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Chicago Photo Tribute #13: A Wizard World Chicago Epilogue of Edibles

Animal Tots!

Best food of our weekend: Park Tavern’s Animal Tots — tater tots topped with pulled pork, cheese curds, mustard, fried eggs, and gravy.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: my wife Anne and I attended our ninth Wizard World Chicago up in Rosemont, IL, where the fans are fun, the festivities are fantastic, and the food is frightful. With rare exceptions, convention center food is never a highlight on any of our con experiences. The Chicagoland area itself has no shortage of top-notch restaurants, but virtually none of them are next door to the con. Unless you’re willing to settle or to pack a few days’ worth of picnic food to take along, you’ll have to search your surroundings and possibly venture a bit from your hotel if you want any sustenance beyond lukewarm pizza, bags of chips, or the McDonald’s a half-mile down the way or the Dunkin Donuts another half-mile past that.

This year we scared up three meals worth savoring — two of which validated our convention center parking without making us regret the food itself, and one a bit further down that served as a delicious capper to our weekend.

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Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 8 of 7: On the Occasion of Rosemont’s 60th

Rosemont 60th!

If you attended Wizard World Chicago 2016 and stayed at the Hyatt across the street, or at another nearby hotel linked through the same skybridge network, you missed this mural.

(Consider this entry the scene after the “Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos” end credits.)

Though it’s named for the Windy City, Wizard World Chicago is held each year at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in the suburb of Rosemont, which was incorporated January 20, 1956. We’ve done WWC eight times and still find something new in Rosemont every time we visit. That three-story mural in the lead photo adorned the free parking garage attached to our hotel for the weekend, known to WWC fans as “The Other Hyatt” — i.e., the one a mile north of the con and far away from all the good parties. It’s cheaper, quieter, and easy to make reservations there by accident if you don’t pay attention to the differing street addresses on Rosemont’s two Hyatts.

The Other Hyatt’s mural was our first notice about Rosemont’s 60th anniversary. On Saturday as we walked through the center corridor of the convention center parking garage, from the con over to MB Financial Park for dinner, we discovered another tribute to Rosemont’s 60th in the form of famous paintings brushed large but altered with homages to various Rosemont points of interest (some more interesting to the locals than to us out-of-towners). Anyone who didn’t walk the same walk, or who didn’t look closely while driving in our out, would’ve missed them easily. We caught a few of our favorites to share here for posterity as a sort of post-con epilogue. Enjoy!

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Nighttime in Rosemont Between the Panels

Nighttime in Rosemont.

Pictured: the view from our hotel room at the Westin O’Hare in Rosemont, IL, during the weekend of this year’s Wizard World Chicago. It’s nestled next to I-190 and minutes away from the large, famous airport you may have heard name-checked in all the headline news today. Between the airport traffic and the stream of endless events at the Stephens Center, Rosemont is a sparkly yet reserved town, wired for entertainment and insomnia.

Most convention attendees spend their evenings indulging in the after-dark events such as film screenings or NSFW panels, networking, fraternizing, carousing, generally partying to the break of dawn. Meanwhile for us sensible, old-time squares, nighttime is our signal to retreat from the hubbub, skip all the alcohol that everyone else cherishes, settle into the plush confines of our accommodations, exploit all the amenities that don’t incur surprise room charges, and recharge all manner of batteries.

I took this shot on a whim while standing between the curtain panels and the windows, letting the cooler air near the glass creep around me and waft away the day’s tensions, worries, and cumulative physical strains. It was an oasis of momentary serenity in a bustling, bristling weekend.

Then my wife turned on the TV. Because all those basic-cable channels weren’t gonna inventory themselves. Meditative tranquility gave way to the screeching cacophony of a thousand know-it-all talking heads, upon whom I wished immediate whooping cough.

I’m revisiting this moment (the sedate part, not the screeching part) during a week when multi-tasking has stretched me thin, morale has been shakier than usual, and feedback signals of doubt and indifference have obscured my concentration. I could use another few minutes like these to stare through the dark horizons, seek the pinpoints of light, pause for an ethereal refresher, and remind myself of the dawns yet to come, the brighter lights ahead, and the promises behind why we do what we do.

A Moment of Uncool Remote Post-Convention Decompression Quality Time

RosemontGreetings from busy, action-packed Illinois! After several hours spent at Day 1 of C2E2, my wife and I are glad to relax at last, off our feet and without our backpacks burdening us any longer. So far we’ve had a delightful experience, met several comics creators and a few Star Wars actors, acquired a few freebies and several quality items, and made plans for Day 2 on Saturday. Until then we’re enjoying the quiet ambiance of a particular hotel that’s treated us well before, up in the scenic village of Rosemont, down the street from the Donald E, Stephens Convention Center.

Careful readers, and anyone with a passing knowledge of the Chicago geek convention scene, may notice a discrepancy: C2E2 is being held at McCormick Place, a different convention center in a different Chicagoland section altogether, nearly twenty miles away. According to conventional convention wisdom, we’re doing it wrong.

We don’t mind. We have our reasons:

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