Sunday, March 27, 2016

Rebecca Blogs Fan X - Day Three

The blog for the final day of a convention is always my least favorite to write. Because it’s over. And when you walk out of the hall, you see all the vendors packing up their wares, and suddenly there’s no need for you to keep on your wristband, and tomorrow doesn’t include any opportunities for a Kylo Ren cosplayer to exclaim, “I like your shirt!” (which features the emo Sith’s face). But just because the aftermath is melancholy (Melancholy Aftermath is a good name for a band) doesn’t mean the day wasn’t a blast.

Last September’s Saturday (another band name) started with a line that stretched all the way around the huge city block the Salt Palace lives on. I was apprehensively anticipating this again, but I was able to walk right in. Score. I sat in on the last ten minutes of Alex Kingston’s panel; I don’t like her character but I like her. Describing how she never played Juliet: “I would’ve said, “To hell with this; I’m moving on!”

Jason Isaacs was up next; I’m a big fan of his. He was fantastic as Captain Hook and Lucius Malfoy. (I’ve always said that though the writing of those movies was abysmal, the casting was spot on.) Did you know that he initially auditioned for the role of Gilderoy Lockhart? Neither did I.

Jason started his panel by standing dead still for a couple minutes so we could all get bored of him and stop taking pictures. It must be so bizarre to look into a crowd, gathered to see you, and be constantly greeted by “the little flashes of auto focus.” While I’ll admitted I could’ve done with better pictures, I think it’s important to respect a celebrity’s requests when they’ve been kind enough to come and talk to us all.
Jason was a funny man, who told us all the questions he’s constantly asked, and imitated them in a teenage boy American accent. “Man……what was it like working with Daniel Radcliffe?”


“Who is showing The Patriot to their history classes?? Harry Potter is more historically accurate.”

“Richard Harris takes no prisoners.”

“No one in the world played menacing better than Alan [Rickman].”

“I could say anything at all and you would cheer. I don’t like cucumbers.” [crowd cheers] “Everyone in the world should have this as therapy.”

He was insulted when they asked him to read for Lucius instead of Gilderoy, and imitated himself on the phone with his agent doing this outraged hissing noise; I was dying. Then, in the middle of an outraged hiss, they asked if he was ready to read again and he went, “Yes, of course. Fabulous.” (I LOVE HIS ACCENT.)

The best story was how he created Lucius Malfoy’s style. Originally they had him with short hair and a banker’s suit. Jason kept saying, “He’s a WIZARD” and adding things like a long wig, a wand cane, and old aristocratic clothes. Chris Columbus, the director of Chamber of Secrets, said, “The toy guys are going to love you.”

Jason ended his panel by saying, “I’m just a guy who dresses up and does silly voices for a living. But there’s an Avenger waiting in the wings……”

The Avenger in question was Jeremy Renner, aka Hawkeye, aka my second favorite Avenger. But I was unable to stay for his panel, as the bridal shower of a dear friend called me away. Emily, this proves that I love you more than Jeremy Renner.
Tied quilts, then back to the con. A priority on my list is the Twisted Toonz panel, where voice actors from cartoons such as Animaniacs, Spongebob, Adventure Time, Disney, Scooby Doo, and MANY others come together to read a script as their characters. It is sidesplittingly funny. Also, I love the love that the panelists have for Salt Lake City. Jess Harnell (who has rock star hair, and is neighbor's with William Shatner, who thinks he is Gene Simmons from KISS) started off with, “I want to say publicly that Salt Lake Comic Con is the best Comic Con IN THE WORLD!!!!!” [explosion of cheering from audience] “People ask me, ‘Aren’t you worried that someone will put that on YouTube and the other cons will see?’ I say, ‘Screw it, it’s true.’” <3 Jess <3
The movie this year was The Force Awakens. Some of you know that I might have a slight fondness for this film. You haven’t experienced this film until you’ve heard Kylo Ren’s lines delivered as Tweety Bird, with Goofy as Supreme Leader Snoke, and Bill Clinton as Han Solo. (One panelist kept impersonating Donald Trump for us, and he had Drumpf’s waffling, sleazy style of speech down to an art.)

A couple of scenes in, who should appear onstage but Jason Isaacs! The panel was as surprised as the rest of us. He came on and wanted to read a scene. Umm, to quote the host, “Jason Isaacs, you can do whatever you want.” So he read a scene as Finn with Ian Mckellen/Sean Connery’s voice, and it was glorious. So random, so great.

