Summer is just around the corner, and the best way to start the season off is taking a deep dive into Regard Magazine’s new summer issue. To celebrate the release of their new piece, Regard Magazine partnered with Burn180 to throw a night to remember at the breathtaking Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills.
As people entered the venue, celebrities were greeted with a VIP red carpet entrance. Some of the talent in attendance included the likes of Top Gun: Maverick’s Jay Ellis, ABC’s Lost Elizabeth Mitchell, and lets not forget Regard Magazine’s summer cover, supermodel and actress Tricia Helfer.
360 Magazine had the honor of interviewing Tricia about her career, and how she was able to yield the level of success. Some advice that she offered to any self-starting individual was “travel as much as you can. I know it’s not feasible at all times, but learning about different cultures and environments can really open your eyes to new things.” It was her way of saying success comes naturally when you have an open mind.
As the red carpet welcomed new attendees, the current patrons were relaxing on the building’s outdoor patio, mingling and partaking in spicy palomas made with Tepozan Tequila. The tequila itself was phenomenal and included benefits of it being estate grown, and 100% additive free. To complement the drinks, Burn180 had presented full-body workout demos with their cutting edge technology.
Safe-to-say, the night was one to remember, and the best part was nobody left empty handed. Public figures and media left with gift bags that had luxury products from brands like High on Love, Calyfx and Tiffany Scott Extensions. For more information on Regard Magazine’s Summer issue, click here!
About Regard Magazine:
REGARD is a leading digital fashion and lifestyle magazine founded in February 2010 by celebrity fashion photographer, Dimitry Loiseau, and celebrity hair and makeup artist, Valerie Noble. With a focus on television and the talent that brings mini-series and TV movies to life, each issue features top actors and actresses, up and coming stars and industry leaders behind-the-scenes. With four issues a year, you can expect to see edgy style, grace, exclusive interviews, and candid behind-the-scenes videos. REGARD is the number one source for beauty, fashion, and everyone’s favorite faces. http://regardmag.com/
PRO Fitness Concepts releases the BURN180 universal resistance band system, with its patent pending re-positionable suction cup plate, that elevates resistance band training to the Pro Athlete Level with a next-generation compact system designed for use anywhere, anytime, by anyone. The BURN180 kit ($299) offers an all-in-one convenient, effective pro-level workout or can be used to enhance any fitness regimen, including rehabilitation/low-resistance strength building, HIIT, functional training, yoga, pilates, and more. Discover versatility at a whole new level and take your workout anywhere. Follow @BURN.180 on Instagram for pro trainer developed 5-minute workouts, fitness motivation, and more. BURN180 – Anywhere. Anytime. Anyone.
Earlier today at Star Wars Celebration Anaheim, fans got an exciting look at what’s to come in Phase II of Star Wars: The High Republic. The highly-acclaimed publishing initiative will begin an all-new era of interconnected stories told across novels, children’s books, and of course, comics! Marvel Comics’ Star Wars: The High Republic sagas will return this fall with a new ongoing STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC comic series and a new limited series titled STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC – THE BLADE.
Launching in October, STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC #1 will see writer Cavan Scott and artist Ario Anindito reunite after their mega successful run on volume 1. Set 150 years before Phase 1, Phase II of Star Wars: The High Republic will center around Jedha, a planet rich in its connection to the Force and the focus of every major faith in the galaxy. The new flagship STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC comic series will introduce Jedi Vildar Mac, who arrives as Jedha’s fragile peace begins to crumble and a nameless terror arrives…
Author of STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC: LIGHT OF THE JEDI and one of the chief architects behind the STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC storytelling initiative, writer Charles Soule will team up with artist Marco Castiello on STAR WARS: THE HIGH REPUBLIC – THE BLADE #1. The four-issue limited series will explore the mysterious backstory of Porter Engle, the Jedi-turned-cook also known as the Blade of Bardotta.
Check out the covers now and stay tuned for more Marvel Comics news from Star Wars Celebration Anaheim! For more information, visit Marvel.com.
