I teased in yesterday’s blog about going to my first ever Raleigh Supercon – or “con” of any type for that matter – but there was a special reason. I can now reveal that the reason was I had the opportunity to meet Gaten Matarazzo! You may know Gaten as Dustin Henderson on the hit Netflix series Stranger Things but he has also acted on stage in Les Miserables and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Several months ago, I found out through the power of social media that Gaten was going to be a guest at Supercon this year. I’m a huge Stranger Things fan, so I was totally down to go and meet him.
Fans could purchase either (or both) an autograph at his booth as well as a professional photo op that included an 8×10 print. Ya boy got both, of course, and it was so much fun! First up was the autograph portion, where I got the chance to congratulate Gaten on the 18 Emmy noms for Stranger Things – and now have a cool, personalized autographed photo (see right) to call my own! Speaking of the Emmy thing, something really cool happened while I waited in line for the autograph. A couple legends in the industry, Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton (Reading Rainbow/childhood/AHHHH!), arrived to begin their respective autograph sessions. But not before coming over to Gaten’s table to congratulate him on his show and the Emmy noms. Pretty amazing, huh?!?
After autographs came the photo op, which was fun as well (more about that below). Later on in the day, Gaten participated in a one-hour Q&A session, where he talked about everything from working on Stranger Things, to his tastes in Broadway musicals, to his work with CCD Smiles – an organization that helps people who have a condition called Cleidocranial dysplasia. CCD Smiles is a cause that’s close to Gaten’s heart since he has a self-described mild form of CCD. He also threw out some swag to the audience and even had time to snag an epic selfie with the crowd.
Gaten is an incredibly nice guy. One of the most awesome people I’ve met, in fact. I observed today while waiting in line just how genuinely excited he was to meet each of the fans and even remembered me by name at the photo op a little while after I left his autograph booth! The same happened at the Q&A where some people he met earlier in the day asked questions and he remembered meeting them. That’s pretty stinking cool, if you ask me, given the fact that Gaten met tons of people at Supercon in the span of a few minutes, much less, an hour or two.
As far as the con itself, I had no clue what to expect but, let me tell ya, it was a grand ol’ time! There were throngs of people walking around. Some dressed up as their favorite characters. Some taking pictures with Groot and Baymax. Some checking out the scores of vendors selling everything from books, to posters and more. I walked behind Captain America, saw about three different Spider-Men(?) and got some compliments on my Stranger Things inspired shirt. I’m beyond grateful to have met Gaten and I hope I can meet him again soon. Big shoutout to the folks at Raleigh Supercon for putting on an outstanding event!