Red Alert, Chicago Nerds! Nerd Alert, Chicago! We are Chicago’s nerds and we are legion. It’s possible you missed us as we walked by you in the streets and in the offices you work in. But look a little closer and you’ll see the polo has a Marvel logo on it, and the houndstooth jacket is from Disney bounding Brave on the down-low while maintaining a business professional look.
C2E2 rolls into McCormick Place on Friday morning, and it’ll put out the nerdsignal throughout fair Gotham (because we all know it should be Chicago and not New York, come on–) and we’ll all be taking over the town until the last panel shutters Sunday evening. If you’re excited for C2E2, you’re now in the majority, which is an exciting place to be for anyone who’s ever felt other because of the things they love or how they dress.
We’ve got the numbers, the costumes, the merch money–so what do we do when we get there? That’s what the nerds at Third Coast Review wanted to figure out, and we came up with another Choose Your Own Adventure C2E2 Preview. Just like last time you’ll need to lace up your running shoes and be ready to hit the road at 10 am on Friday, because that much pop culture celebration isn’t waiting for noon to get going.
But, nerds love a well thought out trilogy, so we did the research and we’ll be breaking up the action into three different curated Choose Your Own Adventure guides, one for each day of the con, with Friday’s also covering some of the daily happenings on the show floor and beyond. It’s dangerous to go alone, so whichever day you’re headed out, bookmark these guides and blaze your own trails.
Remember, adventurers–there’s infinite paths you can take, and this is just scratching the surface, so don’t forget to consult the full panel schedule for the con here to see all the great things we didn’t already cram into this guide, and to check for any last minute changes.
Starting with fresh faces and fatter wallets on Friday, you’ll quickly see the schedule’s not designed for those who need any kind of break in the action, regardless of fandom. At 10 am when doors open daily, there’s choices to make before you even check your schedule and see what the first can’t miss panel for you is.
Artists and Makers get up early and stay up late, and if you’re an early riser who fits the description there’s 10am Stage Set Building, Build Your Own Acme Disintegrator, OR Chuck Jones Studio Drawing to have you creating C2E2 memories with your own hands right off the bat.
If you are an avid artist you may consider saving Chuck Jones for another day to LIVE Sketch with MAD Magazine Artist Tom Richmond at Podcast Central (what some would designate Both #1677) since that panel is Friday only.
You’ll start Friday full rested, tabletop adventurers, so 10am won’t be too early for D&D Create Your Own Character,
if it’s in the cards, you can choose Magic The Gathering Unsanctioned each morning. Both camps will reside in the Gaming Zone. D&D On Demand and D&D Adventurers League meanwhile, will be up in S501 at 10:30
Makers get a new round of daily goodies when they can choose 10:30am Cutting Tools for Makers with OLFA North America on the Cosplay Central Stage.
These are just the daily daystarters, and there’s lots more, from writing rooms to comedy, cosplay and photo opps happening throughout the con, so don’t forget to check back with the daily panel schedule to deepen your experiences.
You’re nerdy folks with kids, observe or participate in the Kids Costume Showcase at Family HQ, which is also the best place for anyone looking for a smile can go to see the amazing children of our future as tiny Batmen, Spider-Men and T-Rex alike.
If you’re not on to do dailies though, we’ve got more specific recommendations for the rest of…
Kicking off the day, Gamers choose between a Halo 3 tournament in the Gaming Zone OR learning about Careers in Esports and Gaming(S504)
If you’re an anime or history fan, head to 11:15am’s Japanese Mythology with Nerds Know (S405a)
If you’re a film nerd, hit the 11:30am local group Chicago Movie-oke’s Chicago Movie-oke Presents: Movie Scene Karaoke in C2E2’s “Yard” which apparently translates to Aisle 600.
Just because we mentioned noon doesn’t mean there’s time to stop though. At 12:15pm comedy fans should head to see local improv group Improvised Jane Austen in S402, the Cards Against Humanity Theater, a show we recommend whether well versed in her work or a complete Austen novel n00b, while Tabletop adventurers won’t want to miss 12:30pm’s Tabletop Streaming Secrets (S403) for some adventures in content wizardry.
We also recommend anyone and everyone attend Queering Comics, Queering the Future: Comics, Queerness and the Intersectional Future at 12:45 (S405b), where from LGBTQIA+ community member to advocate to unfamiliar, you can learn more about the diverse and beautiful nerd community and support every single part of it.