Marvel Entertainment, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world’s most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media for over eighty years. Marvel utilizes its character franchises in entertainment, licensing, publishing, games, and digital media.
The 94th Academy Awards were held on Sunday, May 27, at the Dolby Theatre right in the heart of Hollywood. The Oscars ceremony made for a night of unforgettable moments, including the slap that broke the internet.
To reference the story even further, Beyonce’s pre-recorded performance took place at the former Lueders Park tennis courts in Compton. Sporting lime-green tennis-inspired attire, Beyonce and her dancers captivated the audience and started the show off flawlessly.
This year’s Academy Awards saw the return of a host for the first time since the 2018 showing, and three at that. Amy Schumer, Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes shared banter on the stage and separately throughout, successfully beginning with a bit directed towards Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Further controversy surrounding the night stemmed from the pre-recorded award announcement of eight categories and the New York Times stated this included the short films, production design, score, editing, makeup and hairstyling and sound. Conducted to seemingly shorten the duration of the show, this didn’t help much, as the show ended up extending to a long three hours and 40 minutes of showtime. Not to mention the pre-announced awards were aired as if they were live.
Amidst the contentious night of awards, we saw light as Ariana Debose became the first Afro Latina and openly queer women of color to win an Academy Award. While starring as Anita in Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story,” we also saw DeBose become the second Latina to win an Academy Award following Rita Moreno for the same role dating back to 1962.
DeBose commended the trailblazing of Moreno during her acceptance speech while saying, “Now you see why that Anita says ‘I want to be in America,’ because even in this weary world that we live in, dreams do come true, […] I’m so grateful your Anita paved the way for tons of Anitas like me and I love you so much.”
DeBose rejoiced this moment in history, stating, “To anybody who has ever questioned your identity — ever, ever, ever — or you find yourself living in the gray spaces, I promise you this: There is indeed a place for us.”
The most shocking night of the event that has had the entire world talking came when Will Smith punched Chris Rock on-stage after an insensitive comment about Jada Pinkett Smith’s hair.
While presenting the Best Documentary award, Rock joked about Pinkett Smith, stating, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it,” speaking about her shaved hair.
Back in 2018, Pinkett Smith revealed to the world that she had alopecia, which causes hair loss. It appeared Smith was laughing along at first, but then he got up and slapped Rock. After returning to his seat the audio cut out in the United States but was broadcasted internationally where audiences heard Smith then yell, “Keep my wife’s name out of your f****** mouth!”
The conflict left the in-person audience stunned, and Rock reacted by saying, “Will Smith just smacked the s*** out of me.”
Later on, Smith was awarded for his performance in “Little Richard” with the Best Actor award. He apologized for the altercation during his acceptance speech while referencing his role as the Williams sisters’ father in the film while stating, “Richard Williams was a fierce defender of his family. In this time in my life, in this moment, I am overwhelmed by what God is calling on me to do and be in this world. […] I’m being called on in my life to love people. And to protect people. And to be a river to my people.”
He continued by thanking his fellow nominee Denzel Washington who came to his side after the dispute occurred, recalling his words when stating, “He said [to me], ‘At your highest moment, that’s when the devil comes for you.’”
Smith continued to apologize and stated, “I want to apologize to the Academy, I want to apologize to my fellow nominees, […] This is a beautiful moment. I’m not crying for winning an award. It’s not about winning an award for me. It’s about being able to shine a light on all the people. […] I hope the Academy invites me back.”
The night commenced when “CODA” historically won Best Picture. The film celebrates both Deaf culture and actors while becoming the first movie from a streaming service to be awarded an Academy Award.
KO Média is excited to unveil the April issue of ELLE Canada featuring multi-hyphenate Tracee Ellis Ross. The award-winning Black-ish star shares her lifelong love of fashion, from playing dress-up with her stylist to using clothes as a tool for advocacy. “For a while, clothing was like my armor, a way to protect myself,” she says in a candid interview. “When I began to feel more comfortable in my own skin, fashion became one of the most important means of my self-expression.” The new Tiffany & Co. ambassador also talks about finding self-acceptance with age. “I have created a life that works for me, that looks like me, that feels like me, and I know myself. It took me many years to become who I am now, and it feels good.”
