The first full day of Wizard World Chicago came to a close yesterday and though it was unusually quiet for a Friday it wasn’t hard to imagine that it was only the calm before the storm.
Pop culture fanatics and geeks of all shapes and sizes came out in droves to Rosemont, IL on Friday afternoon to get their chance to be a part of the pop culture zeitgeist.
From an outsider’s perspective it would have been a surreal event. But as a veteran of such conventions one learns to roll with the strangeness. Where else but Wizard World would you find the convention hosted by Kato Kaelin who planted himself in the center of the lobby with a microphone talking to anyone that stops to take a breath.
In fact if you didn’t want to pay crazy fees for autographs and pictures the main lobby was a great spot to hang with some of the show’s top names for free. By afternoon American Pie star Thomas Ian Nicholas was on stage playing an acoustic set of his new album followed by Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd and his own band. The stage itself is barely propped up so one could almost have a conversation with them if you talked loud enough.
The convention itself is a shrine to all things pop culture. Granted, its main focus tends to be science fiction and fantasy but it is in no way limited by that. With stars like Barry Bostwick, Kevin Sorbo, Loni Anderson and a ton of WWE wrestlers there is something for everyone. While everyone has a booth and the chance to take photo ops (for a price) most put themselves front and center with panels throughout the weekend.
This year’s theme seems to be Doctor Who, something that is always welcome in the fandom community. The guest of honor was supposed to be David Tennant but his appearance needed to be cancelled at the last minute for personal reasons. Fans will still get the chance to mix and mingle with Doctor Who regulars like John Barrowman, Jenna Coleman and Catherine Tate. The highlight will no doubt be Barrowman’s one-man show on Sunday in which he lets loose and lets his radiant personality shine. If you’ve never seen his show that alone is worth the price of admission.
Friday’s highlight was Michael Rooker’s panel in the large auditorium. Rooker, who is a dynamic personality to begin with, shared the secrets of some of his most high profile projects like The Walking Dead and Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet seeing him on stage with a huge smile on his face says volumes about how much he loves his fans.
If you haven’t been to Wizard World yet don’t fret there are still two more full days to go. Tickets are available online or at the door.
Photos: Leon Rudzin