After roughly two years since it was recommended to us by a random guy in line at New York Comic Con we finally managed to hype ourselves up enough to visit the tiniest state of Rhode Island this last weekend. Let me tell you it was a mixed bag but we were not disappointed. Let us break it down then shall we?
We had this theory that this con is still new enough that they don’t have a cap on tickets sold because Saturday was absolutely nuts. It reminded me of peak San Diego crowds at certain points and that is not ideal. Sunday cleared up enough to make things tolerable but then again that’s when things tend to be wrapping up anyway. Fortunately the crowds were only ridiculous and stagnant in a couple bottleneck areas which leads to my next problem….
The best way I could describe this was that you were only really allowed to flow through the con in a certain direction and if you passed where you needed to go you would then need to flow back through a bottleneck area where you could be stuck for a bit of time. Waiting in line at a Comic Con is standard, but waiting in line for nothing is a bit more frustrating. Adding to that the fact that a lot of the volunteers gave us contradictory information or just flat didn’t know what to do was a bit annoying.
I’ll give you an example, we wanted to go to a panel in Ballroom 1 which is in the hotel connected by a walkway. However, when we walk to said path we are blocked and told access to that ballroom is only allowed if we go downstairs, outside, and enter through the hotel. This is despite the fact I can see the ballroom from the walkway. So we go out and around and when we try and enter according to what we were told a second volunteer tells us no, we were entering the correct spot this is only if we want access to Ballroom 2, the other guard is mistaken. So we go back to the first guy. He puts up a fuss but we get by him with him telling us “They will be sending us back.”
This sort of thing happened several more times with things like photo ops, finding events, etc.
We did eventually figure out their rhythm(or how to avoid it) and ended up helping some people find their photo op without missing it. All of these experiences were only tolerable due to my first good point about this con…
Alcohol served onsite
Now several cons I’ve been to allow/sell booze but generally that is only in certain/limited areas(looking at you, Denver). Rhode Island CC, though, had bars planted all over and you were freeze to buy reasonably priced booze and carry it anywhere. That really helps calm the nerves. Also, and this was dope, they brewed their own special beer for the con.
The booze is a good segway to the next thing…
Now most other cons have after parties but this was the first where is was a sponsored event with tickets you can buy. This is both good and bad. It eliminates the worry about finding a party but the tickets are about 10$ each to get in, which I guess amounts to a convenience fee. The parties themselves are not bad and lasted about 3 hours where you could then hit up the bars in the nearby area as in Providence some bars can stay open till 4am.
I’d say the benefits to this outweigh the downside because Providence is chilly, I don’t want to wander around bars and one location is ideal for my skin showing costumes. Plus they are in the Omni Hotel which leads once more to another point…
Currently this con is walking the line of being small enough to fit in (roughly) at the current venue but also large enough to draw decent guests. Plus it’s likely a lot of the celebrities live nearby where it is a pretty easy jaunt. Due to this, this con had the largest amount of just casual celebrity encounters I have ever seen. We would just be waiting in the lobby and Benedict Wong would come down to pick up his food order, Lou Ferrigno was just chilling waiting to eat at the steakhouse, Kristian Nairn just rolled by to check in, and Jordan Klepper gave me the head nod when I was trying to place him.
It’s also nice because the con goes seems to mostly let them go about their business where in the past they would essentially be mobbed. I also bumped into the Clerks guy Brian O’Halloran on several occasions whilst drinking.
He did not accept my invitation to a thruple. Also I just saw the inflatable dinosaur in the background. So…no good lead in to the next topic…
While the whole experience was comparably cheap in flights and hotel, the con felt more like they were trying to squeeze every bit of money from me they could, likely because everything was done by smaller, indie organizations and they want to make some money, I get it. Larger cons can afford more spectacle for less. In San Diego I could take a photo with all the Batmobiles for free, here I have to pay 5$ to take a photo of the Bat Signal. It’s fine, but you need to budget accordingly.
I loved the panels here. Unlike San Diego where I gotta camp out for some panels no joke, most of these were incredibly great, intimate, and you could walk right in. At most maybe a half hour wait. The only panel that seemed to need a longer wait was William Shatner, and fair enough. We walked in to the Clerks, Christina Ricci, Saved by the Bell, and John Barrowman panels with zero problems.
Catherine Tate’s panel was pretty awkward i will say, but you can choose to blame jetlag if you’d like. John Barrowman is hilarious and Christina Ricci is ridiculously good and handling super cringey questions.
Alright I feel my “long enough” senses tingling. Up soon a bit on the rest of Providence and more on potential upcoming trips.