Environmentalism is imbued in this issue, with articles that delve into North America’s seemingly insatiable appetite for fast fashion and how environmental racism affects the physical, mental, and emotional health of Indigenous and other marginalized communities. We also explore the role of women in the fight to protect our planet—with a spotlight on four Canadians who are leading the charge—and talk to the teams behind seven beauty brands that are revolutionizing the industry with their sustainable practices.
There’s no shortage of rising stars in this edition. Writer-director Domee Shi shares the inspiration behind her first feature film, Turning Red, and her thoughts on the diverse future of animation. Singer-actor Sonia Ammar reflects on finding courage, self-love, and landing her first major Hollywood role. And, Lana Condor discusses her role in improving Asian-American representation as an actor and a brand ambassador. We also talk to Veepstar Anna Chlumsky about playing a journalist in Shonda Rhimes‘s latest series, Inventing Anna. Canadian photographer Maya Fuhr opens up about her continued push for body-positive beauty standards.
In fashion, we explore the consumer shift toward subtle status signaling; give readers an inside look at Chanel‘s latest fashion show; learn about luxury Italian fashion house Fendi‘s collaboration with Mabeo, a Botswana-based furniture brand; and check in with jewelry designer Valérie Messika on her mission to democratize the diamond. Plus, the ELLE team presents its beauty and fashion trend reports for Spring/Summer 2022.
Finally, a look at how the pandemic has obliterated the boundaries between our work and personal lives.
The April issue of ELLE Canada will hit stands and Apple News+ on March 14, 2022.
Daniel Craig, the most recent Bond, is by far one of the most successful and most beloved. Compared to the other iterations of the iconic character, his films have ranked highly amongst others in the franchise. Starting with his performance in Casino Royale, a soft reboot of the Bond films, in 2006, he retained his position as the 21st century Bond through the most recent film No Time to Die in 2021.
His departure was a major upset to fans, who were large supporters of the actor since Casino Royale (2006), which was heavily praised partially due to Craig’s performance. While his casting was initially controversial and even ridiculed, Craig was known for his different take on Bond, adding depth and emotionality to the character. This was cemented in the original movie of his time in the role, which included the now iconic storyline of Vesper Lynd, who was continually referenced throughout the series.
From then, Daniel Craig’s Bond went through several changes, including Skyfall, which was a massive success, skyrocketing the career of director Sam Mendes and bringing Craig back into the spotlight. Skyfall is considered by many to be one of the best Bond pictures of all time and is widely beloved by fans. In all, Craig acted in 5 Bond films across 15 years, cementing James Bond as a 21st century figure.
However, Craig wanted a change. He did not want to permanently be Bond, and the character was starting to become his entire identity. A plight common for other actors who have taken on the role such as Pierce Brosnan and Roger Moore, Craig sought to expand his identity. While hosting SNL in 2020, portrayed the character several times, including in the opening monologue though he does have a talent to portray comedic roles, as shown with 2019’s Knives Out.
Critically acclaimed Knives Out became a breakthrough role for Craig. Already a fixture in the public eye, Knives Out allowed Craig to show a completely different side to himself as an actor as the comedic Southern detective Benoit Blanc. The film received an Oscar nomination, three Golden Globes nominations, with adulation for Craig’s campy portrayal of a private eye.
With his creative talents turned in other directions, No Time to Die became the last Bond feature he worked on. Thankfully, it was a great way to finish. Directed by Cary Joji Fukanaga (True Detective season 1), this movie was highly enjoyed by fans for the excellent fight sequences, writing, and of course performances. Craig, as always, was incredible, both heart-wrenching and hilarious, and able to keep the audience’s attention throughout the entire 2 hours and 44-minute screen time.
The ending (no spoilers) served both as a deserving resolution for the character and a display of the talents of Daniel Craig. It was beautiful, emotional, and justified for one of the most revered Bonds. It served as an excellent ending to the modern era of Bond films. Only time will tell where Bond will go next.
