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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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“Transformers: The Last Knight”: The Super Awesome Ultimate Recap

Nemesis Prime!

Hey, kids! Hope you love our new movie and all the cool toy tie-ins! Mom and Dad, sorry all our human friends keep saying the S-word so much.

Midlife Crisis Crossover calls Transformers: The Last Knight “The worst Knights of the Round Table film of 2017”! This may sound like nonsense, but I would say “You had to be there” if that weren’t the opposite of my final opinion about this misbegotten mess.

Michael Bay’s latest assemblage of toy robot fight footage extracted from a wheat thresher doesn’t stop at just King Arthur for his pop culture cribbing. After an opening fray that brings us the Game of Thrones/Armageddon crossover no one ever asked for, Bay and his four credited screenwriters go out of their way to photocopy portions of Suicide Squad, Downton Abbey, National Treasure, Aliens, Stand by Me and Three’s Company while trying to turn giant toy robot fights into Serious Business, to come up with clever disguises for sports-car placement ads, and to perpetuate the four previous films’ ongoing YVAN EHT NIOJ-style recruitment campaign.

Fair warning: I’m getting into MAJOR SPOILERS because I don’t feel like being kind to this ostensible “movie”. If your love for Transformers is so unconditional and fanatical that you’re hoping to keep the surprises fully preserved so that your first viewing will be as pure and blissful as possible, then this entry is not for you. Then again, you’ve likely avoided any and all critical analyses of your beloved robo-family’s entire series to date anyway, so I imagine I’m safe and talking to myself, which is not uncommon for me online.

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The Unkindest Roads

Birdseye.

For all we talk about road trips, sometimes the open road is not our friend. Last Saturday it was determined to be the enemy.

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Road Trip Origins, Part 2 of 2: Our First Wizard World Chicago

Wizard World Chicago 1999!

July 17, 1999, a day that shall live on in the hearts and minds of at least two geeks.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

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. Every tradition begins somewhere. As longtime friends and readers might expect, ours began with a convention.

Enter Wizard World Chicago 1999. It was probably the largest comic con within 500 miles of home. We figured if we could handle a 2½-hour excursion southeast to Kings Island, then we could handle driving three or four hours northwest to Chicago.

Thus did two twentysomething best friends embark on their first real road trip, arrive at their destination in the Chicagoland town of Rosemont, and walk into the largest geek convention they’d ever seen in their lives.

Right this way for our grainy 35mm photo gallery and a big batch of exhumed memories!

Midlife Crisis Crossover 2016 Year in Review: The Likes, the Loves, and the Losers

Monument Circle!

May: a rare selfie with my wife Anne on Monument Circle downtown on the day of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the fifth 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. Sometime this spring we’ll be reaching our 1,500th entry, reflecting once more on the hundreds of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive non-profit project, and rationalizing new excuses not to stop, even if by the time I die it’s just me and ad-bots posting harsh emojis at each other down inside the spam filter.

Right this way for our rundown of MCC’s best and worst of 2016!

Indiana Comic Con 2016 Photos #4 of 4: Who We Met and What We Did

John Rhys-Davies!

Gimli. Sallah. Treebeard. Professor Arturo. da Vinci. Kingpin. All those names and personalities don’t prepare you for the fact that John Rhys-Davies will tickle you in the middle of your photo op.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: Friday and Saturday, my wife and I attended the third annual Indiana Comic Con at the Indiana Convention Center in scenic downtown Indianapolis. Previous chapters in this special MCC miniseries:

* Part One: Costumes!
* Part Two: Cosplay!
* Part Three: Cosplayers!

The TL;DR rundown of our weekend experience: this was the best-run Indiana Comic Con to date. The showrunners evidently took notes last time, focused on their weaknesses, streamlined their processes, and exceeded our apprehensive expectations. We came away with a new set of happy memories, several cool books, another gallery of photos, a few minor suggestions for future years, and no sour complaints this time. A fine convention at last, would run through again, 10/10.

Right this way for pics of actors and comic creators we met! And more!

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