B-Fest 2016: Prologue (the epic quest to the Midwest and a Squared Circle)

The following entries chronicle B-Fest 2016, January 22nd and 23rd. I had meant to blog about this no later than February, but conventions and life happen, and so it goes. I feel bad about putting it off because my friend, Natasha, brought a notepad for me to take notes during the movies for the purpose of blogging! I still have it and plan to bring it with me in 2017. Whether I blog that fest on time remains to be seen…

That said, let’s head back to the third week of January shall we?


I have forced myself to be a morning person for a good chunk of my life, be it school, work, or comic convention preparation. One might think he or she would get used to it, but rarely have I wanted to bounce out of the safety of the blanket fort to greet a new day anytime before 9:00 or so. You’d think that since I am going to Evanston, IL and B-fest, I would be out of bed and ready to go.

Not at 6 in the morning, I’m not.

Plus, I found myself greeted by potential stowaways….

Packed and ready to go, I head to Union Station. With time to spare, I make sure no one else tries to sneak into my stuff and caffeinate myself for the train to Grand Central terminal and ensuing shuttle trip to LaGuardia airport. I hoped to hell I wouldn’t find a CBGB diner, like the one proposed for Newark Airport.

LaGuardia did not co opt punk rock to sell burgers, not yet anyway.  Ever since I flew from Cancun to home with an infected corneal abrasion, my fear my flying dropped significantly. I’m one of those people who squirms at the prospect of contact lenses, false lashes, eyeliners, well you get the idea. I eschew those things still (bad goth: no Bauhaus) but I have a better ability to take long flights, plus my anxiety over heights and lifting off dwindled significantly. Bridges are still an issue, but I digress.

I arrive at O’Hare airport in record time, grab a cab and talk 80’s music with the driver and check in to my hotel room. Running into Jacob, I come to learn that other B-Festers are still en route, so I opted for a power nap and Dateline.

We all reconvene to the lobby later that evening. Jacob and Natasha are big fans of WWE and WWE Next. As it turned out, there was a wrestling themed restaurant. We purchase subway cards, marvel over the heat lamps at the stops and head on our way. We make it over, note the used bookstore en route and I revisit my childhood interest in pro wrestling. I think my last Summer Slam was viewed in the early 1990s. I had seen a few episodes of RAW in the early 2000s, but the Squared Circle and  WWE Next offered something very different. Natasha had explained that this was a good venue for the up and comers, and she added, women wrestlers. Check out the women wrestlers. Sure enough, I was impressed. One wrestler, Carmella, looked a little like a friend of mine that is a longtime hula hoop performer and fire eater and holy god, could they wrestle! I might have enjoyed watching those matches more than Myopic Books, even though I managed to pick up a Raymond Chandler novel among other things.


We met for breakfast at an area diner called Seven Brothers. One thing that I love about the midwest is that they want to feed you. After a wonderful omelette, I spied cheesecake in the display window and my mind immediately cued the chorus of REO Speedwagon’s “I can’t fight this feeling anymore.” We had to get to the conservatory and zoo before I stuffed myself to a point where I had to be rolled out into the parking lot……

A walk around the Zoo proved to be a lot of fun as well as a means to burn off breakfast.

For example…..lions. Little did I know that this would be a prelude to a squeeing shit fit later in the weekend, but as you can see, kitty isn’t taking any of your shenanigans!


Our next stop was the Mold-o-Rama stand where one can get a small vinyl toy pressed on site. Afterward, we make our way to Hollywood Mirror, a fantastic memorabilia shop where I acquire a squeeze toy tiki statue.


And, of course, you can’t help but love being greeted by this guy:


From there, we all made our way to one of my favorite spots in the Chicago area, the Hala Kahiki bar. At the risk of my subculture card, I will state for the record that I love anything tiki themed. Not so pleasing are the number of rum drinks. I like rum, but it gives me a headache. Luckily, I discovered the happiest drink on earth, namely the wine and lime juice combination called the Tahitian cooler. My tiki statue collection expanded in the gift shop. I should note that the proprietor is very chatty, so it’s dangerous to go alone, as stated in the first “Legend of Zelda” game.

It was a fantastic evening all of us just nerding out and commiserating, Tim and Bryan dressed to the nines in their 70’s loungey finest, the best and worst ties and color combos. You’ve got to give the proper credit.

I didn’t make it to the after hour movie fest in the lounge. I was beat, plus I remember getting sick as a dog one year, and didn’t want to chance anything.

Friday: Pre-Fest

First stop: The Omega Diner for power breakfast. I knew that I was planning to embark on a 24 hour movie marathon with but a few naps. I tried to be as healthy as possible, and for the most part, I succeeded.

Coffee was my friend, nevertheless.

That said, we took a trip to Berwyn for Horrobles and Reel Art. Both cater to horror, comic and sci fi fans and collectors. Maybe I came home with a few Bandai Godzilla figures….a few….

After some Ethiopian for dinner, we were B-Fest bound…..




One thought on “B-Fest 2016: Prologue (the epic quest to the Midwest and a Squared Circle)

  1. It’s WWE NXT. Not next. And I’m glad you like it. The current womens champion, Sasha Banks, is amazing. She’s Snoop Doggs cousin, BTW!
    Also I’m excited to read your movie reviews!!!

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