Tag: Comic-Con

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Comic-Con’s Crazy COVID Conniption

To close out the month, and first half of the year, we connect the somewhat distant past with the not-so-far-off future. San Diego Comic Con returns July 21-24, 2022 with Preview Night on the 20th. The show floor, or break-out sessions, will look nothing like the Featured Image, taken seven years ago.

SDCC apparently didn’t get the memo that SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 is endemic and no longer pandemic. Locally, people move freely about without being required to wear masks, be tested, or verify vax status. Based on the official tally, the cumulative-calculated case fatality rate in San Diego County is 0.64 percent. Meaning: Your chance of surviving Coronavirus is better than 99 percent, while more than 85 percent of those infected likely show no symptoms.

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Swept Away

I can’t even guess what prompted me to take the Featured Image on July 22, 2017 in the Gaslamp Quarter during San Diego Comic-Con. The evening marked one of my first forays street shooting with Leica Q, which I had owned for only about six weeks. Vitals, aperture and shutter speed manually set: f/5.6, ISO 100, 1/125 sec, 28mm; 6:05 p.m. PDT.

The broom and rake joined other cleaning gear in an untended cart. Surely the attendant was close by, although I don’t recall seeing him or her. The 99-percent crop draws out the big blurry menacing man in the background. Reason for the posture is unknown.

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The Omicron Variant

This post’s title, which also names the SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2) strain currently causing a global healthcare scare, would be better for a thriller-genre book or film about viral terrorism.

Cue the movie trailer: Six survivors. Keanu Reeves. Daniel Craig. Angelina Jolie. Regé-Jean Page. Kelly Marie Tran. And the esteemed Charlton Heston (appearing as a 3-D hologram). The Omicron Variant. The premise is so frightening that the screenwriters have each gotten three COVID-19 booster shots. You, too, will never think the same way about vaccines—and who gets them when supplies are lacking and the HAZMAT-suited stack body bags in front of your house. Oh, did we forget to mention that they’re empty and waiting to be filled—when your, ah, quarantine is over. The Omicron Variant. Who will survive viral armageddon?

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I Got the Golden Ticket

My wife and I cannot find an escape destination from SoCal. The SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 pandemic proved to be massive interference—from “stay-at-home” shutdowns to insanely rising house prices as newfound work-from-homers fled the cities for more affordable areas that we also considered. Perhaps we were too compliant Californians and locked down when getting ahead of the escaping herd would have made more sense. But we still search, with hopes of vamoosing this year.

That raises question: Will I be around for San Diego Comic-Con Special Edition, which is scheduled for Thanksgiving Weekend? I ask because—oh my fraking luck—the SDCC overlords blessed me (“praise be“, as they say on Handmaid’s Tale) with opportunity to buy a pass during open registration today. How could I refuse?

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Superhero Thanksgiving Weekend

Save the time! Tomorrow at 11 a.m. PDT, registration starts for Comic-Con Special Edition, which takes place Nov. 26-28, 2021 at the San Diego Convention Center. The homage to geek culture will be a smaller event than the typical July gathering, which was canceled this year and last because of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)/COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions.

The latter still applies. Attendees, vendors, and any one else must “wear an approved face covering regardless of vaccination status”, according to the organizer. “Face coverings should completely cover the nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of the face, and not have any gaps”. Well, won’t that make a mess of costumes. In that spirit, I would love to see a group of vampires protesting the mandate—because they can’t suck blood while wearing masks. Or maybe someone should show up wearing Guy Fawkes mask.

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Now, It’s the Apocalypse: San Diego Comic-Con Canceled

Today, SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome Coronavirus 2)—aka COVID-19—claimed an expected victim and long holdout being one. For the first time since its humble 1970 inception, San Diego Comic-Con will not happen as planned (July 23-26). The event joins the County Fair and a multitude of vertically-oriented industry conventions as Novel Coronavirus casualties.