Jess did his crowd favorite Christopher Walken voice, Grey DeLisle did Judy Garland, and we heard from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Goofy, Pluto, Yogi Bear, and so many others……I love this panel. It's a must for any fans of voice acting.

After Twisted Toonz I walked around the vendor floor some more and spent my last remaining souvenir pennies. I spent time walking around the floor every day, and I still found booths I hadn’t seen before yesterday. Infinite variety, thy name is Comic Con. One of these years I want to have my caricature done.
Actual Disney princess Kylo Ren
By six I was ready for a break, and retreated to the ballroom to await the cosplay contest at seven. I have never seen that room so empty or had a seat so close to the stage. Chris Provost (the host who basks in the hatred he gets for his lamentable jokes) came out and told the twenty or so of us who were there that we were diehards. You know it, Chris.
The cosplay contest always makes me tear up because it’s the end of the convention and the crowd is so happy and these people have worked so hard to create a tribute to something they love. I don’t know, I find it both beautiful and tender. Thank goodness they didn’t have a children’s competition this year or I would’ve been a puddle on the floor. Next time I’m going to try and bring someone with me….. I love Comic Con by myself, but it would be fun to have someone to experience everything with.

Anyway, the contest was great. My favorite was either a gender bent Jareth (did she crush it or what?), Captain Hook, a group of Avatar: the Last Airbender cosplayers, or the terrifying Blade Queen.

Actually, I take it back. Those guys were all awesome, but if you want to know my actual favorite I have only three words for you:



Favorite. And she won a prize at the end sooooo. Jareth also won, and she’s donating the prize money to charity. Man, I love the people at Comic Con. I love them.

I walked back to the parking garage with a bag full of swag and the glow that comes from belonging somewhere. While I'm glad the convention is only three days (I was so tired I slept till 10:30 today), I'm always looking forward to the next one. And so with that I bid adieu to the Salt Palace for another six months. Where else would I almost get hit in the face by a Harry Potter cosplayer carrying a sword? (True story.) As always, the pleasure has been all mine.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Rebecca Blogs Fan X - Day Two

FAN X DAY TWO ROCKED MY FREAKING SOCKS OFF. FIGURATIVELY SPEAKING, OF COURSE. Remember yesterday when my recap was all of two minutes? This entry is not going to be anything like that.

I had the day off from work, and no other conflicts. Aww yis. The first panel I wanted to go to was Gillian Anderson at ten, so I showed up at ten. However they switched Gillian to eleven, and the vendor floor wasn’t open for us lowly multipass holders, so I jumped into the new ten o’clock panel, which was William B Davies and Mitch Peliggi, both of whom were on X-Files. I knew Mitch from Supernatural (I hated his character) and William B Davies was the main villain of X-Files, known only as the mysterious Cigarette Smoking Man, or CSM. Although I wouldn’t have made this panel a priority, I’m glad I went. William Davies impressed me; he’s one of those classy old actors you kind of want to be your great-uncle.
William and Mitch
Highlights from this panel:

William Davies thinks that CSM was actually the protagonist of X-Files, and has a theory that explains why Mulder is the antagonist.

Mitch likes to get in twitter fights with people.

Asked what role they wish got more attention, William Davies paused, then said, “When I was twelve I played Aladdin. I think you should have seen that.”

Question: What was your favorite part of filming X-Files? William Davies: “The convention in London where I met my wife.” Mitch: “OKAY no mine is where I met my wife on set too. [to Davies] You stole my line.”

It was a great panel. NOW it was time for Gillian Anderson. (I already knew that I was going to be in the ballroom, where these celebrity panels take place, for the next four hours, so I was bunkered down for the long hall. Granola bars and Gatorade.)
While I still haven’t finished X-Files (I think I left off somewhere in the third season), Scully is one of my favorite strong female characters. Girl knows what’s up. I have a sticky note on my desktop that says, “Dana Scully would not put up with this disrespect” to remind me to stand up for myself sometimes. Of course I was excited to see the actress who brought her to life.
Because I’m a dork even at Comic Con, I brought a notebook to take notes, so I can come home and write in my diary/blog about everything that went down. In the first five or ten minutes of Gillian's panel I just wrote, "Holy hell this is awkward."

I don’t know what Gillian was on, but it was something. She was unfocused and rambling, which I have seen in celebrities before *cough* Jonathan Frakes *cough*, but it was odd to see her in such a disheveled state. It’s odd to hear Scully dropping f-bombs. However, she did pull it together more as time went on, and gave us gems such as, “Even if you’re an alien you can still do good work.”

