A brand new period is starting this weekend as popular culture fanatics from throughout the nation have a good time 50 years of comedian cons in Rosemont — and the primary yr underneath the Fan Expo Chicago banner.
Starfleet officers, cartoon princesses and proton-packed Ghostbusters crammed the Donald E. Stephens Conference Heart for an occasion Friday each acquainted and recent.
Acquainted: Nerdy merch so far as the attention can see, smiling celebrities assembly their followers, and devoted artists sharing their work.
Contemporary: A extra intimate, built-in showroom ground, the place a visitor might, for instance, get a tattoo of the Joker’s face from a vendor simply steps away from the place Troy Baker, the person who voiced him in “Batman: The Lengthy Halloween,” is signing autographs.
Whereas a sensei representing Chicago’s Japanese Tradition Heart gave an Aikido demonstration within the foyer, “Star Wars” followers discovered their seats in the principle ballroom to listen to from Carl Weathers, the “Rocky” and “Predator” star who, at age 74, is now an actor and director on “The Mandalorian.”
Weathers informed the group he landed the function of Apollo Creed by stretching the reality about his boxing expertise, a tactic he says all younger actors should undertake.
“By no means say no. In the event that they ask you … ‘You sky-dive, proper? Did you do it and not using a parachute?’
“‘Sure! 5 instances!'”
Weathers additionally praised his little, inexperienced, animatronic scene accomplice from “The Mandalorian,” Grogu — higher recognized to the world as Child Yoda.
“The rationale it really works is so easy,” he stated, addressing the viewers immediately. “You like the infant. If I like the infant and the infant loves me, you are gonna love me, too!”
Earlier than spinning his Hollywood tales, Weathers acknowledged the Black entertainers like Woody Strode and Harry Belafonte who impressed him, and he made a couple of political statements. “Each human being has a proper to state what they need to do with their our bodies,” he stated to applause from the group of about 300 folks.
Again on the present ground, Beth Zwolski Tobias of Trevor, Wisconsin, was on the point of add extra purple-hued characters to a chalk collage — Thanos, Hawkeye and Ursula the Sea Witch quickly can be joined by Waluigi and Grimace. Attendees can see Zwolski Tobias, aka The Chalk Girl, add to the piece celebrating 50 years of Chicago comedian cons all weekend lengthy.
A couple of cubicles away, former newspaper designer Pat Kenrick of Hampton, Virginia, confirmed off prints and mugs bearing his watercolor work of characters from titles as divergent as “The Golden Ladies,” “Winnie the Pooh” and “Fullmetal Alchemist.”
“I do that as a result of I take pleasure in folks’s reactions on my tackle the piece,” Kenrick stated. “It is a technique to make a connection to folks. And to me, that is what artwork is.”
Kenrick and his spouse, Alexis — who got here up with the title for his or her enterprise, Amourable Art — journey the nation together with his artwork and have visited Chicago-area conventions eight or 9 instances. He stated Chicago is his second-favorite meals city behind New Orleans, and he provided a tip for his fellow vacationers: “Do not eat sushi in Colorado. Eat sushi in Seattle.”
Fan Expo Chicago continues Saturday and Sunday on the Donald E. Stephens Conference Heart, 5555 N. River Highway, Rosemont. Tickets vary in worth from $12 to $62; additional charges are charged for autographs, picture alternatives and a few particular occasions. The weekend’s featured friends embody Elijah Wooden (Frodo), Sean Astin (Sam), Dominic Monaghan (Merry) and Billy Boyd (Pippin), the 4 Hobbits from the “Lord of the Rings” movie trilogy. Go to fanexpochicago.com for extra data.