A few weeks ago, a friend of mine shared a link on Facebook to a weekend event called the Geek Creation Show. Checking out the website I realized that the show was to be held in a hotel not far from where I live. I talked to my wife and, after looking over the vendor and panel lists, we both figured it would be worth checking out. So I bought us a pair of tickets and we waited for the day to arrive.
As I expected, the show was small. Like, really small. There were about ten vendors occupying the main conference room and about four or five more lining the hallways. The decision to put vendors in the hallways was an odd one to me seeing as how the conference room was nearly half empty. Maybe it had something to do with paying for hallway placement, however, as there tended to be more people hanging around those tables than inside the conference room but it created an awkward flow to the show and made the whole thing feel even smaller.
With such a small amount of vendors, the ticket cost of $15 really didn't seem all that reasonable. In actuality, the real draw to this show was the panels that it offered. The day was booked with panels in a few of the smaller conference rooms, covering a wide range of topics. When we arrived on Saturday, the first panel we checked out was called Chocolat and covered a history of chocolate, enlightenment on a few of its medicinal properties, and even a live demonstration of making chocolate similar to the way the Aztecs did, using a wide variety of spices and peppers in molten chocolate to make a thin, frothy drink. The presenter gave each of the attendees a taste of the chocolate drink. It was...not good. Thinning it out with honey made it tolerable but I'll happily take my chocolate wrapped around peanut butter patties over the homemade, spiced peppery chocolate beverage any day. Despite that, the panel was very interesting
Following the chocolate panel, we stuck around in the same room for something called "Story Telling: Leveled Up". As a novel writer, I was looking forward to this one. I am always looking for ways to improve my fiction and make it more interesting and from the description on the website, this panel was perfect for me: "Using techniques from the Western storytelling and theatrical traditions, will teach you how to tell stories which will fascinate, enthrall, and entertain." However, it was nothing like what I expected.
There wasn't much theory or technique given by the presenter. His entire thesis was based on one way to make a story interesting: lie. Most of the examples he gave were just different types of lying. Or embellishing. Or misdirection. The presenter, a gentleman with a name tag that recognized him as "The Original Tom", then asked the audience to tell stories. Most of the panel's time was occupied by the attendees. You would think, given this, the presenter would at least provide feedback on how each person related their tales, pointing out their weaknesses and giving them tips on how to improve their ability to captivate audiences. But none of that happened; I felt that Tom used everyone else as a way to eat up time so that he would have to talk less. Granted, the panel was funny but I didn't come away with anything, making it a major disappointment.
After the storytelling panel, my wife and I took to the vendor area. We passed an author named C.J. Henderson and stopped to chat a bit. He was a very animated person, happy to talk, and interested in interacting with people. Intrigued by the premises of a few of his novels, I purchased a couple of books from him: Brooklyn Knight, the first in a new series starring a museum curator searching for a mystical object, and The Spider: Shadow of Evil, a pulp fiction novel about, clearly, The Spider, a masked crimefighter that debuted in the 1930s. Henderson was telling me that Shadow of Evil is the first new Spider novel in over 60 years, which was pretty cool. I'd never read anything by Henderson before but I'm looking forward to checking these out.
After that, we found a booth by a company called FotoPlex. The talked to the proprietor, Scott, and he showed us a bit of what they do. They take photos of people and place them in a variety of backgrounds, like a zombie apocalypse, outside of the Bates Motel, or even a few settings in the world of Doctor Who, using a wide range of props to make their photos as realistic as possible. Lauren and I snapped a picture of us stepping out of the TARDIS which I think came out pretty cool.
We really didn't spend much more time at the con after that as there wasn't a lot of other stuff that interested us. There were a bunch of other panels scheduled for that day, like an open debate of Star Wars vs. Star Trek, Easy Applique Quilting, and Using Math to Dominate Risk. All in all, the show would have been worthwhile if there was more that was geared to my interests. But as we don't play trading card games, have no interest in steampunk and don't make my own jewelry, this wasn't the best way for my wife and I to spend our Saturday. I give the Geek Creation Show credit for not trying to be a mini comic con; at least it's doing something different to appeal to the geek culture and give them more besides the standard "Breaking Into Comics" and "Best TCG Strategies To Win Any Type Of Match Up" types of panels. I am glad that we went, however, if for no other reason than to get the chance to do something different.