Sam Maronies Entertainment Funhouse (Maronie Creative Services, LLC)
IT'S POP-CULTURE PARTY-TIME!

FILM

August 26, 2014

A TALE OF TWO POP-CULTURE SHOWS

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I recently attended a couple of pop-culture shows, both which took place in Chicago during the same weekend. One was quite enjoyable, while the other was a hot mess.

I’d been looking forward to the annual Chicago Hollywood Show, located near O’Hare Airport in the Windy City. This event is the central edition of the much larger autograph shows held in Las Vegas, Nev. and Burbank, Cal.

The format is simple. The promoters import a couple dozen movie and TV performers who have carved out a niche for themselves from a role in a popular film or teleseries. They arrange themselves at tables in the dealers room and purvey their autographed pictures and photo ops for a fee.

Last year’s edition was a total delight, featuring the great Barbara Eden and Bill Daily from ‘I Dream of Jeannie.’ Among the other popular celebs that attended were other fine performers like British actors Ron Moody and Shani Wallis from the film ‘Oliver.’

Movie and TV star John Amos was one of the more delightful guests at the Chicago Hollywood Show. He enjoyed talking about his football career with Blogmeister Sam. Here they are sharing a soul handshake together!

Movie and TV star John Amos was one of the more delightful guests at the Chicago Hollywood Show. He enjoyed talking about his football career with Blogmeister Sam. Here they are sharing a soul handshake together!

I wish I could say such glowing things about this year’s edition, but in all honesty I can’t. At least five of the top guests promoted failed to attend. According to the show staff, these last-minute cancellations informed the show within 48 hours of the start of the event.

I realize that the promoter was allegedly caught on short notice, but it would have been helpful if the show could have posted this information on their website. I know the fine print says words to the effect that all celeb appearances are tentative, but this extra notice might have benefitted fans who were coming from a long distance, only to find their favorite was a no-show.

Attendance seemed only fair to middling on Saturday, the first day of the show. The large number of cancellations seemed to suck the life out of the event, and many fans I talked to were demoralized that celebs who were promoted for months failed to materialize.

Many came for one day and skipped the next. Sunday was so sparsely attended that dealers and celebs seemed to way outnumber fans. Some of the guests I spoke to were miffed at the poor attendance. Dealers were either unhappy or pleased that fewer celebs gave fans more money to spend for their wares.

 

This is a signed photo of Mr. Amos from the 1982 cult classic, 'Beastmaster.' Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts and Rip Torn co-starred in this successful exploitation epic. (c) Columbia Pictures

This is a signed photo of Mr. Amos from the 1982 cult classic, ‘Beastmaster.’ Marc Singer, Tanya Roberts and Rip Torn co-starred in this successful exploitation epic. (c) Columbia Pictures

If a particular celebrity you admired was there, then you were in clover. You were able to spend more quality time with them than if they were to have a long line of fans waiting for some attention. One of the beacon’s of the lackluster show was actor John Amos. Mr. Amos was friendly, outgoing and engaging with his many fans.

It will be interesting to see if there’s another edition of the Chicago Hollywood Show next time around. I hope the promoters give it another try. I wish them well.

 

Literally across the street was the annual Chicago Beatlefest 2014. I mosied over to the celebration of All Things Beatles and actually had quite a good time!

There were Beatles impersonator acts, Beatles seminars, Beatles dealer’s rooms, along with almost anything else you could associate with the Fab Four.

 

Here's Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, aka 'Herman' from the iconic 1960s pop group, 'Herman's Hermits.' Fans lined up for hours to meet the star during Chicago Beatlefest 2014.  The 67 year-old musician was unfailingly polite to each fan and spent a few moments with each one. What a classy guy!

Here’s Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone, aka ‘Herman’ from the iconic 1960s pop group, ‘Herman’s Hermits.’ Fans lined up for hours to meet the star during Chicago Beatlefest 2014. The 67 year-old musician was unfailingly polite to each fan and spent a few moments with each one. What a classy guy!

 

Along for the ride were 1960s pop-icons Mickey Dolenz from ‘The Monkees’ and Peter Noone, lead singer of ‘Herman’s Hermits.’ They both garnered long lines of fans who waited for hours to get their autographs and a photo op.

I am not a Beatles collector, but it was fun checking out the well-stocked dealer’s room.  Almost any conceivable item you could stamp a Beatles logo on was there for sale. And fans were grabbing the stuff up by the armsfull. Items were disappearing from the shelves almost as fast as the dealers could display them.

We also caught up with author Vivek J. Tiwary who was promoting his Eisner Award-winning graphic novel, The Fifth Beatle. This best-selling book chronicles the life and hard times of Beatles’ first manager, Brian Epstein.

 

Author Vivek J. Tiwary poses with his Eisner Award-winning graphic novel, 'The Fifth Beatle' during Chicago's Beatlefest 2014. The writer/producer/director is now at work on the film version of his best-selling work.

Author Vivek J. Tiwary poses with his Eisner Award-winning graphic novel, ‘The Fifth Beatle’ during Chicago’s Beatlefest 2014. The writer/producer/director is now at work on the film version of his best-selling work.

 

The crowd was way different than those found at other pop-culture conclaves. Most were female baby boomers who were not above squealing for their rock-and-roll faves from the 1960s.

Kudos to Beatlefest promoters for staging a professional, well-run show! I hope to check it out again next year.

@TheFifthBeatle @tiwarwyent @vivekjtiwary  @sammaronie #smefunhouse #chifest14 #thefestforbeatlesfans

 

 






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