C2E2 is becoming known around Chicago as a fantastic convention and I was not surprised to see that it was more crowded this year than last. But with the growing crowds also came a bigger show. The guest list seemed more impressive this year, and programming was expanded too. Overall, C2E2 knocked it out of the park once again. Here’s the Good, the Bad, and the Meh of C2E2 2013.
* The Venue and layout. Every year C2E2 is held in McCormick Place, which is a HUGE convention center in downtown Chicago. As confusing as it is to find you way to the correct hall from the parking lot, the convention center leaves nothing to be desired. The large hall of the main convention floor was smartly laid out to allow easy access to vendors and artists. Plus the new layout for the autograph lines took away all of the confusion over whose line was whose.
* The Staff. C2E2’s volunteer staff is always impressive. They’re easy to spot, friendly, AND informed. If they don’t know the answer to a question you better believe they’ll find it for you. Whether directing lines, talking to fans, or loading/unloading panel rooms, the staff at C2E2 continues to be top notch.
But let’s not forget the McCormick Place staff! Those folks were sure surprised with some of the convention attendees, but they took it all in stride. The staff at McCormick Place were friendly, helpful, and seemed to be enjoying the convention as much as we were!
* The App! This was on my “meh” list last year, and I’m so glad to see it’s improved! The app is very easy to navigate and is essential when coordinating which panels you want to see. The other nifty thing added to the app? PRICES! On the app you could not only find photo-op and autograph times, but prices as well. This small, but very handy detail puts the C2E2 app among the best.
* Programming! Oh the programming! This year seemed to have a wider variety of panels and events for attendees to peruse. There was definitely something for everyone. But here’s where C2E2 stands out among conventions…their fan-run panels. I’ve been to some iffy fan panels in the past, but the fan panels at C2E2 are always smart, informative, and interesting.
* Fierce Females of Television– Is probably going to be one of my favorite panels of all time. Now I know for sure what happens when you put three brilliant and talented women together on a panel and let them go to town. It was well moderated, well paced, and just an overall excellent experience. The added bonus? The off-to-the-side presence of Janina Gavankar’s mom holding her adorable dog on her lap throughout the panel. It was so hard not “awwww” as he chewed on his little badge!
* Cosplayers! There were definitely more cosplayers this year than last…and it was awesome! Great job everyone!
* Burt Ward- He’s a really nice guy. We feed his Gentle Giants dog food to our pups. It’s nutritionally great and 100% of the profits go right back into his rescue. It’s a win/win. I met Burt at Dragon*Con 2012 where he told me about the food…and showed me pictures of his dogs. So I wanted to thank him for the recommendation and the personalized attention he (yes HE) gave to our orders. It’s always great to meet someone who is passionate about something, and Burt certainly puts his all into his rescue. He’s a real pleasure to talk to.
* Janina Gavankar- I’ve been a fan of Janina’s since The Gates. Remember that show? So I was a little disappointed when I saw there weren’t any pictures from that show to choose from at her table. But that’s okay! Because Janina was disappointed with the show’s cancellation too. We bonded over our shared sadness, and I was happy to learn that she still keeps in touch with most of the cast. (Awesome!) Of course it all resulted in what is now my favorite autograph:
JANINA: Most depressing autograph ever! How do I make it less depressing?
ME: You could put smiley faces on it?
And she did. 🙂
Btw, she’s been in some pretty awesome stuff since The Gates like True Blood and Arrow. And her music is pretty killer.
* Parking…seriously, just the parking. And this is probably because Lord Monkeypants and I arrived around noon on Saturday when the lots were pretty much full. No fault of C2E2’s of course. But annoying all the same because it took us an extra 30 minutes or so to wonder our way from the boondock parking lot to the convention.
Like the “Bad” column, I don’t have much in the “Meh” department.
* No microphones- Seriously, this is the only thing that irritated me about the Fierce Females of Television panel…actually, it’s the only thing that irritates me about smaller panels in general. There was no microphone for the fans who were asking questions. Fans were instructed to come up to the front to ask their questions…a great idea because it gives the fan some one-on-one time with the panelists, but bad because the rest of us have no idea what the question is. Sometimes the question would be reiterated in the answer, but sometimes it wasn’t. Note for next year- an extra microphone for questions in the medium-sized panel rooms is a plus.
Overall, C2E2 definitely killed it. As the show keeps growing, it also keeps getting better and better! The high level of organization, professionalism, and attention to detail Reed POP gives its conventions is unparalleled in Chicago. It’s a great way to kick off convention season. I can’t wait until next year!