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Our Fantastic Food Fest 2018 Photos

Gallery Pastry Shop!

Fruit tarts from the Gallery Pastry Shop in Broad Ripple. At right, their almond cookies were among Anne’s favorite bites of the day.

This weekend my wife Anne and I had the pleasure of attending the third annual Fantastic Food Fest at the Indiana State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis. This annual event bringing together the best and brightest providers from numerous restaurants, markets, farms, caterers, bakeries, and other tremendous sources of locally sourced ingredients and cuisine under one roof for foodies to gather and escape winter doldrums. Year One’s big show kicked off our new yearly tradition with the perfect headliner, Chopped host and hometown hero Ted Allen. Year Two brought us the immense pleasure of meeting Chopped judge and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli.

This year, we weren’t there for TV personalities or jazz-hands photo ops. If you know who TV chef and NPR contributor Sara Moulton is, or if you’re a fan of celebrated Hoosier chefs or food bloggers, this was the show for you. For us, this time was all about the food.

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Our 2017 in Jazz Hands: Another MCC Convention Photo-Op Gallery

Alex Kingston!

My personal fave from this year: at WIzard World Chicago, Alex Kingston, whom I first saw on NBC’s ER. Much later she returned as Doctor Who‘s Professor River Song. She was one among three of the Doctor’s companions we met in 2017.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, one year ago:

Here in the doldrums of January, when not much is going on outside our humble abode, my wife Anne and I have already tentatively mapped out our 2017 convention plans, with room for additions if any wild opportunities come up in the months ahead. As an antidote to the soggy winter blues and the current political climate that has all but murdered my enjoyment of most of the internet lately, we’d like to take a look back at the actors we’ve met over the past three years with this very special photo compilation of one of our favorite convention activities: asking actors if they’ll join us in a bit of jazz hands.

That previous gallery collected our jazz-hands experiences from 2014 to 2016. Our 2017 has come and gone and, as previously reported, we broke our personal record for most events attended in a single year, which added up to a veritable chorus line full of what Broadway pros call “Fosse fingers”. We won’t come anywhere close to topping ourselves in 2018 or for the foreseeable future, so please enjoy the following clipfest starring a plethora of talented folks who have impressed us in movies or on TV who were willing to play along, including one accredited pro who was actually there on the front lines at the dawn of the jazz-hands era.

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Midlife Crisis Crossover 2017 in Review: Our Colossal Comic-Con Year

Queen Anne!

Alternate take of Queen Anne on the Iron Throne at Wizard World Chicago 2017.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the sixth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Come January we’ll be reaching our 1,700th entry, reflecting once more on the thousands of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive vanity project, and rationalizing new excuses to keep sharing even on those harder days when it’s just me, an unresponsive void, and my wife Anne saying nice things to cheer me up.

Good news on the stats front, in a way: 2017 site traffic was up 10.75% over 2016’s, which had nearly matched 2015’s. We’re still nowhere near returning to 2014’s historic levels, but I’ll take any signs of improvement. MCC had a few memorable moments this year, including one special, horrible, awful occasion that saw our largest traffic influx since 2013, the last year we posted costume photos from Gen Con. Curiously, our biggest attraction the previous year was also the result of an unhappy headline that sparked interest in our own personal tangent. The readers of the internet have spoken loud and clear the past two years: they love us most whenever we have something to share about unhappy things. In a coincidental twist, this may also be why people turn to Twitter more than ever for their daily fix of news and/or commentary and/or metaphorical exploding heads.

Onward, then, to our annual blog-stats party! Featuring a selection of photos from the year that was, all outtakes previously unposted here on MCC. Enjoy!

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Our Fanboy Expo Totally Awesome Weekend 2017 Photos

Ripley and loader!

Ellen Ripley’s Caterpillar P-5000 Work Loader from Aliens. Sure enough, she does have a Class 2 rating.

