C2E2 day one has officially come to a close and that means parties of all kinds are just now getting started. Cosplayers are removing their costumes, artists and vendors have left the floor and all are celebrating the end of day one at the Chicago pop culture convention now in its fifth year. Beers are cracking, wine coolers twisting, and all manner of booze is being consumed as flocks of people hit the streets to eat some of Chicago’s deep dish pizza, and Italian meat sandwiches. But let’s rewind the day and break it down for you.
Earlier today, the show opened for media and professionals at 10 a.m. and being one of the first to walk the convention floor I was struck by how friendly everyone was. Vendors were actually saying “hello” to me quite frequently as I strolled by on a mission to connect with many of my industry friends. When the clock struck 11 a.m. and an ominous voice came over the loud speaker announcing the convention was officially opened I cringed thinking San Diego Comic Con-like attendees were about to trample the floor in a mad dash to look at anything and everything. The reality was hardly over-whelming. By noon the amount of convention goers were steadily increasing but even by four p.m. the floor was still far from crowded.
Convention goers could easily navigate the floor and the odd stroller was nary an obstacle. However, in short supply seemed to be the slutty Princess Leia Cosplayers you typically spot by the dozens at events likes this. After my extreme efforts and a team of other Cosplayers on the look-out for me, not one Princess Leia, let alone slutty, could be found. The most popular were in fact, Harley Quinn (typical), Power Girl, and Scarlett Witch. Like a game of ‘Where’s Waldo,’ for the life of me I just couldn’t locate a Princess Leia. More on that later.
The convention floor had its share of vendors selling the usual toys, action figures, and t-shirts. A highlight was the many, many new Pop vinyl figures that seemed to dominate every toy vendor spot. Another item new to the circuit was an 18 inch plastic Godzilla going for $125. Besides the usual video game sets up, X-Box One, and newbies hoping you’ll try their new app, I was interested to once again see Ghostery. I first saw them at SXSW last month. It’s an app/program that runs in the background and it blocks sites from sending your info to their advertisers.
The two big panels of the day featured Eve Myles, who played "Gwen Cooper" on the BBC America TV show “Torchwood.” The line for her panel was tiny and once inside the actual amount of people in the room might have been 300. Might have. Incidentally, all the VIP seats which cost more and take up the first three rows of the entire front of the ballroom were essentially empty. Before she came out on stage the C2E2 organizers have employed a new aspect to the panel entertainment by hiring a DJ and a hype man. Both got the crowd going, and along the way instructed people on proper etiquette in asking the celeb questions. Things like, "don’t forget your question, turn your cell phone off," etc.
So when Eve came out on stage the crowd went nuts, which was nice for her considering she came all the way over from the UK. Once seated she immediately turned on and was an instant success. Charming, cute, and funny the actress recounted stories from the set of the show, and her take on how her character made mistakes and learned from them. She also shared some hilarious stories about her co-star “Berryman” who played Jack. She actually called him “filth,” as in that being his nickname. After sharing some startling stories about the practical jokes the guy incessantly played on her during the four seasons of the show you could see how he earned the nickname.
The second panel featured two actors from the hit show “Game Of Thrones,” Natalia Tena who plays “Osha” and Kristian Nairn who plays the taciturn “Hodor.” Both actors character's are often seen together in the show which features more than 100 principal roles (unheard of), so it was appropriate that they appear together. Again, both related stories of being on-set, nothing as hilarious as Eve Miles earlier, but still entertaining. Incidentally, the entire ballroom was at capacity with another 100 outside who failed to get in.
During the panel was a unique happening going on just a few doors down from the main ballroom, Geek Speed Dating. Does it sound interesting or weird? I popped in to discover the entire room was full to capacity of folks doing the one on one, speed dating question routine. I spoke with several of the event organizers and one of them related to me that they had 11 weddings and 17 engagements over the course of the events history; So I’d say it makes sense. If you are geeky, and you want a geeky girl, check out SciFi Speed Dating.
Finally, as mentioned in the title of the article, C2E2 has become a nonsensical search for the notorious slutty Princess Leia. Don't ask me why, because I have no answer. Typically you can spot them on every corner of the con strutting their stuff. It’s not that they are actually slutty. You may recall the third film in the initial George Lucas Trilogy, “Return of the Jedi” in which "Princess Leia" is a slave to the evil "Jabba The Hutt." She wears a skimpy bikini-like costume and female cosplayers seem to really flock to that aspect of the character even though there are probably ten outfits over the course of the three movies to emulate. So day one, and for no real reason that makes any sort of sense, I have not found nor heard from anyone else, who has seen a slutty Leia or even a demure one.
Check Examiner tomorrow for an update. Maybe I will get lucky and find a herd of them posing in front of the C2E2 sign at the entrance to the convention and be satisfied that my C2E2 visit is complete.