So there was driving to the new AnthrOhio hotel. It was just about the same trip, except that instead of finally ending by turning right off of US 23, the satellite navigator took us from 23 to ... I'm going to say I-71. Doesn't matter if it wasn't. The point is we turend off of that major road to an Interstate, which we stayed on for maybe a mile (a very slow mile; since we had to leave Coon's Candy by 5 pm, we were getting into Columbus at rush hour), then turning off that onto another Interstate, that to drive on barely long enough to get onto the road before turning off again. It was this strange, slowly constricting spiral of access ramps. But we finally got to the surface streets, to finally approaching the hotel, to the burned-out remnants of a Bob Evans that was listed as a place to eat in the con book. Apparently it was a really bad fire and pretty recently. Place was destroyed.
Also we passed a strip mall promising the Continental Movie Theater. Its sign promised that they were showing Scary Movie V. I didn't even know there was a Scary Movie V. We'd pass the sign a couple more times and it would fascinate me. I wrote down the movies they promised they were showing. They included Olympus Has Fallen, G.I.Joe: Retaliation, Oz the Great and Powerful, Oblivion, 42, and Evil Dead.
So what the heck? Why are they showing the films of 2013? That doesn't even make sense for a second-run theater. This would be, like, sixteenth-run. We formed a hypothesis. It was ridiculous but, given our familiarity with things like Conneaut Lake Park, it seemed sufficient: when the place closed down five years ago they left the board running.
We were wrong.
bunny_hugger found their Yelp page and that they were still getting reviews. They're still showing movies. This week they're showing Infinity War, Deadpool 2, Sherlock Gnomes, and Life of the Party. They're also showing Kaala, in both Tamil and Telugu-language versions. This is an (Asian) Indian movie and apparently the theater has a modest existence as the place to see Indian films in Columbus. Based on the reviews, the theaters may be run-down and the films might start at the wrong time and not quite be in focus and it might smell funny. But it's not expensive and it's got this niche. And the sign out front promises the movies of five years ago because ... uh ...
We're going with ``when the place changed owners five years ago they didn't get the passwords to the lighted sign''.
And it turns out that the Continental is more than just a bizarre movie theater. It's a 40-year-old quasi-utopian project, a mixed-use place that combined a shopping mall, apartments, and services into one big but walkable place. According to articles about its decline and eternal hopes for redevelopment, it was a swinging, happening place for young adults to start their lives all through the 70s and 80s --- heck, who back then didn't want to live in the mall, at least a bit? --- and then come the 90s and it wasn't. There's probably no single reason, but the place is surrounded by Interstates, Boring Corporate Parks, Boring Light Industrial Parks, a Wendy's, a Skyline Chili, and the burnt-out husk of a Bob Evans. You can make assumptions, although see how I was wrong four paragraphs ago.
But we finally got to the new hotel. It's much larger than the old hotel. The main rooms block is seven storeys, compared to the Holiday Inn's nearly three. It overcomes even the enormous growth of the convention since the new management decided to grow. There were officially 862 attendees listed this year; that's more than double what it was three years ago.
The hotel's nice enough. Newer than the Holiday Inn, although it's hard to say that it's in much better shape. We'd spend much of the weekend just learning the new layout; by about Saturday I was getting the hang of it. We were on the third floor, convenient, as there was a small express elevator near the panel rooms that only ran from the first through the third floors, giving us an alternate way to get back to the room. And the convention did not fill the hotel; there were people who just happened to be staying here while hundreds of weird-dressed people wearing mascot suits were playing. I understand the thrill of a convention taking over a whole hotel or, with Anthrocon, the whole city. But people who were just here because they were attending a vague relative's wedding finding out there's a theme park crashing their space? That is such good energy.
We got our badges in about the one five-minute window of the registration room not being overloaded. And we saw mystee, just long enough to agree that we were so glad to see each other and had to talk more over the weekend. We'd miss each other the rest of the con.
But on to important stuff. We could get to Hot Head Burritos, a fast-food chain that hasn't got up to the Michigan area yet and that we like in ways that people who live with the place surely roll their eyes at. Don't care. We really like it and we were able to get there before it closed. Also to have me distracted by seeing, muted, a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode that I surely knew but just could not identify. Finally I saw a scene that helped; it was the one where Data sets up a ham radio rig and gets a call from a little girl whose planet has a case of the imminent-explosions.
Back at the con there was ... not really much of anything happened. We explored the area, getting some idea of where stuff like Main Events would be, and hung out in Hospitality. Saw a couple people we recognized. Mostly, just eased into the convention space until it was a good time to get to bed.
Trivia: There is no evidence that the New York Knickerbockers sought to print or distribute or promote their 1845 rules, now seen as the first codified set of rules of baseball. Source: But Didn't We Have Fun? An Informal History of Baseball's Pioneer Era, 1843 - 1870, Peter Morris.
Currently Reading: Oswald the Lucky Rabbit: The Search for the Lost Disney Cartoons, David A Bossert.
PPS: Poking around Rye Playland still.
Under-the-fence view of The Dragon's roller coaster unloading. Yes, the guy in the back seat is getting off the ride in the wrong direction; there's always somebody in the group.
Some of the old cars from The Dragon are set up where anyone can just sit in them and wonder how they didn't used to have seat belts or lock-down bars. (The roller coaster isn't that crazy. And it has a fixed bar in place that one could grab if one felt uncertain.)
Detail of the historic plaque that talks about The Dragon's history and significance, including what seems like a diagram that explains how the roller coaster works. It seems like it's from a patent application, although I'm not sure there was anything in The Dragon that would have been patentable.