The morning of C2E2, after starting my day with a cup of coffee, I shed my skin to transform into my favorite forest dweller, Totoro. The train ride was strange with many passengers giving me weird looks. They were probably thinking, “Does the CTA allow animals on the train?” Since I have witnessed much stranger things on public transportation, I brushed off their inquisitive looks.
At first I was nervous. It's not easy for a mythical forest creature to arrive in the big city. While cruising down the pavement, trying to find my fellow cosplayers, I realized that Chicago is an environment that invites you to embrace your inner weirdness. There is no need to be afraid because we love you here.
After arriving at the studio, I was given my first assignment as Fearless Radio's new journalism intern. I knew that no matter what task they assigned to me, I was in the right place. Some may view handing out flyers as a boring task, but I used it as a chance to greet C2E2 enthusiasts. Figuring out who was going to the event was relatively easy since their elaborate costumes practically demanded my attention.
Those who were attending the event were excited to hear about a C2E2 afterparty. I found their enthusiasm contagious and began to look forward to attending the event. The steady stream of cosplayers heading over to McCormick Place appeared to be a parade of colorful characters. This was when I started playing the game “name that character.”
My excitement only grew when I arrived at the venue. I had never been to McCormick Place and was amazed with how humoungous it is. While walking through the west building, I found it humorous to interrupt the business men attending an auto covention. The dark suits made the cosplayers' outfits stand out even more. I kept hearing them asking others “what is going on?”
The highlight of my C2E2 experience occurred the moment I walked across the McCormick Square towards the south building. A dozen Marvel characters were posing on the steps in convincingly accurate costumes. Both heroes and villians were present which made me question what would happen next. I didn't have to wonder for long, since they started to use the grassy lawn as their terrain for a cosplay fighting match. This began the visual overload that dulled the rest of my senses.
C2E2 was overflowing with living art. Although I knew attendees would dress up as their favorite character, I never would have imagined how elaborate their costumes were. I continued my game of “name that character,” but became frustrated when I didn't know the answer. This a fleeting feeling because the large crowd of C2E2 gave me so much to look at. Heroes and villians were united for a common cause, the love of comics and entertainment.
With my handful of flyers nearly gone, I headed back through the maze of McCormick Place to Fearless studio. I was anxious to get inside the event after avidly watching C2E2 from the sidelines. Then came the moment I have been dreaming about...my first press pass! Holding this plastic card I felt as if I had the holy grail in my hands, and a girly squeal of excitement escaped my lips. After three years of trying to discover my identity in Chicago, I had finally arrived!
A quick flash of my press pass gave me easy entry into the main floor of the event. There was a tower of t-shirts in the center with numerous booths selling items for all the enthusiasts. Although most people gathered towards cosplay schwag, I found the artist alley to be the most fascinating. So many varied styles allowed me to see inside the artist's imagination. The medium of comics combines both visual and verbal that requires the creator to be well-versed in both drawing and storytelling. I could have spent hours walking down the aisles. All of the artists were approachable and encouraged others to learn about their creation. Sadly it was close to dinner time, so I headed back the studio thinking fondly of my C2E2 experience.
My first dinner at Fearless studio was when I realized that I had gained a new family. The lobby is filled with music posters just like my bedroom, so how could I not feel at home? I never get a home-cooked meal, so when I learned that Kris was making pasta I was grateful. Kris and Patrick had already given me so much by offering me an internship. This feeling of family continued when I got to meet Payton, the connection that offered me to fulfill my dreams. After a big hug, I began to feel the desire to help my new family any way possible. Luckily there was some down time before the afterparty at the studio. Totoro was not used to walking concrete, so the comfy sectional couch provided just the right cushion for the tired creature. Even Jaco, the studio's punk pug, wasn't scared of Totoro sharing his space for a moment of relaxation. After a long twelve hour day of fun and excitement, Totoro was ready to head back to the forest for some hibernation.
Until next time Fearless,