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On Memorial Day weekend you can enjoy one of the best pop-culture events in Arizona, when the Phoenix Fan Fusion arrives May 23-26 at the Phoenix Convention Center. Our reviewers Charlene Gile and Erin Shelley share a few things about this popular comic/sci-fi/movie/TV convention.

Things to do: Previously known as Phoenix Comicon, this convention offers fans the chance to take a photograph with their favorite celebrities like Jeff Goldblum, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime “fookin’” Lannister!) or Paul Reuben (Pee-wee Herman), or have a book signed by their favorite writer. You can get autographs, play in the gaming center, learn new skills and, best of all, you can meet other fans.

Things to see: There are panels and workshops for those who want to have fun, along with those who want to learn the craft and science behind their favorite speculative-fiction. Exhibit halls offer the opportunity to mingle with crowds of celebrities and fans, many in costume. There are dances, room parties, contests, adult-themed entertainment and children’s play areas.

Things to buy: For those who love to collect things, the Phoenix Fan Fusion vendor hall offers options, including movie or television memorabilia, books, comics, costumes, posters and your favorite fantasy weapon. For those who don’t need a new Princess Leia slave outfit, we can pick up an amusing T-shirt or two.

Things to remember: Hydrate. Stay cool, especially in a large costume. Use sunscreen, particularly in a skimpy costume. Wear comfortable shoes. Children and babies are happier in comfortable clothes and costumes. Lines for the popular panels form very early. Bring snacks. If you are driving in for the day consider the Light Rail. If you are staying at the hotel keep in mind that wait times for pizza can be long. You might want to try something new.  

Things not to miss: With so much to see and do, we both have our “don’t-miss” events. Charlene wants to see Diana Gabaldon, and hopefully pick up another signed book from the Outlander series. Jeff Goldblum is also on her “must-see” list. As an avid shopper and people watcher, she plans to spend time in the Exhibit halls, looking for the perfect gifts and tchotchkes. Erin, obsessed with Game of Thrones, will attend Nikolaj Coster-Waldau’s session. She also grew up on the original Star Trek series, so a chance to see George Takei, Walter Koenig and Nichelle Nichols thrills her Trekkie heart. Her Doctor Who heart can’t wait to hear stories from Catherine Tate, who played Donna Noble in several seasons of Doctor Who.

For more information on attending, visit https://phoenixfanfusion.com/. Where else can you see both Jaime Lannister and Pee-wee Herman?

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