Thursday, July 30, 2009

Comic Con Part III

So I returned on Sunday for my final day of Comic Con! For about an hour or so I wandered around the Exhibit hall catching up with Artists I liked and handing out fliers for Anime Conji. I made sure to hit up the folks at Girl Genius and talk to the creator of Questionable Content. Both Web comics I would very much like to come to Anime Conji.

I caught up with Savannah, Austin, and Joey and we wandered around and shopped a bit. We decided we wanted to check out the Derrick Comedy panel and headed to Ballroom 20 about a an hour early. Strangely the line was non-existent and we ended up catching the tail end of the American Dad panel completely by happenstance. The entire cast was there including Seth McFarland! Afterward we watched a panel for a very funny independent film called Paper Heart. It was about a girl who does believe in love being the interviewer in a documentary about love. Along the way she meets actor Micheal Cera (played by Micheal Cera) and they start to fall in love over the course of the documentary.

The Derrick Comedy guys came on next and were promoting their new film The Mystery Team. They showed us an exclusive made for Comic Con short involving The Mystery Team characters. Just imagine if Encyclopedia Brown and the Hardy Boys were in high school and still acted like 10 year olds. Yeah it is quiet outrageous. Donald Glover spent the entire panel acting like a maniac. He was dressed in jean cutoffs, a sleeveless shirt, a fake blond mustache and a confederate flag bandanna. Apparently, according to the rest of the panel, he hit his head a bit too hard during the short they filmed for comic con when he got slapped in the face with a pillow and slammed the back of his head against the head board of a bed. Thus making him act completely out of sorts. I think I might have flattered them a bit when I claimed they were as funny as Kids in the Hall during my question. I asked them if Kids in the Hall were one of their inspirations. DC Pierson answered with “Well they aren't a direct inspiration per se. However if you mean inspiration in the sense we follow after all the weird things that randomly pop into our head as oppose to whatever is going on that is popular than yeah. I mean just because there is something crazy going on Lost doesn't mean we jump to a do a Lost sketch, we do whatever we think is funny. In that sense then yes we are inspired by them.” I thought it was a pretty good answer.

After the outrageousness of the Derrick Comedy we were treated to the panel on the new 1950's style film Alien Trespass, starring Eric McCormick of Will And Grace fame. This panel was a delight and a surprise as I was not expecting to see Eric McCormick at Comic Con at all, if not ever. While not quiet as outrageous as the previous two panels this one showed us a bunch of beautiful and funny clips of the film, just enough to get us wanting more. The interesting part about this movie is that while previous films in this vein such as Mars Attacks and The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra break the fourth wall at time and kinda wink at the audience, Alien Trespass is played completely straight as if this were an actually film of the period.

After this panel there was a short break, Savannah and Joey went to go get lunch and Austin and myself stayed for the BBC America panel. First up was Being Human, a show about a Vampire, a werewolf, and a ghost sharing a flat in bristol. Unlike most supernatural shows, Being Human is a character drama about three people struggling with their “otherness” and trying to be normal in a world that fears and misunderstands them. I am in love with this show, as I have already watched the entire first season thanks to the blog Heroes and Hunks. The entire cast was there and the creator and it was difficult to contain my excitement. They showed a few good clips from season one and the audience seemed very receptive. I once again braved the question line. I said “I love this show and I have watched the entire first season, I'm American so please don't asked how I pulled that off,” The hall and the panel burst into laughter and then I moved on to the actual question, “In Season two, will the show continue to be an in depth character drama or will it become more action oriented like the last episode of Season one?”

His response was that Season 2 two will continue in a dramatic fashion however it will incorporate more horror, suspense, and comedy. He told me as he had just finished writing the scripts for Season 2, that they will be plenty for me to enjoy in the coming season.

Second up was the Torchwood panel. They showed us the trailer of Children of the Earth and I was astounded.

John Barrowman was handsome, funny, and vivacious throughout the entire panel. He totally made the experience for me, he kept calling the moderator “hot” and one of the writers “hot” as well. Every other statement was a double entendre That man is such a scream!

After the wonderful BBC America panel. We awaited the closing of con sing along of “Once More With Feeling” aka The Buffy Musical. Savannah and Joey came back with a rather flirtations friend of theirs named Cameron. Once More with Feeling Buttons, finger puppet monsters and Sunnydale Parking tickets were pasted out to everyone. The episode was played out on the big screen with subtitles and virtually everyone sang along. There was a lot of Dawn hate throughout the episode, each time she opened her mouth people shouted “shut up Dawn!” I even got in on it after awhile. It was an awesome ending to a wonderful Convention experience.

