I spent my weekend ensconced in pop culture goodness at C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo). Held at McCormick Place, C2E2 is full of celebrities, artists, authors doing signings, photo ops, panels and more.
Debuting in 2010, the first C2E2 drew an estimated 25,000 attendees. This year, more than 100,000 people are expected. With attendees coming from all over the country, nearby hotels filled quickly, especially the nearby Hyatt Regency and Marriott Marquis. Founded in 2006, C2E2 organizer ReedPOP also runs 30 other events worldwide, including Comic Con Seoul, the Star Wars Celebration and New York Comic Con.
Legendary horror host Svengoolie (Rich Koz) has entertained people for more than 40 years. Koz has won multiple Emmy awards since he became the hand-picked successor to the original Svengoolie. Svengoolie is always a hit at C2E2 and anywhere else he appears. Sven and his Executive Producer Jim Roche work extremely hard at accommodating all fans, who range in age from youngsters to the elderly.
Chicago native and wrestler-turned-actor CM Punk was a huge hit with fans. Usually private, he enjoyed his hometown crowd. He talked to me about his burgeoning acting career, his love of comic books and travel. Outside of work travel obligations, he prefers discovering interesting places in Chicago.
Two other of the nicest celebrities were actresses Kara Eberle and Barbara Dunkelman. Each expressed an appreciation for Chicago, wishing they had time to dine at more legendary restaurants.
Hundreds of creators filled Artist Alley. This is always the area of most interest to me. These folks produce such beautiful and original work, much of which we have seen throughout pop culture without knowing its maker. These are the underrated folks who are the lifeline of the industry.
Local artist Ali Cantarella surprised me with a fun caricature of me. Ali is more known for her animal caricatures, but anything she creates is awesome. My caricature will be hung soon in my place with other artwork I have gotten previously at C2E2. The interview my friend Joey Roth an I did with Ali can be found here.
Cosplay (costume playing) has become a huge part of C2E2. It started with attendees dressing in character for fun to having a whole section of the convention floor dedicated to the thousands of folks in elaborate costumes.
C2E2 also gives back to the community through the Power Up to Read program. Students from participating schools have the ability to earn a weekend pass by reading eight books from the school’s library. The Power Up to Read program rewards students for reading while also adding a younger vibe to the event.
I reconnected with so many friends, both in and out of the industry. In many ways, C2E2 is like a big reunion. That is truly one of the best parts for me.
— John Wroblewski, online writer
I imagine that when writer Hans Christian Andersen mused, “Life itself is the most wonderful fairy tale,” he was standing at the edge of Copenhagen’s historic Tivoli Gardens, one of his favorite haunts, enlivened by the swirl of human happiness that surrounded him: children laughing; carousels spinning; games of chance played for prizes; lovers holding hands; hungry people whispering over sweets, hot drinks, beer and towering, open-faced smørrebrød, Denmark’s quintessential sandwich. That fairy tale lives on today at the second-oldest amusement park in the world, a spectacle of folly architecture, bakeries, gardens, rides, restaurants, puppet shows and joy ... and which also happens to be one of the city’s most storied places to convene for business.
The Global Business Travel Association’s (GBTA) Convention 2021 will be unlike any other convention before it, as we come together in person for the first time since the business travel industry drastically changed and look forward to rebuilding and reshaping the future. GBTA Convention 2021 will bring all of us together to learn from experts and each other, in-person at Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 17–19. The safety of our attendees is our top priority. View health and safety protocols.
The restored Park Hyatt Toronto reopened its doors, bringing luxury, sophistication and glamour alongside a nod to the hotel’s Canadian heritage. Alessandro Munge of Studio Munge collaborated on the hotel’s refresh, drawing inspiration from Canada’s seasons and natural landscapes.
I recently dined at Irwin’s in Philadelphia. The restaurant is located on the rooftop of the Bok Building, a former school turned collective of small businesses, non-profits, artist workshops, a bar and restaurant. I previously visited Bok for the bar and yoga classes, and I was excited to experience the restaurant.
Without a doubt, the pandemic changed the role of airports in the travel industry. Hamad International Airport’s role evolved in many ways since the pandemic hit. Now, more than ever, airports are responsible for creating a secure passenger experience. As the gateway to Qatar and the world, the safety and wellbeing of staff and passengers has always been at the core of Hamad International Airport’s strategy.
The Global Business Travel Association, the world’s largest business travel and meetings trade organization, recently released a statement from GBTA CEO Suzanne Neufang regarding the Biden administration’s recent announcement that the U.S. travel ban will be relaxed in November for vaccinated travelers from 26 Schengen countries, the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Arriving early afternoon in Puerto Rico, we jumped in an Uber and took a short, 15-minute drive from the airport to La Concha. As it was Tuesday, the streets were not too busy and the hotel lobby was calm. During the weekend, the scene likely would have been more bustling. We were greeted by a staff member who requested proof of vaccination and government-issued ID, and were given a wristband to indicate we were fully vaccinated. All guests are required to be vaccinated and wear masks at all times while moving around the hotel. Hand sanitizer stations were placed around the lobby, in elevators and in each common area.
GBTA’s Convention 2021 will bring the business travel industry together for the first time in a long time. Once again, you’ll learn and connect with experts and each other, along with discussions with leading thinkers, entrepreneurs and change makers addressing the issues that matter most.
The Rittenhouse has long stood out as one of Philadelphia’s finest hotels, centrally located in one of the city’s poshest neighborhoods. Needless to say, I knew I was in for an afternoon of luxurious pampering when I hopped in my car and headed down I-95 from my suburban home to the heart of the City of Brotherly Love. As I drove through the seemingly endless roadwork on the highway, I realized just how long it had been since I’d driven this once-familiar route into the city as a result of the pandemic. Of course I was eager for the relaxation and bliss that was in my future, but it was also a welcome feeling to head back into Philadelphia for a moment of normalcy.