• Kimberly

Friday Funday - What's your most memorable moment at a con?

Conventions are amazing endeavors. Somehow between the significant coordination of a team to work as one to ensure the event gets off the ground, the plethora of agents/managers/guest discussions of guarantees/base costs or even if those artists wish to attend - an event comes to life. It’s all a numbers game run by people who think outside of themselves to push inclusivity, diversity and accessibility - ultimately creating a safe space for all those who walk through the doors.

It’s that safe space that fosters being yourself, being free to enjoy your truth for that weekend. That freedom can lead to some amazingly memorable and beautiful moments. For me, my most memorable moment was a Xena Convention in Valley Forge, PA. This woman breezed past me. Her hair of long flowing curls surrounded her face. Her smile and laughter reached deep into my chest and gripped my heart before I could stop it. I thought she was the center of the universe and she thought I needed to eat a cheeseburger. She wasn’t wrong. I ate very little, maybe one meal a day. I was Gabrielle in cosplay and an actress in real life. Between that, my ex and con goers - I needed to be super thin.

We laughed all weekend in our group of friends. She managed to decipher my “ums” or “yeah ands” when I stumbled through asking her out. We were married in 2012 and we’ve been together since 2001. That safe space, that freedom to live as myself when I couldn’t even do that at home - was everything I needed. It is why I love queer conventions as much as I do.

I have wonderful moments with the cast of shows, like when I walked right past Emily Andras at a photo op because I was so intimidated by her, but the moment of meeting my wife will always be my number one. I wanted to know what the staff's moments were. Here were their answers.

Gloria: “I met Amber Benson at my first fandom con way back when I was in college. She’d made a film with her earnings from Buffy, so I went to a screening and not to be dramatic, but it changed my life. I was already going to school for TV so I had some direction, but watching her make her own art was so inspiring. It showed me I didn’t have to wait around for someone else to believe in me enough to give me a shot, I could just go out and do it myself. Amber said to me “if you don’t do it for yourself, no one will” and that message really stuck. I ran into her at another con last year and we realized I had worked on a series that she had written a few years prior! Then I got to tell her how she inspired me when I was still an impressionable college student and we had A MOMENT. As a fan, it felt amazing to come full circle this way.”

Antje: “My favorite con moment was back in November 2018 at ClexaCon London. I don’t remember when it happened, but it was in the autographs/vendor area. There were a few of the guests singing at the time, and some of us were around as they played some music in the room. And then “What’s Up” started playing and EVERYONE started belting along and dancing. It was just so amazing. Everyone knew the lyrics. It was like a little party while waiting for the autographs.”

Mel: “Most memorable con moment was when I was hiking up my pants and straightening myself out on the escalator at a con and thought I was alone until realizing Bridgette McManus was behind me further down. She smirked and said, “I saw that. But still very discreetly done”

Youstina: “Drunkenly making out with a hot girl at an after party. The hot girl? She's now my girlfriend.”

Shivy: Last year at EH Con Canada, my friends surprised me by making me feel loved and included - despite having to sell my con ticket. I received a video of Melanie Scrofano asking: ‘Shivy, Shivy, Shivy, can’t see you, where the fuckkk are youuuuuuu.'

Declan: “While there are a lot of fave con experiences I've been very lucky to have, I think one that stands out is Montreal Comicon 2014. I almost didn't go, my mom was in the hospital, had just had a serious complication and was in a medically induced coma. But there was nothing to be done. My family told me mom was excited for me to go and I should keep the trip, then make my way to Toronto afterwards. So off I went.

I had a photo op with Stephen Amell and because of my mobility issues I'm first in for a photo, so I'm his first photo of the con. I don't like the traditional posed photo so I asked him if we could do something fun, he said he was game and asked what we should do.

"Well you see I'm a cancer survivor and I know your mom is too..."

"Oh you want to do this don't you?" As he raises his middle finger. And an amazing photo was taken.

The next morning I of course had to go get the photo signed. I was after a few people at his first signing of the day. When I head up he recognized me from the night before. We had a beautiful conversation about some of the stuff I'd been through, how many years cancer free I was and connected over some things. Not wanting to tie him up too long with a huge line of people waiting to meet him, I tied it up and gave him a letter (being that I'd known going in I may not get to say a huge amount.)

Fast forward to hours later to his panel, he's spent the day meeting hundreds and hundreds of people. I'm the third or fourth question. I step up to the mic and before I can say a word he goes "Hey Declan, how are you doing?" After answering, I took a moment to thank him for all the work he's done raising funds and awareness with his "f*ck cancer" t-shirts. He stopped me right there and told the audience "and a round of applause for Declan who's 3 years cancer free."

At a time when I was stressed beyond belief with worry over my mom in the hospital, having someone who I admired, who'd done so much work for a cause that affected me personally, take the time to remember me and greet me after meeting so many people all day. Then to have him remember and acknowledge my years cancer free - It honestly made me forget my worry about my mom if only for a moment.”

Those are some of our most memorable moments. I admit some made me laugh out loud, pull at my heartstrings and straight up get teary. But that is what a con is supposed to do. It evokes emotions in the deepest part of who we are. When you’re free to live your truth in a safe environment, the experiences could leave an indelible mark.

I hope QFX in Tampa brings you a mountain of memories that make you feel warm in your heart when you think of them. In the meantime, comment below about your favorite convention moments. I’d love to read about it.

**Until next time, this is Kimberly “I am Princess Moanna, and I am not afraid of you.” Amato, signing off.**

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