The Wizarding World of Wizard World Philadelphia

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Wizard World Recap

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Perhaps it’s because I’m getting older and more prone to daydream about being a father, or maybe my perception of the comic con crowd is actually legitimate, but it seems to me that the annual Wizard World Comic Con event in Philadelphia is becoming increasingly targeted toward children. As it should be.

The weekend-long events have always been largely family-friendly and adult Stans and fandom devotees never resisted the urge to drag their children along for the ride due to some fleeting hope that a switch may flip in Junior’s subconscious, causing him to suddenly be fascinated with low-budget sci-fi from the 1970s.

While it is difficult to tell whether there were really more children in attendance or if I was just noticing them more frequently, the stands, merchandise and set-ups featured ball pits, stuffies, children’s costumes, people talking in cartoony kindergarten voices, and more.

kSJPQPsrRPql4PoSo3BGfANow, I could be horribly wrong and the reality of the enigmatic landscape of Wizard World Comic Con could just be catering to the sophomoric desires of its giddiest attendees. But there was something about seeing loads of parents with their bright-eyed kids (with varying levels of excitement) actually able to enjoy and participate in the festivities without having to narrowly avoid being trampled by a stampede of 30-somethings desperate to get a picture with an adult man who portrayed a cartoon character in a movie.

The levels of exuberance amongst adults seem to be a bit subdued when the celebrity guests aren’t a tremendous draw, leveling out the attendees to those who simply want to bring their kids, hang out, buy some pop culture merchandise, and get some pictures of the bewildered.

Saturday, the busiest of the Con days, wasn’t even overloaded with large elaborate costumes. It seemed to be mostly young people and young children having a solidly good time. The moderate level of celebrity photo ops were engaging but not distracting. In fact, one of the longest lines I observed was in the food area where costumed grown-ups waited for hot chicken tendies.

When the crowds aren’t overwhelming and the booth operators and merchandisers are able to breathe while they converse with potential customers, everything seems a little bit more fun.

The only thing to which I can attribute this perceived new Comic Con dynamic is the lack of truly A-List celebrity guests. And in a world where the pop culture comic book fandom has become ubiquitous and over-praised, children are often alienated, or at least pushed to the sidelines.

kuv5m4e8RluNawp3eUiqLwThink about it. When you were a kid, it was far more exciting to play with toys, imagine yourself as a superhero or Jedi, and be able to share those moments with your parents than it was for you to meet the guy who played Chewbacca. I think that’s the key.

Can the comic book pop culture, toys, costumes, and imaginative play survive on its own merit once the deadpan seriousness with which it’s taken in the real world subsides?

Do we even remember what it’s like to see toys and games that require us to utilize our imaginations rather than be visually fleshed out in all its detailed cinematic glory?

While it doesn’t seem likely that these indulgent fantasy fandoms will deteriorate from the mainstream pop culture ether any time soon; but it was nice to see actual children being able to embrace it all without chaotic adults running the show.

You remember children; the audience all of this nonsense was always intended for.

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The Harry Potter Festival just got more cringe

Last weekend, thousands of Harry Potter fans descended on Chestnut Hill, PA for the 7th annual Harry Potter Festival on Germantown Avenue. For seven years, this flamboyantly jejune exhibition has granted both disappointed children and brazen developmentally halted adults the ability to frolic in unfettered glee in what would otherwise be an unmitigated playground of derision, a sisyphean task in the hands of dedicated and motivated bullies, to be sure.

Who wouldn’t want to grab some beers with this dope crew?

What would otherwise be a rather enjoyable romp for the kiddies has turned into a free-range exposé of adult auto-eroticism, prancing without a care through a world of childlike wonder. But not this time.

Perhaps even more unabashedly cringe than the Potter Fans themselves are the perpetual storm-clouds known as the fundamentalist Christian right. These sign and megaphone-wielding butt-marauders seem bent on wasting everyone’s time, despite the fact that by the sheer nature of the event, the clientele have no limitation on the amount of time they’re willing to have wasted.

