• Kelly Blanton

Wizard World Wannabe


Hey there, it’s Gadabout Gal Kelly!


I have a question for ya…have you ever been to WIZARD WORLD?

No, it’s not a Harry Potter theme park. Nope, not an amusement park ride or even a video game.



Wizard World (aka WW) is the leading producer of pop culture live events in North America. Wizard World events bring together thousands of fans of all ages to celebrate the best in pop culture: movies, television, music, gaming, live entertainment, comics, sci-fi, graphic novels, toys, collectibles, original art and world-class programming in a one-of-a-kind comic con environment.


Cool.Fun.Stuff.




And since Wizard World Columbus 2018 was being held at the Greater Columbus Convention Center downtown this past weekend and I'd never been, I decided it was a close-to-home, first-time excursion worth checking out.


I need to take a moment here and let you in on a little secret: I am a serious pop culture, movie & TV lover and trivia nerd. In a prior life, a decade before I was a Gadabout Gal…before I was even Sugar Pie ~ I wrote a blog called Movie Lovers Only and did movie reviews on both MIX 107.9 FM and YouTube as The Flick Chick.


Yep. I did.




So…knowing that, it may be somewhat hard to believe that it wasn’t until last Saturday that I attended my very first Wizard World event.


What took me so long?

I have no idea.


Guess what?


I absolutely LOVED IT!!!


I had a seriously good time.


Wizard World’s fun and fabulous events are completely immersive experiences where fans can truly enjoy and connect with the content they love. To my delight, Wizard World Columbus had a little bit of everything: celebrity autograph signings and photo ops, live music, cosplay props and contests and lots of cool items for sale like artwork, dolls, t-shirts, patches, pins and buttons galore. You name it, they got it. Seriously, the creativity of this group of creators and fans is off the charts!



SIDENOTE: Wondering what the heck ‘cosplay’ is?


Well, here ya go...


Cosplay: contraction of the words costume play, is a hobby in which participants called cosplayers wear costumes and fashion accessories to represent a specific character. Cosplayers often interact to create a subculture, and a broader use of the term "cosplay" applies to any costumed role-playing in venues apart from the stage.


Feel a little bit cooler now, doncha?


I know I do.



I ventured into my first Wizard World kinda clueless…and I discovered that these events (and the fans who frequent them) are a heckuva lot of fun! It helped that I went with two WW seasoned veterans ~ my sweet daughter Kate and her fun friend Chantelle (aka Catwoman in the pics).



They’ve been to more than a few of these events and they know the ropes…AND the names of many of the costumed characters wandering around.


Me: “Wait, who’s that?” Kate: “Harley Quinn.”

Me: “What’s that?” Chantelle: “Transformer Ironhide.".

You get the drift.


It helps to hang with the smart girls.


On the left above, if you look closely you'll see that I'm standing 'with' wrestler Kelly Kelly. So, we're Kelly Kelly Kelly. Or.... 'Kelly Cubed'. Ha.

I'm pretty sure you know who those 2 good guys on the right are.


As you can see...I definitely got more comfortable as the day went on.


I must add that another truly fun part of the event was WW Host and Master of Ceremonies, Kato Kaelin (yes, that Kato Kaelin). He was set-up at the stage right as you entered the event…and he interviewed guests and grabbed passers-by and told funny jokes and played silly trivia games with the crowd. Kato’s quick wit is razor sharp and some of his comments and sly asides about the cast of characters meandering around him were truly a highlight of the day.



Kato even roped yours truly into a silly trivia match with two wary tweens, or as I now call it:


LIVE with Kelly and Kato.


Check it out below:



Good times.


A few of this year‘s Wizard World Columbus celebrity guests included: Holly Marie Combs (Charmed/Pretty Little Liars), Thomas Ian Nicholas (Rookie of the Year/American Pie, John Heder (Napolean Dynamite), Charisma Carpenter (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Ray Park (Star Wars: The Phantom Menace), Henry Winkler (Happy Days/Arrested Development), John Barrowman (Doctor Who/Torchwood)…and the tall guy with the fabulous hair, big muscles AND the longest lines of fans….Aquaman and Khal Drogo himself, Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones/Aquaman).



