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Wednesday, April 23, 2014



This year's Fan Expo Vancouver was held from April 18th - 20th at the Vancouver Convention Centre.  In a display of supreme 'geekdom', thousands came to show off. From costumes to hard core Cosplayers to the curious. There was something for everyone. 

Having a private conversation with Robert Englund

This year, the stars were out in full force from every genre.  Comics, Film, Television, Magazines, Graphic Arts and of course Gaming. 

For the die-hard fans like myself, the Q&A sessions were one of the main reasons to attend. Listening to your favorite star answer crowd questions and relay life stories make them more human and less 'Hollywood'.  I had the honor and privilege of listening to Billy Boyd (Lord of the Rings), Manu Bennett (Spartacus, Arrow), Robert Englund (V, Nightmare on Elm Street) and the incomparable Soska Twins - Jen and Sylvia (American Mary).  Although, I had expectations of seeing Stephen Amell (Arrow), Eliza Dushku (Buffy, Angel), the line ups were huge and ultimately full capacity. 
Jen, Me and Sylvia Soska

The highlights for me personally, were meeting and talking at great length with Robert Englund and the beautiful Eliza Dushku. That woman is a class act from top to bottom. Warm, funny and electric, her very essence lit up the room.  Robert was the biggest thrill of all. His movies are responsible for me being the horror freak that I am. While reading authors like Poe, King, Barker assisted, watching Freddy on film was the catalyst to my passion and love for this genre. 

dueling Ursulas (I'm on the left)
Of course, Fan Expo wouldn't be complete without autograph sessions, and photo ops!. Both of which I am happy to say I indulged in quite effectively and expensively at that. While the cost for photos and autographs became quite staggering, the emotional connection and memories created are priceless at least for me.

Love and first kiss!

One of the most interesting moments for me was seeing another Ursula Cosplayer. We ran into each other a few times and dueled using our voices. Not only was it exciting and fun but it truly challenged me as a Cosplayer.  I found that I was really able to jump into character much deeper after being confronted with another Ursula. Sure, her costume was store bought and she wore a wig (my costume I made and it was my own hair). Sure she belted out the Broadway version and I was Disney but at the end, it was magical for everyone who caught a glimpse. Especially the kids. 

I was interviewed by a few media and found my thought process towards Cosplay deepened with each interview. Profound thoughts roamed my mind as I was asked 'Why I do it?'. I suppose for me, Cosplay is an outlet that inspires my inner child. It enhances my dreams and fantasies and gives me a certain amount of higher personal confidence. While in costume, I am that person. For that time frame, I'm not me - Sher the person who is constantly in pain and depressed. At that time, I'm Ursula -Queen of the Seas, ruler of the water and taker of poor unfortunate souls :D The self-confidence, the smile on a child's face when they see you is so rewarding. Yeah, I will admit that I am a slight attention whore (okay moderate to high lol), and have dreams of being in film and television. That can't be different than others can it? 

Selfie time with Jen and Sylvia Soska
This year, Brek and I went to the Fan Expo After Party held at the Renaissance Harborside Hotel at Vista 360. The most interesting bar in the city that night. Not only does the entire facility rotate 360 degrees to show you the most breathtaking views of Vancouver, but the stars were out and mingling with their fans. Meeting Eliza Dushku and having a true heart-to-heart was incredible. 

I had the extreme honor of meeting Giancarlo Esposito as well. There were other stars there like Michael Rosenbaum, Ray Park, Bruce Boxleitner all of which obliged their fan with photo ops (for free) and gave us some of the best memories of the weekend. Personally, being asked by Eliza to reprise my Ursula for Sunday was like being given a star role on a tv show for me. 

I did get to meet Karl Urban (Priest, Star Trek), Lauren Cohen (Walking Dead) who incidentally is exquisitely beautiful and even had a quick chat with Charisma Carpenter over my Ursula costume. (that was cool)

Me and Eliza Dushku 
Now for the downside of the weekend. The lack of adequate and varied food vendors was problematic. For me, being gluten free made it even more challenging to actually stay fed during the weekend. Luckily for us, the Cactus Club was across the way and they were awesome in their service and food. I highly recommend that location! The high cost of food was also problematic. I will certainly state that being a Cosplayer is an expensive hobby all the way around. Having only 3 vendors (one of which was selling lemonade and mini donuts only) was poor planning on the part of the organizers and made it very difficult for some. The high cost of a hot dog, soda, even a bottle of water was a little over the top in my eyes. People are already forking out a tonne of money to get, their costumes (if applicable), memorabilia (which was highly prized and highly priced). 
Me and bff Shannon Cawthra 

Then the line ups for stars. For not only autographs (Bruce Campbell was insane), the structure for the queues for Q&A's were improperly managed. People who had 'Premium or Vip' passes were not able to stay in the auditoriums in between sessions and had to line up with the regular guests at the back of the line which ended up being an issue when it was a quick turn around between stars. We had to miss a few because the line ups were so huge. Great for the stars-sucked for the rest of us. Hours were spent waiting in lines for food, autographs, photos and the panels. Imagine if that was streamlined somehow, how much more efficient it would be.

Overall, the whole weekend was outstanding. The Marriott Pinnacle Downtown was a fantastic facility. The service was good, the hotel room was excellent (with the exception of the really small bathroom) and the location was perfect. 

Now to figure out the costumes for next year........
Thor Diakom, me, Brek Stewart