Where Craig will go next, is a little more solidified than the iconic spy’s future. After 2019’s Knives Out, it’s clear the actor still has a lot to give to the world, possibly with more comedic roles like with Benoit Blanc. With Netflix paying $450 million for two sequels in the franchise, Craig may be at the center of a new film dynasty. Filming for Knives Out 2 wrapped in fall 2021 and much like the original film features a star-studded cast with the likes of Dave Bautista, Janelle Monáe, Ethan Hawke, Edward Norton, Kate Hudson, and more.
While Craig’s tenure as Bond is over, his performances cemented him in the history of the famed franchise, ensuring his legacy as a beloved version of the spy. Who knows what his next performances will offer? One thing is certain: his fans and the world will be watching.
The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” were held on December 7, 2021, where the best in movies, television, music and pop culture were awarded exclusively by the votes of fans. The “People’s Choice Awards” were hosted by actor and comedian Kenan Thompson, and the award show broadcasted live from Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA on both NBC and E! at 9PM ET/PT.
Honorees of the night included the Academy Award-winning actress, director and producer Halle Berry, who was named “The People’s Icon.” The one and only Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was honored with “The People’s Champion” award, and icon Kim Kardashian West received “The Fashion Icon” award. For the first time, the “Music Icon” award was given out and honored to Aguilera.
The 2021 “People’s Choice Awards” winners are as follows:
Carson additionally joined the cast of the withstanding Netflix series Locke and Key for both Season 2 and 3. The series follows the three Locke siblings as they work through their father’s peculiar murder. The siblings seek refuge in their mother’s ancestral home, also known as Keyhouse. Carson takes on the role of “Benjamin Locke,” a vague ancestor of the siblings, whose storyline is set in the 1700s. Season 2 of Locke and Key premiered in October 2021, and Season 3 premieres TBD in 2022.
Notorious for his role in DC Comics superhero movie SHAZAM!, Carson plays “Brett Breyer.” Carson can soon be found in the upcoming Netflix and Lionsgate thriller, Luckiest Girl Alive. 360 MAGAZINE had the opportunity to chat with Carson about his acting career, and what we can expect to see for the future of his career.
When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in acting?
Before I realized how much work it would take to become one. When I was a kid, I would sit and watch movies and think “I could totally do that.” Little did I know just how much training goes into becoming an actor with even a basic level of competency. However, I knew I would pursue it for a living near the end of high school. Interestingly enough, it was once I started having to seriously work at the craft that I fell I became obsessed. A career is a kind way of putting what I lovingly refer to as an addiction. Once I fell in love with the work my course was kind of set for me.
What is the process that you go through to prep for a new role?
A lot of writing initially. I have a 5-page cheat sheet I made to ensure I always flesh out my characters, but that is only usually the initial prep. The fun work comes in the imagining of who my character is and why. Writing I find helps me organize my thoughts. It also ensures that any fleeting ideas I have to add depth to a role are jotted down for me to refer to later. Physicality is an important one for me, getting a character into my body as at the end of the day, that physical work is the majority of what the camera picks up. When I get my head around a character, get my body into the role and get my lines down, I just let it all go and have fun with it.
What is the greatest lesson you’ve learned from the acting world?
One of my personal favorites is the reminder to stay curious and imaginative through all assets of life. Curiosity of self, of others and of things is, in my opinion, one of the purest forms of purpose humans can have. Acting has forced me to question everything, oftentimes myself included, and plunge into characters with circumstances and motives far removed from my own. That curiosity I find is a stream to the more pleasant qualities of people such as empathy, perspective, and self-reflection.
What is a bucket list goal that you want to accomplish in your career?
I would love to star in something that I wrote. It would have to come down the line, as I still have a lot to learn as a writer, but to take a page out of Good Will Hunting, I think the chance to build-a-bear a role that I could then portray would be incredibly enjoyable. That, to me, is also one of the most terrifying tasks I can think of for myself, which is why I think it excites me so much.
What is your #1 piece of advice for aspiring actors/ actresses?
