OK, so I went to Armageddon this weekend – the annual sci-fi festival held in my city of Wellington.
I hadn’t actually been to an Armageddon event before, though I am a bit of a sci-fi fan. This year’s star guests included Ted Raimi and a lot of people I hadn’t heard of. So I’m out of touch, but hey, this is sci-fi and in past years it’s had spectacular stands by Weta Workshop, and people I HAVE heard of, and apparently a lot of cosplayers dressed up in manga or hentai or whatever the right word for that genre happens to be.
The audience, I was warned by my friends, also usually includes twenty-something gentlemen who spend most of their time either playing computer games, reading comics, AD&D, or watching sci-fi, notable for the ‘cheeto’ crumbs droozling to their paunches from scrubby beards that barely disguise their spotted and pasty complexions. I probably just described Jeffrey Albertson, but hey…
Actually there were none of those sorts of geeks around when I got there – just a lot of ordinary Kiwis milling about, leavened with the occasional Star Wars Stormtrooper (as opposed to the other kind). I also saw one Gandalf, one Princess Leia, several armoured knights and two Roman centurions. There was no Weta Workshop stand, no booksellers stands, but there were a lot of stalls selling merchandise. I declined to buy a $79 TARDIS bag, even though it looked like I might get a lot more into it than its external dimensions suggested.
What else? There were places where you could go and get yourself photographed beside somebody famous. I thought that one of these famous people might pay to be photographed alongside me – this ‘celebrity’ thing doesn’t actually mean anything to me – but apparently that isn’t how it works.
There was a place where you could meet professional cosplayers – people who, it seems, have become famous in their own right for dressing up as characters or in genres invented and styled by somebody else. Recursive fame, although this isn’t the first time that’s happened – look at the way some 1960s rock groupies became celebrities in their own right. (Anybody heard of ‘Cynthia Plaster Caster’?)
But actually it was a pretty good event, because I also got to hear part of a talk by Robert Picardo and Robert Duncan McNeill (Star Trek Voyager), and a very interesting talk by Rose McIver – a former Wellington actor currently working in Hollywood on I Zombie.
When asked whether she wanted to direct, she said no – she was more interested in developing her writing. I thought that was pretty cool – and for me, that multi-talent also summed up a lot about Kiwis. One-trick ponies don’t cut it on this side of the South Pacific. And we don’t have ‘stars’. We have people who do stuff in all sorts of different ways. So that was a nice note to wrap up Armageddon with.
I still missed the Weta display though.
Copyright © Matthew Wright 2016