I'm finding more and more each year that I spend most (if not all) my shopping time (and money) in Artist Alley at FanExpo. A lot of people have echoed this statement. If you're looking for Bazinga t-shirts and Doctor Who figures, the retail section is for you. But really, despite Artist Alley being shuffled around and organized like an afterthought, it's the place to go to find unique and cool items (just be prepared to wade through the mishmash of genres and levels of professionalism).
This year I picked up a They Live print from Andrew Barr who always has a table nearby with Leigh Young. It was this print that I took to have John Carpenter sign. It's the first time I paid for an autograph in all the years I've attended the convention. Max Brooks, Guillermo Del Toro, House of Frightenstein folks: all free and lovely to chat with in years past. Mr. Carpenter was...there to sign autographs. Period. And that pretty much sums up our meeting. Though he did managean initial smile when he shook my hand, and then was curious who the illustrator was for the image (luckily Andrew was behind me in line so I could point him out). But that was it. Yeah, yeah, we all love Jack Burton. Thanks for the $40, now step aside and quit with the small talk.