Number one is to always ask why. Ask it about everything, as curiosity and a questioning mind is what I found helped me grow the most as an actor. Another important one that I found helped me a lot is to not take yourself too seriously. Actors are asked to play make believe for a living, oftentimes in highly emotional situations. The industry and the world is going to be hard enough on you, and so I find it important to be forgiving and understanding with yourself if the industry starts to wear you down. Your instrument will grow much faster in a healthy mindset than in one that is self-deprecating or judgmental.
What was the biggest takeaway from being a part of “East of Middle West?”
Externally, a lot of friends. I wish I could have taken that whole cast and crew home with me back to Canada but alas, airlines have a baggage limit. Personally, East of Middle West helped me learn to trust myself. Our shooting schedule was incredibly fast paced, with emotional scenes and high stakes. With such little prep time, a large part of my process became just letting go and flowing within scenes and seeing what would happen. It was at first, terrifying, but as filming went along, I found it to be an incredibly freeing experience. It forced me to trust myself as our timing constraints allowed for no other choice.
How was your experience joining a withstanding show/ team on “Locke and Key?”
It helped that I could watch season 1 and get a sense for how I fit into the cast but more than anything, I noticed the benefits in how efficiently everything was running. Even with the added pressure that COVID put on the production, the whole set was one giant, well-oiled machine. Outside of the whole ‘acting; part of my job, I find that being on set can often feel like being a toddler sitting at the parents’ dinner table: don’t interject in the adult conversations you barely understand and make sure you stay in your spot and listen carefully to your parents’ direction. Locke and Key made me feel as if that internal child was being spoiled rotten at every step of the way. It was truly a joy to be part of such a talented team.
What role, would you say, pushed you out of your comfort zone the most thus far?
Maybe because it’s still fresh in my memory, but my upcoming role in Luckiest Girl Alive. It is such a far cry from anything I have played before, with stakes higher and more brutal than a lot of my previous work. Not to mention the director, Mike Barker, was incredibly gracious in allowing me to experiment with improvisation in my scenes. Scary at first, but with time thinking about ‘what can I throw into this scene?’ became something I looked forward to every day.
What can we expect from Carson MacCormac in the future?
Luckiest Girl Alive, as I mentioned, is coming out sometime in 2022 and I couldn’t be more excited for audiences to see it. I think this film is necessary, timely, and pushes the industry as a whole in an important direction. It also just happens to be one entertaining ride. I worked on a show premiering in January called Astrid and Lily Save the World and boy oh boy, is it crazy. The show is outrageous, wild, and I’m thrilled to be part of it. I have a few projects coming out in 2022 that I can’t quite talk about just yet… and another feature film being released in 2023 that I am very excited to share…. Stay tuned!
KO Média is excited to unveil the Holiday issue of ELLE Canada featuring Diane Kruger. The German-born actor talks about learning choreographed fight scenes for the new action-packed spy thriller The 355, how her life has changed since having a daughter (spoiler: it involves more time at playgrounds and less time sporting cool Chanel boots), and working on a child-friendly set with other mothers. “I’ve never done a movie like this in my career,” she admits. “I usually make films with a lot of men and very few female leads, so this was really refreshing.” Kruger also discusses changes in the film industry now that women have greater creative control, and the fulfilment that comes from playing more nuanced characters. “At this point in my life, I’m interested in roles that show women in their complexity, in their fullness.”
Female creatives abound in this edition. Singer-actor Josie Ho explains why Hong Kong’s male-dominated film industry prompted her to launch her own production company. Actor Aubrey Plaza talks about connecting with young readers in her new children’s book, a dark and twisty Christmas tale. Montreal-born artist Chloe Wise, a lover of food and hyperrealism, reflects on how her work has evolved over the last five years. Kaia Gerber—model, actor and daughter to Cindy Crawford—opens up about the importance of self-care and listening to your body.
With the holiday season upon us, our team has assembled a local gift guide complete with clothes, accessories, beauty products and home-decor pieces from an all-Canadian lineup of brands. We also ask beauty experts to share their insider tips, tricks and must-have items for a polished look at your upcoming IRL soirees. Plus, some limited edition holiday beauty products, Dior’s elegant new makeup line, and must-have hair treatments for winter.
