On July 11
, Atomic Lollipop invaded the Ontario Science Centre for another year of geek/nerd delight. I had the chance to attend this year’s APOP and catch a glimpse of this fan oriented convention.
For those unfamiliar with Atomic Lollipop, it’s a geek culture convention that can only be described as a colourful explosion of cheerfulness that is a colourful explosion of cheerfulness. There were no sad faces; how could there be with the long list of things to do? There were so many events I was faced with the problem of “too much” to do for the first time ever at a con.
Much like other conventions there were guests attending, most participating in panels, but unlike many other cons, the panels were small and intimate, allowing for much more fan interaction with the guests. My weekend started off with a bang as I got to be one approximately 50 people who listened to voice actress Linda Ballantyne(aka Sailor Moon) speak about her time working on the show. While the panel was great, what really shocked me was afterwards, she stood in the hallway and signed/took pictures with every fan there FOR FREE! Free? This is not a concept I’m familiar with when it comes to conventions, usually you pony out the dough for a photo and/or an autograph which often deprives me of “I met them” fangirl moments. Free is in everyone’s price range. I even caught a glimpse of everyone’s favourite Christmas robber stopping kid, Kevin Mcallister, I mean, Macaulay Culkin. He may not be the adorable scamp many remember him as, but it was still great to see the “kid” who makes my Christmas movie marathons so enjoyable.
What really made APOP stand out from other cons I’ve frequented, were the performances. APOP had it all, from geek theme burlesque to fire dancing. Those in attendance had the opportunity to witness: A Sailor Mars fire dance, Rei Ayanami do a stunning aerial hoop routine, a real life Charmander and even some geek boys strip down to their skivvies. The performances given at APOP were well worth the ticket price alone. One was even co-hosted by PJ Phil! Any Canadian who grew up in the 90s knows YTV’s PJ Phil.
If burlesque and playing with fire are a little too risqué for the blood there were plenty of G rated activities to partake in. There was an Under the Sea with Disney karaoke session, swing dance lessons, magical girl instruction, or for those bookworms, Hogwarts exams. There were even crafting activities; I made everything from a pearler sprite to my very own set of glittering pasties.
Combat ready patrons were able to participate in a mini-Nerf-Blaster fight. However if guns aren’t your thing, con goers who ordered early tickets were given lightsabers and told to battle it out! Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to join the Sith and take those Jedi down a notch, but the sea of flashing lights was a pretty entertaining sight on its own.
To top off the weekend, there were nightly dance parties. In the evening, the Science Centre’s lowest level was graced by some DJs as well as a very small, quality, bar. Not only was I able to get my horribly coordinated groove on, but enjoy an alcoholic beverage while doing so. And every so often when I needed a new piece of fashion while dancing, I could zip over to the vendors, who stayed open until the wee hours of the night. I was definitely guilty of some alcohol fueled shopping at APOP.
In the end, the con made by the fans for the fans really stood out over other more mercantile-organised geek culture conventions. There were way more events than any one person could ever cover. Maybe next year I’ll clone myself, or better yet, just bring more friends to spread out across the activities.