GirlPower!

Going into day four at FE, we were feeling the burn.  The littlest superheroes in our bunch needed some re-energizing to make the trek back for another full FE experience.

Luckily, Cora’s is always there to save us on day four!  Year after year, we walk in exhausted and leave filled with insane breakfast delights.  Here’s Cora’s in a nutshell.  Harper: “I don’t know. I want eggs Benedict, but I also want a crepe.” Me: “Did you see the Bene-Crepes? It’s an omelet wrapped in a crepe covered with Benedict sauce.” Harper: “Score!”

Completely filled with carbs of every family–pancakes, crepes, toast, potatoes, oatmeal–we followed the world’s coolest hoodies to FE.  Seriously, a Princess Leia hoodie with the cinnabuns?  Love!

Harper was in her finest Wonder Woman cape-T, Penn had two t-shirts.  The first half of the day, he wore his Delorean blueprint.  And, if he had a buck for every time someone asked him about his Jake Doc Martens, we would have recouped their cost back in February.

Sunday is a bit slower, and we had no agenda until the afternoon, so we slow walked the vendors and exhibitors, catching up on things we had missed.  First stop was the Canadian Doctor Who Society, always a great booth.  This year, they brought a tiny Tardis!

We also visited the 501st Garrison, a Canadian group that does not play when it comes to Star Wars.  They are amazing.  At one point, we were sitting in the non-premium premium lounge when the doorway became a proscenium arch framing one 501st-er after another marching through the hallways. So cool!

When I say Sunday is slower, you should take that with a grain of salt, as this view of the North Building documents.  To the left of the photo are the autograph tables.  The hall’s layout means that the celebs with shorter lines are farther out.  For example, when we walked past, Scream’s Skeet Ulrich had his hoodie up and was waiting for folks to show, where as the Hogwarts-verse Phelps twins had triple rowed queues.

Back in the South building, even though it was Sunday, we found few bargains, but we did find this guy: a chicken in a varsity jacket and acid wash jeans dancing to “Hey Mami.” Thank you, FE.  You make room for all.

Four days of FE turned this formerly blank wall at the LEGO booth into a vision of our collective dreamscape.

Penn scoped out the new Star Wars LEGOs.

And, eventually, we trudged back to the North Building for an afternoon panel.  This is the line for the escalator.

We’ve learned that it pays to be early for panels, so we hit the down escalator with minimal crowding …

and got pretty decent seats for Gillian Anderson–last row, middle section.  This will be important later.

While we waited, we reviewed our purchases.  Ned scored a Canadian-made Monty Python Monopoly knock-off.

And, I got Poutine-flavored Ruffles, which truly tasted as though they were covered in gravy.  Food science is scary amazing.

Wonder Woman took a nap.

Gillian Anderson was super smart, funny, genuinely happy to be here and engage with the long line up in the Q&A, and came across like a real person: cursy, opinionated, proud to be a feminist, and a honest about being a working mom.  She talked X-Files, the Fall, and Hannibal.  Her favorite episode of the X-Files is Bad Blood, and when someone asked her about the Taylor Swift song, she had never heard it.  So, of course, a row of young women in the audience spontaneously broke into the chorus.  When she opined that she couldn’t get her glasses clean and had forgotten her eyeglass cloth, three people ran up with theirs.  Love FE crowds!

The Q&A ended about 10 minutes early, because Anderson had brought a cast/crew only X-Files baseball cap signed by David Duchovny, Chris Carter, and herself to auction right then for charity.  The bidding opened at $100.  Now, the X-Files has always been one of Ned’s favorite shows.  I asked him if he wanted it.  He said, “No,” but he said it in such a way that I heard, “Yes.”  I turned to Harper, she nodded “yes,” excitedly.  So, at about $250, I jumped up and said, “$300.”  I kept on topping other bidders, and eventually, Anderson said, “Who is that?” shielding her eyes to look out in the audience.  I jumped up, waved, and said, “It’s me. I’m over here. Hi!”  And, she smiled and said, “Hi!”  I was about to knock out my competition, when a previously unknown bidder topped the last bid by several hundred dollars, pushing the bidding into the four figures.  As much as I love my husband, I wasn’t going to pay over $1000 for a baseball cap, so it went to–as Ned described him–an old Canadian guy.  In the end, Ned just loved the thrill of it all.  Suddenly, he was re-energized for the rest of the day!

We stepped out for a late lunch and got back in time to plunk down for the last FE event of the day: a panel with Hayley Atwell.  It was scheduled at the same time as Jenna Coleman’s panel, so from our seats on the floor in the HA queue, we could watch the JC queue winding its way across the North building and down the escalator.  Made for wonderful people watching.

If we were to rank costumes by popularity at this year’s FE, the list would include some you might guess (Captain America, Storm Troopers, Deadpool, Finn, Matt Smith Doctors, Hogwarts students, random Anime) but a few you wouldn’t.  That second list would include Agent Peggy Carter. Penn counted over 30 Agent Carters within a few hours, including some men.  We loved Agent Carter when it came on last winter, but it didn’t do well in the ratings and so we thought it was a goner.  But, it was renewed.  Clearly, the show and character struck a chord: at her first FE, Atwell was able to fill the 2500 seats in Room 105 … at 5 pm on a Sunday.  Her Funko Pop Vinyl was an almost impossible find at FE.  Part of this is due to her social media savvy.  She has become a Dubsmash star, even triggering a Marvel Dubsmash war for charity.

In person, Atwell is outspoken, confident, and proudly feminist.  This is her appeal.  The audience was probably 75% female, and she drew the longest Q&A line I’ve seen at FE.  Most of the questions were grounded in Agent Carter’s strength and value as a role model.  Harper lit up like a FE firefly when Atwell spoke.  This was an interesting FE in that so many of the Celeb MVPs were women.  To see Karen Gillan, Gillian Anderson, Haley Atwell, and Jenna Coleman–none of whom look like Anime pillow dolls and all of whom clearly speak their minds–fill and overfill rooms was quite heartening.  Way to work the Girl Power, Fan Expo!

And, with that, another year at FE was over.  We packed our many bags, had a lengthy Marvel/Mad Max conversation with the Croatian bell hop, and then hopped in the car for the trip home.

We love FE, but what we may love most is that it draws us together around a shared love, a common set of experiences and a vocabulary that makes us a family.  And, if that weren’t enough, after stumbling across “You Take My Breath Away” on Sirius XM Yacht Rock while driving home, I recounted the plot of the Sooner or Later movie to many “eww”‘s and “gross”es.  Then, we scream-sang the song for a good 15 minutes until Harper couldn’t breathe from laughing and Penn fell into coughing fits.  Take that, Dubsmash!  Thank you, FE!

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