For those swept up in post-pandemic wanderlust, take a trip to Newfoundland’s Fogo Island Inn, a magical retreat imbued with the remote community’s rich history and way of life. And Susan Sarandon weighs in as the global brand ambassador for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. If you’d rather take it easy over the holidays, check out our roundup of the top TV shows of 2021 that you might have missed.
In fashion, this issue takes readers from the ski resort to the catwalk with the latest in alpine chic; explores how Canadian lingerie brand Fleur du Mal pairs whimsy with sexy; and dives into the backstory of the wildly successful Boyy accessories brand. We also get a glimpse of a retrospective exhibition at Montreal’s McCord Museum that delves into the androgynous, avant-garde style pioneered by Parachute.
There’s something for everyone in this edition, from our conversation with Jean-Marc Gallot, CEO of the iconic champagne house Veuve Clicquot, to a wide-ranging discussion with Canadian tennis pro Bianca Andreescu about Cadillac’s first all-electric vehicle, making eco-friendly choices and taking care of her physical and mental health.
The Holiday issue of ELLE Canada will hit stands and Apple News+ on November 16, 2021.
In preparation for Halloween, 360 Magazine has been searching for mysterious creatives. TikTok sensation Emma Norton brings that feeling with her extravagant horror inspired makeup looks. Last week we got to ask her some questions. We were dying to know the answers to. Below is our conversation with Ms. Emma Norton.
When creating a makeup look, where do you draw inspiration from?
First, I want to thank 360 Magazine for your interest in talking with me! It means a lot. I draw inspiration from stories, movies, pop culture, and life experiences. There is also a lot of talented TikTok’ers that inspire me. To be honest, I conjure up most of my ideas from my own imagination. The hard part is making a decision about which idea to execute.
How long does it take to create a makeup look from start to finish?
For some videos, once I make a decision on an idea, I can turn on the sound and camera and film in 1-2 takes. On the other hand, my more complicated make-up looks (my blue tiger and pop art look are two examples) can take as much as 6-7 hours to complete! I typically do all the production work myself in my makeshift home studio.
Do you have a particular makeup and costume look prepared for Halloween?
Halloween is hands-down my favorite holiday. Like last year, I come up with multiple Halloween costumes and make-up looks I use for different events or for special videos. I prefer not to say just yet what this year’s costume will be – but I promise it will be show-stopping!
How does the pressure of having so many followers affect your process of putting together the perfect look?
The fact there are no controls over my creative process or my content is a big deal to me. Sure – at times I feel pressure to increase my followers or maximize views and likes. Some of the looks I’m most proud of don’t receive the love I hope for. But in the end, I’m committed to being a “creative” – and as long as I feel positive about my content, I say bring on the pressure!
Do you feel your following has impacted your creativity?
I do receive lots of requests – to reprise a character people love (like Harley Quinn), to create a character I’ve never done, or even to livestream a tutorial for a particular make-up technique. I’m grateful for the engagement and suggestions from my followers. But I’m always thinking about new characters and looks! That creative challenge is what gives me the greatest satisfaction.
What sorts of products do you use?
This question is actually hard to answer! I have so many favorite make-up and clean-up products. I really like Morphe’s Avani Collab and use it all the time. I also love Patrick Starrr’s lashes and IT Cosmetics CC Cream. You can get my clean-up favorites from any supermarket or drugstore. If I have heavy make-up on, I spread coconut oil all over my face to loosen the make-up before using baby wipes for sensitive skin to remove the make-up. For occasional skin flare-ups, I like Clean & Clear Spot Treatment.
What’s Next for Emma Norton?
As far as future projects, several months ago I relocated from my home in Denver to Los Angeles, and I’m 100% focused on pursuing my dream of becoming a film/TV actor. Acting is my first love. Besides acting, I’m working on a few partnerships with brands that I believe in and look forward to promoting.
