I just returned home from a week in Dallas, a place that feels less and less familiar every time I visit it.
I have no real sentimental ties to Texas despite having spent 25 years there. You would think that if you lived someplace from the age of 13-39 you would miss it more. But I don’t. I don’t miss the heat, I don’t miss the ball caps, I don’t miss the country-western music and I really don’t miss the isolation.
The Metroplex (as the Dallas/Fort Worth area is known locally) is a series of strip malls and chain restaurants separated by long stretches of highways. You don’t really do anything there except shop and eat and then head back home. At least, I never did. Which is probably the bigger issue, I admit.
The only reason I return now is to visit my family, whom I love and miss dearly. This trip specifically was scheduled so that Brad Guigar and I could conduct a series of interviews with my dad about his life. We were collecting stories and advice from dad for a project we’re not quite ready to talk about yet. Hopefully next year.
We ended the week with a road trip to Austin for the Wizard World con there. I have been pretty public in the past about my thoughts regarding these conventions. They were run horribly in the past and we’ve been treated horribly at them by a con staff that went out of their way to be difficult assholes. At the encouragement of both Brad and former Wizard CEO Gerab Shamus I gave the show another run.
From what I experienced and observed, Wizard has turned things around when it comes to the way their staff handles the convention attendees. Staff and volunteers were friendly, excited and helpful. Yes, they were kissing my ass pretty hard. Which I get and appreciate. But I watched the way they treated other people too and it’s not anything close to what I had experienced in years past. Both Peter Katz and John Macaluso (Vice President and CEO respectively) made it a specific point to ask Brad and I how we thought they could improve their shows, and I saw them ask similar questions to other exhibitors and creatives. I appreciated seeing that effort.
Texas is such a weird state for cons. Everyone who comes out his great, but it’s hard to get a LOT of people to come out. Maybe the state is just too big, I dunno. But you spend a lot of time sitting there looking bored at your booth because there just aren’t a lot of people showing up. Or to be fair, at least not showing up for us. This, I should add, is not a problem Brad experiences at the Wizard World show in Philly. There’s just something about Texas.
Anyway, I’m home again with no travel ahead of me before PAX East.
Big Table Titans news coming soon. Lots to do. Excited to have you here to share it all with.