That’s a pretty bold and and some may even say a blasphemous claim but it’s the only way I can describe the utter joy, happiness and feelings of being connected to a much larger, normally unseen world. Sure you can find everything online and on social media but nothing compares to actually smelling the air around you. Taking in the sights in real world 3D and interacting with fellow true believers. Stan Lee’s phrase has never rang more true than they do now.
Walking into the Branson Convention Center that fateful Saturday in February, there were a nice handful of people floating around with smiles on their faces and the twinkles of joy in their eyes. That was nice… but then…. after being greeted by the Visioncon staff (aka Apostles) we entered into the main exhibition hall. We immediately knew we were home.
Overlooking the crowd that was rummaging around the well organized vendor area I really felt like Ben Kenobi looking over Mos Eisley with Luke and the droids in tow. Of course Luke was the Mrs. and the droids were perfectly portrayed in one by my daughter. She was as inquisitive as Threepio yet as excited as Artoo. And to note, there was no fear of it being a wretched hive of scum and villainy. Just a wonderful collection of unique and colorful inhabitants that one normally never sees until the haunting season of Halloween, which of course is my family’s favorite time of year and lingers everyday of the calendar year.
Like a true religious experience I feel compelled to share the wonderful good news that is this revelation to the masses. Be it in the face of scoffing looks, ridicule, or even persecution. I do not care in the least about those things. My experience was real, tangible and worthy of praise. And that’s not to mention the overflowing abundance of inspiration that erupted from my very soul. The hardest part right now is accepting that I must remain in the secular world among the modern day posers of the fandom and maintain a steady job versus going on a lifelong pilgrims journey but for now I have found at least one Mecca that we will most certainly be returning to next year. In truth we may very well be taking the ultimate plunge and joining up with the Visioncon crew to do whatever we can to help with next years event.
I’m sure plenty will take offense to this analogy and to you, I sort of apologize. If you find peace, comfort and fellowship in any other brick and mortar standing, I sincerely say to you, God bless you. For me however this experience showed far more love, care and compassion than I’ve ever experienced from any other fellowship. And yes, I am a Christian in faith but I found many more people truly acting “Christ-like” here than I ever have in other places.
Everyone was kind and courteous, helpful and no one was condescending. Be your denomination leaning towards the Federation of Planets or the Empire, there was common respect for all. Oh, if only the “real” religions would show that kind of compassion and understanding to one another then maybe they could learn a thing or two by attending a convention near them. While it won’t be Visioncon 2016 it will be full of people who love life and all of its pop culture creation.
Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of my look back at Vision Con 2016 where I’ll be sharing some wonderful insights of the entertainment industry and the work that goes into “making the grade” with special media guests from Visioncon 2016: “Being Human” star Sam Witwer and the incredibly accomplished and talented author of numerous Star Wars and Star Trek novels; Christie Golden.