Golden-Con, the first-ever ‘Golden Girls’ fan convention, arrives in Chicago this spring

Fans of the beloved Golden Girls will descend on Chicago from all over the world when the 3-day Golden-Con: Thank You For Being a Famous Fan Convention all over Betty White and beyond.

Local organizers spent more than a year preparing for the event, which was announced in late November to celebrate friendship, laughter and being a fan of the popular TV sitcom.

Golden-Con is scheduled for April 22-24 to Center on Halsted and other Northalsted sites.

“As a die-hard fan of the show, I have about a million t-shirts with the girls on them. People stop me almost every time I wear one in public to let me know how much they like it. the shirt, ”said Zack Hudson, who lives in Chicago and has long envisioned a special one-day event with a headliner and vendors to celebrate the Golden Girls.

He then approached Brad Balof with the idea. Balof wanted to go further.

Brad immediately agreed and within five minutes convinced me that we needed to expand my idea of ​​a one-day fan forum to a full weekend of fan events that can include as much of the neighborhood as possible. of Northalsted, ”said Hudson.

“I knew it would be a success,” said Balof, managing director of Confuse.

The organizers of Golden-Con are still polishing the event, but even a casual fan of these legendary four women who share a friendship and a home in Miami will be hooked. There will be a Golden Walk of Fame, filled with guests and people from the show. There will be an interactive gallery exhibit on Richmond Street that will set Instagram on fire. There will be a Mother of a Solid Gold Dancer disco night, plus a St. Olaf Story Slam. “We have selected a host for Grab! This! Anecdote! Dough ! Said Hudson.

The event will also feature writers and producers so attendees can hear the gossip behind the scenes.

And Betty White herself.

Obviously, the organizers of the event are doing and will do anything to convince White, who will be 100 years old next April, to attend.

“This is my # 1 goal. I want the first lady of American television to headline the fan event, ”said Hudson.

Balof added: “I would also like Betty White to be involved in some way or another.”

Balof is also hoping to get RuPaul involved in some way, as RuPaul “counts The Golden Girls as his favorite show.”

Organizers want Golden-Con to become an annual celebration.

They hope 1,300 people will attend the 2022 Gold Gala. And, organizers hope to entice director Terry Hughes, designer Susan Harris and executive producer Tony Thomas to attend.

Tickets for Golden-Con go on sale in mid-January.

“We try to keep things as affordable as possible to include as many people as possible. It looks like tickets will start at around $ 40 and go up several times from there, ”Hudson said. “Week after week, we are getting bigger and bigger. Brad and I each share our ideas and then move on. This event features live performances, a vendor’s market, an Instagram space we call the Richmond Street Gallery, and much more. We are reserving people for round tables behind the scenes. We have interactive fan events that will take place on a large central stage. And it will all pay off in a huge final performance and costume parade on Sunday. “

So what’s the enduring appeal of The Golden Girls, a show that originally aired 1985-1992, with 180 half-hour episodes, spanning seven seasons, starring Beatrice Arthur, Betty White, Rue McClanahan and Estelle Getty.

White responded best when she once said, “It’s funny. “

“Another thing that makes it work so well for so long is that the four main characters can read each other and drag each other around, but we know they have a constant love and respect for each other,” he said. said Hudson. “They would do anything for each other. And who doesn’t want a team of loyal friends who you can share your life with and who will support you through life’s ups and downs.

Balof added, “It was the perfect formula for a TV sitcom: (a) brilliant idea from Susan Harris, perfect cast and impeccable writing with an overwhelming amount of timeless humor.”

Hudson said he’s been hooked for decades, enjoying the laughs with his grandmother, Dinah Hudson, on their portable black and white TV.

“I remember where I was when I saw the last episode,” he said. “I have been a fan from the start. “

Balof watched The Golden Girls years ago with his family, especially his brothers and mother. “When it got back into syndication through Lifetime and the Hallmark channels, that’s when I realized how great the show (was),” said Balof, who identified himself as Blanche.

“I like to think I’m smart like Dorothy, witty like Sophia, or sweet like Rose, but let’s face it… Blanche!”

Hudson is a little more pink.

“I’m from Georgia, a bit like Blanche. And we could share a few other characteristics, ”he said. “But I’m probably much closer to being a Rose. I can be a little gentle. I am proud of where I come from. And I’m known to overestimate how much people around me might or might not have for my storytelling.

The organizers have already received requests from Golden fans in Germany, Canada and South America.

Laugh with the golden girls

Zack Hudson on Betty White: “She’s given anyone who cares to pay attention to a century of goodwill, steadfast charm, and keen comedic instincts.” She is a living example of the power of positive thinking and tries to maintain a positive attitude. She was born in Illinois. She is my hero. May God bless her. And I wouldn’t turn down another century of Betty White.

Brad Balof on Betty White: “Betty is a cornerstone not only of American television, but of American history.”

Focus on Halsted: “The Center on Halsted is sort of the unsung hero of this story. They go out of their way to accommodate us and meet our requests. Initially, I had Sidetrack in mind and had hoped to someday get in shape to hire Center on Halsted. But Brad immediately began to think bigger. Another (reason for) choosing Center on Halsted is that Brad and I both work at Northalsted. We each work for places that we hope will benefit from the tourism dollars associated with Golden-Con. The Center on Halsted is the perfect place to make this dream come true.

Hell in a Handbag Productions, from Hudson: “They are our first reserved headliner. And, after Center on Halsted, this is the first Chicago organization we contacted about Golden-Con. I have two jobs. It takes a lot to get me out at night when I’m not working. Everything I’m going to do has to be level 10 for entertainment. I don’t miss a Hell In A Handbag show – especially when they present their parody shows “The Lost Episodes”. They’re fresh, hilarious, and when it comes to parodying “The Golden Girls,” they capture the heart, the emotional center of the show. And then they flip everything else over a kettle for huge laughs.

More Hell In A Handbag productions: “The actor who plays the Blanche-like character auditioned for the role of Blanche the same day I tried it on an open call. I remember being so impressed with this actor’s mastery of White-isms. that I was like something to myself, “They’re stupid if they don’t throw it.” It turns out we were all on the same page.

More Golden Girls, by Hudson: “It’s a convention for the fans. This is not a Golden Girls convention. It’s a big gathering for fans of the series. We will come together to laugh and celebrate something we love.

Golden Girls, by Balof: “The fan base for this iconic show is vast; it crosses demographics of age, sex, race, sexual orientation and gender identity, socio-economic status and geographic location. This event is to celebrate the connection between the fans. And maybe, to a small extent, celebrate the idea that while there may be a lot of things that separate people on the surface, there are things that everyone can share: friendship, family. chosen, laughter and maybe a cheesecake.

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