Indy PopCon 2018


Highlight from Indy PopCon 2018: Chester Rushing Panel

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Panels are a big reason why many attend conventions. However, circumstances can prevent a planned panel from happening. When things change, sometimes panelists decide to cancel. Chester Rushing is not such a person.

Chester Rushing came out on stage alone. No other actor. No moderator. Just him and us. And he was delightful.

During the panel, we learned that Rushing is a fan of a lot of the media con goers are too – video games, genre film and TV, anime (such as Fairy Tail and Blue Exorcist), and any Studio Ghibli film (Howl’s Moving Castle is one of his all-time favorites). He got personal as well, discussing growing up in Texas as a theater kid and the backlash he faced because he wasn’t into football, which is basically a religion in the Lone Star state.

Acting is a difficult occupation to pursue; jobs are not guaranteed to come at a regular pace, even if you have an agent, so Rushing, like many other actors, had to work non-acting jobs to pay the bills. While working at a Mexican restaurant attached to a gas station, he sent in an audition for a Netflix show. A few weeks later, he got a call. He didn’t land that job; instead, he got an opportunity to audition for another show – as long as he could make his own way to Atlanta. Rushing went. When he came back after three days, his job at the Mexican restaurant was gone. The former employer called about a week later for him to get his last check, which was one dollar. He drove back home, and that was the day they called him for Stranger Things.

Season three of the show has started filming, but he obviously couldn’t talk about it. Rushing shared his appreciation about how every detail is important in the creation of Stranger Things. The costumes, props, and set pieces are beautiful and well-made, even the Upside Down is an actual set. “You actually feel like you’re in a world. No matter where you go on that set, it literally [feels] like you [are] in a living, breathing world.”

Chester Rushing

Chester Rushing

An audience member asked if working on a Netflix project was different than on a typical TV show. Rushing answered, “Whenever I do a network show, you really shoot one episode a week. Stranger Things, they do an episode a month. So, I’m there shooting like a long movie. It’s insane. Netflix, I feel like, or Hulu, my new show’s on Hulu, they give you a little more freedom. Not only as from the writing, directing, creating standpoint, which I knew the Duffers were excited about, but as an artist and as an actor as well. Because you want to be able to experiment and sometimes go a little bit out of it more.”

Another asked if he was nervous working on Stranger Things. “No, I was excited. I was really nervous in the fact that it was something so big that I really wanted to work on it. I wanted to do a good job because this was the first time in my life where I knew I was going to be seen on a world stage with people that I had looked up to my whole life. It was that wanting to do good in my craft.”

I asked him if he liked that people don’t like his character or if he was hurt by it. “I think the fact that people hated my guts means I did a pretty great job. That was my job. My job was to be a bully, my job was to be that kind of guy because, in real life, there are those people. And playing those people, I think those characters are as important in the story, in my opinion, as Eleven. You have to have something to fight against. Question is – would Steve have learned to be good if it wasn’t for my example of being horrible? Cause he was my best friend for like years and years; Tommy was his best friend. And he did everything he did until all of a sudden it wasn’t cool anymore. I like the fact that people hate my guts.” After describing how many people come up to him to tell him that he makes a great douchebag, Rushing concluded, “My hope is that somebody watches this show and sees Tommy and goes, ‘I don’t want to be that. I do not want that. Ever.’ That’s my hope because he’s a bully and that’s against everything I believe.”

Chester Rushing enjoys meeting people at conventions and hearing what they think of his work. What I appreciate the most is his infectious joy. He radiates positivity and believes we can improve ourselves and the world around us. The next day, I went to his booth. I was surprised he remembered me; in fact, he hugged me. I told him how much I respected his behavior during the panel and thanked him for not cancelling and for not “phoning it in.” If he keeps this kindness in his heart, he will definitely be one to watch.

If you need a fix of Chester Rushing before season three of Stranger Things, then log into Hulu and watch All Night. The 10-episode teen comedy is about a group of graduates attending a party that lasts all night. Rushing portrays Cody, a guy who uses one event in his past as an excuse for his current situation. The series has a modern John Hughes-esque vibe that explores themes of repressed anger, power balances in relationships, loss of structured daily life, and revelations of the heart.

You can keep up to date on all of his projects, including his music, by visiting his website – https://www.chesterrushing.net/

Michelle Ealey gets a hug from Chester Rushing

Michelle Ealey gets a hug from Chester Rushing


Highlight from Indy PopCon 2018: Cosplay!

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A convention is a convention with or without cosplay, but cosplay makes things a lot more fun! While I was walking around Indy PopCon, which was June 8th – 10th, I politely asked cosplayers if I could take their picture (this is proper convention etiquette), and many let me. Here are some of my favorites.

