A Star Wars Tribute to Carrie Fisher

A Star Wars Tribute to Carrie Fisher

Yesterday was the first day of Orlando’s Star Wars Celebration, with panels, guests (including Chuck Wendig of terribleminds.com) and everything Star Wars.

A beautiful video celebrating the incredible Carrie Fisher has been released.

As a girl, Princess Leia (along with Lynda Carter’s Wonder Woman and Lindsay Wagner’s Bionic Woman), was one of my icons.  I was shown strong and beautiful women who not only shaped my views of women but also started my love of sci-fi.

Here is the tribute from yesterday at the convention with George Lucas, Kathleen Kennedy, and daughter Billie Lourd.

The world lost a badass woman (and sadly, we lost her mother Debbie Reynolds a day  later).  The legacy that she has left, just like the universe that Leia lived in, will endure for a very long time.

Out of all the pictures and quotes that I could have picked, this one seemed to suit her best.



Text © Written In Geek blog (2017) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog, used with subject’s permission or under public domain (2017)- images courtesy of IMDB and Pinterest.  Videos courtesy of YouTube.

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The Groups of Fan Expo 2016

The Groups of Fan Expo 2016

Fan Expo is Canada’s largest multi-genre convention.  Held for four days in September, the convention promotes celebrities, vendors and artists.  It also offers organizations a great opportunity to network and promote themselves.

This year’s groups will be offering everything from panels and workshops, to photo ops and a chance to help charity.  So let’s take a look at who is going to be out and about this year…

The 501st Canadian Garrison

The 501st is probably one of the most recognizable groups at a convention, with their prominent booth, group photos and marches.  They are also very involved with charitable causes.  As usual, the 501st will be raising funds for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.  Drop by their booth to take part in their Bucket Raffle, Photo Op donations, Blast a Trooper or just say hello (and pass along a toonie or two).  Oh, I did ask if there was anything special going on and this is what I was told…

“Will there be new stuff? Oh yes. Can I tell you? Oh no. Will it be awesome? Oh… Yes.”

(I tried to get more info but the Jedi mind trick doesn’t work through the internet 😉 )


Doctor Who Society of Canada (DWSC)


Another well-known group is the Doctor Who Society of Canada.  Like the 501st, these folks are not only fans but use their group to give back to the community.  Here you will find the TARDIS and can get your picture taken with the Doctor and his companions.  Make sure that you drop by their booth to see what they have to offer this year.  You can also check the schedule for workshops and panels.  Remember to keep your distance when the Daleks take to the floor with their daily march.


Horror Writers Association (HWA)

Sponsors of the annual Bram Stoker Awards (http://horror.org/awards/stokers.htm) The Horror Writers Association is the oldest professional organization supporting writers and publishers of the genre.  They can be seen at conventions, trade shows and literary festivals throughout the year.  Sèphera Giron, the head of the Toronto chapter, gave me the lowdown on what the HWA will be up to at Fan Expo….

HWA will have several panels this year which will include some of our authors such as Kelley Armstrong and Nancy Kilpatrick. 

I personally am still hammering out my own presentations but for sure I’m giving one on Crystal Balls which will feature my personal Scorching Ball that has been to Lizzie Borden’s house, with Lovecraft’s Grave dirt, the Borden’s Grave dirt and some flesh from horror authors who handled it in the scorching hot sun (hence the name!) Last year at Fan Expo, people were excited to touch it at my Tarot Cards panel when I showed it and I also had it displayed at my tarot reading booth. I’m taking it back to Lizzie’s and Lovecraft’s in a couple of weeks so it will have fresh new dirt and flesh and ghosts in it!  I will likely also give a presentation on The History of Freak Shows and another on The History of Witches.

Nancy Kilpatrick is giving a presentation on cemeteries and she’s preparing a writers workshop.”


The Ontario Ghostbusters

With the release of the new movie this group will be getting lots of attention this year. This cosplay group, like the others, attends conventions to not only celebrate their favourite movie but also the raise money for charity.  Keep an eye out for ECTO-1 and stop by to support their charities, The Canadian Women’s Foundation and Street Cats.


Toronto Steampunk Society

The Toronto Steampunk Society has become a familiar sight at Fan Expo with their incredible costumes and inspired cosplayers.  Stop by their booth and check out their workshops on prop building and costuming, and no Steampunk event would be complete without a good duel or two.  Check the schedule for Tea duels, Parasol duels, and Nerf duels. Don’t forget about the Lancers Dance as well!