Highlights of this panel:

“Scully would vote for Hillary, Mulder would vote for Bernie, and Cigarette Smoking Man would vote for Trump.”

“I don’t like talking to people in general.”

“Once I was in a music video where I watched robots having sex. *pause* A day in the life.”

A fan told her, “Hey, I love some of your work!” She flipped him off.

A little girl was asking a question, and her sister stood beside her, cosplaying a Dalek. Gillian was obsessed with this Dalek costume, and wouldn’t answer the question until the sister told her more about the costume, and why she was wearing it. Gillian asked the girl why she was at Fan X, and this happened:

Little girl: “Our family likes to come here to have fun. When our dad found out you were going to be here he absolutely freaked out.”

The audience exploded with laughter. Gillian had the dad stand up and wave; it was hilarious.

All in all Gillian reminded me of Carrie Fisher, who is not of those celebrities you should go up and talk to in Starbucks, which is fine. They’ve been doing this for so many years, and you can tell that they’re jaded now. I get that. But Gillian is doing great work for charity, and auctioned off the actual t-shirt she was wearing at the end of the panel. She got a thousand dollars!

Next was Alan Tudyk. 

Friends, if you ever have the chance to go to an Alan Tudyk panel, freaking do it. This was my third time seeing Alan speak, and he is by far my favorite panelist. He interacts with the fans, tells crazy stories, and gives out random things he found at his hotel/house/wherever. He calls it his Bag of Sh!t, and it’s aptly named. Items given out today include: A copy of the New York Times, a letter from Warner Brothers congratulating him on a pilot he filmed, and a contact from his left eye. It’s always a rollercoaster with Alan.

Highlights of this panel:

Someone screamed, “We love you, Wash!” when he came out. Alan said, “They could be saying, “We love you, comma, wash. You smell.’”

“I should have known. A leaf on the wind…… is dead.
Question: Who was your favorite person to work with on Con Man?
Fan, screaming from audience: You can’t pick yourself!
Alan: *looks confused*
Moderator: They say you can’t pick yourself.
Alan: Oh. I thought someone yelled, “Cam Pickersell,” and I was trying to remember who that was. “Yeah, Cam Pickersell, he was great.”

Fan asking question: You’ve had so many roles—
Alan, interrupting: Dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, so many cinnamon rolls……

Giving a fan an empty manila envelop marked “ATTN: Alan Tudyk,”: I did give it my attention. Now you can give it your attention. Put whatever you like in it. Sandwiches. Swatches of fabric.

Talking about his producer: “He keeps my brain free of actual knowledge.”

Alan saw Something Rotten on Broadway!!

Talking about being naked on set once, “It was fun for the first five minutes, then it was horrible. I mean, why was Accounting on set?!?!’”

He said Comeuppance would be a band name. Alan Tudyk and I both come up with band names. I’m so glad we have this bond.

The best story: At a convention in Ontario he told the crowd that there might be a second Firefly movie because Nathan Fillion had mdae some comment to that effect, and then his inbox exploded with his people being like, “WHY DID YOU SAY THAT???” He had an email from Joss Whedon (the creative genius who wrote and directed Firefly) that said, “I hear we’re making a movie. Can’t wait to read it. Who’s directing it?” Alan makes the best panicked reaction faces ahhh.

 “I hate to get Google alerts about me, because I know the people at Lucas Film (he’s in the Star Wars Rogue One movie) are getting the same alerts.”


After Alan was Summer Glau, who is a tiny, gorgeous, woman who could beat me up and I would thank her. She’s so hardcore in all her film roles, and then she tells she can hear her baby saying, “Mama” from off-stage and your heart just melts.


She agrees with xkcd that a RiverTam Beats Up Everyone movie needs to be made.

Forget Batman v Superman, I want a Deadpool v River movie.

She told several stories about how incredible Joss Whedon’s dialogue is; how did he get so talented and when do I get to meet him? Any time I hear a Whedon actor talk I fall more in love with him.

“I’d never seen the Terminator films, but I think they are part of America.” Her inflection there made this line hilarious.

Next up, George Takei. Now I feel like he’s more of a facebook presence than anything (I promise you have at least four friends who constantly share George Takei posts), but he was Sulu on Star Trek. He was great; his smile could power a small sun. After the initial roar of applause died down he said, “Well, isn’t this a hotbed of geeks and nerds?” That was the moment I fell in love with him. 

