So it might seem like I’ve been a bit of a stranger to the pond this month and that would be true. This August has been a busy one for me and my husband. We celebrated our wedding anniversary this year by finally realizing our dream of attending the Wizard World convention in suburban Chicago together. It was our first vacation away together in a long time, our first time at this particular con, and the first time I’ve gotten to attend a really big geek convention since I was a child in elementary school. Some of my cherished memories of childhood include traipsing around vendor booths with my dad, brother, and cousins cradling my precious tribble, Spock figurine, and die cast NCC-1701-A model; things I’ve carried with me through many moves, states, and stages of life. Even as I write this I am kept company by these things. Attending Wizard World and seeing kids, girls and boys alike, looking wide-eyed at everything with their families and their precious totems of fandom warmed my heart. I think that feeling of camaraderie, of knowing that one is not alone in the universe with these hobbies of science fiction, fantasy, and imagination is the best part of going to a convention. I didn’t do proper cosplay. I lack the time, money, and frankly the confidence to attempt to cosplay the way I would like to. But I did enjoy the company of hundreds of other people wearing nerdy T-shirts and the artistry of those who did choose to cosplay. Since I love the aesthetic of Steampunk I chose to wear Steampunk themed accessories with my street-clothes as my version of Steampunk-lite. I wore a necklace and bracelet made from a kit I purchased but I designed and built my hat decoration pictured below.
The hat is one I’ve owned for years. Friends will recognize it as I wear it often during late summer, fall, winter, and spring. If it’s not over 90 degrees I rock my felt purple hat. I didn’t make the hat itself but it is of a style that is easy to accessorize. The decoration is removable, I didn’t attach it with pins or stitches since I didn’t want to damage the hat. Basically I made a necklace for my hat.
To make the decoration I just opened and closed jump rings and used some basic wire wrapping to hold everything together. It is simple but effective.
I am particularly fond of the decoration shown above. It is a simple charm made with a flat head pin but I like the layered look of the bird, gear, and glimmering glass leaf. I was tickled by the number of compliments I received on the hat throughout the weekend.
The panels are the highlight of any convention and the ones we saw did not disappoint. Seeing three of the Captains of Star Trek, William Shatner, Avery Brooks, and Scott Bakula, was frankly the key part I was looking forward to at the convention. I am a fan of modest ambitions. I don’t want autographs or meet and greets. I just wanted to hear the actors behind some of my favorite characters and moments of television speak for a little while; after weeks of waiting and a two hour line I am happy to say that I was not disappointed. Scott Bakula was affable and funny (he gave Jean-Luc mouth to mouth!), William Shatner was a charming ham discussing his interest in making documentaries, and Avery Brooks blew my mind with his succinct philosophical answers to questions about acting, modern mythology, Ben Sisko, and the legacy of Star Trek. Every time there was a question the whole room, actors included, held their breath waiting for Brooks’ answer, Bakula even said he would refer all of his answers to Avery for the rest of the panel. It was funny, it was insightful and I found myself grateful that these actors who portrayed characters I love were actually really charming, humble men in the context of a convention panel at least. As I left the Captain’s panel I was very close to Avery Brooks in the hallway. If he had looked up he could have seen me smile as he passed by, he just seemed like an island of calm in the crowd and I don’t care what Q said, he is a very tall man; I have to say it was a very cool moment at the end of a wonderful day. And that was only day one! Bruce Campbell’s panel was diverting; though I’ve never really cared for insult comedy I thought his sincere answers to succinct non-stupid questions were insightful and interesting. James Hong was the most delightful of all the panels we saw, he just seemed to be having so much fun. I found myself struck by his talent, his sense of humor, and how fascinating his journey was from civil engineer (yes, he started from the gutter of L.A., he engineered them) to an actor with over 500 credits. The story of how he first met his agent by having the courage to show up at her door and sing a Christmas carol is going to be one I carry in my heart for years to come when I need to find the guts for something.
We had fun picking up nerd bling. I now have several shiny new Star Trek pins, nerd T-shirts, and some awesome posters. I didn’t take a lot of cosplay pictures. For one thing I tend to be rather shy and for another I only stopped characters I thought were really outstanding or original.
All in all it was a fantastic trip. We’re already planning for next year.