SDCC 2022: Pandemic Edition #1 | Festivals & Awards – Roger Ebert

The activation for the CBS sitcom “Ghosts” was the “Summer of Ghosts” at Petco Park. You got your tarot cards and/or palm read, got to participate in some archery and got your photo taken. Doing each activity meant you received patches which could then be exchanged at the “camp” commissary for items ranging from weird (an arrow through the neck which references the show) to practical (a metal cup).

Through word-of-mouth, I heard great things about the “Severance” activation by Apple TV+. The series is about the sinister Lumon Industries, which uses a “severance” medical procedure to separate non-work memories of their employees from their work memories. Our group of 15 was delayed at the entry point when a press person attempted to enter the activation without a face mask. Face masks were required at all SDCC activities unless one was actively eating or drinking. While this activation wasn’t an official part of SDCC, its first requirement was wearing a face mask. This person gave three different excuses, but ultimately, the activation crew insisted that a face mask be worn and the person complied. According to the activation crew, the actors have SAG requirements in place.

At past SDCC weekends, you could get into a screening at SDCC just by walking around the Reading or Horton Plaza. That part of SDCC has been lost. Architect Jon Jerde’s Horton Plaza which helped revitalize the Gaslamp district after opening in 1985 was closed down in 2020. That meant another off-site venue, one commonly used for screenings for SDCC was no longer available. 

For this iteration of SDCC, there were free screenings, but you might need a car to attend. On Friday, CinemaBlend and AMC Theatres sponsored a screening of a new horror flick, “Barbarian,” at the AMC Mission Valley as part of AMC Thrills & Chills program. Collider and Hulu had a screening of “Prey” the previous evening. For the surprisingly funny “Barbarian,” writer/director Zach Cregger and one of the stars, Justin Long, were at the screening for a short presentation about the film and posters were given to all the attendees. 

While Jerde’s Horton Plaza is gone, the family-owned yogurt shop that has kept me alive, fed and hydrated for every SDCC survived. The Sweet Things Frozen Yogurt shop on the Promenade level of Hilton San Diego Bayfront had to close down during the pandemic. Jake Scornavacco, managing partner, organized a GoFundMe fundraisers with a goal of $50,000 and managed to raise $26,997. The closure was, “really nerve-wracking for our family. The shop has provided for our family for a long time. It is the heart and soul of our family … Comic-con guests, they feel like family because of their loyal support,” Scornavacco said. “From a sales perspective, this is our best comic-con every. And it’s not all about sales for us.” Getting to see their regular comic-con customers, some who might come daily or even twice daily gives the whole whirlwind weekend a family feeling. “So many people were so excited to offer their own support and were so genera to spend their hard earned money to support the local businesses in the area.”