The Hoosierist: Gen Con, Bankers Life, and Biking

Gen Con celebrities, terrifying arena seats, and passing cyclists. Ask The Hoosierist.
Q: How much do celebrity guests at conventions like Gen Con get paid?
A: It depends on who’s coming. If you want, say, the guy who does Goku’s voice on the Japanese cartoon Dragon Ball Z, you’re probably looking at a modest $5,000 plus travel expenses. But you’ll pay $40,000 to $50,000 for Sigourney “Alien” Weaver. Keep climbing the food chain and prices rise faster than the CGI bill for a Michael Bay movie. Sir Ian “Gandalf” McKellen goes for $80,000 to $100,000. And beaming in William “You Know Who He Is” Shatner will set you back $100,000. Or you could get Adam “Batman” West for just $20,000 to $30,000. Go ahead, call him. He’s probably sitting by the phone.

Q: Everybody talks about how steep the seats are at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. Are there other local venues that are just as scary?
A: The Hoosierist, who has a severe problem with heights, feels uniquely qualified to address this question. Especially since he still suffers PTSD-like flashbacks from the one-and-only time he sat in the Bankers Life cheap seats, in mortal fear that if he leaned too far forward, he’d free-fall all the way to center court. Only one local venue offers an experience approaching that level of existential terror: the first row of the third balcony at Clowes Hall. It’s not banked at a precipitous angle, but if you sit on that first, fateful row, the only thing separating you from a long, long drop to the main floor is a knee-high wall. Getting to and from your seat is particularly interesting, because you must negotiate a narrow gauntlet lined with already-seated patrons on one side and certain death on the other. And it doesn’t help if you’ve thrown back a few beers, as The Hoosierist had when he perched in the Suicide Seats for a production of Les Miserables. Though the buzz did help him get through the show.

Q: I always see drivers giving bicyclists a wide berth on the road. Are they legally required to steer clear like that?
A: The Hoosierist figures drivers stay as far from cyclists as possible out of a human desire to avoid turning them into road pizza. Either that, or because they’re concerned that a collision might damage their car’s finish or necessitate a trip to the mechanic to remove stray bike parts from the undercarriage. Whatever the motivation, the rule of law stands behind it—at least in Marion County. An Indianapolis statute mandates that motorists spot cyclists a minimum three-foot cushion as they pass. In most of the state, however, there are no such rules—though giving those folks in Lycra superhero suits plenty of room still seems like a good idea.