Tag Archives: Long Beach

Zooming Through Long Beach Comic Con 2016

One of the weirdest things about this year’s Long Beach Comic Con is how much moving the entrance to the other side of the convention center changed the flavor of the experience. For the last seven years, they’ve used the western entrance off of Pine Ave. with a big, open, glass lobby and an outside area that stays sunny all afternoon. There’s always a mass of people in costume out in that lobby — I’ve called it “Lobby Con.” That didn’t happen this year.

This year, they used a larger section of the convention center for the main floor, and brought everyone in on the east side between the theaters and the big circular arena with the Wyland mural. The lobby is smaller and feels more closed-in. There’s a lot more open space outside, but it’s divided by stairways and balconies.

Outside LBCC

The result: No Lobby Con. There wasn’t room for people to gather inside the lobby, and outside was so fragmented that it didn’t feel like a gathering. On the plus side, the lines for the food trucks didn’t look too long either, and the varied space made for some interesting photo backdrops: the mural, palm trees, lamp posts, sunny spots, shady spots, etc.

Going Somewhere Solo?

Whitney Frost CosplayI usually do Long Beach Comic Con solo, while we make WonderCon and San Diego (when we get tickets, anyway) family trips. We planned to change that this year. Katie has been putting together a Whitney Frost cosplay outfit (from Agent Carter). J. is in the age range for kids’ programming now. Then things fell through so that Katie couldn’t make it, and then J. got a cold, so I ended up going solo after all. We did do a full makeup/hair test and photoshoot as Whitney Frost first, though!

Anyway, I arrived around lunchtime on Sunday, leaving me with just one afternoon to cram in as much Comic Con as I could. That meant I only attended one of the panels that looked interesting, picked a few artists to seek out, didn’t spend much time browsing for comics (though I did buy a few), and made several cursory circuits of the floor, pausing when someone or their art or merch caught my eye, rather than really exploring.

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Walking (and walking, and walking) for Food Allergy

FARE Walk along Long Beach

This year’s route for the Walk for Food Allergy was a lot longer than last year’s, when we walked out along a jetty and back. That was a comfortable 1½-mile round trip surrounded by ocean. This was 1½ miles each way on a path along the beach, surrounded by reflective white sand, in the hot sun, with no shade. (Hey, at least it wasn’t last weekend, when it hit 99°F.) In fact, since the signs ran out about halfway there, a lot of us started to wonder if maybe we’d missed the turnaround.

Some families turned around early. We almost did, but spotted a sign on a table full of water bottles not far ahead, and we decided to go at least as far as the water. We asked the woman staffing it where the turnaround point was, and she told us that was it.

Wait, Why Were You Walking?

15 Million Reasons to WalkEvery year, FARE sponsors events around the country to raise money for research and education, and to increase awareness of food allergies. 15 million people in the US alone have food allergies — and for a lot of us, it’s severe enough to be life-threatening. FARE sponsors research into treatments and prevention, provides educational resources, and advocates for allergy-friendly policies and laws.

You can still donate through December 31 if you want to help!

We’ve been walking in the Los Angeles event for four years now. Our first year was in Santa Monica. It moved to Long Beach in 2012. That year the planned route was blocked by construction and it took about ten minutes to walk. Last year was the jetty, and this year we walked from the western end of Marina Green Park, across from Rainbow Lagoon, along the beach to the Long Beach Art Museum.

Obstacles

The registration area always has tables for the event sponsors: food companies with allergy-friendly samples, pharmaceutical companies that make epinephrine injectors (since that’s basically the only reliable treatment for an anaphylactic reaction once it starts), and local medical and support groups.

Bouncy SlideLately they’ve also had a bouncy obstacle course and slide for the kids. Last year, J (almost three at the time) desperately wanted to go through it, and we wouldn’t let him because we thought the walk was about to start any minute. Then one person after another went up on stage to talk, and we realized he would have had plenty of time, but then the walk did start. We told him he could go on it when we got back…but we returned to see it being deflated.

