g33king out for: Ponycon 2015
This year’s Valentine’s Day / Presidents’ Day weekend of February 14-16 marked the third annual Ponycon (formerly called the Big Apple Ponycon.) First held at the New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge and then moved to Loew’s Jersey Theatre in Jersey City, this year’s Ponycon – a convention for fans of My Little Pony, in case you didn’t know – returned to Brooklyn, with the newest venue being St. Francis College. To accommodate the vertical space, the rooms were placed across six floors (including one exclusively for VIPs) that could easily be accessed by taking escalators. Since I already had a busy schedule this weekend, I could only make it to the final day of Ponycon 2015. Though I don’t usually attend this late, I found enough events to have a fulfilling time.
After a mild panic-inducing train delay and a quicker subway ride, I braved the bitter cold again and made it to Ponycon around 11 A.M. I was just in time to attend one of the convention’s highlights: a panel featuring the “top dogs of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic production team”: directors Jayson Thiessen and “Big” Jim Miller, appearing via Skype. The biggest draw was a new trailer for Season Five, but the two also revealed something else bound to get bronies speculating even more: several images of concept art, shown out-of-context to avoid revealing any plot points. It was really cool seeing a few new backgrounds, monsters, and yes, even ponies, with one of them apparently wearing a steampunk-style outfit. Sadly, Thiessen and Miller still couldn’t reveal Season Five’s release date, as not even they know it yet. At least there was a fun Q&A session in the panel’s last twenty minutes: I got to ask about what it was like working with “Weird Al” Yankovic for last season’s “Pinkie Pride” episode. Just as I expected, they said that Al was a really friendly hard-worker, dedicated to getting his voice and music recorded with care and finesse.
After that was finished, I headed up visit some other rooms. I made sure to get to the Packbreakers room ASAP to grab an exclusive (and free) promo card of Cheese Sandwich (a.k.a. the Weird Al pony) and buy a new metal Pinkie Pie lunchbox containing some exclusive cards and packs. I went to the autograph room to once again meet Andrea Libman, who currently voices Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy (among others.) I first met her at the first Big Apple Ponycon and had a quick chat at last year’s Bronycon, but this was my first time getting her autograph (and my second time getting a picture with her.) Libman was really nice to meet again, and she even gave me another Fluttershy “yay” at my request. I also stopped by the Vendor Hall, where I bought a Vinyl Scratch pillowcase from Drawponies and checked out another enhanced upgrade of My Little Ties’ virtual-reality pony simulator.
Near the end of my day, after witnessing part of a Super Smash Bros. for Wii U tournament, I found my way to the Brony Psychology panel. I’ve been to similar panels at several other conventions, but this one felt a lot more like a tight-knit, open-ended lecture (the classroom setting certainly helped.) The speaker was Yvon Nives, LCSW, CASAC; according to his business card, he’s a licensed psychotherapist, addictions specialist and heart-centered hypnotherapist. It was interesting to hear him talk about how MLP:FiM’s great writing helped reverse his doubts about the show, so he could apply his knowledge of psychology for our discussion about dealing with stress and bullies. The last thing that I did that day was go to The Generations Exhibit, compiling numerous My Little Pony figures and accessories from all generations: this included rare items such as boxed figures from foreign countries and a seven-inch picture disc record from the original series in the 1980s. Once again, I had a fun time at Ponycon, and I look forward to the next one, happening February 13-15 2016.
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