X Fest 2 Electric Boogaloo
Helloooooo America, it’s your favorite Midwestern who doesn’t know how to milk a cow, but I really think I could figure it out before it kicks me to death.
As two of you know, I come from the north central part of IL, where there is a LOT of corn and beans. Some fun facts though, we have lots of state parks in the area, and Illinois has the most Sasquatch sightings by state than any other, so suck it Washington!!! For fun, we like to drink (that explains the Sasquatch), kill animals, and argue. Luckily, we are a semi conservative state, yet we vote Democrats. I have never figured that out.
But we, and by we I mean www.thisconlife.com, an organization that puts on conventions, broke away from the hillbillies, and boogied our way up to Chicago June 7th through the 9th and put on the second annualish X Fest 2!!!
For those of you not familiar, X Fest is the leading convention dealing with the show The X Files. It is a celebration of the show, with celebrity panels, the opportunity to get autographs and selfies with the stars, professional photo opportunities, some musical entertainment, and a show each night by the world famous Enigma. And also, the man with the world’s largest X Files collection was on hand to show off his treasures.
Now, to answer the first question, David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson were not there. The decision was made easy because Ms Anderson announced she will no longer be doing conventions, and honestly, if we got them, either the prices have to go up, or we have to pare away the guest list, so it is smaller.
What that means to us is that we have to balance it with bigger names, but also people who have done very few cons, if any before, so that they are fresh and exciting.
Enough of the business plan bullshit, lets talk about fun things. This year the guests were
Mark Snow….composer of the theme and a million other things
Dean Haglund (Langly)…Lone Gunman
Bruce Harwood (Harwood)…Lone Gunman
Tom Braidwood (Frohike)…Lone Gunman
Mitch Pileggi (Skinner, was in Shocker too)
Nicholas Lea (Alex Krycek)…was in Supernatural too
Annabeth Gish (Reyes)…Sons of Anarchy too, lots of things
Frank Spotnitz … producer, writer
Susan Blommaert… actress
Brian Huskey… actor
Rebecca Toolan (Mulder’s Mom)
Sheila Larken … actress
Chris Owens (the Great Mutato)… actor
Melinda McGraw… actress
Jeff Gulka… actor
The Enigma (The Conundrum)… actor, side show performer
Karen Konoval …actress, chain smoker
Dr Anne Simon… Chief science advisor, author
Larry Musser… actor
J.J. Lendl … artist
Joe Harris… Comic Creator & Writer
Friday started in with check in, merch table, trivia night, a show by The Enigma, cosplay judging, a screening of his episode, and a performance by Jess O’ Lantern The Enigma, if you doesn’t know, is a performer who has the outline of a puzzle on his body, and over 250 tattoo artists have colored in a piece blue. Not only was he very fan friendly outside, but his show was fast paced and fun. If you ever want to see a man pound a nail into his nose, I strongly suggest you check out his tours.
The trivia portion was amazing. Admittedly, I still have the last season of the original, and all the new seasons to watch, but these people live and breathe the show. I am used to comic cons, where people are HUGE Batman fans, but read other stuff too. I would say 90% of this crowd focuses on this show. I’m pretty sure they watch other stuff, but worship at the altar of the X Files gods.
It was also fun that the fans also recognized the promoter, Jay Repsel, and his sidekick Josh Costilow, and treated them like a celebrity. They treated all of the volunteers well, and were very appreciative. Unlike Celebration (callback to an earlier article).
Now Saturday, I missed most the day. From all accounts, everything ran smoothly, the lines weren’t horrible, the professional photo’s ran fast, and fun was had by all. On a side note, the wedding I DJed was small, nobody was drinking, hardly anyone was dancing, but the food was good and the people were more than nice.
I got back after the Enigma show, the screening of another episode with the actors talking about it, and another set by Jess O’ Lantern. Then the after party was DJed by yours truly for a few hours, a pretty full dance floor, and people didn’t go off in cliques. You saw people truly bonding over the show, the groups ebbed and flowed, people would leave, others would join…honestly, if a drum circle had broke out, I wouldn’t have been shocked. I have pictures, it’s true.
Full disclosure, an edible I took kicked in right at the beginning of the after party, and people were buying me Stella’s, so I could have been horrible and I wouldn’t have known, but in the Attendee’s page we have, they were all very nice and complimentary.
Sunday came way too early (see above paragraph), and was a day of hugs, a last day of autographs and pictures, last minute merch sales, and a good time. I had more than a few people come up, thank me for being a part of a great weekend, and saw a few tears because they were parting from their new friends.
A few shout outs to people I didn’t mention or glossed over. Check out Jess O’ Lantern on youtube. She’s a talented young lady, has an amazing voice, dresses up as a dead doll, and is very entertaining.
Kid Cadet does all of our announcing, hosting, and making sure the panels don’t go south. She is bubbly, funny, well versed in pop culture, a great singer, and a wonderful hostess. If any of you are involved in cons, and need someone in the above capacity, I strongly suggest looking her up. Check out her social media, as well as Jess O’ Lantern’s.
And finally, if you are ever in the Chicagoland area, we were in Schaumburg, you need to eat at Kuma’s. It is a metal bar with some of the best burgers around. Me, I get the BLT with 10 strips of bacon, but the burgers are amazing, the mac n cheese makes me forget about my not so strict diet, and a wide assortment of beers and cocktails, all while listening to metal and watching monster movies and twilight zones on the TV’s.
Lastly, it’s a small con. It will never be a huge con, but it is an intimate convention. You run into celebrity’s in the hallways and elevators, they are very open. The noobs take a bit to realize what a celebrity they are to the guests, but they really start to dig it. Keep an eye on www.thisconlife.com to see if my prediction is true, but I guarantee X Fest 3 will eventually happen.
When asked if there would be an X Fest 3, on Thursday the answer was a resounding “no”. Friday it was “maybe, but I’m taking a year off”. Saturday “probably, not sure when”. Sunday…look, I’ve known Jay (the other one), since he was 14, so we’ll see you next year folks!
The truth is out there