Thursday, April 23, 2015

Celebration Anaheim Journal Days Two and Three

Day One

On Thursday afternoon, I feel like I am missing something. People around me walk and walk, and they are very tall, and they know something I don’t know. I’ve gotten used to the convention center, the huge halls that, packed with people, still suggest emptiness with their high ceilings and exposed ducts. Thursday afternoon lulls as I float after finishing my coverage for the day. I have too much time, although there is an abundance of things to do and buy and see. I am waiting for magic to come to me, and it does not.

I realize only later that this is the emotional lee of the exhilarating morning.

The Force Awakens teaser has, of course, made the internet cry. In the stadium, people laugh and ooh, a whole group mesmerized. The joy of that many people and the images on the screen pushes me back in my seat. In that moment, I don’t care who Luke is talking to when he says “You have that power too.” I will speculate afterward, but in that moment he is talking to me, to all of us, the ultimate fans, to everyone that knows Star Wars as a pop culture keystone.

We all know the same thing, during that trailer. We all know we're in that exhibit hall or in the simulcast rooms or watching at home for the same reasons.

In the afternoon, I dedicate myself to shopping for the elusive Hera and Sabine figures. I don’t find them. One Hera is going for $45, which Twitter tells me is too much. At the artists’ alley I commission a friend of an old friend, people who knew me from internet days otherwise entirely unconnected to my current Star Wars blogging. I stop by the ForceCast booth and podcast live, a test of nerve-wracking public speaking which I, in my own estimation and insofar as nerves go, pass comfortably.

It’s a quiet day, and one for people watching. Two little children dressed as human Jedi follow two Twi’lek women. 

Gentle criticisms of Celebration say that it is a marketing ploy, and it is: we purchase the right to purchase things, to have things advertised to us. For me, though, that relationship is comfortable. I'm getting so much more out of it than that. I have friends and co-workers and internet acquaintances, some of whom I meet in the lobby of the Hilton in the evening, who prove that. We all know the same things.

I have met so many people. We compare Celebrations and cities. It's like the first week of college, asking the same questions over and over. "Where are you from?" "Have you been here before?" 

Friday morning is full of lines. Having stood in place for several hours before the line for the Battlefront panel dissolves as it is cut off, I send texts to my editor and find Johnamarie and kablob17 in line for the screening of the Bad Batch. Then, I find a place to eat lunch and write that up, which leaves me just a few free minutes to get to the Del Rey booth to interview Christie Golden, with time to spare.

We talk about Dark Disciple, about Ventress, about The Clone Wars-as-research. That interview should be available later this summer.

Although I hadn't set this plan in stone, I do have time to attend the Rebel Women Who Fought The Clone Wars panel, which is full of anecdotes and camaraderie. A surprise appearance by Dave Filoni as moderator is as close as I get to him all week, and I enjoy that. He tends to talk over his employees, though, to reiterate or rephrase their answers. Rebel women, I think, not angrily. It said rebel women.

 In the evening, I visit with Tom and the folks from Del Rey, who are gracious and funny and introduce me to Jason Fry at the 501st party. The party is all neon lights and music, a podcast tucked in the corner, a Darth Maul cosplayer chatting to plainclothes men in the hallway. A wonderful, escapist hive of scum and villainy.

Halfway through SWCA, I don't want to go home. I want to keep this, maintain this trajectory. Stay on target, not get lost in the crowds. You have that power too, Luke said, and I want it to be true. When it isn't, the magic of fandom seems distanced even if it surrounds me. Thursday was prickly, but Friday was delightful. That’s the lesson of Anakin Skywalker, I suppose - that love must not turn into possession, must not turn into begrudging something because you need it so much.

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