CON Report: Secaucus Stargate CON

stargate2.jpgOn November 2nd-4th 2007, our roving reporter, Linda Craddock, not being daunted or slowed down by a nasty cold, ventured forth to the Stargate SG1 and Atlantis convention in Secaucus New Jersey representing Slice of SciFi. She filed the following Con report from the floor of the Creation Entertainment Convention.

I showed up at this special convention honoring Stargate SG1’s 10th and, sadly, last season not sure what to expect from stars and fans alike. I wasn’t disappointed as the CON not only showcased the 10 years of SG1, but also celebrated Stargate: Atlantis’ 4th season that brought Col. Samantha Carter (Amanda Tapping) from Cheyenne Mt. on Earth and Jewel Staite (“Firefly”/”Serenity”) to the Pegasys Galaxy.

There was lots of buzz about the two upcoming SG1 movies “The Ark of Truth” and “Continuum” direct to DVD. They will become available in spring and fall 2008 and I was lucky enough to catch the new video game “Stargate Worlds” beta version – full release version due in summer/fall 2008.

The convention was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Secaucus, NJ. There were some character actors from SG1 such as Jay Acovone (Charles Kawalsky), Alexis Cruz (Skarra) and Tony Amendola (Bra’Tac) along with Kate Hewlett (Jeanie Miller) and Paul McGillian (Dr. Carson Becket) from Atlantis. The two main guests were Cliff Simon (Ba’al) and Michael Shanks (Daniel Jackson). They were described as the “famous hunk sandwich, Subway could only wish they had,” and both will be starring in the new movie. I was disappointed that Don S. Davis (General George Hammond) had to cancel due to a movie-of the-week he was filming.

One of the best things about sci-fi conventions is being with other fans. For most of us, it is just our family or sometimes just one friend that enjoys “Stargate” television shows, and you don’t really have anyone to talk to face to face (another score for the internet). At these conventions, you can hang out with other self expressed “geeks” (which we consider a good thing) and almost everyone there can relate to each other. Many people came from out-of-State or from other countries just to have the opportunity to meet the guests and to hang with like-minded others. That’s what I call fan-dedication.

These kinds of Cons are really great and they’re loads of fun but, you need to be patient with the process. If you have been to another convention other than a Creation Con, usually the guests have their own booth and you wait in line to get your item signed. At the Creation Entertainment convention, they call you by the row you sit in. When you buy your tickets, there are the Gold Packages which allows you to sit up front allowing you to get your autographs first. There were six or seven gold rows. Then it goes to the preferred packaged guests, which there were two or three rows of them, and then to the cheap seats. The other thing lacking was more activities such as video rooms, more vendors. At this convention, there was only two event rooms … an auditorium where the guests signed autographs, blocked out of the view of the attendees so no one could take pictures while we waited, and a small dealer room mostly selling current licensed products you usually can’t find anywhere but on the Internet.

There were also other activities such as trivia. In the trivia game, three people were picked to be the contestants and then people could walk up to the microphone and ask them a question about either SG1 or Atlantis. If the group got the question right, they would get a point, if wrong the audience got to answer the question. If no one in the audience knew it, then the asker would get two certified autographs and if the audience got it, the asker would get only one. If the group of three got four questions right, each of them would win a $100 Creation gift card. There was also the discussion about your ideas for a new Stargate movie and about the upcoming video game.

On Saturday night, there was this great Dessert Party which included Paul McGillian, and Jay Acovone. At the beginning, people were bringing in their centerpieces for the centerpiece contest. There were five or six centerpieces all wonderfully made. There was a sandbox with a pyramid made out of small bricks with a Stargate made of clay. There were two Stargate cereal boxes, one SG1 and one Atlantis, with special nutritional information and writings on them. Probably the best was an Atlantis Stargate made from wood and glazed over, with its own carrying case. They were even offering to sell it for $3500! The guests came table to table talking to the people there personally. When I asked Paul McGillian to record a message on my phone, he gladly agreed and left a funny, kind message. We were all in geek heaven.

Finally, there was an auction with autographed Stargate items, autographed banners, collectable items, and more. The Richard Dean Anderson autographed item that sold for $450! It became the hottest ticket at the auction.

As Cons go, I would give this one a good rating. It was fun to meet the guests and mingle with the fans. A Creation Convention is fun, but when it’s “Stargate,” it gives it extra excitement.

Thanks go out to Monica, Anita and the Creation staff members we met for doing such a good job for the fans, and big kudos to Thomas Sohmers for helping me get this report out.

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