Of course, not to be outdone on the self-humiliation front by the sycophantic bastard children of the Westboro Baptist Church, the Harry Potter Fans stepped in to cast the only Patronum spell they knew: oblivious virtue signaling.

One of the attendees immediately took to¬†Facebook after the harrowing affair to detail (at length) her stoic heroism in the face of “bigotry.” I’ll let Hillary (ugh) speak for herself (assuming gender).

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Full text and link to original post here:

Dear Chestnut Hill Neighbors,

As many of you who came out to enjoy the first magical night 
of the Harry Potter Festival likely already know ... 
we had some incredibly awful and deeply hateful visitors in the 
form of a group of 10 or 11 of the most racist, bigoted, 
misogynistic, women-hating, gay-hating, everyone-but-them-hating, 
and certainly Harry Potter-hating sign-waving and 
megaphone-screaming protestors I could ever have imagined 
showing up in our town,

who chose to gather on the corner of Highland and Germantown Ave. 
for the sake of taunting passers-by for about four hours last night.

The things they were shouting to children and the mothers of 
children walking past them were so beyond horrible, so profoundly 
UN-Christ-like ... that I will certainly not repeat them here.

After trying a few other peaceful methods (my mighty Bose speaker 
playing serene music, etc.) of drowning them out and trying to 
protect the little kids, I got the idea into my head that we could 
surround them with "hate has no home here" signs (to make a wall 
between them and the passing children) and I knew EXACTLY where 
to get them and quick:



(I'm sorry.)

But within half an hour, I was able to gather up 20 to 30 signs 
just from running up and down only five or six of our beautiful 
neighborhood streets. (East Meade, West Meade, parts of Shawnee, 
and Gravers Lane.)

In some cases, I was able to ask for your permission, and 
thankfully, you graciously gave it.

But in most cases, there were no lights on in your house 
(it was 5:30) and I became a thief (for a good cause) to steal 
your sign.

I want you to know that I know that I had no actual right to take 
anything from your property and that I am truly sorry for that.

I am also sorry that not all of the signs came back to me 
after it was all over (even though I tried for that) ... 
and so I can't return each one to every yard from which it came.

What I CAN do to make amends for this is to order 50 new HHNHH 
yard signs from the creator (I know her) and bring most of them 
back to each of your yards as soon as I can get them from her 
(perhaps Sunday?) ... as well as provide free ones to anyone who 
lives in Chestnut Hill from my shop for the next few weeks. 
(It's Isabella Sparrow ... between Starbucks and the Cheese Shop.)

What I can also do 
is say THANK YOU.

Because you are the kind of person who would have put such a dear 
and loving sign in your front yard all those many months ago 
... and because we are the kind of neighborhood that just has so 
MANY of these signs within such a very small distance from that 
temporarily-awful intersection ...

the people I gave your signs to to hold up were able to 
completely surround those angry and hate-filled people, who 
were yelling truly horrible things to five year old children 
on our beautiful village streets.

Your signs (and many loving voices who chanted "love lives here")



OUT ...

and eventually

they could barely even be seen or heard ...


they left.

I don't know if they will try to come back tomorrow ...

but I do know that Chestnut Hill will not allow them to spew 
whatever it is that has turned them into such agonized souls 
with so much hideous vitriol to unleash.


I am grateful beyond words to live here.


And I will do all that I can to get you your signs back.


Text your address to (deleted) if you have a missing sign 
that I haven't replaced ... or if you'd like me to bring one to 
your house so that you can join the many houses here who have 
unequivocally said:

"Hate has no home here."


Imagine having so many reliably publicly-smug condescending neighbors that you can build a WALL out of their yard-signs.

The comments on this post are pure cancer, which is predictable. But, juvenile or not, their plan paid off and the “un-Christlike” champions of the Lord were dispelled from the land of Make Believe. I’d say that knowing the kind of behavior Jesus was capable of when he was pissed off, these people should be glad the protesters were “un-Christlike.”

“Christ Runs Afoul of some Harry Potter Dorks” (c. 2017)

In the end, it’s good that the neighborhood took it upon themselves to drive out an element that was purposefully harassing and frightening young children (alleged by reports). Kids don’t deserve to go through the same real-world bananas nonsense as their adult (but intellectually comparable) counterparts. I’m all for shitting on this parade, but leave the kids out of it.

