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Sub-cultures rule at Supernova (James Marsters interview) | BrisbaneTimes

Sub-cultures rule at Supernova

Lucy Meyer
June 24, 2011 - 6:38PM
    Supanova guest and Buffy star James Marsters.

    Supanova guest and Buffy star James Marsters.

    For 10 years, members of a particular subculture have been gathering around Australia making geek chic at the annual Supernova Pop Culture Expo.

    They are easily recognisable by their outlandish attire - fluoro lycra, prosthetic elf ears, fake weapons and ketchup masquerading as blood are all common.

    In their usual lives, they are corporate types, tradies, and students, but just like Clark Kent, when the time comes, it's off with the suit and tie and on with the spandex and cape.

    United by their love of Sci-Fi, comic books and fantasy, these self-confessed nerds come out of the woodwork for the Supanova pop culture convention.

    This year, I was amongst them, sent out as WAtoday's insider to experience what Perth fans are in for this weekend.

    Supanova has always held a certain appeal for me, a fan of Joss Whedon's cult TV shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but I couldn't bring myself to cross the line from loyal fan to fully-fledged nerd.

    Visions of pimple-faced teens dressed like Steve Urkel held me back, but when I heard that a number of Whedon alumni would be making appearances, I decided to give it a go.

    To get a sense of what I was in for I spoke with 2011 Supanova guest and Buffy star James Marsters.

    In his younger days, the 49-year-old was a die-hard Trekkie who went to conventions dressed as Spock. When Marsters rose to fame as punk vampire Spike on Buffy in the late 90s, he made the transition from adoring fan to adored star and now attends more than four conventions every year.

    Marsters recommended I wear a costume.

    "I think a lot of the time in society there's a pressure to conform," he said. "That's just completely stripped away at a convention and you can really be whoever you want to be."

    I decided to dress as a Buffy character in a giant fluffy bunny costume. When in Rome ...

    When I arrived at Supanova, I found my crazy costume fit right in. Everyone (even Darth Vader) wanted a photo with "the bunny".

    I was overwhelmed by the activities on offer - Q&A's with favourite and famous stars, comic book and DVD sales, karaoke competitions, and photos with everyone from I Dream of Jeannie's Barbara Eden and Billy Daily to Harry Potter's Tom Felton.

    Over 30,000 people flooded in to the Sydney convention and more than 14,000 are expected to flock to Perth's Supanova this weekend.

    It's not just Australians who enjoy getting their geek on. Pop culture conventions around the world are increasingly popular. The most famous event, San Diego's Comic-Con, attracts larger crowds every year.

    In 2010, a whopping 130,000 turned up. So why are these conventions so popular?

    According to Marsters, it's because of the sense of community they create. He says people feel comfortable at conventions, and are able to express themselves. I saw his point. As I looked around, I could not imagine any other place where a middle-aged man can get into his Chewbacca costume, belt out an 80's ballad and be applauded for doing so.

    "There's no shame in being a sci-fi fan, or a fantasy fan anymore," says Marsters.

    "All of the big movies, X Men, Thor, Harry Potter are all sci-fi, fantasy or comic book stories. I'm sorry man, but we won."

    Supernova Perth will be taking over the Claremont Showgrounds from tonight with a special preview until Sunday.

    Gates open on Saturday and Sunday at 10am and tickets are available from Ticketek or at the door.

    SOURCE
    Tags: cast: james marsters, event: perth supanova expo, event: supanova pop culture expo, james marsters interview, james marsters pics
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