Atomic Lollipop 2014 Review
Some of you may have seen our Geek Girls coverage
of APOP, but others may be wholly unaware of what Atomic Lollipop is and that is just a crying shame. APOP is a 3-Day geek festival that’s a regular fan convention + carnival + music festival + all weekend dance party with over 200 events. This year it was held at The Ontario Science Center (OSC) and sponsored by Kigurumi Canada. While many conventions focus on celebrities or artist’s alley, APOP makes their priority activities and interaction. As such in addition to the APOP run events, attendees were granted access to the Science Centre exhibits. This not only made the day of many children and families who were simply there to visit the OSC and saw some of their favourite characters, but also meant late night access to Apopper’s giving great photo op locations.
Events took place all over the OSC, including the outer terrace where a bouncy castle and gladiator ring were provided. LARPers also set up with a chance for attendees to challenge their champion in combat. Inside were various performances, panels and workshops including those given by several of our own Geek Girls: Roxy Lee, Gillykins, Jenn Marvel and myself.
The Atomic School of Witchcraft & Wizardry was open again this year, after its successful launch last APOP. Classes resumed with Charms, Potions, Divinations and more. While the Hamilton Ball Pythons were sorely missed this year, Care of Magical Creatures presented by Hands on Exotics returned with various critters including a baby kangaroo, exotic birds and small furries that attendees could view and hold. “Students” could also participate in the O.W.L’s (Harry Potter trivia) and for the more daring – the Triwizard tournament, an event that took place throughout the con.
Speaking of throughout the con, APOP sure made use of their new venue with activities such as Pokemon Snap and The Great Dragonball Hunt. In both these events pokemon and dragonballs were hidden throughout the science centre. For Pokemon Snap the competition lasted all weekend with Professor Oak selecting best quality photos, whereas the Great Dragonball Hunt lasted only until the first person brought all seven (appropriately labeled 1 through 7) dragonballs. I made it my personal mission to find all 7 and was fortunate enough to win the Shenron Kigurumi.
Sponsor or not, these outfits covered the con floor outnumbering cosplays by far. The more popular licensed characters were mostly sold out by mid-Saturday, a testament to their comfiness and popularity.
As per usual there were rounds of geeky speed dating, but also speed-friending. An opportunity for apoppers to meet fellow geeks and new friends with themes such as Harry Potter, League of Legends, Star Wars and even Orange is the New Black.
Anime fans got to ask Sailor Moon anything with Linda Ballantyne partaking in a Q&A. They also had the chance to see Toby Proctor, voice of Tuxedo Mask in Fan Fiction the Show: Sailor Moon edition, one of the evenings more adult events. Other more adult events included and Alt Hentai Art Critique, Would Your Rather Debate, Super Smashed Brothers and even Russian Roulette.
Cosplayers and Lolita’s strutted their stuff on the cat-walk in the cosplay competition and Canada’s Next Top Lolita respectively. It was hard to believe that it was the self same stage hours later covered in plastic for the couple’s Ramen eating contest in which GG Roxy Lee and her fiancé almost won!
Apoppers also had many opportunities to work out their aggression between the inflatable gladiator ring, lightsaber battle and Kigurumi Fight Club. The Zombie Survival camp also ran a Zombie fighting ring. In this event con goers would spin a wheel to select their weapon, and then face off against a flesh eater. Those Zombies with a softer heart attended Zombie Prom where it was a night to dismember.
The night was filled with various performances from fire, belly and burlesque dancers to those that hung above their audiences from hoops or arial silks. For those wanting to join in on the action there were various DJ's mixing as well as swing dancing lessons and even those dancing in the audience of The Pizza Underground, a comedy-rock band featuring Macaulay Culkin, Matt Colbourn, Phoebe Kreutz, Deenah Vollmer, and Austin Kilham. True to the name of the event, it was a Pizza Party with Apop providing tons of free pizza!
From the video game hall, to the board game café Atomic Lollipop made sure that the events were plenty. While all the usual’s were played: Mario Kart, Duck Hunt, Cards Against Humanity etc. APOP also had several arcade game stations set up in various parts of the OSC from old arcade shooters to DDR. No matter where you were, there were games to be played. If you wanted to take a load off and channel your creativity there were tons of different crafting activities from Olivander’s Wand Shop to various plushie workshops.
Last year was my first time attending Atomic Lollipop and it quickly became my favourite convention. I was excited to return and this year far exceeded my expectations. The only hiccup of note was the need to clear out everyone on Saturday night. Due to the fact that the OSC was open to the public, when it “closed” at 6, but remained open for Apoppers, everyone was told to clear out and re-enter. While it is understandable, it interfered with the programming making certain events impossible to attend with huge lines to get back in and made one question the use of wrist bands? But perhaps that was an issue with the policies of the science center themselves. Either way, all in all it was a splendid affair, and a convention I highly recommend to con-goers. Just be careful with the kiddies in the later hours of the evening. ;)
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July 23 2014