Indiana Comic Convention 2023 Photos, Part 2 of 2: Actors and Activities!

Me doing jazz hands with Grant Gustin.

It’s Grant Gustin! With The Flash soon coming to a close on The CW, TV’s Barry Allen is finally hitting the Midwest convention circuit.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife Anne and I attended the ninth edition of the Indiana Comic Convention at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. They refrain from calling themselves “Indiana Comic Con” on paper for tiresome legal reasons that aren’t their fault, but to us they’ll always be Indiana Comic Con.

ICC 2023 was another opportunity to look at walls covered with old comics, meet people who create reading matter, boggle at toy displays, respect the anime fandom whose population dwarfs us older generations, and find space to breathe among or away from those cheerfully ever-growing crowds. Although the showrunners reserved less space than they did for last year’s edition — in fact, they moved the show back to the halls where the inaugural edition was held back in 2014 — geek life nevertheless thrived in abundance…

…relatively speaking. The smaller square footage meant noticeably fewer vendors than last year. In hindsight we probably didn’t need weekend passes, but we’d taken advantage of an early February sale that got us in Friday and Saturday (we almost never go on Sundays) for a mere five bucks less than what folks were paying for Saturday-only passes day-of at the door. So we did some stuff, but not as much as usual.

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C2E2 2023 Photos, Part 2 of 4: Actors!

us with Chris Evans, all doing jazz hands, and he is smiling SO brilliantly.

Chris Evans! Yes, Chris Evans! Yes, THAT Chris Evans! Yes, really!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

My wife Anne and I just got home from the latest edition of the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″), a three-day extravaganza of comic books, actors, creators, toys, props, publishers, freebies, Funko Pops, anime we don’t recognize, and walking and walking and walking and walking. After its 2010 inception, we attended every year from 2011 to 2019, then took a break due partly to the pandemic and partly due to guest lists outside our circles of interest. This year’s strong lineup lured us back in, much to our delight…

…though we took our sweet time deliberating whether or not to take the plunge again. We committed a mere three weeks before showtime, and we’re glad we did. We needed some time away from home and cheerfully added three more guests to our jazz-hands photo gallery, including the esteemed gentleman pictured above.

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GalaxyCon Columbus 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 4: The Stars in Our Galaxy

Cast members from "Smallville" doing jazz hands with us.

It’s a Smallville cast reunion! Us with star Tom Welling (Clark Kent pre-Superman), Kristin Kreuk (Lana Lang), the always ebullient Michael Rosenbaum (Young Lex Luthor), and John Glover (his dad Lionel Luthor).

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: each year when there isn’t a pandemic fully raging, my wife Anne and I love attending entertainment and comic conventions throughout the Midwest and occasionally a bit beyond. We’re fascinated by the spectacle of each and every in-person nexus of geek cultures that presents a confluence of comics, artists, cosplayers, hobby artifacts, rare collectibles, IP-inspired handicrafts, talented performers and celebrity guests with fandom connections of varying levels of dedication and/or awesomeness.

The last comic-con we attended before the pandemic was GalaxyCon Louisville 2019, which was a well-run show with a fair assortment of vendors and an eclectic guest list that suited our fancies. Sadly, subsequent negotiations between the showrunners and city officials broke down, and GalaxyCon Louisville disintegrated even before public health became an issue for con-goers worldwide. As consolation they’ve turned their attention and services to other cities willing to meet them halfway in providing for everyone’s geek-out needs. As it happens, this past weekend’s inaugural GalaxyCon Columbus (the one in Ohio) set out more than enough bait within reasonable road-trip range that the two of us were lured out of the house once more after previous 2022 outings to Star Trek: Mission Chicago, Indiana Comic Con, and Fan Expo Chicago. We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

And what we do wherever possible is collect jazz-hands photo ops with actors from films and shows we’ve liked. Before I get into the usual rundown of events, let’s take a moment to celebrate the new faces who happily costarred with us in our little-five second bursts of joie de vivre and shall be added to our jazz-hands Pinterest board for posterity.

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Captain Janeway’s Homecoming: Star Trek Fans Welcome Kate Mulgrew to Bloomington

Mulgrew and Janeway statue!

Live from Indiana, it’s TV’s Kate Mulgrew!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last May my wife Anne and I stopped in Bloomington, home of Indiana University, to check out the bronze statue of STEM icon Captain Kathryn Janeway that was unveiled in October 2020 as a tribute to Kate Mulgrew, the celebrated star of Star Trek: Voyager. As it happens, Voyager writer/producer Jeri Taylor, a Bloomington native herself, inserted her hometown into Janeway’s canonical backstory. The city’s fans took that nod to heart and commissioned the artistic tribute accordingly in her future birthplace. It was a kick for us to admire the results in person.

As if that weren’t enough Mulgrew awesomeness for us this year, we also met her in person at Star Trek: Mission Chicago back in April, attended her rather lively Q&A at same, and read her two candid, riveting memoirs. I could go on with links to our other Trek-related experiences of late, but suffice it to say we can’t seem to stop tripping over Trek lately.

But wait! There’s more!

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Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 4: The Stars in Our Galaxy

Picard Cast!

Anne and me with the Picard team of Michelle Hurd (Ash vs. Evil Dead), Annie Wersching (Timeless, Marvel’s Runaways), Isa Briones (the touring version of Hamilton), and Evan Evagora (Blumhouse’s Fantasy Island).

