C2E2 Weekend (Post 1 of 3)

This past weekend, The Girl and I ventured down to McCormick Place to attend our first Con (short for convention): Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2). We had such a blast – much more fun than I could have anticipated.

We stayed at the Marriott Marquis, which is attached to McCormick Place via a system of walkway bridges that connect all the hotels to the convention center, something that’s a definite plus in Chicago in February. We never had to go outside and brave the cold. Plus, all of the hotel employees were extremely nice and accommodating. For one, we didn’t drive down until after dinner, so we checked in late (around 8:30pm) on Thursday. Once settled in the room, The Girl said she was hungry. I should mention that this weekend was her birthday gift, and I wanted her to have the best time possible. So, against normal family “policy,” I went down to the food hall where they had grab-n-go items for purchase. When I told the woman behind the counter that I just wanted to get a couple of bags of chips, she said, “Oh, you’re fine. Just take them.” What?! FREE food in a Chicago hotel?! Color me shocked and awed!

Back in our room, chips consumed, we tucked in for the night.

In the morning, we got up, had some breakfast, The Girl got her cosplay on and we set out on our adventure. As we traversed the pedestrian walkways, we encountered all sorts of characters… some we could ID (Thor, for one), and some we didn’t. As we stood in the security line and observed the varied fandoms represented around us, I realized I was quite happy with my decision not to cosplay and to instead just wear a geeky shirt. I was much more comfy than if I’d had to contend with makeup/wig/accessories, etc. The Girl, however, was in her glory dressed as CatBug.

My CatBug in front of the Big C2E2 sign just outside the show floor.

Now, when she asked me to help her make a CatBug costume, I had no idea what she was talking about. Turns out, I did a good job. Not only did she tell me she LOVED it, but other con-attendees who knew who CatBug was recognized her, asked to take her photo (it’s a thing there), and one little girl was so excited she could barely get out the words to ask to be in a photo with her.

I had various Panels (discussions/interviews/activities) earmarked, but all The Girl really wanted was to wander the show floor. And, boy, did we wander. There were vendor booths for just about every fandom possible. Not just comic books, but apparel, figurines, jewelry, posters, artwork, and other merch(andise). The one that really gave me a giggle was something I saw at one of the 3D printer booths.

It’s a Game of Thrones reference. If you are a fan, you’ll giggle too. If not, well, it’s just too much to explain.

One booth that The Girl visited multiple times a day was that of Friends of Scales Reptile Rescue. I had to keep reminding her that we were not going to get a pet snake, skink, or tegu.

Throughout the show floor, The Girl was in her element, recognizing cosplay characters from all sorts of things I never even heard of (though I was just as entertained as she was). Especially when we stopped in the Family HQ area and she ended up behind bars, literally.

The highlight of the day (for me) came in the afternoon, when we queued up for our first celebrity photo op with George Takei (Sulu from the original Star Trek series). As we waited in line, The Girl was posting on Tik Tok (like you do), and asked me, “What’s this dude’s name again?” I looked at the man standing in front of us and said, “Some photo ops are for her, some are for me.” He and I chuckled, then I helped her spell T-A-K-E-I.

I wish I’d come up with something clever to say, but when our turn came I just went with good manners. I stuck out my hand to shake his, and said, “Mr. Takei, it’s a pleasure.”

I wish I’d come up with something clever to say, but when our turn came I just went with good manners. I stuck out my hand to shake his, and said, “Mr. Takei, it’s a pleasure.”

Now, either before or after the photo op (I can’t remember), we were standing around and I had one of those moments when I recognized someone, but my brain didn’t fully process who it was until the moment was gone. Coming out of the photo/autograph area, walking quickly and purposefully with a couple of C2E2 staff, was none other than Adam Savage of Mythbusters fame. I knew he was going to be at the C2E2, but hadn’t planned to see him at all. When I did, I’m so glad it was from afar, as my jaw dropped in surprise and I flung out my hands. Of course, he saw my speechless self looking like a fool. He smiled and nodded as if to say, “Yep, it’s me.” So, that was fun.

