'Golden-Con' Golden Girls Fan Convention Sets Chicago Debut

Wednesday December 29, 2021
Originally published on November 28, 2021

Hell In a Handbag Productions' "The Lost Episodes" cast (L-R) Grant Drager, Ed Jones, David Cerda and Ryan Oates.
Hell In a Handbag Productions' "The Lost Episodes" cast (L-R) Grant Drager, Ed Jones, David Cerda and Ryan Oates.  (Source:Rick Aguilar Studios)

Dorothy, Sophia, Blanche, and Rose live on as event producers Zack Hudson and Brad Balof announce what they describe as the "first-ever convention" for the classic sitcom.

Officially titled "Golden-Con: Thank You For Being A Fan," the weekend-long event will be held at various venues throughout Chicago, including the Center on Halsted and famous video bar Sidetrack, April 22-24, 2022.

It's been more than 35 years since the original series co-starring Bea Arthur, Betty White, Estelle Getty, and Rue McClanahan first debuted. Over time, it's developed a dedicated following, especially from the LGBTQ+ community, which has often adapted and reimagined our favorite characters and moments for live tribute shows.

Events for the Fan Convention include live "The Lost Episodes" parody shows from Hell In a Handbag Productions; a spoken word St. Olaf story slam, a Mother of a Solid Gold Dancer Disco Dance Party; a "Greatest Gift" Vendor's Market; the "Chicago: You've Got Style" costume parade; specially themed nightlife events; and a weekend-long battle to Grab! That! Trivia! Dough! Additional events, performers, and special guest appearances will be announced in the coming weeks.

"We're creating a space where fans can celebrate all the things they love about the show; friendships, laughter, families of choice, Scandinavian nitwits, sexy Southern belles, stern substitute teachers and Sicilians," says Hudson.

Balof says the timing couldn't be better for a Golden Girls fan tribute event. "Folks go through enough daily — don't get me started on life in a pandemic — that we need to embrace the things we love. And that's one of the remarkable things about 'The Golden Girls,' it's something that unites people across multiple demographics and age groups," he says. "You walk through an airport with a 'The Golden Girls' shirt on, and you're going to make friends. That's what we want for Golden-Con. We want folks to bring and celebrate the friends they have and make new ones while they're here at the event."

The team chose Chicago (rather than the show's Miami setting) for the convention due, in part, to the Northalsted neighborhood's LGBTQ+ legacy and resiliency. They've been diligently trying to reach Betty White's team for her participation, and while that hasn't been confirmed, the pair says, "We do have a growing lineup of folks who've appeared on the show and been a big part of the show's success."

Tiered tickets will soon go on sale, with single-day admission and passes for the entire three-day event. For more information, visit thankyouforbeingafan.com.