It was a short visit to Calgary Expo for me this year, with time for only one panel discussion. I picked one with Colm Meaney, known for his roles on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Hell on Wheels and a bevy of feature films. Here, he is speaking about the 2013 flood in Calgary, which affected Hell on Wheels’s production on the outskirts of the city. He said the flood washed away their set and displaced the cast and crew multiple times before they got to high-enough ground.
In anticipation of my one and only day attending the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo tomorrow, here are two iconic vehicles from the comic and science-fiction world — Batman’s Batmobile, above, and the DeLorean from Back to the Future, below. Spotted both during my first Calgary Expo back in 2012.
One of the marquee events at the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this year was a cast reunion for the movie Aliens.
The actors discussed (among other things) their time on the set, their experiences working with director James Cameron and the impact of Alien on the sci-fi genre.
Here are a few snaps from Saturday night’s show.
The world just rang in a new year.
In the tech universe, every passing year brings with it expectations of the next big gadget, the next innovation, the next sea change in the way everything works.
And yet, in the world of entertainment, it’s as if the calendar somehow got stuck in 1993 and has never been able to move forward.
Check out the image that goes with this post. It’s a screenshot from one of the television apps I have loaded on my phone. The image represents one of the many infuriating aspects of modern entertainment.
I am a subscriber to a traditional Canadian direct-to-home satellite TV service. As part of the deal, I am able to watch channels (already a part of my subscription package) streamed through their app. But it’s just some channels — not all. Apparently, my provider has to negotiate separate agreements for distribution online.
Going the other direction, the same company owns several Canadian television channels. Those TV apps allow you to stream programming as well … except you have to log in through your service provider … assuming they support the app at all … and not all of them do.
Now, God forbid I actually want to watch television on … a television other than the one that’s attached to the receiver box. Nope, we can’t allow you to do that! (Hence the screenshot above.)
What if I am travelling and want to watch television in another time zone? Sorry, no timeshifting.
Travelling abroad? No service at all.
Speaking of geographical restrictions, it boggles the mind how certain TV and movie products continue to be licensed by country.
Wednesday night, while monitoring social media at work, I took great pains to avoid the many spoilers for the third season of BBC’s “Sherlock”. (Failed twice.)
After returning home, I immediately opened iTunes with the hope of purchasing a season pass for the show. Of course, while the program has debuted in the U.K., it has yet to make an official appearance on this side of the ocean … so no legal product for purchase on iTunes.
I can read online spoilers to my heart’s content and probably find an illegal download of the show … but I actually want to give BBC my money to watch the program and have no means to do it.
Along a similar kind of vein is the divergent availability of titles in Netflix Canada versus Netflix U.S.A. Whereas the entire library of Star Trek television series is available on the American version of Netflix, for example, that was never so in Canada.
And as many of you out there have discovered, such streaming apps as Hulu won’t work from a Canadian IP address, causing legions of people to construct workarounds. (And this is despite the wide availability of American channels from Canadian cable/satellite companies and a great number of Canadians living within range of U.S. over-the-air television stations.)
This is even prevalent in the television news industry. The LiveStation website and app, which offer streaming television news services, detect where you’re from and show you channels they’ve been able to license for whatever part of the world you are in. Connecting from the U.S. and want to catch BBC World News? Sorry, no dice.
Every streaming video service currently available is marketed to consumers as something you can use to watch what you want, where you want, when you want.
Except it’s clearly not true.
The only way to do that is to circumvent the system by bending or breaking the law — pretending to be somewhere you are not or partaking in illegal file sharing of copyrighted materials.
Perhaps it’s time for television and movie executives to look to the music industry for inspiration.
Most music for sale on the Internet is free of DRM and mostly available without geographic constraints. Downloads are easy and relatively inexpensive.
If there weren’t enough of us out there who wanted to pay for music, iTunes and the like would have died long ago.
Quite the opposite is true.
The world is clearly ready for a similar arrangement when it comes to television shows and movies.
It’s long past time for entertainment giants to exploit the power of the Internet to reach their TV and film audiences — not to fear it or see it as some kind of nuisance or a threat.
Upon snapping a series of frames to get this shot, I immediately regretted not doing a video instead.
As much as you can see this motorized R2D2 was being threatened by a lightsabre-wielding Jedi, this photo could not capture the frantic, panicked beeping of a robot facing imminent danger.
Captured at Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo this past weekend.
What another eventful Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo: Great guests, great things to do, great costumes, great show on the whole.
People who were here last year will inevitably provide comparisons between the two conventions, given the trouble with crowd control in 2012.
In my humble opinion, things were much better this time around from an organizational standpoint.
There was the odd disappointing moment for some people who were stuck in a line at opening time, or confronted with locked doors that should have been open, or having guests who were just so plain popular (Game of Thrones and Nathan Fillion on Sunday, notably) they managed to fill the Corral to capacity, leaving some people unable to view the panels in person.
But generally speaking, the lines were well managed. Taking over the Big Four building and Rotary House was a great way to reduce crowding in the BMO Centre. Having food trucks this year also made people comfortable to make the outdoor spaces at Stampede Park their own, too, provide even further relief from crowd congestion. (The beautiful weather didn’t hurt, either.)
If I could offer only one suggestion: Eschew those puny megaphones and use the big PA system for announcements on events being closed/full/whatever. I could hardly hear your directives over the din of assembled crowds.
But as I said earlier, those hiccups are easily outshone by the rest of the expo.
Above all: Many kudos especially for the army of volunteers who helped things go. The convention would be poorer without you.
Already looking forward to next year’s Expo. See you all then!
In the meantime, if you didn’t have the chance to go and would like a taste of how things went down, I’ve got a Flickr set with a selection of photos from Calgary Expo 2013. I will be adding a few more over the next few days … but there are already plenty there to give you an idea of the convention and its atmosphere this year.