Outside I caught up with Peter and passed out some fliers for Anime Conji to a bunch of Cosplayers and then headed home to unwind.

That was my Comic Con 2009 experience. It was a blast and a half and I'm glad I was able to share it with all of you. Just another fantastical room in the House of Dreams.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

San Diego Comic Con 2008 Part II

The tale of my Comic Con adventures continues!

Friday: Showed up early in the morning this time with Peter, my friend Ryan Layton, and my boyfriend Casey Atkins. We wandered around and looked at a lot of different booths, once we secured our badges. I skipped the Warner Bros Hall H panel to shop around, showing Casey around the Exhibition Hall, as this was his first Comic Con. After about a half hour we meet up with Savannah, Austin and Savannah's 12 year old little brother Joey, who was also experiencing his first Comic Con as well. We hung out for a little bit but Casey wanted to check out the Hall H Disney panel. We headed off and got in line an hour early, plenty of time right? While in line I talked to a lot of anime fans, and learned Hayao Miyazaki was going to be at the panel. I passed out quiet a few fliers, did some networking and had many interesting conversations. I received some feed back on what would make a good anime convention. The top three requests were as follows:

  • Visible Security

  • Plenty of Activities and Programming

  • Events scheduled around interests

At the next Anime Conji meeting we will be focusing on what to do to make all three of these the best they can be.

However, what should have been a fun filled wait for an amazing panel turned into the fun filled line that would never end. We ended up waiting three hours in the hot sun only to completely miss the Disney panel. Many people just gave up and left the line when it became apparent they weren't getting in for the Disney panel. Towards the end of our wait people started doing the wave, playing with beach balls, and pitching petitions to ban The Last Airbender for its racist casting choices. Yeah it was crazy. Though it was waiting in this line I saw a dead on Edward from Twilight Cosplay, complete with super hot guy, fangs, and bed hair.

When we arrived into Hall H we were just in time to catch the Hall H panel I had been anticipating all day Thursday, the 9 panel. I got to see Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, director Shane Acker, Elijah Wood and Jennifer Connelly. Elijah Wood was so handsome in real life and Jennifer Connelly is still luminous as she was those many years ago in Labyrinth. Shane Acker was sharp, funny, and incredibly attractive. He was a bit of a surprise as I had been expecting someone a bit more nerdy and rotund. Tim Burton was witty and articulate, while Timur was quiet and a bit shy. Timur's answers to questions simple and direct. The Russian director made the entire audience sad when he said a Dusk Watch Film would not be happening. However, he made the crowd cheer when he confirmed Wanted 2 was in the works. “James McAvoy will be returning. We are now working on getting his Fox...she is in a pool of Wax.” He said in a rather bemused Russian accent.

9 looks utterly brilliant and the clip they showed us was breathtakingly beautiful. Check out the trailer and the original short film it is based on and see for yourself:

After this wonderful panel, we stayed in Hall H as the Dollhouse and Joss Wheaton panel lines for Ballroom 20 were just going to be FAR too long to wait in.

I'm glad we did. We caught the panel for an Angelic action film staring Paul Bettany called Legion. It looked deliciously beautiful. Tyrese Gibson was also in the film and made the panel absolutely hilarious with his humor and energy. Doug Jones is also in the film, in a role where he isn't covered under 50 lbs of prosthetics. Which is delightfully refreshing even if its as “The Ice Cream Truck Man,” an angelic antagonist that has to be seen to be believed!

Legion photo

Afterward we saw the panel for the groundbreaking science fiction film District 9. Produced by Peter Jackson and Directed by Neil Blomkamp.

We saw the trailer and 7 minute long teaser that gave us a taste of the film's Narrative. Sort of a retelling of Alive in Joberg, the original short film this feature was based on, using footage from the feature. I was blown away. The cinematography and the special effects were polished and beautiful. I really believed these aliens were real as the humans in the film. What touches me most about this film isn't the aliens, the mecha, or the even the deeply human performance of its leading man. It was the message. Its powerful, true and serious message. Peter and Neil tried to gloss over the seriousness of the film's message during the panel but I am not fooled. This world is an ugly place filled with prejudice, discrimination and bigotry, and this movie is an anthem against that ugliness. I was touched to see “Equality Now” t-shirts with the phrase “The MSN Lies” on the back showing a human symbol and an alien symbol holding hands being worn all over the convention. The aliens aren't really aliens, they are just a symbol for every oppressed minority in living history. This isn't the heavy handed message of tolerance we are so used to from Star Trek films. But a brutal cold splash in the face to wake up the world to very real problems we are still facing.