Take those Starfleet values and join with all the sci-fi nerds, and more specifically, the Trekkies, and go where lots of people have gone before, to S406’s Main Stage panel room at 1:30pm, and take a seat to hear from Walter Koenig during the Walter Koenig Spotlight, who’ll have a whale of a tale to tell ya about his time on the bridge of the Enterprise (and offset with Shatner and the gang, for sure)
Anime fans might find themselves in a conundrum when they choose between streaming service Crunchyroll’s Industry Panel(S404) at 1:30pm OR 2pm’s My Hero Academia Self-Defense panel (because of course that’s a thing) in Family HQ’s Interactive Zone, though the wise and relatively fast may consider hopping over from one to the next if they just can’t miss out on either.
Gamers will find themselves with options like 2pm’s Super Smash Bros Ultimate Tournament in the Gaming Zone or just a half hour later, heading to The Yard in Aisle 600 for the 2:30pm arrival of UChicago’s Pep Band for A Link to the Jazz, which really, any fan of live music shouldn’t miss out on.
Comedy, film and TV fans get a chance to do some improv at Improv by the Second City in S502a, the CAH Comedy Theater, but may note that chance comes around again on subsequent days and
MAY INSTEAD CHOOSE TO
head to Podcast Central for 2:15pm’s fifteener with Svengoolie, though there’s a longer panel with Berwyn’s finest another day.
Join up with the gaming crowd (since most all of us are already a part of it) and get some time in with the Jackbox Games and Friends (S403) at 3pm
Use the 3 ‘o clock hour to join tabletop adventurers in relating D&D to the modern working world with Desks, Dayjobs and D&D at Podcast Central and catch up with the gamers later at a 4pm FIFA 20 Tournament in the Gaming Zone.
Trek back to the Main Stage Panel Room (S406) for the internet’s favorite uncle and certainly one of my personal favorites on the TOS Enterprise’s bridge, because it’s gonna get silly, sarcastic and all kinds of Oh My for the George Takei Spotlight at 4pm.
Then, take a cue from one of our own crew at Third Coast Review last year and don’t miss a chance to talk about speaking truth to power while using your nerdiness for good. Head to These Geeks Fight Fascism at 4:30pm in S405b which features Raks Geek’s Dawn Xiana Moon and Michi Trota of last year’s Asian Representation in Pop Culture Panel that brought about this great piece by Pearl Shin, with Karlyn Meyer, Keidra Chaney, Mariella Colon and Meha Ahmad to talk about what fans can do to combat hate and bigotry. This panel promises some of the brightest nerd minds in our local area across all sorts of media teaming up to take on real issues in and out of the pop culture community. It’s something we can all take time out to lend a hand with.
At 4:45pm anime fans should be advised of a Top Secret Crunchyroll Screening (S403) that someone spilled the beans on, apparently.
At 5pm, you’ll have to figure out if you want to get in some game time with Jackbox Games: The Jackbox Party Pack 6 in The Yard
if you’re also a sci-fi fan, make it so you don’t miss 5pm’s Star Trek: Picard Panel in S401, which’ll feature two of the new show’s stars, Wilsa Brione and Evan Evagora answering fan questions about everything from Borg to bordeaux.
Cosplayers as well as cosplay fans and photographers will likely not want to miss the Ivy Doomkitty Q&A on the Cosplay Central Stage at 5:45pm
If you’re winding down and wouldn’t mind a more pastoral experience, we suggest bringing the old story rug out to local sensation Muffy Fishbasket’s Drag Queen Story Hour at 6pm in Family HQ’s Interactive Zone and curling up to hear some well told tales.
You’re in it for the long haul, C2E2’s After Dark programming will continue, with things like 6:45pm’s Getting into Tabletop RPG Writing(S504) for tabletop adventurers
Chicago’s Anime Scene: By the Numbers (S405b) at 7pm for anime lovers
8pm’s Making Multicultural Games panel in S503 with local Kevin Fair of I Play Games on site with UIC, Deep Water Games, Haiduc Studios, reps from SUNY and the Sugar Gamers.
Film nerds will find they can attend a free screening of Army of Darkness in S405a at 8pm
Comedy nerds head offsite to UP Comedy Club for The Second City’s Temple of Geekdom: An Improvised Adventure, also at 8pm, if they purchased separate tickets or they’re still available.
Now, adventurer, get some rest, because this is just our guide to Day One of C2E2. We’ll be guiding you through Saturday before you know it.