Saturday, August 11, 2012

G-FEST XIX: Kaiju U. "Good Morning, Class"

Tim Bean, collector of all things Ultra

It was not a clean break from the end of Tom Tvrdik's art session to the beginning of Tim Bean's presentation. The child artists were still very much involved in their creations when Tim and I got his DVD up and running. However, as images of vinyl delights began to appear onscreen, attention began to shift, gradually at first, and then growing in intensity over the next twenty-five minutes.

Tim shared footage of figures from Japan's Bandai Museum, which is enough to cause embarrasing salivation from kaiju collectors. But then the video presentation turned to his own gargantuan collection, and by this time, a number a kids (and their parents) had amassed near the front of the room, and began to pepper Tim with questions and comments. It became a very interactive session, and was also pretty awe-inspiring, as Tim shared not only what he collected but why.

Andy takes aim at clueless kaiju

Last up was yours truly, giving a madcap half-hour crash course entitled "Diary of a Kaiju: All of Godzilla's Films in Thirty Minutes." Using a Powerpoint presentation timed to change slides once a minute, I broke down each film's plot from a kids' perspective. In other words, my point was not to say, "This is the best Godzilla film," or "This is the worst." I just treated each film as a vaild document about Godzilla (which is really what kids do) and tried to mix in a few interesting factoids for the adults who were present. How did I do? Aaron (Dr. AC) Christensen, writing on his blog, "Horror 101 with Dr. AC," called it "an awesomely inspired whirlwind tour," which is a better assessment than I could've hoped for, and was grateful to receive.

And then, just like that, the allotted two hours were gone. The kids' thread completely exceeded my expectations in terms of participation, and the presenters--J.D., Tom, and Tim, each brought a unique perspective and activity to the table. Best of all, Andy and I both made new friends, sharing the instant bond that happens the moment you ask, "You mean, you like Godzilla, too?" (Right here I'd like to give a special G-greeting to our friend Tommy from Wisconsin--looking forward to seeing you at G-FEST 20!)

Your friendly author firing up the laptop for "Diary of a Kaiju"

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