A little bit later, we headed over to the Main Stage area to attend his spotlight panel. This is when I got a bonus surprise! I was only vaguely listening when the the MC introduced the panel moderator (who didn’t participate in this panel except to introduce George), but when she walked out I though, “Wait… is that???” and then when she started speaking, “OMG it is! It’s Glory!” Glory (the actress’ name is Clare Kramer) was the “big bad” on season 5 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I adore that show – so much that I have all of the DVDs. We still watch on occasion. Oh, I longed to have a photo op with her, but alas, she was only serving as panel host, and not doing photo ops or autographs.

Giddy from seeing a bonus celeb, I had to make myself refocus to listen to George. The Girl was a tad bored, but she did hear him tell his stories… and what a storyteller he is!

He told us about being closeted most of his adult life in fear of being outed and never working again.

He told us about being closeted most of his adult life in fear of being outed and never working again.

He told us about being closeted most of his adult life in fear of being outed and never working again.

He had great stories about his late friends and co-stars, Leonard Nimoy (Spock) , DeForest Kelley (Bones), and Jimmy Doohan (Scottie).

He had great stories about his late friends and co-stars, Leonard Nimoy (Spock) , DeForest Kelley (Bones), and Jimmy Doohan (Scottie).

He had great stories about his late friends and co-stars, Leonard Nimoy (Spock) , DeForest Kelley (Bones), and Jimmy Doohan (Scottie).

When audience members asked questions, his answers were more fantastic tales. For example, he told us the origin of his catch phrase, "Oh myyyy!" which started with his first appearance on the Howard Stern show. George walked in to the studio and said, "Good morning." Howard responded, "You have a very deep voice. Anyone with a voice that deep must have a huge dong!" George asked, "Are we on the air right now?" and Howard said, "Yep," to which George responded, "Oh myyyy!"

When audience members asked questions, his answers were more fantastic tales. For example, he told us the origin of his catch phrase, "Oh myyyy!" which started with his first appearance on the Howard Stern show. George walked in to the studio and said, "Good morning." Howard responded, "You have a very deep voice. Anyone with a voice that deep must have a huge dong!" George asked, "Are we on the air right now?" and Howard said, "Yep," to which George responded, "Oh myyyy!"

When audience members asked questions, his answers were more fantastic tales. For example, he told us the origin of his catch phrase, "Oh myyyy!" which started with his first appearance on the Howard Stern show. George walked in to the studio and said, "Good morning." Howard responded, "You have a very deep voice. Anyone with a voice that deep must have a huge dong!" George asked, "Are we on the air right now?" and Howard said, "Yep," to which George responded, "Oh myyyy!"

Of course, no talk of Star Trek would be complete without several references to Tribbles.

Of course, no talk of Star Trek would be complete without several references to Tribbles.

Of course, no talk of Star Trek would be complete without several references to Tribbles.

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He told us about being closeted most of his adult life in fear of being outed and never working again – a lesson he learned when his heartthrob, Tab Hunter was outed by a tabloid and never seen on screen again. After decades of hiding himself, sneaking into gay bars and fearing raids and arrest, he finally deciding to come out in 2005. By then, he had been with his now husband for some time. That was the year when despite California Senate and House passing marriage equality, then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it. George and his partner (now husband) Brad were so infuriated because Arnold had professed himself to be an ally as part of his campaign platform, but clearly, he changed his mind and decided to play along his party line. George and Brad decided it was important for them to finally have their voice, and George put Arnold on blast. I say good for him!

When George compared the Star Trek TV shows and movies to Tribbles, he wasn’t wrong… they seem to continually have offspring. The same comparison was made for the generations of fans, to whom he expressed his humble gratitude. Without the fans writing in after the dismal ratings of the first season in 1964, Star Trek would have been cancelled. Just think of the negative impact on so many of our technological advances (cell phones, tablets, ear buds, etc.)? Not to mention the positive impact the casts diversity had on their viewership back in the 60s. Star Trek truly saw the future and we are all better for it.

Once George’s talk was over, we wandered the show floor again for another hour, until I finally couldn’t take any more walking around with a 25lb (give or take) backpack (because I’m the mom and I carry stuff). After our trek back to the hotel, I checked my step count. I don’t normally do so, but we did a LOT of walking.

No wonder we were exhausted!

After a quick dinner, we headed back up to the room for the night.

Seen in the elevator – a sure sign that a cosplayer was here.

The Girl grabbed a shower, I stretched, and we crashed hard.

Stay tuned for all the haps on day 2!

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