banner across the Victoria Conference Centre to say we are here. I really like the design of their new logo in their program guide, and I was sad to not see this plumage advertising this event to this city at large at this building or across the street at the Crystal Gardens.

Although my interests for this show have faded, to wonder if they chose wisely for which food trucks to bring can make for some interesting allusions. Do gamers need more grease for those late night munchies? When I didn’t spot or smell these operations running on a Friday evening before Geekenders‘ Star Wars Burlesque Show, I suspect not. They might have been running, but there was no spotlight on them to let curiousity seekers know. The same can be said for GottaCon’s presence. Without a huge banner, many passers-by will pass them by. Sandwich boards just will not do. Not many people really take a bite at that kind of street advertising.

During a beautiful sunny day (Saturday) when the air is crisp and I was nearby, my nostrils certainly wanted to sniff out the operations. Thankfully, the trucks were advertising their hours. But I did notice a particular trend: of the three trucks, two of them were serving mostly burgers. Thankfully, James and I provided a more robust listing of various eateries around the area so attendees can grab sandwiches or sushi if they wanted to.

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How Can A GottaCon Grow? An Editorial

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)


The good news is that GottaCon now takes up two buildings to give the people from the City of Victoria and elsewhere the exposition of what the world of gaming offers. Is it a geek haven? Sure, if folks could find something related to pop culture to enjoy (which is mostly found in their evening entertainment), but when this event is primarily about celebrating gaming in all its forms — from board games, miniature battles, cards to video — the big question is will they succumb to requiring celebrities to draw more people in?

Most likely not — but in my case, I have to say that I am losing interest. They do get locally well-known folks to fuel the panels. My pursuits into this realm now lay in finding exhibitions and discussions about new trends. I’m fascinated with the world of mobile/tablet gaming and there’s nothing in the event’s webpage and panel listings to draw me in. Kano/Apps was there to represent that world but they were mostly showing off their own products, saying they are recruiting programmers and nothing was listed as panels to explore this young industry.

Until GottaCon catches up with the mobile world or offers industry type technical panels, I see no reason to attend for all three days. One is enough for me, if they are lucky enough to collect my hard-earned money.

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Getting on Board with Geekenders Star Wars Burlesque Show, a Review

By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)


Disclaimer: Thanks to the Gottacon organizers for providing a pass to the opening night celebration. This article is part one of two pieces, also published on Absoluteunderground.tv, with an interview with Geekenders to be featured in the next issue of Absolute Underground Magazine. Reprinted with permission.

There’s a new kind of adult entertainment in town, and that’s to combine burlesque with geek culture to form nerdlesque. This new form of dancing is taking the world by storm with local groups from Australia to New York reinventing all that was beloved from a long time ago. Instead of a galaxy, far, far away, everything is happening locally. Geekenders is a Vancouver, BC based group that formed in 2012 to give to the masses unique takes on popular franchise titles like Douglas AdamsHitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, BBC’s Doctor Who and Jim Henson’s Labyrinth. On Friday night at GottaCon, a Victoria based gaming convention, this group put on a rousing fun act in Star Wars: A Nude Hope.

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