WindyCon 33 took place at the Wyndham O’Hare Hotel from November 10-12.
Capricon 2004 has come and gone, and all that is left is the memories. Well, that, and hang-overs, empty bank accounts and probably a number of lawsuits.
Sci-fi/fantasy conventions are interesting things. Like salmon swimming upstream, geeks travel to conventions to be with our geekly brothers and sisters, breed, and die (or in some cases, wish we had). Capricon 24 was no exception. There was the vendor room, art show, Critter Crunch, Photo Scavenger Hunt, and this year, Klingon Karoake, which really had to be experienced to be believed.
One huge change, for us at least, is that this year Chicago Force was in charge of decorating and running the Con Suite. For those of you who are mundanes, the Con Suite is a dining-room/lounge where people can go to eat, read, relax and in at least 3 cases last week, sleep. Now, normally the Con Suite is a fairly generic set-up, with some food and tables to sit at. But Chicago Force doesn’t do generic, do we?
Of course not. Silly question.
We had been invitied to decorate the Con Suite because of the work we did on our Jabba the Hutt party, so it’s not like we could throw some pop and cheese & crackers on a table and call it good. After much discussion, we decided that we should do Bespin’s Cloud City from The Empire Strikes Back. The pristine walls and elegant decorations lend itself well to the function of the Con Suite.
Words can literally not describe the end result, but before we jump into the pictures, it would be remiss not to recognize the hundreds of hours that people put into the making of this venture. This was a labor of love no matter what angle you look at it from. First and foremost thanks go to the core design team of Shauna, Heather, Carrie, Dinel, Dave and Caroline who spent more time packing things up and down Shauna’s stairs than many people spent in total (Shauna, you really need to move to the ground floor. Really). Erica, Matt, Thom, Phil and myself also spent a considerable amount of time cutting, sanding, painting, and just doing gerneral constructive-type things. In fact, pretty much every regular CF member pitched in to make this event a success, from storage, shopping, construction to setup and tear-down. We thank you all.
Special thanks also needs to go out to Chris and Steven Bornhoeft from Quad City Jedi Order for the air of realism they added with their Han and Luke Bespin outfits. Seeing Han getting lowered into the carbon-freezing chamber and Luke battling Vader was the apex of Star Wars fandom for a long time to come. They also came through in a pinch by building a movie-quality Ice Cream Maker Guy prop in 10 minutes out of spare parts. Freeze-frame the movie and compare our picture to it; I dare you to find a difference.
Lastly, Chicago Force would like to thank Capricon for giving us this opportunity to spread our creative wings, and to all the great fans, both costumed and plain-clothed, who stopped by to experience and compliment our efforts. Hearing your kind words makes it all worth while.
OK, I am going to go cry now. Enjoy the pictures.
On February 8, 2003, Chicago Force descended upon the annual CapriCon Convention in Arlington Heights, IL and hosted yet another of their themed room parties.
CF room parties have, over the years, generally progressed in an escalating manner. There has been the simple “Club Sith” to “Dagobah” to the horror that was styrofoam packing peanuts and “Hoth”. This year we decided to do “Jabba the Hutt’s Throne Room” from “Return of the Jedi”. To facilitate this, the convention had donated a 25’x45′ conference room on the main floor, a dance floor, and any furniture that we required.
Planning for this party started months prior and involved many, many people. Those that were there can attest to the success (or lack there of) of this endeavour. Not all of our plans made it to the end, but here is what we did have when the night arrived:
Green-skinned Gammorrean Guard at the door
Blast door and TT-8L droid
Life-sized Jabba the Hutt, tail lovingly wrapped around Salacious Crumb
Full-sized, three-dimensional Han Solo, frozen in Carbonite
Max Rebo and a live band
R2-D2 serving drinks in the corner
Red, blue, and green-skinned Twi’lek slave girls, dancing for Jabba’s (and everyone else’s) pleasure
Yarna, with all six breasts
Luke Skywalker (where’d he get the beard, though?)
Sound like a party? It was.
Standing guard at the door, I got to witness a lot of people’s first reaction to seeing the room. Almost every one would stop at the door, not quite believing what they saw. 85 percent of them uttered some sort of expletive in awe. I don’t think I saw anyone visit just once. People would leave for a few minutes, only to return to where they knew the party was.
I could spend several more paragraphs listing all the compliments that people gave us, so it was a little disappointing when we didn’t pick up the award for Best Party. After the award was given, though, the con staff spent a few moments giving us a special mention, using phrases like “just awesome” and “I’m speechless”.
