Dragon Con 2021 Photos #2: A Cosplay Sampler

2020 cleaning supplies cosplay!

A round of applause for those 2020 MVPs, the Hygiene Theater all-stars! Flanked on each side by a pair of…uh, RocketDoge?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday. In the year of our grand pandemic 2020 we attended exactly zero conventions for easily guessed reasons. In 2021 several cons made their comeback plans, but Dragon Con stepped up hardest and made us some offers we couldn’t refuse. We didn’t have to think long or hard before accepting the special rules under which this pandemic-era show would be held…

To our surprise and delight, thousands of cosplayers showed up in full effect to showcase their sartorial talents and represent for their fandoms, despite the mandatory masking protocols. Some used plain masks to make them easier to overlook; others chose accessories with matching elements or incorporated them into their costumes. The rules were very specific that attendees couldn’t simply throw on a Ben Cooper plastic mask or a Latex Halloween head and consider themselves compliant. The masks felt and looked odd in a convention setting for about six minutes until we all remembered we’ve been staring at masks, masks, and more masks for over a year now. In a world where everyone’s doing mask cosplay, they were just more visual blips that blended in to our kaleidoscopic surroundings.

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #1: Return of the Jazz Hands

Battlestar Galactica Jazz Hands!

Classrooms are small and cramped aboard the Galactica, but I will totally make jazz-hands lessons work for these promising students.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: in 2019 my wife Anne and I attended our very first Dragon Con in Atlanta, Georgia. As one of the longest-running science fiction conventions in America, Dragon Con had received rave reviews from our internet friends over the past two decades, some of whom recommended it to us more than once and, according to my notes, would never shut up about it. In 2019 we caved in, took the plunge, and had a blast. We returned home to Indianapolis with a plethora of new memories, hundreds and hundreds of photos, and a shared suspicion that we’d return someday. Not every year, but someday.

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My 2021 Reading Stacks #3: Stan Lee, Presented

Abraham Riesman's "True Believer: The Rise and Fall of Stan Lee".

The man. The myth. The marketeer. The misery.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Welcome once again to our recurring MCC feature in which I scribble capsule reviews of everything I’ve read lately that was published in a physical format over a certain page count with a squarebound spine on it — novels, original graphic novels, trade paperbacks, infrequent nonfiction dalliances, and so on. Due to the way I structure my media-consumption time blocks, the list will always feature more graphic novels than works of prose and pure text, though I do try to diversify my literary diet as time and acquisitions permit.

Occasionally I’ll sneak in a contemporary review if I’ve gone out of my way to buy and read something brand new. Every so often I’ll borrow from my wife or from our local library. But the majority of our spotlighted works are presented years after the rest of the world already finished and moved on from them because I’m drawing from my vast unread pile that presently occupies four oversize shelves comprising thirty-three years of uncontrolled book shopping. I’ve occasionally pruned the pile, but as you can imagine, cut out one unread book and three more take its place.

I’ve previously written why I don’t do eBooks. Perhaps someday I’ll also explain why these capsules are exclusive to MCC and not shared on Amazon, Goodreads, or other sites where their authors might prefer I’d share them. In the meantime, here’s me and my recent reading results…

I set this feature aside for a while because I knew which book would be next in line and dreaded how much headspace it would require. With its paperback edition coming soon, now seems a good time to exorcise it.

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 5 of 5: And the Rest

Indy sign and Ferris Wheel!

It isn’t Anne’s first time posing next to an “NDY” sign, but it’s our first shot with one that also includes a Ferris wheel and a duck hat.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. At least, normally we attend every year. You can guess why there was no 2020 edition…

It all comes down to this: all the other stuff and things we encountered that didn’t receive their own chapters. A few of these subsections could’ve been expanded into individual entries, but the State Fair ended last weekend and is now well past its internet shelf date. Let’s wrap this up before Anne and I embark on our next potentially exciting endeavor later this very week, what say?

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 4 of 5: The Year in Art

stained glass Captain America shield!

