Saturday, July 27, 2013

Coaster Summer Trip, Part 2: G-Fest XX

"What is G-Fest?" you're probably asking.  According to G-Fan magazine, which sponsors G-Fest:  "G-Fest is the largest regular gathering of Godzilla and Japanese monster fans in the world.  Held each summer, it attracts almost 2000 Japanese science fiction and fantasy film fans.  G-Fest is a family-oriented convention which caters to a wide variety of interests within the kaiju (giant monsters) genre.  G-Fest features presentations and Q & A sessions by actors and crew from the Japanese Godzilla films, fan presentations on topics of interest, contests and gaming, new and classic kaiju movies, the western world's largest kaiju-oriented dealers room, and lots of fun and camaraderie."

G-Fest XX was held at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, IL, on July 12-14, 2013.  My daughter and I attended the convention during our Coaster Summer Trip.  This was Melody's fourth year at the convention, and my seventh.  We had a blast!  Among this year's celebrities were J.D. Lees (Publisher of G-Fan Magazine); Robert Scott Field (actor in Japan); Shinichi Wakasa (monster suit maker); Tsutomu Kitagawa (monster suit actor); Cleve Hall (monster suit maker/actor and star of MONSTER MAN on the SyFy Network); and Frank Woodward (director of the documentary, MEN IN SUITS).  We were fortunate to meet all of these individuals and get autographs, as well.

We awoke early on Saturday morning and had breakfast at the hotel restaurant.  It was very good, but very expensive!  We tried to get in to a modeling session for Melody to be able to paint her own Godzilla, but the session was filled.  Instead, we went to a screening of the documentary MEN IN SUITS.  After an introduction by the director, Frank Woodward, we watched the very interesting movie.  It featured interviews with many suit actors in a variety of movies and shows, including some fifties sci-fi movies, modern sci-fi movies, the Muppets, Sid & Marty Krofft, and many more.  We bought the DVD (Mr. Woodward autographed it for us) and a couple of t-shirts, then went to another fun session:  a feature-length Godzilla fan film, WOLFMAN VS. GODZILLA.  The director, who once worked at Toho Studios in Japan, brought 20 minutes of highlights from the film, and it was quite well done.

After lunch and a short break, we went back out and got autographs from all of the guests, then we got some souvenirs and went to dinner at the hotel restaurant.  Dinner was actually cheaper than breakfast!  Then we grabbed front row seats for the big evening program.  We saw the movie by Dojo Studios that we participated in the filming of from last year's convention.  Our big scene, walking across a courtyard, was cut-out of the final film, but we did appear in the running scene twice, though we had to later use the pause button in order to make ourselves out.  This was followed by the highlight of the show:  the costume contest!  There were MANY participants, and some were quite good.  Lots of kids were in costumes, as well.  It was a great time!

We went back to our rooms and crashed, but were up at 8 the next morning.  We got ready and packed up quite a bit.  Then we went to breakfast at our favorite Denny's.  Back at the hotel, we got the rest of our stuff and checked out.  Then we went back to the dealer's room for last-minute souvenirs.  I decided to get a 12-minute "Monster Massage" on my shoulders, neck, and back, which was very nice.  Then we said goodbye to G-Fest XX.  It was a great time, as usual, and it felt particularly good to see so many familiar faces.  We're looking forward to next year's convention!

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