Forfending a Fearful Phase with a Fleeting Flashback to a Forgotten Fair Photo

Indiana State Fair 2017 Jazz Hands!

Photo by one of Anne’s old schoolmates.

Whenever you’re having the sort of week that might be more endurable if you could spend the rest of it under your bed and away from keyboards, it’s cool just to post a single photo and declare you’ve fulfilled your blogging responsibilities for the week, right? That’s a remarkably wide divergence from my modus operandi, but I’m trying it just to see what happens. It’s my site and I’ll shirk if I want to.

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Dragon Con 2019 Photos #1: The Stars Our Destination

Freema Agyeman!

Us with Freema Agyeman, a.k.a. Martha Jones from Doctor Who, one of the Doctor’s few companions we hadn’t met. Thanks, Dragon Con!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

For years we’ve been telling friends in other states that we’d one day do Atlanta’s Dragon Con, one of the largest conventions in America that isn’t in California or New York. We’ve been in Atlanta, but we hadn’t really done Atlanta. Hence this year’s vacation, in which we’re aiming for a double proficiency in Atlanta tourism and over-the-top Dragon Con goodness…

Longtime MCC readers know our frequent ventures to entertainment and comic-book conventions around the Midwest have their staples: the cosplay photos, the sojourns through Artists Alley, the pile of newly acquired graphic novels at the end, and, of course, photos with actors and other celebrities in attendance, often featuring our favorite jazz-hands motif. We don’t perform for every con photo-op, but those that meet the standard are kept on a dedicated Pinterest board so future generations can look upon our assembled montage and think to themselves, “…oookay.”

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Star Wars Celebration Chicago 2019 Photos #5: The Stars in Our Galaxy

Katee Sackhoff!

She played a recurring Mandalorian on Clone Wars and Rebels, but you might also know Katee Sackhoff from such series as Battlestar Galactica, The Flash, and that not-bad Bionic Woman update that lasted about three minutes.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

April 11-15, 2019, was the ninth American edition of Lucasfilm’s Star Wars Celebration, recurring major convention celebrating their works, creations, actors, fans, and merchandise, not always in that order. After jaunts around the U.S. coast and overseas, this year’s was in Chicago, gracing the Midwest with its products for the first time since 2005. My wife Anne and I attended Thursday through Saturday and fled Sunday morning…

It’s not a Celebration without a bevy of actors who’ve appeared on various planets throughout the Star Wars universe. We had our choice among a mixture of old pros from the original trilogy, a few big names from the prequels and from Rogue One, exactly one (1) actor from Episodes VII and VIII, and a wide array of all-star voice actors from various animated projects and video games. Though we’d met quite a few already, we zeroed in on a few key names and once again added to our jazz-hands photo-op collection.

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C2E2 2019 Photos #2: David Tennant!

David Tennant!

The Tenth Doctor is very, very in.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! My wife Anne and I just got home from the tenth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″), another 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. Each year C2E2 keeps inching ever closer to its goal of becoming the Midwest’s answer to the legendary San Diego Comic Con and other famous conventions in larger, more popular states. We missed the first year, but have attended every year since 2011 as a team…

…and often pose for jazz-hands photos as a team. To wit: our special moment with David Tennant. You might remember him from such shows as Doctor Who, Jessica Jones, Broadchurch, and more. Technically this moment should’ve happened sooner — Tennant was originally scheduled as a guest at Wizard World Chicago 2017 but had to cancel on the day-of for understandable, serious reasons. Frankly, I was worried he’d have to cancel again, but he thankfully didn’t encounter the same work-visa issues that have hindered the plans of other would-be convention guests from overseas over the past few weeks. For us, this photo therefore represents relief, fandom fulfilled, and extremely delayed gratification.

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C2E2 2019 Photos #1: Paul Rudd! From “Clueless” and Marvel and Stuff!

Paul Rudd!

We did not plan to have the same expression. This means we’re now honorary twins.