Confession time:

The real reason I bought my ticket to Wizard World on Saturday was….

Lloyd Dobler.

I mean Walter Gibson.

Actually, I mean…John Cusack.



When Kate told me last week that Cusack was coming to Wizard World Columbus, I had immediate flashbacks to my multiple college (and post-college) viewings of The Sure Thing (1985) and Say Anything (1989).



John Cusack?! He was the sweet/funny guy-next-door friend/boyfriend that every girl wanted to call her own. SO sensitive, funny, charming and cute. He always had the right thing to say, at just the right moment.


OK, so I was a fan...a BIG fan.

But I’m older now.

I know those are just characters...that he played. On the screen.


But I still might like to meet him in person…and just say...‘Hi.’


So I did.


It actually happened, right there at Wizard World.

But not exactly as scheduled.

John was supposed to do an autograph/selfie pic session with fans at 11 am. That's what I signed up for and that's what I showed up for. Unfortunately, at the appointed time, John was nowhere to be found. At 11 am Saturday morning, instead of sitting in his booth at WW in Columbus, John was actually sitting on a plane on a tarmac in Chicago, delayed by thunderstorms. And he was with Aquaman to boot!



We were told by show personnel that Cusack and Momoa were scheduled to arrive at the event 'sometime around 1 pm..or so'. Hmmm...."could you be more specific?", I asked.

Nope.


We walked around a bit, and I got the definite vibe that not only were these people unsure about John and Jason's potential arrival time...it seemed slightly possible that they might not even make it there at all. Wait, what???


I decided heck, I would just find out for myself, so I went to the source of all up-to-the-minute/must-have info: Twitter.


Yep. I tweeted right @ John Cusack (@ him...get it?) to find out if he was really heading to Columbus and going to be at Wizard World that day. I mean, why not?


Guess what?

He tweeted right back @ me:


“Yeah - comming” 


OK, perfect.


So, the meetup did eventually happen as planned...just about 3 hours late (actually, about 33 years and 3 hours late...if I woulda had my way back in the day. But who's counting?).


John was very cool & friendly to me and all of the waiting fans...and I even gave him one of our Sugar Pie Tees (Drinks Well With Others ~ it just seemed like one he might like & wear).



As for other star sightings that day, I mentioned earlier that Aquaman aka Jason Momoa was the really big draw of the weekend. When he finally showed up at his booth on Saturday afternoon, the lines were looooong and the fans were BIG-time excited. We couldn’t get very close to his booth, and we didn’t even try…so we gals just stood around the periphery with a bunch of other gawkers and took a few blurry iPhone snaps. Works for me.



Jason was one of the few celebrities scheduled to be there for both days of the convention. When I checked out his Instagram feed on Monday morning (prideofgypsies), he had posted a photo of himself, trying to get some shut eye on the floor of the Columbus airport before he boarded his flight back home Sunday night.



How sweet is that? He missed his bed...AND his wife (Lisa Bonet, by the way). Awww. Can you imagine that group of Wizard World fans if they had known that Aquaman/Khal Drogo was sleeping, right there...on the floor at Port Columbus airport? OMG KrAzY!


BTW....I like the way he travels. Cusack too. I'm planning to ask them both if they'd like to be honorary GADABOUT GUYS. I'm gonna work on that tweet right now.


OK, so that's about it. A fun Saturday spent with entertaining and creative people with a few fun surprises along the way. Do you think attending a Wizard World is something you might want to do in the future? They hold multiple events year round in various large cities across North America. A few of the upcoming cities this summer/fall include: Boise, Winston-Salem, Chicago, Tulsa and Austin. You can see their full schedule of shows and information about their programming and guests on their site: WIZARD WORLD


As for me, I think you can tell that I thoroughly enjoyed the entire experience. John Cusack definitely got me there…but I had a FABulous time with everyone involved and I definitely plan to go back when Wizard World returns to Columbus next summer.


Hmmm…the Say Anything tee I wore was clever, but I think I might need to step it up next time.


I just have to find my Wonder Woman costume.

Not sure if it’s still gonna fit.


Good times.



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