 

This is the first time I have seen One Punch Man cosplay!

One Punch Man Cosplay

 

Mary Poppins looking very delightful.

Mary Poppins Cosplay

 

Just a flesh wound! King Arthur and the Black Knight from Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

King Arthur and the Black Knight cosplay

 

Lucille says hello. Negan from The Walking Dead.

Negan

 

I admire the attention to detail in their Game of Thrones outfits.

Game of Thrones cosplay

 

Many video games were represented, such as Bloodborne

Bloodborne cosplay

 

 

Krieg the Psycho and Tiny Tina from BorderlandsKrieg the Psycho and Tiny Tina cosplay

 

Princess Zelda from Breath of the Wild

Princess Zelda cosplay

 

Princess Peach and Bowser getting married. Where’s Mario?

Princess Peach and Bowser cosplay

 

Here’s Mario! And he’s with Waluigi.

Mario and Walugi cosplay

 

Of course, there were many from comics.

Wonder Woman!

Wonder Woman cosplay

 

SHAZAM!

Shazaam cosplay

 

The Summers family and a Sentinel

The Summers family and a Sentinel Marvel cosplay

 

Carnage Gwen Stacey

Carnage Gwen Stacey cosplay

 

Hela and Loki

Hela and Loki cosplay

 

Captain America and a USO girl

Captain America and a USO girl cosplay

 

Mantis

Mantis cosplay

 

Star-Lord – before The Snap

Star-Lord  cosplay

 

I have to admit the following is the best Star Wars cosplay I’ve seen at any convention.

Who knew a Stormtrooper and Jawa could be friends?

Stormtrooper and Jawa cosplay

 

An Imperial TIE pilot

Imperial TIE pilot cosplay

 

A cold weather assault Stormtrooper

A cold weather assault Stormtrooper cosplay

 

Bounty Hunters in Mandalorian armor

Bounty Hunters in Mandalorian armor cosplay

 

It’s a trap!

Admiral Ackbar and Rebel pilot cosplay

 

That’s not how the Force works, Finn.

Finn and Jedi cosplay

 

Count Dooku

Count Dooku cosplay

 

Darth Vader

Darth Vader cosplay

 

I was going to end with Lord Vader, but I couldn’t. Not when I saw him:

Pickle Rick cosplay

It’s Pickle Riiiiick!!!!!!!

 

Always ask a cosplayer permission before taking their picture. If they said yes to the person next to you, you still don’t have permission to take their picture. After the other person has taken their picture, ask nicely if you can take their picture too. Remember, cosplay is not consent. These tips will make the con fun for you and everyone else.

Thank you to everyone who let me take their picture at Indy PopCon!

 


Indy PopCon 2018 is Just Around the Corner!

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Indy PopCon is not a typical geeky convention. Instead of focusing on one area of geekdom, the event celebrates a wide range of interests: gaming, streaming, comics, cosplay, and celebrities. PopCon celebrates its 5th anniversary this year and takes place June 8th – 10th at the Indianapolis Convention Center.

In a statement from the press release, Carl Doninger, president of Indy PopCon said, “At its core, Indy PopCon is a celebration of Indianapolis and everything our great city has to offer. Unlike other conventions that visit Indianapolis, PopCon originated right here in our city, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to host the event for the fifth year in a row. Indy PopCon prides itself on being open and accepting of everyone, which is why we focus on a variety of different fandoms. There truly is something for everyone at PopCon.”

The list of guests backs up Doninger’s claim. Guests scheduled to appear are personalities from YouTube and Twitch such as Frost Prime and Girbeagly, WWE stars Kevin Nash and Lisa Marie Varon, professional cosplayers Mogchelle and Vraskaa Cosplay, Overwatch voice actors Lucie Pohl (Mercy) and Carolina Ravassa (Sombra), and a variety of artists including Chrissie Zullo, Christopher Uminga, Sara Richard, and the legendary Jim Steranko.

Want bigger names? Well, PopCon has several this year: Kristian Nairn and Isaac Hempstead Wright from HBO’s hit series Game of Thrones, LeVar Burton from Star Trek: The Next Generation and Reading Rainbow, Wil Wheaton from Star Trek: The Next Generation and The Big Bang Theory, Pom Klementieff from Avengers: Infinity War and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Elizabeth Henstridge from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and Tara Reid from American Pie and Sharknado.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit https://indypopcon.com/

For a taste of Indy PopCon, you can read my coverage from 2017:

HIGHLIGHT FROM INDY POP CON 2017: STAR WARS CELEBRATION PANEL

HIGHLIGHT FROM INDY POP CON 2017: MATT RYAN PANEL

HIGHLIGHT FROM INDY POP CON 2017: COSPLAY CHAMPIONSHIPS