Fan convention Astronomicon shoots for the stars
Horror movie cult heroes and professional wrestlers head to Sterling Heights for second annual convention
Long before they were horrorcore rap duo Twiztid, you might have spotted a young Paul Methric and Jamie Spaniolo at a "Star Trek" convention at the Dearborn Civic Center in the late 1980s.
It was their first time attending a fan convention and the youngsters were blown away seeing fans so devout in their fanfare of "Star Trek" that they came dressed as Romulans and other figures from the series' expansive universe.
"It gave us this idea that there's this whole other world outside of where you're at," Spaniolo says. "And ever since then, we never really looked back."
Years later, Spaniolo and Methric are still heavily immersed in the world of fan conventions. That's why they're putting their might behind Astronomicon 2, this weekend's second annual gathering of horror movie stars, professional wrestlers and other figures from the worlds of music and reality TV.
"Jackass" star Bam Margera, "T2" actor Edward Furlong, "The Excorcist's" Linda Blair and pro wrestlers Dustin "Goldust" Rhodes, Scott Hall and Scott Steiner are among the guests that will greet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Sterling Heights. Events incorporated into the weekend include trivia contests, panel discussions and a cosplay competition.
"If you want to get an idea of what Jamie and I are like, picture a big con. And everything that goes on inside of there, that's us," Methric says, on the phone last week. "So to have a celebration, basically, of everything that is me and him is insane to us."
Still, Methric and Spaniolo — who rap as Monoxide and Jamie Madrox, respectively — chose to keep Twiztid's name off of Astronomicon as a way to not shine the spotlights on themselves.
"If you don't like Twiztid, and you hear Twiztid as a con, you're like, 'I don't like their music, why would I like their con?'" Methric says. "It's way to tell people it's not just for us or people that support us, it's for everybody."
After dreaming of putting on their own con for years, plans started coming together for the first Astronomicon in March of 2017. The duo chose early February as its home because "there's nothing else going on in the world at that time," Spaniolo says. "Especially not in Michigan."
But there things happening in Michigan in early February — namely, snowstorms — and last year's event was socked with a bout of winter weather. People still came out, though, and soon after Astronomicon wrapped plans started coming together for Astronomicon 2.
The event is pulled together by a small core staff of six and a bigger team of 50-60 assistants, runners and various other handlers. Astronomicon is a midsize event, Spaniolo says, personal enough that lines aren't deep and fans are able to have interactions with guests. "It's not herding cattle," he says.
Methric and Spaniolo hope to continue Astronomicon in the future, and they see the brand eventually expanding with the addition of events around the globe.
"We've created a monster of our own," Methric says. "And I love it."
4:30-10 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Wyndham Garden Sterling Heights, 34911 Van Dyke Ave, Sterling Heights
Weekend passes $65, Friday only: $30, Saturday only: $35, Sunday only: $25