If you are a geek in Edmonton, there is really only one place for you to go this weekend: The Pure Speculation Festival (Pure Spec to its friends). This is our city’s Nerdvana, our Geekrala, our Dorkapalooza. (Hyperbole? Never in a million years!) Seriously though, this is the event to let you geek flag fly and celebrate that dorky thing you love, whatever that might be.
It may sound like I’m over-selling it. And in the interest of full disclosure, it is an event that I conceived and started back in 2005, so it does and will always have a soft spot in my heart. But many hands since have helped this festival of nerdery grow so much from its initial faltering steps that first year, and I’m really excited to see how the new organizers have continued its growth. At seven years it is still a relatively young festival, but it is growing up fast!
You don’t have to take my word for it, of course. Here is a quick rundown of some of the special events at Pure Spec:
A TASTE OF PURE SPECULATION (Alberta Place Suite Hotel party room @ 7:30 pm) – This is the opening ceremonies for the festival, as well as your first chance to meet and mingle with the Special Guests. Each guest will also show off some special talent, something you might not normally see them doing. A geeky amuse-bouche for the rest of the weekend.
Costume Contest (Grant MacEwan Robbins Health Centre @ 4pm) – Whether you are an old pro or an eager amateur, come on out and strut your costume best! Register at the Separate Worlds/Bonaventure booth (Booth 22) prior to the contest start, and be ready to go 20 minutes before the contest start. Great prizes and good times; full details can be found on the Pure Spec website or at the booth on site.
Pure Speculation Shindig (Alberta Place Suite Hotel party room @ 9:30 pm) – A sweet little party to keep the celebration going, this year’s shindig feature’s local musician Sarah Lillian and improv troupe #YEGprov for your delight and edification. Plus you get to party with your fellow nerds, so what’s not to love?
Guests of Honour Mega Panel (Grant MacEwan Robbins Health Centre @ 1:30pm) – Like the title says, this panel will feature all of this year’s Guests of Honour, holding forth on a variety of geek subjects as well as answering your questions. Not to be missed!
Guests of Honour
Every year Pure Spec brings in fantastic guests to meet the fans of Edmonton. This year is no exception, and they’ve really stepped it up: Sci-fi and Fantasy author Jo Walton; Jo Wos, cartoonist and the founder and Executive Director of the ToonSeum in Pittsburgh, PA; Earth: Final Conflict and Stargate SG-1 actor Will deVry; Dark Shadows and Port Charles actress Rebecca Staab; costume designer and creator Holly Conrad; CCO of Popcap Games, Jason Kapalka; and joining the festival via Skype this year, writer and author Mike Resnick. Seriously, that is a lot of high-powered geekdom all coming to Edmonton this weekend. You’d be a fool not to come out and meet these people!
What, that still isn’t enough to entice you? Okay fine. There are also panels on everything from Alan Moore to the Zombie Apocalypse; a merchant area featuring the geekiest merchants and artists we could find, like Dragon Chow Dice Bags and Weregeek; all sorts of gaming, from board games and RPGs (I’m GMing some Pathfinder, natch) to a Streetfighter IV LAN tourney and Magic: The Gathering TCG tournament.
Tell you what, if you are there and for some bizarre reason you are not having fun, you come find me. I’ll be the big blonde guy with @RenaissanceDork on my badge. I will direct you to something going on at the festival. But here is the kicker; you have to go to what I tell you. Festivals and cons like this are the perfect place to experience things you might not otherwise give a second look. I don’t promise you will love everything, but get out of your comfort zone and try something new.
And if you don’t come to the Dungeons & Dickens panel on Saturday at 1:15pm in the Omega Room, you are dead to me. Never mind that I’m on it, Mike Perschon is a bloody steampunk genius (check out his website) and you need to hear him talk. Heck, sleep during my bits, just don’t snore too loud.
So it’s agreed, I’ll see you all at Pure Spec this weekend! I’ll also be blogging over the weekend, so if you do miss out I’ll make sure you know what you’re missing. I’m a pal like that…