It’s that time again! My wife Anne and I just got home from the tenth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″), another 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. Each year C2E2 keeps inching ever closer to its goal of becoming the Midwest’s answer to the legendary San Diego Comic Con and other famous conventions in larger, more popular states. We missed the first year, but have attended every year since 2011 as a team.

(Useless pedantic note: this was the tenth annual C2E2. It was not C2E2’s tenth anniversary. The inaugural edition was in 2010; therefore, their tenth anniversary will fall in 2020, with the show’s 11th edition. Thank you for listening to today’s episode of my Commemorative Math Pet Peeves podcast.)

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Our 2018 in Jazz Hands: Yet Another MCC Convention Photo-Op Gallery

Tom Hiddlest

Of all the pics to lead with, of course I’m going with the one Instagram loved most, apparently one of the year’s best Tom Hiddleston photos judging by their reactions. Big thanks to Ace Comic Con Midwest for making this magically possible.

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 fortysomethings 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. So it’s our thing now.

We previously compiled collections of our first three years of jazz-hands photos (including one that was once used in Wizard World Chicago advertising materials), followed by a complete roundup of our 2017, the year we attended way too many cons for our own good. We didn’t expect 2018 to resemble 2017, but in tallying up the results it struck me that we had a pretty decent — and, if I may say, jazzy — year after all.

After the way our past two months have gone off the rails, we’re confident 2019 will be dramatically scaled back whether we like it or not. While we’re working on finding ways to make austerity measures entertaining, 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 with all that jazz.

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C2E2 2018 Photos, Part 1: Another Jazz Hands Gallery!

Justin Hartley!

You may know Justin Hartley from NBC’s top-rated drama This Is Us, but Anne and I were fans of his work on Smallville as The CW’s original Green Arrow.

It’s that time again! The ninth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″) just wrapped another 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. Each year C2E2 keeps inching ever closer to its goal of becoming the Midwest’s answer to the legendary San Diego Comic Con and other famous cons in larger, more popular states. My wife Anne and I missed the first year, but have attended every year since 2011 as a team.

In this special miniseries I’ll be sharing memories and photos from our own C2E2 experience and its plethora of pizzazz. Normally we lead off every convention miniseries with cosplay photos, but we’re rushing this batch of photos to the front of the line because several of my coworkers have vested interests in a few of the personalities we met this year. Hopefully this all-star talent lineup brightens their Monday morning.

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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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Wizard World Chicago 2017 Photos, Part 5 of 5: Who We Met and What We Did

Billy Boyd!

Ain’t no party like a Pippin party ’cause a peppy perky poppin’ Pippin party got pizzazz!

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time once more! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found much enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. Friday night left us near death by the end of our day, after a few miles’ worth of walking up and down the aisles and hallways, with breaks to go stand in lines of varying lengths and value. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

Our ninth visit to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center of course had its share of ups and downs. Some letdowns were beyond our control. Some stresses could have been avoided. Some volunteers could’ve used actual training. But for our entertainment tastes, temperaments, and frequently adjusted expectations, this year’s WWC was an overall success. It helps that we’re Doctor Who fans. If there’s anything we’ve learned from the Doctor, it’s that weird twists are all part of the game, and sometimes you just have to resign yourself to a lot of running.

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FandomFest 2017 Photos, Part 1 of 2: The Hopeless Optimists’ Version

Matthew Lillard!

Ladies and gentlemen, Matthew Lillard! You might remember him from such films as Scream and Scooby-Doo! He’s a party!

“…and that’s why I say Louisville CANNOT STAND for this grave injustice one moment longer!” I bellowed into the Q&A stage microphone.

The crowd of righteous, wronged fans cheered me and waved their Funco Pops in the air while a pair of Louisville detectives escorted the owners of FandomFest away in handcuffs, ankle cuffs, and scarlet letter Rs (for “ripoff”) spray-painted on their thousand-dollar suit jackets. At last, all the sins of these unrepentant hucksters stood exposed and would be held accountable. Justice would soon be ours thanks to the newly instituted Department of Geekland Security.