So many people contributed to the making of this event that any list is bound to leave someone out, but I am going to try:
Shauna, Heather, Thom, Caroline for making the best all-time party prop ever: a life-sized Jabba the Hutt. It’s a shame he didn’t make it home. Han in Carbonite got some compliments, so I’ll thank myself for that. Heather and Le Penguin for Max Rebo; seeing the blue DJ really added credibility to the whole thing. Caroline, Danielle, and Loree for being such delicious slave girls, and braving the oogling of every male in sight. Jason and Erica for the R2-D2 cooler, and lastly, but certainly not least of all, everyone that helped put this thing together Saturday afternoon: Matt, Dave, Heather, Shauna, Carrie, Ginna, Danielle, Caroline, Erica, Jeff, Bob, Phil, Thom, Ray, Patrick, Trisha, and anyone else whom I might have forgotten….this was certainly a team effort, and was only made possible by everyone pitching in and doing their part. Thank you all, it was a night to remember.
And here I am, babbling along, and all you really want to see is the pictures, right? Well, the wait is over…
…as seen by Matthew “Hazmatt” Callison
Well, the 2002 Chicago Force DVD/Christmas Party is in the past. We had almost 20 people show up, and everyone had a good time.
Somehow, we ended up not actually watching the Episode II movie. We did watch the Deleted Scenes and Humorous Outtakes, though. Other video fare included the tape from the 2002 Video Scavenger Hunt, clips from TV news programs around the time Episode II was released, and pretty much the entire movie X-Men. We also viewed “The Skywalkers”, which was a Fan Film made with the help of Chicago Force members Amber-Eyes and Brother Suess. It is a parody of the TV show “The Osbournes” using Anakin, Padme, Luke and Leia as the family. It was very funny, and recently won “Best Movie” at the 2002 FilmCon convention in Madison, Wisconsin.
Thanks go out to 501st troopers Louis, Darth Goat, Duffy, and Emily for coming down and hanging out with us. You fine folks are always welcome, and perk up any party you attend.
But who am I kidding, you don’t want to hear about that. You want pictures!
On November 9, 2002, Chicago Force put on a room party at the 2002 WindyCon Convention, held in the Schaumberg Hyatt in, well, Schaumberg. The theme for this party was “Death Star Trash Compactor“, and the room was decorated appropriately. Guests entering the room were met by the dianoga, several large pieces (to brace the walls with, perhaps?), and of course, trash.
To say that the party was a success would be an understatement. We kicked it off at about 9:30 PM, and went until the wee hours of the morning, some how managing to esacpe the wrath of the elderly couple staying next door. The room was beautifully decorated due to the diligent work put in by the Chicago Force crew. Matt, Dave, Hazmatt, Thom, Phil, Ray, Heather, Shauna and even Devon from Milwaukee were all on hand to transform a tasteful hotel room into a pit of refuse. It was surprisingly a lot of work.
All that hard work paid of, though, when people came to visit. Practically everyone that ventured into our domain complimented us on our decor and attitude and although there was no official competition for Best Party, our exit polls indicated we would have won by a landslide.
But don’t take my word for it. See for yourself…
Here are pictures from the Chicago Force’s 2002 CapriCon room party. I was not actually in attendance at the room party (although meeting everyone at the Cheesecake Factory for dinner was my first offical CF outing. Ah, the difference a year makes), so if anyone has any amusing anecdotes, they will most certainly be welcome.
The theme for this party was “Club Sith”.
Dagobah. Yoda’s ‘hood. Swamps and droid-eating snakes. Sounds like a party!
These pictures are from the Dead Dewback Party held at Thom Solo’s apartment after Windycon 2000.
During Windycon 2000, a con which will live in infamy, Chicago Force was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the insidious nature of styrofoam packing peanuts.
Chicago Force had held peaceful room parties and, until that day, was still under the impression that decorating a hotel room to look like the planet Hoth was a Good Idea™.
Indeed, one hour after the room party had commenced, there was no indication of any problem with the chosen decoration. While in hindsight this was an inaccurate assumption, Chicago Force was still in the midst of false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The packing peanuts were tracked around the room.
The packing peanuts were tracked down the hall.
The packing peanuts were tracked into the elevators.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
Hostilities existed. There was no blinking at the fact that that our people, our reputation and our stay at the hotel were in grave danger.
With confidence in our forces – with the unbounding determination of our people – we gained the inevitable triumph.
Since the unprovoked and dastardly attack, a state of war has existed between Chicago Force and sytrofoam peanuts.