Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 4 of 4: A Two-Day Mission

Strange New Worlds Captain Chair!

Fun with green screen! Fans could sit in one of two captains’ chairs and be inserted into promos for either Strange New Worlds or Star Trek: Prodigy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. Naturally we had to see…

As in all other MCC miniseries about our con experiences, it all comes down to this: the overlong grand finale in which I recount every anecdote I didn’t already share, post one last round of photos, and see how many readers make it all the way to the end, days after the event is long past and everyone’s already looking forward to the next con. It’s a draining process with few rewards, but that’s my thing.

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Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 3 of 4: Props and Merch

Borg and Saurian skulls!

Not your Trekker parents’ kind of “Bones” reference: the skulls of a Borg and a formerly obscure Saurian, plucked from The Motion Picture like a Mos Eisley Cantina action figure and repurposed for Discovery.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. Naturally we had to see…

It wouldn’t be a convention without opportunities to spend money and/or see objects inspired by, or actually used in, the source material that entertained the fandom at large. The exhibit hall wasn’t large by any convention’s definition, with not many vendors on hand, all of them phaser-focused on Trek and Trek accessories, but fascinating objets d’art surrounded fans on all sides.

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Star Trek: Mission Chicago 2022 Photos, Part 2 of 4: A Piece of the Cosplay Action

Balok!

Yes, there’s an alien after the Star Trek end credits: Balok from “The Corbomite Maneuver”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. Naturally we had to see…

It wouldn’t be a very special MCC convention miniseries without at least one cosplay gallery. Trek cons are a tricky affair for us appreciators and amateur shutterbugs: plenty of fans attend in costume, but the theme for 95% of them is “me, but in Starfleet”. That’s awesome for inclusivity’s sake — anyone can dress the part and belong instantly — but we can’t just stop and bug everyone we see out of civilian attire. Also, we haven’t watched Discovery or Prodigy (and we’re only partway through Lower Decks), so there’re newer characters outside our recognition zone. Spending a lot of our time in panels and photo-op lines doesn’t help with this secondary objective, either. When time and energy permitted, we compiled the following modest fraction of the total fashion statements represented at the con on Friday and Saturday. Enjoy!

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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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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 12: An Omnibus of Outtakes

Liz #3!

Andy Warhol, Liz #3 (Early Colored Liz), 1963. Part of a series of thirteen.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours roaming and observing and contemplating and feeling. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

I didn’t mean for this series to run so many chapters, but that’s a tribute to how overwhelming their collection of collections is. Until and unless we can schedule an encore visit, for now we conclude with yet another selection of works from the galleries we’ve already covered, some of whose chapters could’ve been twice as long if I hadn’t arbitrarily saved some of the best (and the rest) for last.

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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 11: Caveat Sculptor

Pelican!

Emmanuel Fremiet, Pelican, 1896.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, minds open, heads tilted, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

All around the galleries are sculptures filling the wide gaps of floor between the walls. Some were easy to overlook as we found ourselves transfixed on the two-dimensional classics hanging from the perimeters, but we braked here and there for a few three-dimensional delights — some from famous names; some from anonymous, untraceable antiquity. And yes, there were nudes.

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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 10: The Last of the Famous International

The Key!

Jackson Pollock, The Key, 1946. Yes, that’s Pollock making the charts in two different sections in the Institute. And we’ve got more Pollock on tap for the outtakes! Pollock Pollock Pollock Pollock Pollock!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, jaws dropped, heads tilted, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

By the time we were halfway through the “International Modern Art” section on the third floor, we were losing steam. Hours of winding through labyrinthine galleries within galleries were overloading our senses and wearing us middle-agers down. We persevered nonetheless and hopefully laid eyes on everything hung on those walls as of that very Saturday.

The museum frequently rotates its works, often loaning pieces of their permanent collections to other art museums nationwide. Chances are some of these once spent a few months in your town near you. Or maybe they will in the future. Even if they don’t, one of these pieces was in a motion picture blockbuster you may have watched in your youth.

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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 9: Picasso and the Surreal

The Old Guitarist!

Before he turned to Cubism, Picasso’s Blue Period yielded works such as 1903’s The Old Guitarist, a sympathetic ode to society’s poor and disenfranchised. The longer you stare at it, the more details it reveals.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, jaws dropped, senses activated for deciphering strange shapes and arrangements, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

We concluded our day’s tour on the third floor of the modern wing, labeled “International Modern Art” on their handy map. Though “international” here largely meant “Western European”, we were well beyond the purely representational and into the not-so-straightforward movements and anti-movements of the early 20th century. Much of the collection was the sort that evinces cries of “I don’t get it” or “My kid could paint that” or “You call this art?” from the kind of observers who never list art museums on their vacation itineraries.

Whenever those same non-fans reach for a big name to use as a punchline to mock what they don’t dig, one of the commonest go-to talents is good ol’ Pablo Picasso. Chicago has quite a few of his works composed at varying levels of meaning and times of his life. When I sorted our modern-wing photos into piles according to historical movements, Picasso appears to be the only Cubist who caught our eyes and/or resides in those particular galleries. (We found one artist who apparently dabbled in Cubism later in his career, but not at the time of his paintings we saw here. That means he gets to wait till the next chapter.)

Among the other movements we paid attention to, the highest hit-count fell to the Surrealists — Salvador Dali and his amazing, stubbornly non-conformist peers and aesthetic descendants. As Pablo and those dreamers shared space in the museum, so do they share a gallery here.

(Fair warning: a few of these are vivid reminders that not all old-school paintings are aimed at all ages. Patron discretion is advised.)

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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 8: Posting Post-Impressionist Impressions

Sunday on La Grande Jatte!

Georges Seurat, A Sunday on La Grande Jatte, 1884-1886. This was our least obscured shot of it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, jaws dropped, intellects engaged, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

The museum’s Impressionist galleries fittingly bump up against the Post-Impressionists, those subsequent rebels who deemphasized contours and rejected natural lighting and coloring, largely opting for creatively juxtapositions and techniques across a number of separate yet related mini-movements. Neo-Impressionism, pointillism, Cloisonnism, Synthetism, and the French clique known as Les Nabis are each represented at the AIC under the Post-Impressionist aegis, some in greater quantities than others.

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Our Art Institute of Chicago Tour, Gallery 7: Monet Growing on Trees

Water Lily Pond!

Monet, The Water Lily Pond, 1899. Usually it’s the name Water Lilies that springs to mind whenever he’s name-checked, but he actually produced some 250 paintings on the same subject, 17 of those featuring this Japanese bridge.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: as part of my 47th birthday celebration, my wife Anne and I drove from Indianapolis up to the Art Institute of Chicago and spent four hours with our eyes wide, jaws dropped, intellects engaged, and cameras and phones at the ready. We barely saw half the museum and will have to return someday for more.

After our lunchtime intermission we returned to the museum through the west entrance to its “classic” half. the side with the two famous lion sculptures out front. Up the stairs and filling the long expanse bridging the train tracks is a wide selection of 19th-century Europeans, beginning with the Impressionists. Regressing a century prior to where we’d left off, once again we found ourselves within the realm of the moderately representational — figures, landscapes, and other nouns hewing somewhat to their intended shapes, but with colors and lightings bearing a more supernormal appearance. Definitely not pretend-photography like the “classic” era that preceded them.

The Art Institute has by far the largest Monet collection we’ve witnessed to date, alongside other peers from the Impressionist movement. Full confession: I gravitate toward works of stark contrast, and too many Monets in a row produced the opposite effect and began to look alike. Please enjoy this selection of what stood out to us before I began to walk a bit more briskly toward the Post-Impressionists…

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