I passed the mic to the nearest Colonel Sanders cosplayer, who had been hastily appointed the convention’s interim chairman in accordance with Kentucky convention regulations. Next to him stood a six-foot tall KFC bucket because of course it did. He shook my hand and faced the crowd.

“I am SO SORRY that fandom has had to endure this charade, but soon we will put this right!” He pointed emphatically at random points in the crowd. “I vow that you shall get a refund! And YOU get a refund! And YOU get a REFUND! ALL Y’ALL WILL GET REFUNDS!”

The applause and roars and whistles reached ear-shattering decibel levels, a standing ovation rivaling any ever endured at the Oscars. And just when we thought we fans couldn’t explode any harder, a pair of hands burst through the giant paper chicken bucket and waved at everyone.

Out of the mega-bucket climbed an enthusiastic Weird Al Yankovic. He’d come after all, cleverly disguised as food. We should’ve known.

Weird Al took the mic from the Colonel, summoned his band out from behind the nearest support columns, and proceeded to play a free three-hour greatest hits dance-party concert, followed by unlimited photo ops and autograph signings that lasted well into the night.

We were content.

* * * * *

…okay, so FandomFest didn’t turn out exactly as I’d imagined.

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Motor City Comic Con 2017 Photos, Part 2 of 2: Who We Met and What We Did

Barbara Eden!

My wife with Barbara Eden, star of TV’s I Dream of Jeannie. This con was my birthday trip, but Anne was pretty elated with her end of the deal.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

This weekend Anne and I had the pleasure of attending the 28th annual Motor City Comic Con in the city of Novi, a safe suburb northwest of Detroit, some 300 miles from home. Well established and catering to fans of comics and media guests alike, MCCC is a shade smaller than our two regular Chicago shows, but proved an excellent reason to return to Michigan for our first time in fifteen years.

Whenever we attend a new con, the same set of fears nips at us every time. How crowded will it be? Do the showrunners know what they’re doing? Is the layout simple or complicated? Are their attendees nice people? Is the parking convenient and/or affordable? How horrible is the convention center food? We were relieved to confirm by the end of the day that MCCC by and large has nearly all its gears locked properly in place, and plans afoot to solve the one issue that complicated matters for a bit of the afternoon. Every show has its issues, but the best ones are already working on solutions before you can tell them about their problems.

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C2E2 2017 Photos, Part 4 of 4: Who We Met and What We Did

Mike Colter!

Behold the smooth moves of Marvel’s next big thing, POWER MAN AND DOUGHY GUY.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The eighth annual Chicago Comic and Entertainment Exposition (“C2E2″) just wrapped another 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…

Another year, another C2E2. Another ostensible three-hour drive from Indianapolis to Chicago’s McCormick Place convention center. Another two days of nonstop excitement and occasional consternation, of fun fan interaction and occasional physical breakdown as our aging bodies struggle to keep up with our youthful enthusiasm. Another list of reasons to leave the house for the sake of celebrating the engaging interests that give us reasons never to leave the house.

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Indiana Comic Con 2017 Photos, Part 4 of 4: Who We Met and What We Did

Cary Elwes!

Dearest farm boy Wesley himself humors a couple of weirdos. As we wish.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! This weekend my wife and I attended the fourth annual Indiana Comic Con at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. Once again Anne and I found a few intriguing names on the guest list and decided to drop by…

In our first three chapters you saw all our costume photos that were remotely fit to print, but wandering the halls and capturing people’s handiwork and souls isn’t all we do at cons.

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The Complete MCC Convention Photo-Op Jazz Hands Collection (so far)

John Barrowman!

One of many faves from Wizard World Chicago 2016: John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Torchwood, Arrow), who’s game for just about any pose you suggest, several more that never would’ve occurred to you, and a few you’ll never live down.

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.

Right this way for an easy-to-browse all-star gallery!