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I are big fans of geek/comic/entertainment conventions. Sometimes we shell out for photo ops with actors from our favorite movies and TV shows. If they’re amenable and don’t mind taking posing suggestions from a pair of eccentric middle-agers shaped like two lumpy bags of potatoes, our favorite theme is jazz hands. We’re not dancers and we’ve only attended two Broadway shows so far, but we love the idea of sharing a moment of unbridled joie de vivre with anyone who’s game. We can’t remember which of us had the idea first, though the inspiration surely came from a few different possible sources we share. It’s silly, but it’s our thing.

The weekend of April 8-10, 2022, marked the inaugural Star Trek Mission, the first in a planned convention series from ReedPOP, the showrunners behind the much-vaunted C2E2 and other comic cons. In this geek endeavor ReedPOP in conjunction with Paramount Pictures hopes to do for Gene Roddenberry’s creation what the Star Wars Celebrations do for that rival galaxy. As it happens, the premier shindig was held in Chicago, a mere three hours away from our humble dwelling. Anne and I watched the old Trek shows back in the day (though she was the far, far more intensely studied fan) and recently subscribed to Paramount+ for catch-up on some of the new generation. ST:MC offered excitement for every level of Trek fandom, from the elderly who watched the classics on CBS in the ’60s to today’s tykes who count Star Trek: Prodigy in their animated streaming diet. The two of us decided it was the perfect place to kick off our 2022 convention season and a good choice for our first major event since Dragon Con 2021. Naturally we had to see how many new pics we could add to our jazz-hands photo-op collection.

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Dragon Con 2021 Photos #12 of 12: The All-Star Saturday Grand Finale With Wall-to-Wall Paneling

Dragon Con Badge 2021!

The fun thing about attending Dragon Con fan panels is you can collect ribbons from them that can be affixed to your badge to make it, like, even badgier.

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…

It all comes down to this: Saturday, September 4th, our final day at Dragon Con 2021 before we spent all of Sunday driving home. Well, not all of Sunday — Labor Day Eve traffic was so light and unsupervised that, after adjusting for pit stops, we made it from Atlanta to Indianapolis in less than eight hours. We actually had extra time to ourselves when we got home, which was nice. But that was the next day. This is the day.

September 4th was also the week before the twentieth anniversary of 9/11, which has no relevance here whatsoever but very nearly counts as fun trivia, except it isn’t.

We’ve covered a large chunk of our Saturday activities already. I promise this installment won’t take nearly as many words as the last one. Thanks to the amazing colossal Dragon Con app, which includes an archive of your past shows, this one was easy to organize by time stamp.

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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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Our 2021 Road Trip #1: Return of the Roadside

Danville Illinois celebrity mural.

An all-star cast welcomes you to our latest travel chronicle!

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. We were each raised in a household that couldn’t afford annual out-of-state family vacations. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. Eventually we tired of some of our self-imposed limitations and figured out how to leave the comforts of home for the chance to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

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How Many Talented and/or Famous People Have You Unfairly Outlived?

Chadwick Boseman.

The late Chadwick Boseman in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, posthumously released today on Netflix.

The year 2020 is an incorporeal super-villain mastermind and everyone’s list of grievances against it is longer than a protest march and bitterer than black coffee tinged with chicory and herbicide. I’ve tried to work through several of my own fears and anxieties here throughout the course of the year, but one nagging thought has escaped articulation for months. It’s the sort of riddle that drives a thinker nuts if they dwell on it too long. Every faith and/or philosophy has a response to it, but not necessarily an answer. “All is within God’s Plan.” “Everything will make more sense in the end.” “The universe works in mysterious ways.” “Perhaps we’ll never know.” “Everything is meaningless and we’re all doomed so why worry about it.” Or put it out of mind and distill it into Kurt Vonnegut’s black-humored humanist shrug of “So it goes.”

Faith notwithstanding, it bugs me anyway. I’m 48 and counting. I am who and what I am. I have my uses, but I’m just me. Why did Chadwick Boseman only get to make it to 43?

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Our GalaxyCon Louisville 2019 Photos

Day and Ray!

Me with Jonah Heston and Kinga Forrester, a.k.a. Jonah Ray and Felicia Day from Netflix’s MST3K revival. Yes, this was a very good day.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last year my wife Anne and I had the sincere pleasure of attending the inaugural Louisville Supercon, a three-day festival of comic-con goodness with screen actors, anime/animation voice actors, comic book creators, and other talents in the house to sign, pose, chat, and thrill. A con on the cusp of a holiday season was a tough sell for us, but we gave it a shot and had a blast, albeit on a tight budget at year’s end.

Fast-forward to today, and here we are again. Our budgetary crunch was even tougher because this year half the inanimate objects in our house have broken down and demanded attention. We made plans for a return engagement in Louisville anyway, now subsumed into a larger organization and rechristened GalaxyCon Louisville. Once again all the dreams we could afford to indulge were fulfilled, and we didn’t experience a single issue that could be blamed on the con. It was smoothly run A-plus fun except for the part where our aging bodies failed and imposed limits upon us. (Among other lessons, I learned trying to carry a heavy convention bag with the strap slung on your shoulder that’s just received a flu shot the day before is…not a pleasing sensation.) Otherwise: 12/10 very awesome, much entertainment, would convention there again.

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