Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the eighth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This virtual cubicle was slapped together on April 28, 2012, as a place where I could entertain myself by making essay-shaped things out of whatever words and pictures I had at hand, as opposed to surfing social media and hoping all those wandering strangers might make for sufficiently provocative brain engagement. Often it’s been a fulfilling platform to share galleries, memories, Grandpa Simpson-style rambling jags, and peculiar opinions that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. At other times it’s been less satisfying, but I keep whiling away at one of my most time-consuming hobbies anyway. When my head is in the right space, I still enjoy the process in and of itself. Often I still enjoy the results. On rarer occasions, I’m also privileged and honored to enjoy any and every external response received from outside my own head.
Longtime MCC readers may recognize the above-pictured tree has graced this site before. I try not to post the exact same images or words to mark every single Christmastime, but other sites do it, so why injure myself trying to uphold a standard that doesn’t bug anyone except me. Besides, I think I deserve at least a tiny moment of coasting — I officially finished my Christmas shopping three days ago and have yet to receive a single pat on the head for it. So this quick “Merry Christmas” post is my own personal “TREAT YO’SELF” reward.
I mean the sentiment nonetheless, though: Merry Christmas to you ‘n’ yours from us here at Midlife Crisis Crossover, High-Spirited Holidays, Vivacious Vacation, Divine December, and/or congratulations on reaching the light at the end of the 2019 tunnel. May your day be merry and bright, your celebrations invigorating, your downtime rewarding, and your internet circles calm and peaceful and filled with joyous content besides premature Best of 2019 listicles.
Sunday was not a kind day for our favorites in the entertainment world. Mere hours after the passing of Caroll Spinney, the kind soul behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, we were further saddened to hear about the passing of actor Rene Auberjonois from lung cancer at age 79. Many a youth cackled at his small but lively role in Disney’s The Little Mermaid as the French chef who tries to turn Sebastian the crab into an appetizer, but he’s been around since I was a kid. His repartee with Robert Guillaume on ye olde sitcom Benson (among other fine costars including Star Trek: Voyager‘s Ethan Phillips) taught me the comedy value in sparring opposites and well-timed barbs. It probably also taught me that haughty, no-nonsense stuffed shirts had much to learn about being kinder to coworkers, so there’s that value.
Sunday morning I was saddened and shocked to learn of the unexpected passing of Caroll Spinney, that dear absolute giant from the original cast of TV’s Sesame Street who brought to life two of that avenue’s great yet opposite creations: the childlike Big Bird, patron saint of friendly innocents; and the ornery Oscar the Grouch, a benign symbol of our selfish dark sides. He threw himself into both roles with gusto and aplomb for decades, and left his imprint on millions of kiddos.
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our eight-day trip to Atlanta in general and Dragon Con in particular — August 25th through September 1, 2019. It all comes down to this, per our tradition for every MCC road trip maxiseries: one final collection of alternate scenes, extra details, and surplus attractions along the way that were squeezed out of the main narrative. Enjoy!
Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we guided you through our eight-day trip to Atlanta in general and Dragon Con in particular — August 25th through September 1, 2019. Here in our penultimate chapter we present a selection of additional exhibits from the coolest stop of the year as voted upon by me, the guy in charge of typing.
To wit: the Center for Puppetry Arts, which was one-half loving tribute to the many dimensions of Jim Henson, one-half history of puppets around the world, and one temporary exhibit returning guests to the world of The Dark Crystal. I tried to be choosy when curating the previous chapters to a manageable length apiece, so the following gallery represents highly honorable mentions, some of which were perhaps unfairly cut. Enjoy!
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.