For me, SDCC 2020 already was a non-event: Like the previous two Cons, I failed to secure a pass during Open Registration. For San Diego, which economy depends on tourism, the non-event pandemic is catastrophic. According to the San Diego Tourism Authority, tourism is the “second largest segment of [the local] economy”, employing approximately 200,000 people—or about 13 percent of the jobs across SD County. “It is vitally important to the economic health of the region”.

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No Pass, No Comic-Con for Me

San Diego Comic-Con commences in two evenings. Unless something dramatically unexpected happens, I will not attend any part of the event—only miss since my first go-there in 2009. I managed only one day last year after being there for every other Con. Looks like 2018 will be even less.

I have resigned myself to circumstance, following failed Returning and Open registration attempts to purchase passes. I may go to Gaslamp, like last year, to shoot street photos with the Leica M10. Or maybe not. 

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Guess Who Won’t Attend San Diego Comic-Con 2018?

On any other morning, with tree cutters trimming palms right outside my office window, I would dash about the apartment complex parking lot with camera in hand shooting photos and videos. It’s an event! One well-worth documenting. Trimmers arrived at (cough, cough) 7 a.m. to do the whack job. But my focus was shaving and bathing, preparing for San Diego Comic-Con 2018 Open Registration and perhaps my last chance to snag a pass for next year’s gathering.

Comic-Con emails eligible participants a registration code, which must be activated on the website between 8 and 9 a.m. The process of randomly choosing people starts promptly at nine o’clock. My luck ran out during early reg, as it did vying both opportunities for this year’s Con. I attended Sunday, on a last-minute chance, and felt humbly fortunate for that. As you can guess from the title, I couldn’t purchase a pass.

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SDCC 2017 Day Four

The greatest geekfest and pop-culture event on the planet wrapped up this afternoon in San Diego, as the original Comic-Con closed its doors on the Convention Center. Imitator shows are everywhere this Century, but none commands character and class like the original. The first, full, three-day event took place from Aug. 1-3, 1970, at the U.S. Grand Hotel, with about 300 attendees and sci-fi luminaries, including Ray Bradbury and A.E. van Vogt. This week, 140,000 people attended, but the number doesn’t include the tens of thousands descending on the Gaslamp Quarter and other areas of the city. SDCC is too big to be contained by the formality of a single glass-and-steel structure or the fire marshal’s mandates.

I had given up on participating until unexpected opportunity occurred yesterday morning to purchase a legitimate Day 4 badge with my name—not one assigned to someone else and sold for exorbitant price, despite firm policy against such scalping. I picked up the badge in the afternoon, spending several hours afterwards in the Quarter.

Like yesterday, I captured moments using Leica Q, but far fewer than my typical day. Those that follow aren’t all, or necessarily the best, but they tell a story about shooting them. 

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Gaslamp Lights San Diego Comic-Con

I won’t explain how, but today I snagged a legit San Diego Comic-Con 2017 badge for tomorrow. Better one than none. From 2009 through 2016, I had passes to attend all four days but failed to get in the buying queue during Early and Open registrations—in March and April, respectively—nor later get consideration as working journalist. I picked up my last-day badge at the Convention Center around 4:30 p.m. PDT, then moseyed around the Gaslamp Quarter, which is livelier with off-site activities and vendors than I recall from other years. 

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SDCC 2017 Open Registration Failure!

I would like to congratulate all the future San Diego Comic-Con attendees scoring passes today. You are worthyMy luck ran out during Preregistration last month and continued this morning. I had attended the geekfest every year since 2009, and with passes for the full four days and Preview Night.

Feeble chance remains. The deadline for press verification is April 28th, and I will apply. But for reasons unknown to me, without explanation, SDCC stopped validating my media credentials in 2015. Luckily—and gladly—I paid that year and the next. While I now hope to attend in 2017, legitimately, as working press professional, my optimism is faint.