Sunday, July 17, 2011

CCEE 2011 - The RECAP Part 2

At the one-month anniversary of this year's Expo, I guess we're due for Part 2 of that recap, eh?

Soooo, picking up from this post, we got down to the Con around 11, dropped our stuff at Jesse's booth, and then popped over to confirm our registration for the costume contest.

Then it was time to make the rounds.

The place was as crowded as anticipated so getting around, especially with the hood up, presented a bit of a challenge. There was the usual swamp of photo requests, lots of high fives, and tonnes of enthusiasm. As predicted, everyone and I mean EVERYONE thought I was Ezio but they were so enthused, I didn't have the heart to correct them. Deez was totally recognizable in her stellar La Volpe gear, so between the two of us, we were totally workin' the AC: II thing (there's Jesse in the back there as Hellboy!Rasputin. He got the glove signed by Mike Mignola).

My brother and his girlfriend stopped in along with a couple of their friends, so I went with them for a quick lunch in a very packed burger joint across the rode, then booked it back over for 3:30, which was the costume contest line-up. As expected, it was a loooong wait. The three of us didn't hit the stage until closer to 7 - I think we were #39 out of 50.

The nerves, oh jaysus, the nerves... I'm no stranger to theatre but the ol' heart was earning its keep that day. We had anticipated a side-entrance to the stage (based on videos from years previous) but this stage was only accessible from the center back through a rather elaborate curtain system operated by very kind tech hands. As the group before us finished up, the three of us fist-bumped, told each other we were going to school dat shit, yo, and it began. Cole, our non-descript civilian wandered out first (to "No Ticket" courtesy of John Williams and the soundtrack to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade), Deez followed as La Volpe, and I waited in the rear. She swiped his money pouch while he strolled about, completely oblivious, then I parted the curtains and crept up behind him, thinking "Lordy, there must be over 4000 people watching this right now. He was dead after a swift application of the wristblade to his back and I set about looting his body for anything of use. Pulling a brown bag off his belt, I felt around inside. The first thing to come out was a giant plastic salmon (had it since I was 8 and it usually keeps my door propped open). I dropped this on the stage where it landed with an echoing THUD that sparked a very out-of-character grin. Next was a tomato, still on the vine (see AC: Brotherhood). And lastly was a very lacy, very pink, very skimpy pair of women's underwear. The crowd turned into a porridge of catcalls and laughing shouts of approval.

Where was the money? This wasn't bene at all! A whistle came from behind. I turned to see La Volpe tossing the coin pouch and grinning. That was fine. I picked up the tomato, gave it a squeeze for its ripeness, then linked arms with that foxy theif and off we strolled. Cole followed us shortly afterwards. Only watching the video took by Deez's boyfriend (coming soon, I hope!), we saw that he did this terrifically hilarious zombie rise-from-the-dead type thing, picked up the stuff we left, and lurched off the stage after us.

Man, talk about a rush! After reading so much about major costume contests online from the peeps at deviantArt, nothing compares to the actual experience. Deez and Cole were much more collected about the whole thing but I took another half hour before the flail stopped in any great amount. We sat in to watch the rest of the show, then the judges went away to deliberate.

Nerves! Nervesnervesnervesnerves.

They were back by 8 pm and the various categories began. Best Youth, Best Novice, Novie Runner-Up, Most Original, Judges Choice, Audience Favourite, Journeyman, etc. There weren't enough registrations in the journeymen and master categories so they had to combine the two. The other costumes were utterly stellar so we didn't really think we would have any luck. Best in Show came up last. It required a bit of explanation for there was a fancy trophy, a giant cheque for $100, passes for next year, VIP passes for this year, etc. We were shifting ourselves by that point, figuring we'd head back to the booth, and see about rounding up some dinner. Then came the words "The Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo 2011 Costume Contest Best in Show award goes to the Assassin's Creed II group."

At first we were stunned. I thought "Holy shit, you've got to be kidding." I looked over at Cole and Deez and they looked back at me. "That's us! Holy shit!"By that time, I was picking my way down over those precarious folding stadium seats with all the grace of a water buffalo. We struggled down to the floor, cameras tracking us as we came up to the stage. I took the stairs two at a time, nearly tripping for Giovanni's boots don't flex that well, and then it was a giant round of hand-shakes and grins and congratulations. I think we posed for a picture at one point. And then it was over and we were back stage. A couple of the costume contest volunteers came up again and told us how happy they were. We were still over the moon. I know there was very undignified flailing on my part, including a sink-to-the-knees with fists pumping. I don't think Sidney Crosby could have been more elated when he scored the game-winning goal for Canadian men's hockey at the 2010 Olympics.

I know it's always going to be one of the highlights of my life. Couldn't have done it without Deez and Cole either. So now we've got the giant cheque on our wall with the lacy, pink underwear next to it. The trophy sits next to the PS3 and looks on as we play Brotherhood.

Gah, sorry to rant. But seriously. Still having a bit of flail.

We went out for a celebratory dinner, got rained on, then headed home to do it all again the next day.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

I had thought to wear Marius for part of the last day but the change would have been too much work, so Giovanni it was again. Contest aside, it was pretty much the same as Saturday. We did the usual wander, bought some swag, talked to old friends, posed for photos, etc. Cameron Stewart was there from Ubisoft. He's one of the authors/illustrators for Assassin's Creed: The Fall (and damn handsome to boot!) and we chatted with him for a bit about the franchise. He told us he knew what the next AC game (after Revelations) was about too and laughed at our consternation when he couldn't say more.

Then we hit up Kate Beaton's booth where she signed our copies of her book. She was also awesome enough to do sketches of us inside the front cover. There would be evidence but the scanner is in Calgary. Sooon though. It was awesome.

The evening was pretty tame. Off to dinner with some webcomic peeps known intimately by the Nerd Posse but less intimately by yours truly and then it was a somewhat reluctant return home to shed the nose, the five pounds of makeup, and the duds.

Thus, CCEE 2011 came to an end.

Unless I can scrounge up another, it's going to be a looooong wait until the next local Con in November.

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