Sunday, July 26, 2009

Azkatraz Review!

Azkatraz: HPEF Harry Potter Conference 2009

I went to Portus in Dallas last year and decided to head over to San Francisco this year since I had such a good time. I even prepared a presentation and submitted it for consideration. It ended up being accepted as part of a panel on Severus Snape. It was one more thing to look forward to at the conference.

I arrived in San Francisco on Thursday in time to see the new Half-Blood Prince movie with the rest of the fans at the conference. I’ll have to review the movie, myself, later. It was fun to be there with so many other folks who are fans. We had a huge room all rented out at the theater (don’t get me started on the issues with IMAX!) and there was a line party beforehand (very hot and long). It was a good start to a fun weekend.

Friday I spent the day with my roommates at Fisherman’s Wharf. We went to Ghirardelli Square and got chocolate and I got a couple of souvenirs for friends and family. It’s amazing to me that SF is 60 degrees while Houston is in summer 90s right now. It was like I was transported through a time machine to winter. Crazy. It’s nice to be back to normal… I like cooler weather, but it has its place: in Winter.

The conference arranged for a cruise around the bay on Friday night. Super fun. It was all about Wrock – wizard rock – and even though I don’t listen to it, I had a good time. The bay is gorgeous and I met a couple of nice people there. The cruise was four hours long and I got a lot of great pictures of foggy Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge (which isn’t golden at all…).

Chris Rankin (of Percy Weasley fame) was a special guest at the con and I sort of talked to him on the cruise when he was out taking pictures. He mostly chilled with a couple other people and introduced the different Wrock bands and stuff. It was fun to see him (more about that later)!

Saturday didn’t hold much programming for me, but I went to one presentation and missed a couple more because I was doing the Craft Faire (which was a complete bust for me, unfortunately). I would’ve enjoyed going to the panel on Hermione in the books and in the movies. Damn that useless Craft Faire!

My panel on Snape took place Sunday at 3:30. I had time to kill that day so I went to roundtable discussion moderated by Penny Gershman about Dumbledore. That was really fun. I always enjoy going to presentations from the Gershmans. (Check out the HP Progs podcast if you haven’t already.) I had a couple of things to say about Dumbledore, so it was pretty fun. I love Dumblydore!

And then I went to a roundtable about Percy Weasley and, lo and behold, Chris Rankin showed up! And he sat at my table! And he heard me talk about Percy! And he looked at me!

Okay, so I’m not so fangirly over Chris Rankin that I was that super-excited, but it was really fun to have him there and talk about his character. He got to talk, as well, and I didn’t have to pay to listen. Since he was the special guest there were all sorts of opportunities to pay and see him and/or hear him. But I got to sit with him for free! Lucky me.

I paced around a little bit until my panel came up. I was really prepared and waiting for my opportunity to discuss bits of my paper. Travis Prinzi (the Hog’s Head) moderated for us and there were two other girls on the panel. Unfortunately, one of the girls pretty much dominated the entire panel and I got a negligible amount of time to say anything about Snape. The disappointment still rankles. I’ve been very proud of my paper and the work I did on it and to not be able to answer the questions I wanted to answer is terribly sad and quite annoying, actually. You can find the paper at the website. (The link is to the right of your screen.)

Moral of that story: next year I will not be doing a panel even if it means my subject doesn’t get accepted.

Sunday night was the Ball, which was superfun. We dance, we schmoozed. Awesome and shiny. I had the opportunity to embarrass my roommate by asking this really cute (and famous?) guy to take a picture with her. I guess he’s gained fame by playing Harry in a YouTube phenomenon Harry Potter musical thing. He was supernice, though, and he chatted with us for a few minutes. He likes my name. Yay for me.

I also got a picture with Andrew Sims. He’s one of the hosts of Mugglecast and I happen to make fun of him a lot because he’s very stuck on himself. Honestly, he walks around like he owns the con (doesn’t even wear his badge) and he only wants to talk to you as long as you’re talking about him. So I decided it would be funny (for me) to get a picture with him so I could laugh about it. We talked to him for a couple of minutes about his hair. He swears that the sun has given him highlights and it’s all natural. I’m pretty sure he didn’t hear me, but after he said it was the sun I said, “Yes, because the sun shines on you more than anyone else.”

Well, I thought it was funny…

We changed the subject off of him after that and he suddenly got interested in talking to someone else. I’m still giggling about it, though. Yay me!

Monday was most of the programming I wanted to see. There was a presentation on Hermione (the paper is amazing, you can find a link to it on the website Essays page). I went to a roundtable about Ron, which was also really interesting. I went to a presentation comparing the werewolves in Twilight and Harry Potter, which is probably the best session I went to besides the one by Steve Vander Ark. That one was amazingly enjoyable. I wish I’d recorded it! I might have to have a whole entry just devoted to that session because this post is already too long…

I was so sad to leave on Tuesday. We had to get up early and check out. Melissa and I said goodbye to Diana at the airport, which made us very sad and then I had to say goodbye to Melissa in Dallas, which was also very sad.

I’m already planning for Infinitus next year, though. I have three papers in the works to submit as presentations. Crazy! But I’ve found out that I really enjoy writing essays so we’ll see how that goes. Until next year, it’s back to real life and trying to get the podcast some attention.

If you haven’t already, check out the episode recorded at Azkatraz. It’s all about the effect Harry Potter has had on the YA and childrens markets. I had two guests with me and the discussion was pretty interesting.

There are a couple of reviews coming up here soon, so stay tuned.

Until next time, go read something good!


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