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Diners, Drive-Bys & Droids: Our FandomFest 2017 Outtakes

Droid Heads!

At left: astromech droid guts. At right: droid head made from 3-D printer parts. Droid head tech has leapt forward parsecs since George Lucas’ day.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last Saturday my wife Anne and I took a two-hour jaunt from Indianapolis to Louisville, KY, to check out FandomFest, the twelfth iteration to what some local fans consider the twelfth circle of Hell. I’d otherwise rather not rehash the prologue, Part One, or Part Two, so for anyone who didn’t read those entries or peruse the cosplay gallery, the TL;DR version is much of the weekend could’ve gone a lot better, but it wasn’t an irredeemable waste.

Not everything we encountered Saturday seemed to fit neatly into the MCC FandomFest Trilogy. Before we return to our regular scheduled programming — by which I mean our 2017 road trip series and three backlogged movie entries, among the occasional digressions of my wandering attention — here’s a look back at three mini-galleries that didn’t involve talented cosplayers or the skeletal remains of Macy’s, Inc.

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Motor City Comic Con 2017 Photos, Part 1 of 2: Cosplay!

Yondu and Mary Poppins!

Yondu and Mary Poppins. Um, mild spoiler for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

My wife and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas of Indiana we’ve never experienced before. For my 45th birthday, we decided to expand those parameters.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we’ve ruminated from time to time on the possibility of attending comic book/entertainment conventions in other areas outside our hometown of Indianapolis. While researching other Hoosier sightseeing options we haven’t tried yet for our birthdays (we haven’t quite run out of historical sites, odd museums, or pretty nature), I decided to check into American comic-con schedules for the weekend, assuming I’d find nothing within a thousand miles of home. I was surprised to discover a handful of results, including a rather large one at the top of the list.

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.

But first and foremost, per our standard convention procedures: cosplay! Presenting a showcase of all the costumes we photographed during our hours walking through and around the exhibit hall on Saturday. Longtime readers know the drill; hence, costumes from MCCC here on MCC. Enjoy the gallery!

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Our 2002 Road Trip, Part 1 of 5: A Special Sojourn for Star Wars

Star Wars party!

Anne with our companions Shannon and Katrina in a movie theater far, far away. Well, okay, admittedly it wasn’t far for them

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. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. My son rode along from 2003 until 2013 when he ventured off to college. From 2004 to 2011 we recounted our experiences online at length for a close circle of friends. From 2012 to the present we’ve presented our annual travelogues here on this modest website for You, the Viewers at Home, which I’m grateful includes some of those same friends who haven’t quit us yet.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover, we told the stories of our first three road trips together: Wizard World Chicago in 1999; a St. Louis science fiction convention in 2000; and the 2001 Superman Celebration in Metropolis, Illinois. In 2002 we continued our convention streak with Star Wars Celebration II, which was held here in Indianapolis and saved us the hassle and joy of a road trip. We had a ball, stood in lines for actors from the first five movies, and were pleased to meet a dozen-plus friends we knew from the Star Wars message board that was like a second home to us for years. Great time, but not a road trip.

We remedied that two weeks later with an idea that combined elements from our first three outings: a major cultural event plus Star Wars plus internet friends plus driving hours away from home. Add a dash of MST3K and a bit more standard tourism than usual, and that’s the story of how we planned a five-hour drive for a four-day getaway to Grand Rapids, Michigan, to hang out with fellow fans and see Star Wars: Attack of the Clones on opening day. Twice.

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5 Reasons Why Glitter Guy is No Chewbacca Mom: Our Searing Hot Take

WRTV interview!

No one wakes up in the morning and thinks to themselves, “I wonder if someone will slap a chyron under me today.”

Misleading Headline Disclaimer: this is really more of an “If We Were Having Coffee…” kind of entry, but I’m finicky about my entry titles, and sometimes I can’t let go of a useless, self-deprecating joke that’s been bouncing around my head for days.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: the great Carrie Fisher died unexpectedly some thirty or forty years too soon, and MCC remembered that time we met her. As if 2016 weren’t already a frontrunner for Worst Year of the Millennium before these last-minute additions, the next day brought the equally shocking news that her mother Debbie Reynolds had also died. We can’t and won’t imagine how their family is faring and can only add our prayers for the caring and guidance of others around them through this unfathomable time.

Meanwhile here in less important spheres, the week has been sad and unusual and frustrating on a lower level. If we were having coffee, I’d be apologizing for keeping a minimum safe distance because I’ve been waging war on a nasty cold that’s been digging at me since Christmas Eve and finally took me down Wednesday, turning me into a hacking, sniffling, irritating noisemaker that my coworkers kept trying to shoo out the door. I’m now typing this at the end of a much-needed sick day and…well, at least I’m alive and typing, and I was on TV Monday night, so this is me trying to tone down my complaints.

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Carrie Fisher 1956-2016

Carrie Fisher!

Star Wars fans worldwide are reeling from the sorrowful news that Carrie Fisher, the valiant Princess Leia who could take any of us in a fight, passed away today at age 60, four days after a massive December 23rd heart attack had her in headlines and in everyone’s thoughts and prayers. The post-surgical prognosis from her family was positive at first, but…alas.

I trust I don’t need to summarize her vast and varied accomplishments at length here beyond the Star Wars universe. My wife Anne and I thought well of her comedic turn in Soapdish. When we were best friends but determinedly not-dating, When Harry Met Sally… was our New Year’s viewing tradition, with highlights including Fisher’s turn as Sally’s best friend whose bad decisions made dating look all the more resistible. It’s been a good decade or more since I read and enjoyed Postcards from the Edge, though I never saw the movie version and can’t speak to whether or not Meryl Streep did justice by her words. But every page, fictional or otherwise, reveled in the barbed candor that was a trademark of her post-Star Wars life.

Pictured above is a scene from one of our all-time favorite convention days, when Anne and I had the pleasure of basking in Fisher’s inimitable, unstoppable presence at the second annual Indiana Comic Con back in 2015. If you read only one entry on Midlife Crisis Crossover today, I recommend you skip this one and jump over to “The Alderaanian Glitter Bomber Strikes!”, our flabbergasted, in-the-moment recount of our unforgettable hours in the Carrie Fisher autograph line, featuring photos of the very special flourishes she yearned to share with every adoring fan she could, whether we were ready for it or not.

If we learned one thing from that occasion, it was the same lesson she taught Hollywood, interviewers, hucksters, and any other thoughtless interlopers who obstructed her path throughout her career: whenever that unflappable leader of the Rebel Alliance wanted things a certain way, only fools tried to tell her “no”.

* * * * *

UPDATED 12/28/2016, 12:15 a.m.: Late Monday afternoon, our local ABC affiliate, WRTV Channel 6, interviewed me about our Carrie Fisher experience. Click here for their write-up and video, which originally aired on their 11 p.m. edition. It was a quick get-together, as you may be able to tell from my post-holiday-weekend no-care hair.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”: the All-Spoiler Entry

Rogue One!

Teaser image from the upcoming Saturday Night Live sketch “Rogue One: a Zack Snyder Film”.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: we saw Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, the #1 movie in America! The previous entry was the requisite MCC review-not-review, but light on key developments and movements for the benefit of those fans hoping to see the movie with as few surprises spoiled as possible. The internet doesn’t seem to be trying as hard to ruin Rogue One as it did with The Force Awakens, but a few hyper, well-intentioned fans jumped the gun a little on the assumption that every “real” Star Wars fan would’ve attended a showing within twelve hours of release.

We had thoughts, some of which I remembered to write down before they faded. Here’s a COURTESY SPOILER WARNING in case you somehow overlooked the title.

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