Quick report on CombatCon (Las Vegas)
Briefly, CombatCon is an annual conference held at the Tuscany Suites hotel just around the corner from the Las Vegas strip, blending Western martial arts and fight choreography with various pop-culture genres (steampunk, fantasy, science fiction etc.) This is a very subjective report as the convention is set up on multiple streams - participants choose from a huge range of classes, panel discussions and so-on, so everyone's experience is different.
The event officially kicked off on Friday but almost all of the actual classes on that day were specialized master-classes in things like lightsaber fighting (taught by Kyle Rowling, one of the guys who worked on the Star Wars prequels), bullwhip cracking, etc. Evening events included a screening of the "Bartitsu: the Lost Martial Art of Sherlock Holmes" documentary and a charity auction to support the documentary "Be Here Now", chronicling the life and death of Australian actor Andy Whitfield, who died of cancer shortly after starring in the TV series "Spartacus: Blood and Sand".
Saturday's highlights (for me) included the 2-hour Bartitsu intro. seminar, several panel discussions and the production of a pitch video for CLANG, Neal Stephenson's swordfighting video game. I had a look in at numerous other classes including bowie knife fighting, various flavors of two-handed sword and rapier fencing, bare-knuckle boxing and wrestling. Several tournaments were held that evening, including the popular two-handed sword tourney, and later there was also a costume contest/dance party.
On Sunday I attended a very unusual class called the "Alien Fight Club Experience" taught by Paradox Pollack, who has done fighting and movement design for movies like Thor, Star Trek and I Am Legend. I sat in on several other interesting panel discussions on topics including Motion Capture for Martial Arts Movies and checked out classes on catch wrestling and the use of the elbows in classical pugilism. There was a stage combat contest that evening.
On Monday morning I had just enough time to return to the Strip and visit a very interesting museum exhibition on the art and inventions of Leonardo da Vinci, before heading for the airport.