I hope to leverage my platform to bring greater awareness to two wonderful organizations. Lollipop Theater is an organization dedicated to bringing entertainment (like me) to children confined to hospitals nationwide. I also support charity: water’s mission of providing clean water to communities worldwide that don’t have access to this basic human necessity.
New York City’s Comic Con is a key annual fan event dedicated to Western comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, movies, television and more. First held in 2006, this classic event was canceled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, devastating fans who look forward to this mainstay of popular culture. Yet this year, Comic Con made its triumphant return, though it looked a little different in the attendance of both its exhibitors and fans. 360 MAGAZINE got the full scoop from well-versed fan Rodney Ramlochan on how this event has changed. He offers comments on the good, the bad, the Covid, and the in between for 360 readers. Read Ramlochan’s full testimony below:
To say that I love New York Comic Con is an understatement. For over a decade, as a pop-culture geek, I’ve enjoyed the fantastic guests, panels, original art, unique exhibitors, industry merchants, and one-of-kind exclusives. It has always been one of my favorite events to cover, and as a die-hard fan, I was deeply disappointed that the pandemic caused last year’s convention to go virtual. However, I was thrilled to hear that the event was coming back in person this year. Since much had changed over the past eighteen months, I thought it would be cool to experience the event as a fan rather than cover it as press. I also wanted to test-drive ReedPop’s Metaverse membership for ordering in-person tickets and focus on the overall fan experience, including Covid safety precautions and notable differences between this year and cons from yesteryear. Here are my post-Comic Con impressions.
I purchased tickets a few months ago in July using the MetaVerse presale process. Of course, this was before the uptick caused by the Delta variant strain. I didn’t expect any issues with purchasing online as I’ve never really had a problem buying 4-day or single-day passes in the past. Still, I was interested in trying out the new Metaverse Membership that gives you first access to NYCC badges, photo ops & autographing tickets. My mission this year was to get both an autograph and photograph with William Shatner, epic space captain of the Starship Enterprise and now a real-life astronaut. In addition to getting first dibs on NYCC in-person tickets, the Superfan membership allows you to buy MCM Comic Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and C2E2 tickets. You can also get paid digital experiences, exclusive access to video content and celebrity panels, access to exclusive NYCC merchandise online.
The Superfan Membership process was relatively seamless. I signed up at the end of June using the Metaverse Membership email and bought tickets using a dedicated link on my profile page within a few days. I purchased single day passes for each day of the convention, and I was contacted for the opportunity to purchase photo ops and autographs in addition at the end of September. Overall, I’d say the membership was worth it. It’s perfect for the fan who would rather have a more significant window of time to purchase tickets. Outside of remembering to click on the notification reminder emails and follow the presale, photo ops, and autographs links, ordering is straightforward. There are no worries about getting tickets for the exact days you want to attend. If you are good with the allotted time frame afforded by the standard ordering process, then paying for the Superfan membership may not be beneficial at this time. However, I do wonder what the future holds for purchasing tickets in the future. Suppose the Superfan method of buying in-person tickets becomes more popular. Will it impact the standard order process and make it more challenging to obtain single-day passes post-pandemic? Only time will tell.
As far as Covid safety protocols, enforcement, and logistics, the ReedPop and the Javitz Center team did a great job managing this. Before attending, I was uncertain why New York Comic Con needed a partnership with CLEAR Health Pass. Especially since vaccination proof was a requirement for attending and could be validated using vaccine cards and existing apps like the NY Excelsior Pass. In hindsight, standardizing the application that everyone uses for admission was a smart move. At the very least, it streamlined the process and expedited entry for most. I picked up my green ReedPop vaccine wristband at the Javitz Crystal Palace a few nights before opening. It took me less than 5 minutes to show the CLEAR app and retrieve the band, and in many ways, this process foreshadowed the overall feel and attendance for the convention. NYC began requiring proof of vaccinations in early September, and the event was following suit. The mandate may have impacted attendance, as I read many social media comments from individuals that stated they wanted to return or sell their tickets because they didn’t know the vaccine would be mandated before purchasing. But, as a whole, most people in attendance complied with the requirements. I was there all four days and only encountered two individuals not wearing masks on the main floor. I didn’t notice security enforcing the mask mandate, but I did hear that a vendor and few individuals had been removed from the showroom floor for not following the rules. At my William Shatner autograph and photo ops sessions, plexiglass partitions protected Shatner and the fans. Partitions were used at all reserved signings and photo op sessions. According to ReedPop, 150,000 paid in-person attendees were at the event this past weekend compared to 250,000 in previous years. Even with 100,00 fewer people, this was the largest indoor in-person event held in New York since 2019, showing a great evolution from where things were at the start of the pandemic. It was good to see that all of the proper safety protocols were in place.
