I Had My Mind Blown at ClexaCon 2018 – Part 1
April 4-10, I went on a trip to Las Vegas for ClexaCon 2018, all the way from The Netherlands. Let me tell you, it was so worth the jetlag! In this blog, I will tell you all about my experience, from meeting other LGBTQ women to conducting my first interviews EVER. Being able to go as press has allowed me to learn so much and to talk to so many interesting people. Oh, and the feelings. FEELINGS! If you are thinking about visiting the next ClexaCon but you are unsure how easy it is to go by yourself, this blog might help you!
PS If you need more info about what ClexaCon is, you should read my blog post ClexaCon 2018 in Las Vegas: The Media and Entertainment Convention for LGBTQ Women and Allies.
Wednesday, April 4th – ClexaCon 2018 minus 1 day
THE DAY. About seven months ago, I found out I was granted a press pass to ClexaCon as a blogger from The Netherlands. After some happy dancing around the house, reality sank in. ClexaCon deserves more than simply a blog. ClexaCon requires video. Lots of it.
Therefore, in November, I decided it was time to get up from behind my computer and take a vlogging course. Meemoeder.com had to become more professional. As I was taking the vlogging course, I started gaining more media attention. I was asked to be a guest on a one-hour LGBTQ radio show. I was allowed to cover LGBTQ film festivals. Websites started asking me for guest blogs, including one major LGBTQ website here in The Netherlands. As a result, I was even asked to be a judge at the Amsterdam LGBTQ film festival three weeks prior to ClexaCon! Wow, not what I imagined seven months ago!
Now, here I was, packing my bag and feeling the pressure. Did I have everything? All the equipment that I bought for vlogging? Check! My three shirts with the Meemoeder.com logo? Check. New business cards? Check!
Time to take the train ride to Schiphol airport, which is only thirty minutes from The Hague. My flight was from Amsterdam to Salt Lake City and from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas, which amounted to a trip of about thirteen hours. The layover in Salt Lake City was only 1.5 hours, which was kind of nerve-wracking as the whole border crossing thing took forever. I only had about five minutes to run to the restrooms before having to board.
Thursday, April 5th – ClexaCon 2018 day zero
I arrived at Tropicana about 10 pm, which was 7 am my time. My eyes might have found it difficult to stay open but I could definitely see the many LGBTQ women who had already arrived before me and started exploring the hotel. Despite my migraine, I had a big smile on my face!
I decided to unpack and take a hot bath before heading to bed at 11:30 pm. Then I woke up at 3.15 am. And then at 6.30 am. The pleasures of a jetlag! So, to beat the jetlag, I decided to do the one thing that I had not done the other two times I visited Las Vegas: I ran to the ‘Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas’ sign. See, a little touristy time before ClexaCon cannot hurt!
Then, I made a mistake. See, I have also never visited the Fremont Street Experience. So, I took the bus. I figured I would walk around a bit and head back for speed friending on time. Big mistake! After 45 minutes, I was still only halfway. So, I got out, did a speedy visit to IHOP (hey, we do not have that here in The Netherlands!) and took the monorail back. Around 2 pm, I was ready to meet some people!
Wow! Beforehand, I thought about fifty women would join. Nope! Already, a flood of LGBTQ women was at Tropicana, ready for ClexaCon, which really started on Friday. Soon, we were all positioned at tables. Originally, the plan was to talk with each other for three minutes but the time limit quickly went to one minute and then to thirty seconds.
You cannot have a conversation in thirty seconds. Most of the conversations were really interesting and fun. Indeed, you will always have that one awkward conversation. Still, most of the time, I wish we had more than thirty seconds. Now, I only remembered some faces and I probably walked by most of the people I met during speed friending. Still, speed friending was a great way to meet others and start a conversation (that you can finish later at the convention).
For me, the pool takeover looked a bit overwhelming. If you are going by yourself, this might be an obstacle. I arrived and the pool was completely crowded. If you did not have a group, you probably had to work a bit harder to make contact.
Press had a ClexaCon WhatsApp group and I saw another Dutch number in the group, so I sent it a message. Immy from Filmhoek responded and we (including her friend Denise) decided to meet at the pool takeover. What a great idea! The rest of the convention, we had fun and helped each other out. Yes, I can definitely say you can meet friends at ClexaCon!
Badge pick-up party
Since Immy and Denise had an AirBnB far away, I invited them to my hotel room to eat our dinner. After that, we went to the badge pick-up party. Press passes were available for pick-up there too, so that was way more convenient than picking them up Friday morning. Never having been at a con before, I was nervous enough as I just did not know what to expect. Not having to worry about the press pass sounded good.
The waiting lines were already starting to get long when we arrived at 6.30 pm but man, we were still able to retrieve our press pass rather quickly. After that, we just saw waiting lines and waiting lines and waiting lines.
Mind you, this was the first day of my jetlag and I had been awake since 6:30 am, after having been awake for about twenty hours and sleeping for five hours… So, no, I did not have the energy to dance my ass off. Still, we drank two Fireballs to celebrate flying all the way from The Netherlands for ClexaCon (a decision I may have regretted the day after – the Fireball, not flying). I think I left at around 8.30 pm; sleep was winning the battle.
Part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure
Next week, you can read part two of my ClexaCon 2018 adventure. It will tell you all about the first day of ClexaCon 2018, including my very first interview ever. Stay tuned to find out which celebrity guest it was! This is even easier when you subscribe to my newsletter on the top right or in the footer of this page!