“At SVCC, you can get your technology fix while scratching your pop culture itch! SVCC is where science fiction blends with science fact, and amazing technologies will be on display, from your favorite tech companies, to the newest start-ups and app developers.” – From Silicon Valley Comic Con website
SAN FRANCISCO — Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak had a front row seat as the personal computer began to reshape society. So it made perfect sense to him to bring a convention meshing technology with pop culture to Silicon Valley.
But there are plenty of rules governing everything from attire (“No costume is not a costume”) to weapons and a ban on harassment.
The convergence will occur March 18-20 in San Jose, California, with the debut of Silicon Valley Comic Con. It’s a new twist on an idea that has brought together fans of science fiction, fantasy and superheroes at packed shows held around the world for years.
“I don’t like doing the same thing as everyone else,” Wozniak told The Associated Press Wednesday. So he teamed with four other partners to try something slightly different.
SILICON VALLEY COMIC CON: THE RULES
- Anti-harassment policy
Silicon Valley Comic Con has a zero tolerance policy for harassment of any kind, including but not limited to:
- Unwelcome physical contact
- Verbal harassment or abuse
- Physical assault
- Verbal or physical disruption of sanctioned and scheduled SVCC events
Attendees found breaking our anti-harassment policy face expulsion from the show and/or arrest based on the severity of the behavior.
- Weapon Policy
No functional weapons are allowed at the Silicon Valley Comic Con
Simulated or costume weapons are allowed as a part of your costume, subject to prior approval by security and compliance with the following:
- All costume weapons must be inspected at the Security Desk (location subject to change).
- All costume weapons must conform to state and federal law.
- Projectile costume weapons must be rendered inoperable.
- Nerf guns are allowed, but ammunition of any kind (foam or otherwise) is prohibited.
- Airsoft guns must be rendered completely inoperable beforehand, that is the gun shall not have any batteries installed, nor gas/propellant in the chamber and the chamber must be filled with wax or similar material. All airsoft guns must have a clearly visible orange tip on the barrel. All airsoft guns will be marked by security at weapons check and have their triggers zip-tied to ensure that the gun is incapable of firing.
- Functional (real) arrows must have their tips removed and be bundled and zip tied to a quiver.
- No wooden or aluminum/metal bats are permitted.
- Items such as bullwhips, ropes and lassos are allowed, but must remain rolled and secured at all times.
- Incendiary or flammable weapons are prohibited, including any items that are capable of igniting sparks or flames, burning, exploding or combusting.
- Do not display your weapons or props in a threatening or menacing manner. (For instance, it’s ok to pose for a picture, but cosplayers should not brandish weapons while walking the event floor.)
- Keep prop weapons in convention areas. If you leave the premises or go out into public for any reason, please put away any and all prop weaponry immediately.
- Any real weapons purchased at the convention that would normally be prohibited by the weapons policy, such as pocket knives, swords, etc., must remain in their original packaging and/or taken out to the car as soon as possible.
- Costume swords must be tied to your costume in such a way that they can’t be drawn.
- After each person’s costume weapon has been checked, it will be tagged by security to designate that your weapons have been checked.
- Security will escort you to the Security Desk for inspection if your costume weapon is not tagged.
- If you do not want to have your costume weapons inspected or tagged, or if you are not willing to comply with these policies, please do not bring your costume weapons to the convention.
- Convention Dress Code
No costume is not a costume!
The Silicon Valley Comic Con is a family friendly event, and costuming worn should reflect that basic premise. The minimal dress standards are full-coverage bikini top, and full-cheek coverage swimsuit bottoms. In all cases local and state decency laws will be applied.
- Male attendees are strongly encouraged to wear dance belts under any thin-fabric pants (bodysuits, tights, etc.).
- Precautions should be taken against costume malfunctions (e.g. double-sided tape, pasties, etc.).
- Footwear must be worn at all times; stocking feet without shoes are not sufficient.
- Convention staff reserves the right to insist on modifications of costumes.
Throwing technology into the mix should ratchet up the nerd vibe that ripples through all Comic Cons. A sold-out crowd of about 30,000 engineers, entrepreneurs and pop-culture connoisseurs is expected to swarm into the Silicon Valley event.
The agenda includes a panel devoted to the quantum realm and an “app alley” featuring products from technology startups. The marquee attractions on the entertainment side include William Shatner from the original “Star Trek” and “Back To The Future” stars Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson.
Wozniak, 65, is confident the hybrid convention will be a hit.
“The emotions we have for technology now are the same as we get for movies, celebrities and the whole pop culture side of our lives,” he said.
That veneration of technology helped turn Wozniak’s late partner, Steve Jobs, into an icon — and his October 2011 death into a worldwide wake.
Wozniak himself has become better known through recent movies that retold the story of Jobs and Apple, as well as his guest appearances on TV shows such as “Dancing With The Stars” and “The Big Bang Theory.” He now works at a Silicon Valley startup, Primary Data, and also spends about a third of the year on the road, mostly giving speeches and making other public appearances.
“Everyone I go in the world, people just say, ‘Thank you, thank you,’ even if they don’t happen to own an Apple product,” Wozniak said. “They are just saying thank you for being a part of it all and want to show their love.”
Silicon Valley Comic Con is the first major event that Wozniak has backed since the early 1980s. While on leave from Apple following an airplane crash, he financed the USFestivals, a pair of three-day concerts held in the southern California desert. The events, which featured top acts such as The Police, The Talking Heads, The Clash, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac, drew massive crowds yet still managed to lose about $26 million, according to Wozniak.
He said that won’t happen at Silicon Valley Comic Con, which has already sold enough tickets to turn a profit. Some tickets, which cost from $25 to $99, are still available, though a sold-out crowd of about 30,000 people is expected.
“Ever since starting Apple, I have had the mentality that you should make a profit,” Wozniak said. “That was Steve Jobs’ big role (at Apple). He believed you start a company to make a profit because that is the only way you are going to go on to build other great things.”
Jobs frowned upon Wozniak’s involvement in the US Festivals and probably wouldn’t have thought much of Silicon Valley Comic Con, according to Wozniak.
“He would have been at it in his very early days, but people change and personalities settle in,” Wozniak said. “He became more of the businessman taking the world forward with things like the Apple computer.”
Although Apple hasn’t introduced another hit product since Jobs’ death, Wozniak doesn’t believe the company has lost the “innovation magic” that hatched the iPod, iPhone and iPad during the final decade of its late CEO’s tenure.
“Apple is in great shape to innovate for the next 200 years, just with their cash (totaling $216 billion),” he said. “That buys a lot of failure. One of the things about innovation is you have to risk failure.”
Wozniak is hoping Silicon Valley Comic Con inspires some of the engineers and other entrepreneurs in attendance to gamble on ideas that may seem a little kooky.
“A lot of science fiction starts out as a dream in your head where you go, ‘Wow, that would be cool,’ and then you have the actual technology people turn it into reality,” Wozniak said. “That is the process of creation.”