One of the most significant differences between this year’s Comic Con and past shows was the notable absence of large exhibitors like Disney, Marvel, DC, Image, Sony, Amazon, SYFY, and distributors like Funko and Midtown Comics. Of course, it didn’t come as a surprise, as we had been receiving no-show notices practically every week leading up to the event. I’m sure it deterred some folks from attending, but I think it helped provide a unique experience for those who did. It minimized the crowd and offered other smaller exhibitors an opportunity to showcase their properties and spend more time with fans. As a result, I spent a lot more time than I would typically have at smaller booths. For example, I met the great folks at Plunderlings, a boutique toy line presenting a fresh take on fantasy universes from a Caribbean perspective. Although some of the major players weren’t present, there was an excellent turnout for anime fans from Toei Animation, Funimation, VIZ Media, and Tamashii Nations. Without having to compete for floor space, it seemed as if their exhibits doubled in size. If you were a fan of these companies, it was probably the first time in years that you could casually stroll through their exhibits without waiting in line. Although it was less crowded, the show floor did not feel empty. As expected, Saturday and Sunday saw an increase in volume of attendees, but nothing compared to the previous years.
One of the most extraordinary changes this year was the unveiling of the new Javits Center expansion project. It took a few minutes to figure out exactly where floors 4 and 5 were, but once you found them in the building adjacent to the old center, you were treated to the fantastic skyline and river views on the way up to the panel rooms and the new Empire Stage. There were a few blockbuster live panels, including Ghostbuster and The Boys; however, many panels like Sandman Act II and Wheel of Time were pre-recorded videos. I did sit in on the Sandman panel, but post-viewing, I felt a bit underwhelmed – watching a video of writer Neil Gaiman, audiobook director Dirk Maggs, actor James McCoy (who voices the title character), and actor/filmmaker Kevin Smith (who voices Merv Pumpkinhead) was not the same as seeing them in person. In addition, ReedPop introduced a new reservation system for the larger panels instead of the “badge tap-in” process used in the past. I have mixed feelings about this, as it didn’t appear that anyone’s reservations for the panels were being checked. It may have been because there was excess capacity remaining at the events I attended. However, I will note that the folks at the Tamashii Nations booth to purchase their exclusive Super Saiyan God Super Saiyan Son Goku figure did check for reservations.
Overall, expanding the panels to the new venue resulted in two significant outcomes. First, it allowed more space to return to smaller fan-focused panels, which featured creators interacting with their fandom instead of pitching major studio events. Second, moving the panels out of the main building allowed for Artist Alley to take back a prominent role I felt it had lost over the past few years. This year, the Alley was front and center, featuring principal mainstays like Fabian Nicieza, Chris Claremont, Rob Leifeld, and Scott Synder amongst many others. I especially enjoyed chatting with Ben Bishop, one of the key artists on TMNT’s The Last Ronin.
Undoubtedly, many of this year’s Comic Con changes resulted from how best to host an event during a pandemic, but many of the changes also focused on improving the fan experience. As a result, NYCC 2021 felt more like the NYCC of 2011, but with a few notable improvements. Creators were able to connect more with their fandoms, fans were able to stop and appreciate exhibitors and artists more, and ReedPop unveiled a few new processes to streamline crowd control and help fans maximize their time at the event. It wasn’t perfect, but as a fan, it exceeded my expectations, and I’m even more looking forward to a pandemic-free NYCC next year.
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