Saskatoon fan expo: worth the drive
author: michelle jones | copy editor
Our copy editor makes the worthwhile trek to Saskatoon
Fan Expo Saskatoon hosted a number of big-name celebrities – least, for Saskatchewan – during the two-day convention held on Sept. 17-18, including Bob Morley from The 100; Garrett Wang from Star Trek: Voyager; Travis Willingham from X-Men and Iron Man; Shannon Purser and Randy Havens from Stranger Things; Tom Felton – Draco Malfoy from the Harry Potter series; the obvious fan-favourite, Carrie Fisher from Star Wars; and my personal favourite – and entire reason for going – James Marsters, who is best known for his role as Spike on Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel.
It’s not every day you get to knock something off your bucket list, especially when it involves meeting a celebrity. Although, I will say that it’s becoming considerably easier with the worldwide acceptance of geekdom and comic cons. I actually didn’t watch Buffy until I took Jes Battis’ class on the wildly popular cult classic, so I had no idea that I was signing on to what would become my newest addiction. In fact, Buffy was my first Netflix binge. The best part about it, though, was I was able to call it homework (now tell me being an English major isn’t cool).
So, my 19-year-old daughter, nine-year-old son, and I spent the afternoon talking with, listening to, and having photos taken with James Marsters. I had been told that if James wasn’t doing photo ops or a guest panel, he would be at his autograph table, and he was. I have met a few celebrities, but none like him. He genuinely loves meeting his fans and makes the most of what little time he has with each one. For a mere $50 (this is far less than, say, Carrie Fisher, who was charging $90 for an autograph), James answered our questions, signed autographs, conversed with us, and never seemed to be in a rush to get to the next fan. He has this incredible ability to make you feel like you were the only person who matters at that moment.
I was a bit worried that meeting James would destroy that perfect image I had created, but it was the exact opposite. There aren’t many celebrities that I would pay to meet, but I had seriously considered paying for another autograph just so I could talk to him again.
Right after the autograph session, we made our way to the Stranger Things panel (mostly so we could get good seats to James Marsters’ panel right after). Of course, Shannon Purser stole the show. Honestly, I loved the series, but I can barely tell you who Randy Havens is. It’s all about Barb, right? #JusticeForBarb! And, even celebrities are subject to celebrity crushes. Shannon admitted to totally fangirling over Tom Felton, and apparently even blew off the Emmys so she could hang out with him.
It was finally time for James Marsters’ panel. Luckily, he stood through the whole thing, so everyone could see him. I have been to quite a few panels since these expos started three years ago, but none like this one. James really seemed to give himself to the crowd. No question was off-limits, and he even put forth a challenge that someone ask a question that would actually embarrass him.
You could tell that he was loving every question and took the time to thoroughly answer each one. He sang a few lines from “Rest in Peace,” and told us what it was like kissing John Barrowman – he has very soft lips, btw. He also talked about his new videogame blog, “Vidiots,” and how he had to bleach his hair every six days while filming Buffy. His scalp didn’t have a chance to heal in between applications, so he essentially had acid poured on open wounds every week for eight years. And Angel thought he was a tortured soul. Bitch, please.
As for the rest of the event, compared to Regina, Saskatoon Expo seriously lacked in planning. They didn’t even release the panel schedules until a few days before the expo. So, anyone needing to take time off to see a panel was likely out of luck. Regina has their schedules out at least two weeks prior to the event. The vendors were selling all the same overpriced merchandise as Regina’s Fan Expo, and if you wore a costume, you had to stand in long lines to have it registered before you could enter. So, unless Saskatoon has a celebrity guest you don’t want to miss, I wouldn’t bother making the trip up there for this event. Meeting James Marsters, though? Best. Day. Ever.