The 2010 Geek Media Expo (GMX) wrapped up in Nashville this weekend and was a great time. It was the second year for this con, held at the Nashville Opryland Radisson. Billed as “48 Hours Of Cool”, GMX tries to cram as many interests as possible into a smaller, friendlier convention (check out their site here for examples of their events and panels). They had Steampunk ghostbusters, an 80’s dance party, comics, a pin-up contest, and a huge party each night in a special suite upstairs. This and more, all contained within a few hundred square yards. There was a good variety in panels as well, with your standards (Star Wars/Trek etc.), instructional sessions (learning ’bout leatherwork), and just plain good time panels (beer brewing, geek speed dating, Tauntaun race anyone?) At a con this size, you get a great chance to run into celeb guests as well. Chris Judge, Garrett Wang, and Dominic Keating were all very chill and mostly hung out the whole time.
The always accessible video game room gave you something to blow some free time on. Let me put it this way…my girl and I wandered out of a party for a brief break, 2 rounds of DDR, and then right back upstairs for more partying. Pretty damn awesome. Bored? Play a round of Halo Reach, STFU, and then get your ass back out there.
Also, I’d like to mention the hotel. Basically no matter where you were in the Radisson, you could get to your room in about 90 seconds. There are only 3 floors and the stairs are right in the middle of the main atrium, so you can always see your room. I don’t think I remembered my room number the entire weekend. I just pointed at the door and said “I’m in THAT one over there!” The pool and hot tub were cool as well — see the pics of the impromptu superhero bikini pool party if you don’t believe me. Even though there are a couple of ghetto elements, like the odd musty grandma smell and funky sleep number beds, the hotel fit well with the size of this con. Oh, and you better learn to love Applebee’s. Because you’ll be eating there a lot…unless you dress in anything that scares the manager. In that case you’ll be kicked out (true story: friend was asked to leave due to apparel being too “skimpy”. We just assumed the manager was fat and ugly ;-p)
Orion Slave Girl Auction: Brave ladies and men dress up as sexy slaves, steampunk heroes, and just “odd things” and put themselves up for auction. Highest bidders are allowed photo ops, dances, dinners, or whatever the slave’s conditions are. Best part — they raised a huge chunk of cash for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. People were dropping over $100 for some participants. Wait, the best part was the auctioneer, Garrett Wang (Star Trek Voyager). Obviously still fresh from his gig running the Trek Track at DragonCon, Garrett riled up the crowd and kept the auction hilarious the entire time, even when the person up for bid looked a little creepy or smelly… He even took a few opportunities to snap his own photos. This guy is friggin’ awesome.
501st Star Wars Party (don’t remember the real name): This party was going long after I left around 3AM. Bar2D2 doled out shots, women (and men!) wrapped themselves around the stripper pole, and con celebs stopped by to party as well. Bumping music, bubbles, fog, and free drinks all in one little suite? Yes please!
Race of the Tauntauns: Get a line of geeks together and have them hop around the atrium, all the while leaping over Jar Jar obstacles and shooting a Fett or two while the crowd hoots and hollers. Gotta say it one more time, Garrett Wang stepped up for this event too. Each participant was required to stop at Wang’s table and get a “photo op”. All ages were allowed to look a little ridiculous while trying not to fall on their ass.
So is GMX a good time? Absolutely. It’s impressive that so many different events can get thrown into one 2-day event in a tiny hotel. For twenty bucks (pre-reg) I got my money’s worth. Kudos to the staff for keeping it together and keeping so laid back and cool. I will certainly be back next year as I’m positive that the event this year was a huge success. There were more people compared to last year, but I was never stressed by a “con-crowd” the entire time. Hell, I think I only walked by ONE smelly con-goer! What are the odds?
Check out ALL the photos my girlfriend and I took at our flickr site (link)
P.S. Hope to have a video up of a few highlights soon as well. Come back soon or follow me on Twitter to get the update.