Ontario DCU (DC Universe)

If you have even been to Fan Expo on a Saturday, this sight should be familiar to you.  The Ontario DCU promotes all things DC with a large group of cosplayers who can be seen throughout the convention.  They also perform charity work throughout the year and would be happy to give you any information about their charity work and upcoming events.  Once again, they will be doing their popular group photo shoot on Saturday so keep an eye out for them!


KAG – Klingon Assault Group

KAG logoKAG logo                crimsonknightOntario’s Crimson Knight Fleet

Expect to see KAG out in full force this year with the arrival of Star Trek alumni Nichelle Nicols, George Takei, William Shatner, Brent Spiner and Kate Mulgrew plus the creator of the Klingon Dictionary, Dr. Marc Okrand.  They will be taking part in celebrating 50 years of Star Trek and will raising support for Kids Help Phone. Look out for some amazing JLA/Klingon cosplay mashups with Klingon Superman, Klingon Wonder Woman, as well as others.


Check out Fan Expo’s Organizations section for links to these groups’ social media sites and watch the Attractions and Schedule sections for more details.



Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog or used with subject’s permission (2016)

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To Fan Expo’s Volunteers…Thank You!

To Fan Expo’s Volunteers…Thank You!

I have a friend named Luis.  He and I first met when he helped me out at a celebrity line up at Fan Expo a couple of years ago.  He has been a convention volunteer for about 7 years now.  He first started out doing Fan Expo and Toronto ComiCon, but now splits his time between 7 to 10 conventions over the year.  I thought that I would focus on the convention where we met…..Fan Expo.

As an attendee, I know that we only see a fraction of the time and energy that is put into running a convention.  No matter what area they are working in, the convention volunteer plays a huge role in making sure that things run smoothly (I also want to give a shout out to those volunteers who help out with the various vendor booths as well).  When things go well we think that they are great.

However, things don’t always go well.  We have all seen what a Saturday can be like at Fan Expo (or any convention for that matter).  Long lines and frayed nerves can take an enjoyable day and turn it on its ear.  Imagine what it’s like for the volunteer.  They often end up at the receiving end of our frustrations.

With this in mind, I wondered why Luis became a volunteer in the first place.  He did admit that the initial reason was because he was tired of waiting in the long lines. However, the trade-off can be quite demanding.

If you are a new volunteer, you can expect to start at the outer areas of the convention.  As you gain experience, you can work your way to the areas where you would like to be.  Luis has been fortunate (or unfortunate, depending on your point of view) to work at the Celebrity Autograph area.  You can expect to work anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a day with few breaks (on the busiest days).  One of the hardest things that Luis has found is that no matter how much preparation is done, something can go wrong that can throw even the best laid plan out of whack.

So, let’s see…you can work long hours…..not a lot of time off….and spend the day dealing with impatient fans….oh, and you do it for FREE.  Sounds like a dream job doesn’t it?

Why does Luis do it?  Why does anyone, year after year, put themselves through all of that stress.  What is it about working at a convention that makes it worth his while.  Do you know what he told me?

It’s the people.

You have the opportunity to help out the new volunteers and make friends (like yours truly).  For all the demands, he finds it to be an extremely rewarding job.  I’ve talked to him about the people that he works with every year.  They are a team. For Luis, it’s the people that makes all of the long hours and stress worth it and that’s why he comes back every year.

So, do you think that you could do it?  Could you spend your weekend working your butt off so that people can have a great time?  If so, may I suggest that you help out this year. Maybe if you are lucky, you will even get to work with someone like Luis.

Don’t think that you could do it?  Don’t worry, you’re not alone.  I couldn’t do what Luis and the others do (and that’s coming from someone who does a lot of volunteering here at home).  However, there are a few things that you can do to help make the volunteer’s job a little easier and lower your own stress levels on those busy days.

  1. If things go wrong don’t take it out on them, as most of the time they had little to do with it.
  2. REMEMBER that the volunteers want to enjoy the convention as much as you do.
  3. BE PATIENT.  You are sharing time and space with 110,000 of your closest friends remember.  Things might get a bit busy.
  4. SMILE and say THANK YOU.  We Canadians may be known for our manners but stick us in an entrance line up for a few hours and we can get ugly.


So thank you Luis and thanks to all of Fan Expo’s volunteers for your help every year. Have a blast in September everyone and when you see a volunteer don’t forgot to say Hello!

See you there!


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Text © Written In Geek blog (2016) All rights reserved
Pictures © Written In Geek blog or used with subject’s permission (2016)