Our HorrorHound Indy 2016 Photo Parade

Chris Sarandon!

Prince Humperdinck helps us workshop our Princess Bride dream musical.

Saturday marked our third trip to HorrorHound Indy, an annual Indianapolis convention in honor of the scary, bloody, icky, haunting, stabbing, disturbing, black-garbed aspects of pop culture. The folks at HorrorHound Magazine orchestrate the festivities free of Stormtroopers and Harley Quinns so loyal horror fans can enjoy a themed geek space of their own. Much of the celebrated works are Not Our Thing, but so many talented performers with broad resumes have dabbled in those nightmare worlds that we’ve been surprised how often we run across intersections with our own favorite universes.

For example, pictured above: Chris Sarandon! Horror fans know him as the head vampire from Fright Night and a cop from the first Child’s Play, but upstanding fans of The Princess Bride know him as evil Prince Humperdinck, and my son knew him as the speaking voice of Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas and the Halloweentown sequences in the various Kingdom Hearts games. He was also in an episode of Deep Space Nine, our favorite Trek series, but that’s been a while and I can’t remember if I should mention it or not.

(Pausing here for ax extremely rare MCC CONTENT WARNING: at least two of the following images might be considered NSFW at more sensitive companies, even though they’d earn a PG rating by practical MPAA standards, but they’re each too memorable to skip, and longtime MCC readers might appreciate the, uh, imaginative detour one of them takes. Viewer patience is advised and appreciated.)

Right this way for more actors, dolls, props, cosplay, and more!

A Frame of Reference for Effervescent Irreverence

Us+MeTV!

The week of recovery after our three-day Wizard World Chicago experience has been filled with work stress, illness, and the usual post-convention depression that strikes so many geeks once we’ve disconnected from our peers and returned to the mundane world where fewer people get us. I’ve been dedicating little spare time to rest and recuperation, and more time to uploading photos and sharing anecdotes and memories from the experience so I can prolong the magic for as long as possible, but here at the new weekend it’s left me drained and inattentive and sloppy. I’ve made stupid miscalculations, I spilled drinks twice today, and I’ve used up all the really good non-drowsy sinus medicine in the house. At this point, if I could get Calgon to take me away and get Ronald McDonald to affirm I deserve a break today, their combined corporate forgiveness might just be enough to make me feel well again.

In reviewing my files the other night, I realized I overlooked a photo that belonged in our shiny happy Wizard World Chicago jazz hands assortment that kicked off the current MCC miniseries. I’m still working on the concluding chapter, the extra-length wrap-up with notes from the panels we attended, name-checks for the comic book creators we met, and various notes about the pros and cons, and about the pros at the con. It won’t be done tonight for excuses stated above, but the least I can do is share our accidental outtake.

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Our Wizard World Chicago 2016 Jazz Hands Gallery

Daredevil Trio!

If you were Wilson Fisk, would you be heartless enough to drive this fabulous troupe out of business?

It’s that time of year again! Anne and I spent this weekend at Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we generally had a blast surrounded by fellow fans of comics and genre TV/movies even though parts of it resemble hard work and our feet feel battle-damaged after three days of endless walking, standing, lining up, shuffling forward in cattle-call formation, and scurrying toward exciting people and things. Also, our hotel internet connection was terrible and we had next to no energy left at the end of each evening, so this will be my first time in days typing entire paragraphs in one sitting.

Please enjoy this first of several Wizard World Chicago 2016 photo galleries, beginning with photos costarring us but not taken by us (except one). Longtime MCC fans know when we do photo ops with actors at conventions, our thing is jazz hands. Energy plus showmanship plus unusual shtick equals fun. This year’s special guests were ready and willing and accepted the challenge with gusto.

Pictured above: from the cast of Netflix’s Marvel’s Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll, Stardust‘s Charlie Cox, and Eldon Henson, a.k.a. Pollux from the last two Hunger Games movies. Woll got it more quickly than the guys did, but they caught up with her.

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