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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Middle East Film and Comic Con

Last weekend, I and another study abroad from AUD, Kelsey, volunteered at the Middle East Film and Comic Con (MEFCC).  Why did we decide to spend a perfectly good weekend doing unpaid labor at a venue we really had no prior interest in?  Well, we knew there would be celebrities.  And I personally love nothing more than a good people-watching session, and I can think of no better spot for people watching than a comic convention.

Volunteer spots were advertised through the school's career service website, so we contacted the agency in charge of the event, Extra Cake Productions.  We received a bit of instruction, notice that we'd be working in the Game Zone, and two shirts each.

Apparently, comic conventions are pretty self-sustaining events, meaning that once the planning is done and the first guests show up, there isn't much for a volunteer to do.  Also, a whole lot more people are interested in volunteering for comic cons than I had expected, so what little responsibilities were left to us volunteers were pretty well covered by others, which left us with more time to explore and utilize our free admission.

Since this is my first comic con, I don't have much to compare Dubai to, but it seemed to fit the expectations I had formed from geeky friends and the movie Galaxy Quest.  The comic con caters to a certain niche in society that I suppose I'm not really part of but can appreciate all the same.  I'll admit that the lack of anything Star Trek-y at this comic con left me a bit disappointed.  MEFCC had a lot more to do with gaming, from the large Game Zone where I was stationed to the amount of people dressed as video game characters, than I was prepared for.  Lots of people looked really cool in their costumes, but I had no idea who/what they were supposed to be.

A few highlights:
  1. Seeing people of all types of nationality and ethnicity enjoying something together with no hints of class or race segregation, besides a few VIP events,
  2. People in national Emirati dress somehow...nerdified, i.e. a man in a kandura and gutra with a painted mask on his face, a woman in abaya and Darth Vader helmet, and a woman in an abaya that opened to show a short skirt, crazy tights, and knee-high black leather costumy boots,
  3. Arab art, including graphic design pieces, original paintings, and Arabic comics and books,
  4. Taking pictures with everyone, of course, 
  5. Although I didn't get to chill with Samwise Gamgee like I thought I would, I went to a Q & A with Alan Tudyk, which was cool,
  6. Getting to play with stuff I normally wouldn't, including unreleased games and some role-playing/Dungeons and Dragonsesk game (didn't really get into that),
  7. Generally having free run of the place, free admission, and free food as a volunteer,
  8. Practicing my Arabic...even if my geeky vocabulary is rather limited,
  9. Getting our shirts that fit in nicely with our Batman theme ("With great power comes great responsibility" on the front, "crew" and the logo on the back), and at least one shirt is currently for sale to the highest bidder,
  10. Actually getting to help a few people so I didn't feel I was just taking up space.
The characters from Freej, if you haven't heard of this show, please google it

A guy from Assassins Creed, or so I'm told

Being shot by the Predator, or a really bad Costa ad

My roommate getting her face eaten off by a zombie

No idea who these guys are supposed to be

Alan Tudyk

At this point we'd pretty much take a picture with anybody
You can see many more pictures at MEFCC's Facebook page.

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Troy, AL, United States
I am a Political Science student at Troy University in southeastern Alabama. I have been given fantastic opportunities to travel to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, among other brief trips, to study and glimpse other cultures. I believe there is much to be learned about other people while studying, and I want to share my experiences with you.