Our morning began calmly, as we were not wearing cosplay and the con didn’t start until 1, so we had plenty of time to just enjoy the morning.
We decided to go to The Paris (Bally’s conjoined Parisian themed sister) for breakfast. We went to one of their cafes and were already seeing evidence of other ClexaCon goers. We walked around the hotel for a bit (I do love a good theme) and window shopped at the Grand Bazzar Shops, before heading back to the convention center to wait with hundreds of queer ladies for the main event to start.
ClexaCon had a VIP system in place where, for an extra $120, you gain early admission, some exclusive merch, and front of the line access to all panels, photos, and autographs. Many people decided this was worth it, as the VIP tickets quickly sold out online months before the con took place. In my opinion, the only real benefit of this package was the exclusive merch. The only other place were it seems to help was getting into the main panel room which almost always had a line forming at least an hour before the panel started. VIPs got an extra 30 minutes on the con floor before us plebeians were allowed to enter. Most of the vendors were already set up in time for the VIPs, but I’m pretty sure on the first day, every single one went straight to the line for the Lexa’s Legacy Panel. This is also where pretty much everyone went after they finally gained access to the convention. The only people that did not go to this panel were the ones who didn’t care or, heaven forbid, had never seen the show. (Confession: ODB and I fell into the latter, but we are watching it now. We’ve only been home for 5 days and are already 3/4 of the way through season 2.)
So instead of wasting our time on something we had no understanding of and to keep away from spoilers (SPOILER: It was ruined for us anyway, literally all weekend, at least we now know not to get too attached. I’ll probably cry anyway.) We went to the Fan Blogging 101 Workshop led by Feliza Casano (@FelizaCasano), Founder and Editor of the blog Girls in Capes. Check them out at girlsincapes.com. There were a grand total of four of us and the sound system from the Lexa Panel was bleeding into our room, so we basically got to hear it anyway. Feliza talked us through the basics of setting up a successful blog, and the four main types of content. (I guess we’ll find out if we learned anything.) For anyone interested in the content of the panel please check out (one of the four people in the room where it happened) Anna Gramlich’s, (http://www.annagramsound.com) audio and notes from Fan Blogging 101. She is an amazing sound editor who is planning on launching a blog about queer women in sports.
After Fan Blogging 101 we walked down the hall to sit in on the Queer Representation in Steven Universe Panel (one of my favorites because Steven Universe is actually the BEST). The panel was moderated by Tara Lynne (@ageeksaga) admin, editor, and author of The Geekiary (thegeekiary.com) who donned a Steven inspired button down; and contained the panelists Joelle Monique (@JoelleMonique) an author for Black Girl Nerds (blackgirlnerds.com), Gretchen Ellis (@The_Raconteur_) from The Fandomentals (thefandomentals.com), and Mey Valdivia Rude (@meyrude) an editor and author at Autostraddle (autostraddle.com) who rocked a Garnet tank top. Subjects varying from mental health to queer identities and relationships were covered. Discussions about what this show means to the queer community and what it means for the future of television provided a mature insight to the deeper aspects of an otherwise light-hearted show. While there were many questions left unanswered (only because the great Rebecca Sugar has not yet released her knowledge), the panel ended with several theories and plenty of head canons leaving the room.
Following a quick lunch break at Jhonny Rockets we then went to the Ethics in Storytelling Panel (this is where most of the spoilers came from as the basis for the panel was the Lexa debacle). The moderator was Charlotte Glasser (@CBGlasser) owner of both Hot Rabbit (thehotrabbit.com) and The Vintage Brands (thevintagebrands.com) and the panelists were Dr. Elizabeth Bridges (@EGBridges) professor of literature, media critic and writer of The Uncanny Valley (uncannyvalley.us), Gretchen Ellis (see paragraph above for her handle, we managed to accidentally go to all of her panels), and Heather Hogan (@theheatherhogan) a senior editor for Autostraddle. Like I mentioned before, if we had any hope of avoiding spoilers we should not have gone to this panel. (SPOILER!!!) Lexa’s death was the very first thing mentioned and how it affected the queer community. For those who don’t know, PR teams for The 100 actively went into LGBTQI+ spaces telling the community there that they would love the show because there was a character they could relate with and they were assured that nothing would happen to her. Well, low and behold she dies, and this led to over 25 other queer women deaths in the past year of TV. Much of the following discussion was on the Bury Your Gays trope and why its time for it to stop and how writers who don’t give their LGBTQI+ characters happy endings are still feeding the trope. On the flip side, it was asked what shows were doing right by the queer community and One Day at a Time, Wynnona Earp, and Steven Universe made the list.
For the next couple hours we wandered around the con floor checking out booths and scoping out the photo op system. We then headed to our last panel for the day. Getting to the hall was slightly difficult as the line for the WayHaught Panel (which actually had the actresses in attendance) was easily three times bigger than the Lexa Panel that morning. Our panel, Writing with Style and Diversity, was moderated by Tara Lynne (again, see above paragraph) and featured Lily R Mason (@LilyRMason) author and novelist (find her work at lilyrmason.com), Gretchen Ellis (I told you we went to all of her panels), and Zara Barrie (@FactoryGrrrl) editor of Elite Daily’s Queer Culture (elitedaily.com) as panelists. Their focus was on queer diversity in both fiction and non-fiction. The biggest take-away being to respect your audience, pull from your experiences, do your research, and have someone in your targeted diversity screen your work to ensure everything is kosher.
To close out our day we took a stroll down the strip. We watched the water show at The Bellagio on our way to Caesar’s Palace (which is f*ing huge, like I couldn’t help but wonder how many drunk people get lost in there. Its practically endless, but so cool. Again, I love a good theme). On our way to our dinner destination we wandered through their shopping district. We made a stop at the DNKY store to take a selfie in honor of ODB’s godmother.
As a Visual Merchandiser (VM) for good ole Targét, I also marveled and wept for the poor VM that has to change the mannequins at the H&M store (it’s freaking cool, but what a pain in the a** to have plastic bodies hanging from the ceiling, like why? Do you hate your VMs? What did they ever do to you?). We enjoyed dinner at The Cheesecake Factory where I ate most of a burrito that was bigger than my head, and that is saying something because I have a big head. With a slice of cheesecake to-go and a walk (and I mean a walk, freaking villages in these hotels) to work off our massive meal, we ended the night with a little bit of TV before enjoying the gloriously large King bed.