Tuesday, May 1, 2012

It's a madhouse! A MAAAADHOOOUUUSE…

So the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo is now at an end and yes, it was a madhouse. But that did not make it any less awesome for me and my daughter (or my brothers, niece and nephew). We got to meet a lot of incredible people and we got more than our fair share of exercise as we shuffled from one hall to the next (shuffling counts BTW).

The first person I had to meet was Wil Wheaton, I had designed a shirt and I even got a small run silk screened (I gave one each to my daughter, brothers, niece and nephew) and my daughter and I wore ours on Friday when we went to meet Mr. Wheaton and the second he looked up and said "No Way!!" I had my seal of approval. I'm pretty sure that's what he said, my head is still foggy from the awesomeness of the weekend. I told him that I designed it for the show and when it didn't make the cut as an exclusive (I designed a few of the other shirts at the Expo) I had to make them… I just had to. It was seriously cool to talk to him, I asked about a second volume for his Memories of the Future book and he said he has to wait until he can get into the right frame of mind before he tackles the next volume and that he's just been too busy with a lot of other stuff lately. Then, as he finished signing my copy of Memories of the Future, I asked him what size he wore and I pulled out a shirt for him. As I walked away I told him to enjoy the shirt and he said he was going to "enjoy the hell out of it". AWESOME!

We went back to him on Sunday to get one of my extra shirts signed.

David Prowse was also at the show and I had my Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi posters signed, which was outstanding, but when I brought out my Stanley Kubrick book and asked him to sign that he just opened up and started telling me some great Kubrick stories. He told me of the scene in "A Clockwork Orange" where he had to carry Malcolm McDowell down the stairs and Kubrick made him do it over and over again until his arms were sore. Then the next day, he had to do the scene where he carried Patrick Magee down the stairs. Kubrick wanted him to carry Mr. Magee in the wheel chair and Mr. Prowse refused. He told Kubrick that he didn't want that much weight all at once so many times because after all "you are One-Take-Stanley" - he said that TO HIS FACE!! They did the scene anyway but Mr. Prowse got to carry the wheelchair and Mr. Magee separately. Amazing, because from I have read nobody, and I mean NOBODY, ever talked back to Stanley Kubrick. They ended up doing the scene six times.

I also got Adam Baldwin to sign the Stanley Kubrick book, he said that that was one of his favourite movies and he even wrote "you walk the walk" in the book and on the one sheet I brought of Full Metal Jacket to be signed. I think I may have given him writers cramp though, cause I brought a few things (including some Serenity/Firefly stuff of course).

Billy West, John DiMaggio and Tara Strong were there too and my daughter asked them to record greetings to her mom who wasn't able to come to the show (she seemed pretty happy when we showed them to her after we got home).

The entire Next Generation cast was there as well and they were, each and every one of them, a pleasure to meet. I complimented Marina Sirtis on her performance in Crash and she was thrilled to hear it. She even told me how her best friend, upon seeing it for the first time, told Marina that she had to see the movie. When Marina said she was in it, her friend didn't believe her but after much discussion her friend was finally convinced. Even Paul Haggis didn't realize she was in his movie (she had apparently provided him an audition tape in character, and when she she was on the set she was always in character so he never even realized he was working with her), she went up to him at an awards event and congratulated him on his movies' success and when he acted like they had never met before she reminded him of the character she was in his film. She seemed to love the fact that she was able to disappear into the role so well that she fooled everyone. I have to admit that I had to skip back on the dvd because I saw her name in the credits and had to find out who she was in the film. An outstanding performance.

Brent Spiner was a pleasure to meet again. This time I got to tell him how funny Fresh Hell is and that I hope they never reveal "the incident". He said that one day they will because it's just too funny not to. He also commended the people on the show and their commitment to it and the fact that they do it for fun and not for money (because there is none) and I think that fun really comes across on the youtube screen. I then had to meet LeVar Burton and ask him, on behalf of myself and my brother, if he ever got the money back that he lent Mr. Spiner (a reference to the best episode, so far, of Fresh Hell) and he said not yet, then he lode at Mr. Spiner, then he looked at me and said "at least I'm not Brent Spiner".

