Clone Troopers, Jokers, and Trekkies, Oh My!

By Fiona Lubold – 11th Grade, North Hills Senior High School

Imagine a building filled with old toys, sci-fi movies and collectibles,  limited edition collectibles, tables and booths filled with fan art and merchandise, and people cosplaying* as everything from heroes and villains, to anime characters and fairies.  Wall to wall, the Monroeville Convention Center screams “Steel City Con!”  Vendors everywhere, selling everything they can, to anyone they can.  Possibly the most exciting thing of all: celebrity guests selling autographed pictures, autographing merchandise, and taking photos with fans.  Couldn’t get any better, right?  Well, it could, and it did!

I got to talk to two of these celebrities and ask them a few questions.  One of the people I talked to was the original Lieutenant Uhura from Star Trek, Nichelle Nichols!  She has a great sense of humor.  I asked her what her favourite part of playing Lt. Uhura was and with a laugh, she said, “Playing Lt. Uhura!”  She told me she really liked the writers, producers, and directors.  “One of the best parts,” she said to me, “Was that, you know, most people get up in the morning and say, ‘ugh, I have to go to work,’ but I got up in the morning saying, ‘yes! I’m going to work!’ I really loved being able to wake up excited to go to work, it was fun!”  Meeting her was one of the greatest moments of my life.

I also got to meet Ralph Macchio, the ‘Karate Kid’ himself!  My question to him was, “Which movie was more fun to film, The Karate Kid or My Cousin Vinny?’  He told me that “Even though the work load for My Cousin Vinny was much smaller, and The Karate Kid required much more work, physically, I enjoyed filming The Karate Kid more.”  After he said this he added, “Although, if you had asked me about The Outsiders, I would have definitely chosen that!”  Even more exciting than talking to him, I got to hug him!

There were a few local celebrities as well, including one who I think my dad was more excited to meet than Ms. Nichols or Mr. Macchio, and his name is Curt Wootton.  However, you may know him by a different name, The Pittsburgh Dad.  No matter how big or small the celebrity, all were pleased to meet and greet all of their fans.

In addition to talking to these celebrities I also spoke to many of the other patrons of the event.  I conducted a few small personal surveys: DC is preferred over Marvel; Star Wars beats Star Trek; and, in a fight, The Hulk would annihilate The Thing.  I also asked people why they had come to this event.  These are the answers I got, “I’m a huge nerd, and I don’t think I need to say more than that!”  “The art being sold.”  “The cool fandom** merchandise.”  “I’m here selling my old collectibles.”  “I’m here to be with my fellow freaks and geeks!”  “I like to come and see the cool costumes.”  and my personal favourite, “Why are YOU here?”

In answer to that question, I went to this event to explore strange new worlds and buy random stuff that relates to my strange interests.  Even if you aren’t a self-proclaimed “nerd” “geek” or “mega-fan,” Steel City Con has something for just about everyone.

 

 

Clone Trouper guards at the door

Clone Trooper guards at the door

Encounter with the Joker

Encounter with the Joker

Batman and Robin

Batman and Robin

Guardians of Bob's Burgers

Guardians of Bob’s Burgers

A plethora of Art Vendors

A plethora of Art Vendors

Fellow Trekie

Fellow Trekkie

Flat Captain

Flat Captain

Pittsburgh Dad(s)

Pittsburgh Dad(s)

Lieutenant Uhura aka Nichelle Nichols

Lieutenant Uhura aka Nichelle Nichols

The Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio

The Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio

*Cosplay — the practice of dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game.

**Fandom — the fans of a particular person, team, fictional series, etc., regarded collectively as a community or subculture.


Fiona Grace Lubold 2 Fiona Lubold will be a junior at North Hills Senior High School in the fall.  She enjoys music, arts, acting, cooking, baking, reading, and writing. She hopes to gain more experience in media and journalism with Pittsburgh Youth Media.

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