I want him and William Davies as great-uncles, stat. The first fifteen minutes he did as a speech, a breakdown of why Star Trek was so important to the country when it came out, and why it has endured for the last fifty years. Then he took questions from the fans.

He did the infamous “Oh my” that Howard Stern uses on his show. I hate Howard Stern but even he can recognize a good thing.

When a fan greeted him in Spanish he responded, and they exchanged a few words in Spanish. Then George said, “Should I answer in Spanish? No, we don’t want to shame the monolinguals.”

He spent some of his teenage years in an internment camp, and hearing him talk about that was very powerful. In yesteryear we were afraid of the Japanese, now the tide has turned against the Muslim population. America, we wrongfully imprisoned thousands of our citizens once. Let’s not ever do that again.

George says that Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country should be called Captain Sulu to the Rescue, and notes that Sulu’s ship, the Excelsior, is larger than the Enterprise. He described Kirk as “the aging captain of the Enterprise” ahhaa I love it.

The best part of this panel was when he was asked about the commercials he’s done for Taco Bell recently. The fan asked if he had tried the food he was advertising and George immediately went, “They’re fantastic! Have you tried them? They’re so good! Where is the nearest Taco Bell? You all need to go to Taco Bell. After you leave this convention, you all need to inundate Taco Bell.” I was dying. Later in the panel the staff put “#NearestTacoBell” up on the screens and I died again. It turned out #NearestTacoBell was trending because of us. It was made better for me by the fact that the dude who asked the question was sitting in the row behind me, and he was mortified. “Why did I ask that?!?” I know that feel, bro. #NearestTacoBell

After my five hours of straight panels, I was ready to get out of that ballroom. I headed onto the vendor floor to spend my allotted souvenir budget. THERE’S SO MUCH. I bought art, and keychains, and seriously considered some Gandalf socks. I want to buy all of the original art!!!!!! And there are thousands of pins, weapons, masks, games, toys, anything and everything geeky under the sun. It blows my mind. 

During this time I ran into a Spike cosplayer; I've only ever seen a handful, but this one was on point. I immediately had to ask him for a picture, and even that ten second interaction with a cosplayer left me blushing for minutes. You know that character that you always have been and always will be hopelessly in love with? Spike is that for me.

Not pictured: My flustered blushing

After my shopping extravaganza and break (like I said yesterday, there comes  a point where you need to silently stare at a wall for a while), I went to the latter half of a toy collecting panel. I have zero interest in toy collecting, but they were doing a raffle, and I won a free comic book! I now own my first ever comic book!! Another area of nerdom may be about to open before me.

I watched the first half of the Chandler Riggs panel. I stopped watching Walking Dead when I stopped dating the guy who watched it with me, because watching murderous zombies without someone to cuddle with is something that appeals to me exactly zero amount. Carl was never my favorite character anyway, and it was odd to see such a young celebrity. His hair is out of control. 

He does, however, like the bad joke “CORAL” meme, which I thoroughly approve of. Yelling, "CORAL" (which is how 'Carl' sounds with Rick Grimes' accent) was my favorite part of the show.

Next was the Awkward Encounters with Celebrities panel, which was hilarious. One guy told a story about how his parents met Donny Osmond, and he told them he liked their baby. Then Donny Osmond saw the parents fifteen years later, in the same restaurant, and asked how their baby was doing. Donny do you live in an Olive Garden

One reporter was doing a red carpet interview at a Star Wars premiere and George Lucas kept heckling him, “Don’t believe this guy, he’s lying.”

At Sundance someone made fun of Val Kilmer by calling him a cowboy and he was not impressed.

One girl almost got hit by Arnold Schwarzenegger’s limousine, and he offered to buy her a new bike.

It was a fun panel, is what I’m saying.

That was my last panel of the day; I did another walk around of the vendor hall to get an idea of anything I might want to pick up tomorrow (it’s not an impulse buy if you plan ahead) and then drove home.

When I got home there was tons of pizza and also PUPPIES. MY ROOMMATE HAD A PARTY AND RENTED PUPPIES. THIS DAY WAS ON FELIX FECLIIS.  Pretty much the only way to keep me from retreating to my room at a party where I know where very few people is to introduce puppies to the party. I petted all four of those puppies, and tried to take selfies with them, with limited success. Puppies do not like to take selfies.

What a day. I love Comic Con, but I’m glad it’s only twice a year, for three days at a time. I was exhausted when I left. I stand by what I’ve often said, though, which is that everyone should come for at least one day, once. It’s a different country, man, but it’s such a great country.