I told Stan Lee I love his cameos and he said "he loves them too" - funny.

I thanked Sir Patrick Stewart for coming to the show and he said he was having a wonderful time in Calgary (I think he would have had a wonderful time no matter what, as long as he got to spend it with his old cast mates, they have a report that really showed a great deal of love. I know that sounds corny, but it's true, they looked like they could just hang out anywhere and have a blast as long as they were together.

I also had the pleasure of meeting Robert Englund. When I placed a poster in front of him to be signed he said he thought it was a great poster and then when I told him I designed it we had a fantastic conversation  about the textures used in the graphic as well as the use of negative space. He even signed it and wrote "Great Work".  I considered my ego sufficiently fed.

My daughter decided to take part in the costume contest this year. She went as Kiki, from Kiki's Delivery Service (one of her favorite movies) and she did great! Originally she wanted to go in the big costume contest held on Saturday, but we discovered too late that we had to pre-book her. Luckily we found that she was still eligible to participate in the kids 14 and under competition which was awesome because kids still had to pre-book but they could do it the day of the competition. There were a lot of entries that were awesome and she was just happy to be there, she didn't care if she won or not. But you know what - SHE WON! In the category of Best Teen Costume and she now proudly displays her ribbon and certificate on her bulletin board in her room. I was very proud of her. Especially proud because she went to the show in costume. And every time someone recognized her as Kiki (and it happened a lot) she would be asked if she minded having her picture taken, which she didn't (which is funny because she usually does). I had asked her at one point if she felt self conscious at all about being in costume and she just said that after a while she didn't even think about it. She's my hero. I'm one of those types who would walk around wondering what people were thinking about me (yeah, it's all about me) and my costume, and I just need to get over that. Maybe next year. If they get any kind of Star Wars cast reunion going (which is the rumour - oh hell one of the spokespeople actually mentioned it and it's on the interweb that that's what they want to do) then maybe I'll go as Obi Wan (from the original Star Wars). I always wanted to be a jedi.
The artists I had to meet didn't disappoint either. Bernie Wrightson was fantastic and he signed a few books I brought, including Frankenstein, the Stand (not a lightweight book) and my Swamp Thing collected volume, Mark Texiera drew a head sketch in the books I brought. Every time he was told "just a signature" he would shoot me a sly grin and then draw a head sketch - sweeeeet! Geoff Darrow did a sketch in every book I gave him too, he did a fantastic sketch in my Art of the Matrix book which my blurry photo does not do justice to. We started talking about movies because I was carrying my Stanley Kubrick book and he asked if I take it everywhere I go, I said I take it anywhere that hosts people who were in Kubrick movies, then we started talking about Full Metal Jacket and Clockwork Orange. I may start carrying the book everywhere anyway, it seems to make people open up about their favorite Kubrick flick.

The last person I HAD to meet was George Perez (he was actually one of the first I wanted to meet but his line was always HUGE!), the guy is a legend and I remember picking up the original DC Universe "Let's Clean Up This Mess" series Crisis on Infinite Earths as they came out (yeah, I'm that old). The line ups for George were excruciatingly long and they took a long time to move because he was super kind enough to draw a sketch for anyone who asked. On Sunday I decided to try one more time. As my daughter and I walked by his table at 4:15 there were only 3 people in line - THREE PEOPLE! The volunteer standing at the end of the line pointed out that George had to leave right at 5. I immediately asked my daughter to hold a place for me, I ran out to the car, got my books, ran back in and relived my daughter of the responsibility of holding a place. Anther guy joined the ranks, then one more and then we were told that was it. I had my absolute edition of Crisis there and asked him to draw Supergirl on the first page. I am a happy camper.

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