Chicago TARDIS 2014 RECAP: Fifty Ways to Use a Westin

One week ago, I was getting my badge for Chicago TARDIS 2014. I wasn’t sure I was going to have fun. Even though I’ve loved Doctor Who for almost a decade, I haven’t watched the Capaldi era. Would I still fit in?

My friends found me immediately. First, it was JB from WHO 37. Then, a guy I know from Caffeinated Comics got my attention. Mike from Time Crash took me to McDonald’s. I reunited with waves and waves of familiar cosplayers. In fact, the majority of costumers who received my business card gave it back; they were already readers of Geek Girl Chicago. Chicago TARDIS is a convention for friends. That, above all else, makes it fun.

Doctor Who fans should never miss this event. Chicago TARDIS scores major guests every year. For 2014, the featured names were Billie Piper, Noel Clarke, and Camille Coduri- the “Big 3” of the 9th and 10th Doctor seasons. Rose Tyler and Mickey Smith are my favorite Companions of all time. I was over the moon.

What I wasn’t a fan of was the price to meet my idols. The badge price was already steep- $100 for the weekend. Photos and autographs were extra. I did not purchase the privilege of meeting Piper, Clarke, or Coduri. This time of year, my money is for holiday gifts and nothing else.

Chicago TARDIS and Windycon take place in the same hotel- The Westin Lombard Yorktown Center. I like the building very much. It was interesting to compare how the two events utilized the space.

CT dedicates its largest rooms to guest panels. This is nice; I at least got to see my favorite Companions. The programming stage also makes cosplay events feel valued and important.

Windy, on the other hand, dedicates much more room to dealers, artists, and a HUGE consuite. As someone who doesn’t buy into the celeb hype, I’d love to see Chicago TARDIS get an Artists’ Alley or Art Show, along with a consuite for resting and snacking. The celebrities are amazing, but so are the fans who paid to attend.

Speaking of fans, cosplay was out in full force at Chicago TARDIS! Friday’s Chronological Cavalcade was way bigger than 2013’s. I’m constantly impressed by how many variants and custom versions of characters there are. Doctor Who cosplay feels limitless.

Here are the photos Jess and I took. If you see yourself, comment! Feel free to share, as long as you credit Geek Girl Chicago:

In the end, Chicago TARDIS is worth the money for the social experience. Many friends, creators, and fans flock to the Westin. Even though I went by myself on Friday, I was never alone. Saturday, of course, was a madhouse, but friendly folks (like the coffee-sharing Ianto cosplayer <3) made it a joy.

At some point, I hope Chicago TARDIS switches its focus from celebs to fans. Artists’ Alleys and consuites are becoming standards at many events. CT lacks them. This year, also, many journalists were not allowed to interview New!Who guests. It’s becoming more and more apparent that the only way to meet celebs is to pay money on top of money.

My favorite conventions are the ones that appreciate their attendees. Thankfully, Chicago TARDIS is a place where my friends gather. Their presence is enough to make me have a wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey, fantastic weekend.


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