The girl is making the same face I did.

The Force Awakens Leia cosplayers give me life

That feel when your favorite politician is even showing up at Comic Con

Rebecca Blogs Fan X - Day One

On my list of "Reasons Not to Kill Yourself," fan conventions will always feature, right after "There's always another musical to audition for" and "Sometimes you get to eat pie with people you care about." (Wow, did that start out bleak or what? I think I'll stick to the prepared material from now on.)

 This is my fifth convention (I can't believe it's been two years since James Marsters told me I had a great smile!) and I feel like I'm becoming a pretty experienced con attendee, at least here in Salt Lake. Maybe that means it's time for me to start cosplaying, as I'm sure that adds a bunch of new rules for how to Comic Con correctly.

Since tonight's recap is super short (I was only there for three hours), I'd like to start with a few things I've learned about the Salt Lake Comic Cons.

1) You cannot do everything.

The faster you accept this, the happier you will be. Even with the three day multipass, there is a lot you aren't going to have time for. And that's okay!

2) You can do the things you make a priority.

Certain things are at the top of my list, and those always get done. If there is a panel I'm fascinated by, a celebrity I simply must meet, or a souvenir I HAVE to find, I will. My mom always says, "We have time for the things we make time for," and that's true here as well.

3) Prioritize your budget.

This one is like the first two combined: you can spend money, but not on everything. Decide beforehand whether you want your money to go towards celebrity autographs, original art, merchandise, clothes, etc. Allow yourself to buy things, but make sure they're the things you want most.

4) Schedule breaks for yourself.

Even Comic Con gets to be too much sometimes. By the end of the third day I am usually looking for a quiet corner to seclude myself in, speaking to no one. If you're going to be at the convention all day, make sure you're planning time where nothing is planned.

5) Take pictures!

My first con I took hardly any pictures. Make sure to document the crazy atmosphere that is a fan convention, especially the cosplayers! Don't be afraid to ask for pictures; in my experience people are flattered to be asked.

My cabbages!

Now that I'm done dispensing unsolicited advice, on to the first day of Fan X!

I showed up to the Salt Palace around five. I was going to go to a speed dating event, but they canceled because not enough guys showed up. Wheeee™. (I'm obsessed with the ™ symbol lately.) Ehh, it's fine. Instead I went to a live taping of a Star Wars podcast called Full of Sith.

Favorite quotes: (the panelists were all right up my alley)

"What do you think was the name of the cantina band? Maybe they were just whoever was sober in the bar."

"If Revenge of the Sith Anakin fought Return of the Jedi Darth Vader, Darth Vader would get rekt."

"We love entry level questions." (Man, I love experts who still connect with fans on the more basic level. One of the panelists described fandom as a buffet: you take what you want. I want to be one of those people who doesn't make people feel dumb while they're trying to get into something.)

"ET is basically a Jedi." (This led to a whole discussion about crossover between ET and Star Wars.)

The quote that really resonated with me was, "Don't begrudge someone their fandom." You know, if you didn't like a movie that someone else loved, there is no reason to slam on it in an effort to convince them that you are right. Let them love the thing. You can disagree about the thing, but let them have their thing. I think that's what conventions, and fan culture itself, is about, really.

After the podcast I walked around the vendor areas and Artist Alley. I'll be here ALL DAY Friday, so I was just getting the lay of the land tonight. Already so many things I want to take a second look at (although my souvenir budget is sadly limited this year; see number 3).

Thursday is the least crowded day for conventions, but the cosplayers were already bringing their A game. To no one's surprise, The Force Awakens cosplayers rae out in full force; I love it. Tons of Reys and Kylos. I even spotted two Matt the Radar Technician. (If you haven't seen this skit stop reading this blog and go watch it.)

"I heard Kylo Ren is shredded. That Kylo Ren has an eight-pack."

"I'm looking forward to having some real talk with some real folks."

Family cosplays are one of my favorite things, and I spotted several today.

You can't see baby's outfit well, but this five star Finn is holding a baby dressed like BB-8.

Though I'm not over the moon about any of the celebrity guests this year (what will I do with the extra two or three hours I'd normally spend waiting in an autograph line?), the few hours I spent at the con today reminded me how glad I am they exist. I had a Really Bad Week, and this is the pick me up I needed. I promise that tomorrow's recap will be much longer and much more detailed. Friday is always the best day anyway ;)