For me, best panel of the weekend.

Afterwards, Casey and I went out to the Exhibition Hall and met up with my friends Lanae, Will and Joy. We wandered around a bit and eventually came to visit my friend Joe Phillips in Artist Alley. He had some wonderful Super Hero Beef Cake prints for Sale and was signing them as well! My personal favorite is Captain America.

Afterward there was a series of meet ups, split ups, and hanging out on the Exhibition floor. At one point I checked out the Small Press area again. Got to talk to Aerie from Queen of Wands and Punch and Pie and chat about her possibly being a guest at Anime Conji, and the crazy web comic crossovers that have happened over the years. Eventually Casey went off to catch the Stan Helsing panel, and I caught up with Savannah, Austin, Joey and their friend Jeff. From what Austin and Savannah tell me Austin is a bit of a Convention personality here in Southern California. He turned out to be very cool. There was another cute couple hanging out with us but my memory is failing me on their names.

At one point we went to the Age of Insects booth and watched cockroaches race and they took a picture of me wearing the clear plastic hat that had live roaches in it. Afterward we met one of the directors for Batman the Animated Series, Kevin Altieri, at a random booth! He was super cool and had some great stories to share. After meeting him Savannah had to go to drop off her little brother with her dad so I was alone for a bit.

It was then I spotted Paul Staffelbach, aka Gay Comic Geek and his boyfriend walking past me. However, I didn't remember his name so like a dufus I blurted out “Gay Comic Book Geek!” knowing full well if I didn't say something to get him to stop I would probably not find him again all convention. He stopped and I got to meet him and his boyfriend, take a picture with them, and talk about comics, pro badges and how awesome I thought his show was. He was very nice and it was cool that I got to hang out with them a bit. It was actually our conversation that gave me the idea to start this blog. He asked me at one point who I was on the Fanboys of the Universe site. I replied “Keichiokami” sheepishly as that was the same email address I had given him like 5 minutes earlier. “That pretty much me all over the net, if you see Keichiokami on a fan site that is me, if you Google that name all the links are about me and mostly posts on my LJ.” It was then I realized how much cooler it would have been if I actually had a blog to share all my interests on that I could point him out to. The rest is well, blogistry! Savannah called me and I said my goodbyes to Paul and his boyfriend.

I met back up with Savannah and crew and we made our way back to Joe Phillips booth so Savannah could buy a Green Lantern print for Austin. We laughed quiet a bit as the vivacious Jonathan Dorsey, a friend of Joe's hanging out at the booth flirted shamelessly with Jeff. Making him adorably uncomfortable. Savannah and I thought it was hilarious. Joe's brother and I chatted a bit about gaming and he invited me to join there Sunday night table top game. He games with my friend Steve who is also my assistant storyteller for The Gossamer Masque. I asked if Joe played, he told me that he did not but it would be cool if I came anyway. Oh well, still could be fun.

The exhibition hall closed and we hung out outside a little while before all going our separate ways. I met up with Will, Joy and Lanae and relaxed behind the convention center for a bit. I watched a Star Wars wedding from a distance, and then they left for food. I caught up with some friends from SCA and hung out for a bit, then decided to join Casey for the last 20 minutes of the Stan Helsing panel. I'm glad I did, comedy legend Leslie Nielson was there, as was Keenan Thompson from SNL and Steve Howey from Reba. The panel was utterly hilarious and the film clips were outrageous as well. Casey had an amazing time. Next we watched The Worst Cartoons Ever panel. The title of the panel just speaks for itself. They are just so...bad. Some, however, were so horrible that it was hilarious. To close out con we watched the latest Punisher movie. Whew, was it gory. I prefer the previous Thomas Jane movie personally but it was okay. Casey didn't care too much for the film but it was a time killer.

After the movie we met up with Peter, who had gone to the Eisner Awards, outside the Convention center and headed out to get some delicious eats from Golden Dragon Bistro in Hillcrest. A good end to a great day.

Saturday: So I did not have a pass for Saturday but I heard it was an epic day. Apparently Jeff, Savannah, Joey, and Austin hung out with Jonathan at the Joe Phillips Booth for awhile, below is a lovely picture of the Alice in Wonderland Costumes they wore on Saturday.

