Kingsport Times-News: All things geek - Time to 'play well' with LEGOs
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All things geek - Time to 'play well' with LEGOs

Matthew Lane • Mar 24, 2019 at 6:30 PM

NASHVILLE — As they did for most kids, LEGOS played a major role during the formative years of my youth.

Since I was an only child, when I couldn’t find any of the other neighborhood kids to play with, I had to learn to entertain myself. And since I was a product of the ’80s, that meant I had only two options: fire up the Atari 2600 or dig out the big box of LEGOs.

But I’m not talking about the cultured sets of today, like with Star Wars, Harry Potter and the Marvel and DC Comics franchises. We’re talking about generic sets like “City” and “Space” and “Castle.” We Gen Xers didn’t have detailed mini-figures like Yoda, Batman or Spider-man.

We had astronauts, firefighters, construction workers and pirates. We had to build our own Tie Fighters, rock trolls and battle tanks. And we did so for endless hours on the floor of our bedroom or the front porch.

Can you tell I enjoyed my LEGOs?

My boundless enthusiasm for these little interlocking plastic bricks is again reaching a crescendo after hearing about a convention taking place in Nashville later this month. It’s the BrickUniverse LEGO Convention at the Wilson County Exposition Center on March 30 and 31.

According to a couple of press releases, the event will showcase local LEGO artists with their various creations. From the pictures I’ve seen so far, these creations are detailed, intricate and, in some instances, rather massive.

They include LEGO versions of famous works of art, notable landmarks (both manmade and natural), plenty of Star Wars vehicles, entire cities with hundreds of mini-figures, giant castles, bridges and skyscrapers and a replica of the NASA space shuttle launch pad.

One of the groups displaying is the Tennessee Valley LEGO Club, a group of adult fans of LEGO (affectionately known as AFOLs). These are folks who build, play, and display creations built with LEGO bricks.

I did not know this, but the LEGO company estimates there are more than 200,000 of these AFOLs around the world. Some of the more famous AFOLs include David Beckham, Ed Sheeran and Britney Spears, all of whom have publicly talked about their affection for LEGO.

And if this convention doesn’t sound like fun already, an award-winning LEGO artist from Canada — Paul Hetherington — will also be in attendance. Hetherington has been featured on national television, including the Discovery Channel.

Other attractions include a Star Wars building area, a Big Brick area for younger fans, plenty of vendors selling LEGO merchandise, and a Fan Zone where fan-built creations will be on display.

Tickets are $18 at the door or $15 online at www.brickuniverse.com/nashville.

Sounds like it’s time to “play well” with LEGOs. Now, who wants to take a road trip?

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