…the red and the white and the blue’ll come through / When Captain America throws his stained-glass shield!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. At least, normally we attend every year. You can guess why there was no 2020 edition…

Anne and I are at that age when we’re more interested in visiting the exhibit halls than we are in discomforting or injuring ourselves on the Midway rides. We enjoy seeing what new works of paint, photography, building blocks, and science have been offered up for the various competitions. The State Fair holds its massive celebrations on behalf of our farmers, but Indiana has no shortage of artists, either. They come from all demographics, work in multiple media, bring ideas from pop culture as well as from their own home life, and all contribute in their own ways to the Hoosier State hometown legacy.

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Our 2021 Road Trip #8: The Art of the City of Five Seasons

Emperor Augustus bust, Cedar Rapids.

Fires wave behind a bust of the Emperor Augustus, sculpted circa 25 B.C.

Cedar Rapids, Iowa, is nicknamed “The City of Five Seasons” courtesy of an advertising agency hired to boost their image back in 1968. The fifth season is not a specific calendar range, but rather an ambiguously conceptual phase in which a Cedar Rapidsian ostensibly kicks back and enjoys the other four. That’s not as loose a paraphrase of my sources as you might think. Perhaps one must attain a certain meditative state in order to transcend the space-time continuum and enjoy spring, summer, winter, and fall as a four-way point in time, a singular melange of all their sensations, and Cedar Rapids is the one true nexus of all seasonal ley lines whereupon arcane Iowan magic manifests the sensory cross-section of freezing sunshine, fiery snow, plants blooming bright orange, and year-round pumpkin spice.

Maybe you just have to be Of The Rapids to get it. Or maybe the real fifth season was the friends we made along the way. We forged no new friendships in the big C-R, but we enjoyed perusing their copious art flourishes, from their art museum to the surrounding area.

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 3 of 5: The Year in Lego

Lego snow leopard!

Lego snow leopard!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. At least, normally we attend every year. You can guess why there was no 2020 edition…

In addition to the nonstop celebration of food, for some reason Lego is a frequent sight at our State Fair. 4-H kids and competitors in other art contests routinely turn in works of Lego as their favorite sculpting medium. There’s nothing emphatically Hoosier about them. To my knowledge we have no Lego factory and no Legoland theme park. Indiana was not a beachhead for Danish explorers. The Lego Indiana Jones sets have nothing to do with us, much as we might wish to contrive otherwise. But at our state fair there’s always room for Lego.

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Yes, There’s a Scene After “The Suicide Squad” End Credits

The Suicide Squad Movie Poster!

Unquestionably the bloodiest film I’ve ever seen on an IMAX screen, or likely ever will see on one.

Sure, I could’ve been a better blogger and rushed to type my thoughts after being flabbergasted (at IMAX size, no less) by James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad while it was still cool on opening weekend and before everyone decided it was “over” because it didn’t make $400 million at the box office, as if the HBO Max day-and-date release was never a mitigating factor. What else is there to say about a film so nakedly audacious about its primary objectives, so cocky about its body count in all the trailers and interviews, and so thorough in exceeding its dark-humored, extreme expectations? Besides adding that, yes, I too said “wow” and “YUCK” more times than I could count?

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Our 2021 Road Trip #7: American Nothic

Jimmy Carter Gothic parody.

President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn on the January 1977 cover of Punch shortly before his inauguration. Art by Wally Fawkes, a.k.a. “Trog”.

Sure, you could Google parodies of Grant Wood’s American Gothic and see six million of them online, or you could support the arts by driving hundreds of miles and paying museum admission to see a fraction of them in person. Well, not the original artwork itself, mind you, just old copies of the publications and merchandise that have used some. And one monitor slideshow of countless others, some copied-and-pasted from online and others possibly drawn by local DeviantArt account holders for fun. But that still counts as an art exhibition of sorts, I rationalize.

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Indiana State Fair 2021 Photos, Part 2 of 5: The Darling of the Duck Dash

My wife gives a duck.

Yep, there’s the woman I love and other birds of a feather.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. At least, normally we attend every year. You can guess why there was no 2020 edition…

In addition to the nonstop celebration of food, our State Fair also loves its live animal activities. Folks can attend 4-H livestock judgments, wander stenchful barns, pet a few benign critters, pay quarters to help overfeed them, gag while watching live veterinary surgeries, and more, more, more. Sometimes when a smaller-scale event promises animal action, we might go take a gander, as we did at the Great American Duck Race.

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