As it worked out, our last out-of-state foray for 2017 took us to the longest-named event of our year. Since 2012 Fanboy Expo has been a staple of the scene in Knoxville, Tennessee. After a presumably successful show in June, this year they branched out to a second show in October, the Fanboy Expo Totally Awesome Weekend. We’ve never been to a basic Fanboy Expo, but we gathered the Totally Awesome Weekend spinoff was built to focus more on the actor guests than on the “comic” in “comic con”. I deduced this not from any public statements on their part, but on the fact that the guest list on their official website listed five (5) comics/animation artists and six tattoo artists. This is abnormal compared to the events held in our usual bailiwicks.

That disparity doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. My wife Anne and I are more satisfied when a show finds a fair balance comics and entertainment guests. This time, however, we saw FBTAW as a companion piece of sort, the flip side of the previous weekend’s Cartoon Crossroads Columbus. There, I’d had the opportunity to overdose on comics; this weekend it was Anne’s turn for a whirlwind reunion tour with familiar faces from the classic TV of her childhood. It was only fair, especially since her birthday’s this coming week.

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Our Cartoon Crossroads Columbus 2017 Photos

CXC Comics!

So you say you like comic books? Not just like them, but LIKE-like them? Have we got a show for you!

Last Saturday my wife Anne and I had the pleasure of attending the third annual Cartoon Crossroads Columbus, an enlightening expo in the heart of Ohio for hardcore fans of comic books, graphic novels, the Graphic Storytelling Medium, and whatever other labels my fellow fans slap on their favorite hobby. You’d think Anne and I had our fill of cons after all the shows we’ve been doing this year. We can honestly say we’ve officially reached burnout, but CXC isn’t your ordinary average “comic con”. CXC has no Hollywood actors. No celebrities. No cosplay. No photo-op booths. No gaming. No eBay toy dealers. No Funco Pops. No comic shops selling Marvel Ultimate trades by the pound as horse feed. No lengthy list of famous guest cancellations due to filming or showrunner malfeasance. And no sugar gliders.

What does that leave, you may ask before you close your browser tab in disappointment? Comics. CXC puts the “comic” back in “comic con” and then runs the “con” part through an intense filtration process to produce the purest possible form of the original sense of the phrase. CXC is the perfect show for the comics fan who’s disappointed by the increasingly mixed bag that the average Artists Alley has become at many large-scale shows. CXC is a bountiful bazaar for the collector who wants to buy something besides prints or self-published novels. CXC is a happy haven for readers who know there’s more to comics than Marvel and DC. CXC is a knowledgeable nexus for the artistic literati above my station, sneering at any comics retailer who thinks stocking some Image Comics by former Marvel writers is all the “diversity” they can handle.

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Cincinnati Comic Expo 2017 Photos, Part 2 of 2: Who We Met and What We Did

Me Falling!

Lesson learned: sometimes we all have to be reminded that we are in fact not Batman.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Saturday morning my wife Anne and I drove two hours southeast of Indianapolis to attend the eighth annual Cincinnati Comic Expo in the heart of their downtown that’s not so different from ours. The guest list seemed a little thinner, particularly in the comics department, but we had such a great time last year that we agreed an encore was in order.

“Boy, you guys sure do a lot of cons!” is a thing we keep hearing lately from family and friends who’ve noticed how our 2017 has been going. The tone and implication vary by speaker.

We keep expecting the Midwest convention boom that ignited for us in 2015 will eventually fizzle out, but it hasn’t happened yet. Anne and I agree and keep telling each other we need to cut back on conventions, if for no other reason than to have more time for all the other aspects and responsibilities in our lives. But the temptation is hard to resist when so many cons keep popping up within a manageable driving distance for us, based on the road-trip skill set we’ve developed over the past nineteen years. It’s harder to resist when showrunners actually invite guests we’re excited to meet. And it’s hardest when we’re talking about shows we’ve done and loved before.

That’s how Cincinnati Comic Expo, having passed all three qualifiers with flying colors, beckoned to us for a second year.

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