So, in this scenario–even though I viscerally hate the methodology–I’m glad that the protesters were shut down so that the little wizards could enjoy their fairy tale in peace. And then, I see videos like this…

…and all I can think is:¬†we need a better caliber of bully.



Syria: The Tale That Wags the War Dogs

As the world gains more insight into the avalanche of reporting about alleged Syrian Chemical Attacks, we begin to see that things might not be all that they seem in the Islamist Petri Dish of the Middle East.

Over the years, much of the Western World has been keeping Syrian President¬†Bashar al-Assad at a bit of an arm’s length. While he seemed, on the surface, to be a much much much lesser of any conceivable Middle Eastern evil, there were still confusing and largely unsubstantiated reports coming in from Amnesty groups and the U.N. that Assad was systematically executing his own “innocent civilians.”

2As we learn from the current alleged “chemical attack” by the Syrian Government, these atrocities may not be the doing of the¬†government at all. Rapidly growing reports are shifting more toward the notion that Syrian bombardment of ISIS territory either led to the destruction of a terrorist chemical weapon deposit…or…that the “rebels” simply gassed their own locals for the purpose of fabricating the behavior of an evil fascist dictator.

In 2013, we saw¬†the development of an “unarmed humanitarian” group in Syria known as the¬†White Helmets. While a majority of the media and local activists have decided to champion this group as heroes, many are suspicious of their motives, actions, and allegiances. Very little actual information was known about them, but it would appear from several skeptic investigations that these¬†White Helmets are actually Islamist Rebel allies in clever humanitarian disguise.

We’ve seen highly questionable use of propaganda videos featuring the¬†White Helmets as well as local militia groups using women, children, sick and dying people, and the elderly to generate sympathy through social media…and the mainstream. The clarity and quality of these staged displays become pretty understandable when you take into account their $30M budget which goes directly to 3000 “volunteers” in Syria with zero accountability.

Conveniently placed “doctors” and “victims” staging horrific “vlogs” on a regular basis (from the same individuals) begging for TV time and Media attention have become the norm. Perhaps the most infuriatingly egregious of these social media campaigns is that of¬†Bana Alabed, an alleged 7-year old refugee who seems to do nothing but talk about fear and beg for a mainstream U.N. (and Canadian?!)¬†forum. They all have the same rhetoric, and the same message; and despite controversy, I truly hope¬†Russia¬†(a Syrian ally)¬†does have the ear of the¬†White House;¬†because the wheels are already in motion by the GOP, Democrats and Mainstream Media, as usual, to create another war of false intelligence.

I remain hopeful in this, and thankful that we have an administration with a chance of turning this around (despite already putting their foot down to the contrary). I can’t help but believe that¬†President Hillary Clinton¬†would already have the guns loaded.

The message from the Rebel sympathizers and allies in Syria¬†appears to be “End the Syrian War” but what they¬†really want is a¬†No Fly Zone…sanctions which would lead to aggression, and therefore a concerted effort on the part of America and the U.N. to remove Assad from power. As we learned (but somehow won’t¬†acknowledge) from¬†Iraq, the removal of a leader based on calculated lies gives free-range for the true enemies to thrive.

In fact, the individuals truly rallying against war in Syria tend to be against the White Helmets.

It’s understandable that we don’t see the devil hiding behind the dust-covered children being utilized as human shields. And it’s reasonable to feel empathy for innocent people caught in the middle of this. But if we’re going to truly advocate for change in this volatile region, we have to look closer and perhaps check our empathy at the door. The devil is filming a fake war using real weapons, and we’re in danger of being the¬†captive audience (not unlike those who rated¬†The White Helmets at 100% on¬†Rotten Tomatoes).

For all potential faults that certain Middle Eastern leaders, such as Assad and Michel Aoun, may have in their careers, the flowers of peace and prosperity can only be planted after we remove the plague.

(Please follow the Twitter Account of Eva Bartlett for the best up to date coverage)