Keegan Flick-Parker is one of the geniuses behind West Coast Geeks vs. Nerds, the new Community Manager at the EXP Restaurant and Bar! He’s a big player in the Vancouver Geek Community, and he’s taken the time to talk about both the Fandom and how much he’s looking forward to Northwest Fan Fest.
Keegan Flick-Parker: A dictionary-style definition of fandom might be an intense appreciation for a certain work, creator, character, or group – but I think that’s really just what fandom looks like from the outside. Most people who would identify as “fans” are people who have a deep emotional connection with whatever it is they are fans of. A lot of us have discovered things about ourselves, met friends (and maybe lovers), and opened our minds to new possibilities thanks to the books, movies, games, characters, and shows that we’ve come to love over the years.
For those of us who grew up being considered a little “different”, I think that fandoms offer a chance for escape – but also a chance to connect with others. When you meet someone who loves something you love, you instantly have something in common that you can talk about. The best way to make lasting connections with other people is through shared passions and interests. True fandom, in my opinion, isn’t about elitism or “knowing the most” or “having the most stuff” but rather is best exemplified by developing and sharing your passion with others.
LMM: How do you explain that to people not in the know?
Keegan Flick-Parker: I don’t know if there is anybody who can’t understand fandom. Everyone must have something in life that interests them or that they are passionate about. No matter what you call them (be it “hobbies”, “crafts”, or “obsessions”) this is fandom. Love sports? Follow your home team? Invite your friends over to watch the games? That’s fandom! Whatever you love – whatever gets you excited – especially something that you love to learn about and share with others – that’s fandom!
LMM: How has being apart of the fandom affected your life?
Keegan Flick-Parker: I don’t think I can accurately say that I’m part of “the fandom” (whatever that is) but rather that I am part of many fandoms that have, over time, come together and mingled to form a cohesive mish-mash of things that I love. My interests in geekery, live theatre, and event production have amazingly come together to guide me down the path I follow today and have led to some amazing opportunities.
I believe that anyone, given enough motivation, dedication, and passion can accomplish virtually anything. It often takes a little creative thinking, and the drive to stick to it through the hard times, but anyone can turn their hobby into a vocation, an interest into a career, their knowledge into expertise. My fandoms have helped me develop myself into a well-rounded person who is able to do the work I love with people I respect and admire. Who can ask for more?
LMM: What kind of impact do events like Northwest Fan Fest have for the fandom?
Keegan Flick-Parker: Whether you’re someone who is interested in learning more about an interest, purchasing merch to decorate your home or show off to your friends, meeting new people (for professional networking or just personal relationships), taking part in entertaining panels and events, dressing up in costume, or just want to spend a fun weekend out of the house… you can get something from Northwest Fan Fest and other similar events.
What Fan Fest can offer that some other events cannot, however, is a commitment to building and maintaining a safe, friendly, fair, and fun local community. The people behind the event are not a large amorphous corporate entity – but rather, local business owners, entertainers, and fans themselves. They want an awesome local event just as much as everyone else, and it really shows in their dedication to making Fan Fest the best it can be!
LMM: What’s your favorite part of Northwest Fan Fest?
Keegan Flick-Parker: Meeting all the people who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to express themselves, learn about new and exciting things, or meet others of like-mind. It’s always a pleasure meeting fans of my show, getting to talk to them about what their interests are, and offer any insight into the local entertainment industry that I can. As someone who enjoys producing and watching local fan-centric events, I’m always happy to meet new people and support new ventures!
LMM: Who are you excited to see at Northwest Fan Fest?
Keegan Flick-Parker: All of you awesome people who are reading this article! Come and say “Hi!” and I’ll give you a high-five!
LMM: How would you get somebody who has never heard of it to come out?
Keegan Flick-Parker: That depends. I think there’s something for almost anyone at an event like this. Check out the NWFF website, take a look at the vendors, artists, panels, and shows and see what appeals to you. The location is super-easy to get to, the facilities are brand-new, and there is so much content to choose from. You’re bound to see something that interests you!
Give it a chance – I’m sure you’ll love it!