This year, we made an effort to get there early, and we didn’t bother pulling him out until everyone had left the stage and they were calling us all to the starting line. He went through the course more times than I could count. We didn’t drag him away until they ran out of people onstage and told everyone to head for the starting line. (Of course this year they kept it inflated afterward, but we were too tired and hungry for it to matter.)

Wrapping it up

We finished up the afternoon with lunch at The Potholder Cafe Too, which reminded us of Broken Yolk Cafe in San Diego. They specialize in all-day breakfast — many, many varieties of all-day breakfast — but have sandwiches and burgers as well. I think I know where I’m going to grab dinner when I go to Long Beach Comic Con next weekend!

It Came from the Long Beach Comic & Horror Con 2013

Jurassic Park SUVComics, costumes and cars…writers and artists…Young Justice and scenery by the sea. I had a good time at Long Beach Comic and Horror Con on Saturday, though I felt like something was missing. At first I wasn’t sure what, but by the end of the day I realized two things:

  1. I didn’t have any real goals for the convention, which was why it felt so aimless.
  2. I wished I had time to come back for a second day to do the things I thought of late in the afternoon.

Skip to the photos if you want, or read on.

The con is starting to feel like two conventions. No, not comics and horror. Five years on, it’s still the most comics-focused “comic con” I’ve attended. I find myself wondering why they still have “Horror” in the name. No, the two cons are: costumes in the lobby and around the edge of the main floor, and books-and-art inside. There were cosplayers I saw repeatedly in the lobby and wondered whether they ever managed to make it downstairs at all. Continue reading

WonderCon Staying in Anaheim for 2014, Long Beach Comic-Con Next Week

Outside WonderCon AnaheimWonderCon has officially announced that they’re returning to Anaheim in 2014 for a third year, from April 18-20. It’s turned out to be a good venue for the convention, especially if they can work the remaining kinks out of parking next year, and it means it’s easy for us to attend, since it’s close enough for us to commute. (That really takes some of the pressure off of trying to get tickets for San Diego, too.)

Still, I hope they find a way to move back to the Bay Area soon. I attended three years at the Moscone Center when it meant traveling (it probably helps that we have family and friends in the area to visit on the way up and back), and while the show still feels very much like part of the same family, it does feel like a slightly different show. I was in San Francisco on a business trip last week, and when I realized I was in the neighborhood, I just had to stop by Yerba Buena park and the Moscone Center for old time’s sake. Continue reading

Return of Long Beach Comic & Horror Con! (2012)

I spent the first Saturday of November in Long Beach for the fourth annual Long Beach Comic and Horror Con. Despite the name change last year, the show remains focused on comics, and horror feels like an afterthought tacked on to fit with the Halloween timing of the show. (It makes me wonder whether they’ll return to the original name next year, when it’s held at the end of November.)

Venue & Layout

There were four or five Star Wars-decorated cars outside the lobby and one Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles van. I was way too amused by a convertible, tricked out to look like it had starfighter engines and gun emplacements, on display with a Yoda statue in the passenger seat. (I figure Jedi don’t ride shotgun, they ride lightsaber.)

Yoda Is My Co-Pilot

On the main floor, Artist’s Alley continues to be the centerpiece, both literally and figuratively. SDCC has been shoving the artist’s tables off to one end of the insanely-long hall, Wizard tends to put them in the back, and I hear NYCC put them in a different hall entirely (not quite behind a door labeled “beware of the leopard”), but Long Beach has always made a point of putting them right in the center. Publishers at the front, fan groups at the back, dealers to the sides, all wrapped around the artists.

Way in the back, past the fan groups, there was a laser tag arena and a roller derby course (marked on the floor in tape. The derby replaced the wrestling ring they had the first couple of years. For some reason Chevrolet was plugging the Volt (so to speak) in one corner. The roller derby makes sense in the same way as the wrestling does (garish costumes, code names, and violence), but I couldn’t figure out the Volt. Continue reading