Stay tuned for my returning and final day at San Diego Comic Con, another wonderful room in this House of Dreams.

Monday, July 27, 2009

San Diego Comic Con 2008 Part I

I had the opportunity to attend San Diego Comic Con as both a fan and to promote Anime Conji. I attended a few panels, made a bunch of new friends, saw some amazing costumes, and overall had a blast. Since there was so much that happened over the weekend, I am going to break it down my activities day by day.

Thursday: My friend Peter Sevensson came into town and in exchange for crashing at my house he offered his vehicle for us to transport to the Convention Center. He was kind enough to drop me off in front of the Convention center while he went on the journey for inexpensive parking. I had to wait in the extremely long Thursday Morning badge pickup line. The line for badge pick up is always long on Thursday morning as it is the first official day on the Convention. In line I meet Savannah and Austin, two avid comic book and Anime fans. Savannah had an awesome Dawn costume and Austin a Green Lantern fan outfit. We, along with their friends Yoko and Calvin hung out all day. After we got our passes, we hit the Small Press area first once we got to the Exhibition floor. I wanted to meet all my favorite web comic artists and get a chance to invite them to Anime Conji. I meet Randy Milholland from Something Positive, Chris Dailey from Punch and Pie and Strip Tease, Gabe and Tycho from Penny Arcade, and last but not least Sohmer and the crew from Looking For Group and Least I Could Do. It was so awesome to meet them all, invite them to Anime Conji, and shake their hands. Randy drew me a “Space Dog” upon request he sketched something based on a Tori Amos song.

After leaving the Small Press section, we wandered around the Exhibition floor for awhile and then checked out the Dante's Inferno Panel. We saw some amazing artwork and discovered not only is it a video game but a comic book and animated feature are in development for the property as well. Afterwards we did some more wandering around and I pitched Conji to Viz Media and a few other artists. We took a break for lunch since it we deemed the line for the Robot Chicken panel was far too long. Then I dragged them to Hall H to check out the Imaginarium of Dr Parnasuss panel. I got to see Terry Gilliam which was amazing. He was funny and the new film looks beautiful, surreal, and exciting. Mr Gilliam also revealed that his next project will be the defunct Don Quixote. He said the rights have been reacquired and the scripted polished. I am extremely excited about that. If you interested in the story about Terry Gilliam and the Don Quixote I suggest watching the documentary Lost in La Mancha. Its a very good film.

After the panel we wandered around and enjoyed the floor some more. I meet up with my friend Peter around 6pm and then I headed home to run my Kushiel's Fate tabletop roleplaying game. During the walk to the car Peter pointed out that Jacqueline Carey was walking in our group towards downtown. I got a chance to reintroduce myself, as I had already met her twice at her recent San Diego Borders and Mysterious Galaxy Book signings. I had a wonderful conversation with her and her editor about original writing and the editing process. I also get a chance to tell her how much I throughly enjoyed Namaah's Kiss, her latest novel. After about 3 block we went our separate ways and it was time to go home. But it was a great end to a great day.

Stay tuned for highlights from Friday! One more room in the House of Dreams.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

The First Taste is Free...

Hello everyone! This is my first official post on House of Dreams. This will be the go to blog for my world. Which is a crazy one. Over the next few weeks I will be posting about everything cool and amazing going on around me in Fandom in San Diego.

You can trust me I am involved in quiet a bit, maybe a bit too much if you ask some people! So, how about a taste of a few things to come eh?

The Gossamer Masque is a Live Action Roleplaying Game hosted every third Saturday in Balboa Park, which is in the heart of San Diego, CA. The game system is The Shining Host, which is based on White Wolf's popular World of Darkness game Changeling The Dreaming. The game is run by myself and several friends. The Gossamer Masque will be celebrating its three year anniversary on August 29th of this year. Over the past three years over eighty different people have played in The Gossamer Masque. It has been a great run so far and getting a chance to run this game for so many interesting people has been a lot of fun. I hope to continue running this game for years to come.

This new convention is April 9th, 10th, and 11th at the Double Tree Hotel in Mission Valley. San Diego, CA. Check out all the latest information on San Diego's first Anime Convention at I'm the head of programing so if you have any ideas for cool panels drop me a comment.

So there was the first taste everybody, and there will be far more I promise. This is just one small room in a vast House of Dreams.