Turn out the lights, the party’s over…

Well, Brickworld was a lot of fun – the biggest LEGO event I’ve ever attended, for sure. There were 35,000 square feet of ballroom space, about 600 attendees, and 4 days. I took well over 1,000 photos and had a great time.

Brickworld 2009: Setup
Setup (18 photos)
Brickworld 2009: Serious Play
Serious Play (28 photos)
Brickworld 2009: Presentations
Presentations (10 photos)
Brickworld 2009: Opening Ceremonies
Opening Ceremonies (6 photos)
Brickworld 2009: MOCs
MOCs (1,081 photos)
Brickworld 2009: Crowds
Crowds (7 photos)
Brickworld 2009: VIPs
VIPs (32 photos)

I arrived late Wednesday night and checked into the hotel for one night on my own, since my roommate was arriving Thursday afternoon. After he and his son arrived, I moved my stuff into his room. Sharing a room for an event like this is a really good deal from a financial point of view, but it raises some interesting etiquette questions, sharing living space with a near-total stranger. We got through it just fine though.

My LEGO contribution took about 10 seconds to set up, since all I brought was a block for the Micropolis display. On Thursday, I attended a workshop on Lpub, a program that automatically generates building instructions for LDRAW LEGO CAD files. I also attended several talks on Friday, the highlight of which was a talk by a 13-year-old girl named Olivia who was talking about LEGO from a girl’s point of view. That talk was a huge hit, so much so that she was invited to give it again on Saturday and Sunday, and all the LEGO executives and VIP’s wanted to talk to her – she was clearly the belle of the ball. She used PowerPoint to explain her talk, and avoided all the common pitfalls of PowerPoint – not a single bulleted list! And her speech was very well delivered, with just the right combination of opinion, facts, and wit. She has a career in public speaking ahead of her, in case the LEGO plans don’t work out… (but it sounds like there’s a ticket to Denmark with her name on it!)

I spent most of the weekend taking pictures. There were a lot of great models on display, filling three ballrooms at the hotel. One of the best was by Jenn Wagner (“The Brick Chick”), a great undersea diorama featuring a big blue fish surrounded by corals made out of Clikits and other organic-looking parts. It was amazing, especially under black light. She built a bunch of colored lights into it, and when they turned off the lights at night (since the theme of the event was all about light, we had lights-out times each night to see the models’ self-lighting) it was truly stunning. And the best part was that it was Jenn’s first-ever MOC (“my own creation”)!

A big part of the fun, though, was getting away from the hotel. I had several lunches and dinners with convention attendees who shall remain nameless (partly to protect their privacy, but more in case I forget someone). Last night there was a party in the suite, which I tore myself away from to go to sleep around 1am.

But now, I took the train to Union Station, Chicago, stashed my luggage, and am exploring the sights. I found free WiFi in the food court at the base of the Sears Tower, after I just got done visiting the observation deck on the 99th floor. Next I am going to go wander around Da Loop. If you’re in the area, send me a tweet or something. My flight back to San Francisco leaves around 8:40 pm.