Sunday, April 28, 2013
Sunday, the third and final day of C2E2, is family day, so kids under 13 get in free. This is a great opportunity for geeky parents, such as yours truly, to bring their kids along for some family fun.
The final day of any con is a great time to beat the crowds, have a better shot at meeting your favorite celebrities or artists, and exploit vendors who don't want to haul all that inventory back home by getting deep discounts on merch.
Since it's family day, there's lots of great opportunities for kids to have geeky fun. I brought my daughters to "Talk Like a Pirate & Leave With Treasure," an event hosted by four lovely ladies from The Bristol Renaissance Faire. All the kids that attended got an eye patch, a lesson in what the four sides of a pirate ship are called, and best of all, a handful of buried treasure. Here are some pictures of the event...
As evening falls on The Windy City, C2E2 is winding down. Many parents are dragging their children, kicking & screaming, from the convention, and lord knows, if it were socially acceptable, a lot of these geeks would be throwing tantrums right alongside them.
On Day 1, I posted a picture of one of Effie Trinket and a Capitol Guard's costume from The Hunger Games, and over the weekend, they put up more costumes, including three of Katniss' looks from the film.
I am no expert on cosplay (if my coverage thus far hasn't made that thoroughly obvious, I don't know how else to explain it) but I do know what I like. I've seen a ton of really nice costumes here this weekend, but the ones that I've gravitated towards are the ones that have a homemade aesthetic to them. Anyone can go out and buy a costume, but it's obvious that the people who have invested the time in creating their own costumes have been my favorites by a mile. Here are my favorites that I've seen this weekend...
There were a lot of really nice Iron Man suits throughout the con, but the one that really grabbed my attention was this battle damaged Mark VI from Iron Man 2. I saw this guy again on Saturday in a different costume, but it was his almost wholly homemade Iron Man suit that really stood out to me.
These DC Manadalorians were awesome. Nothing says geek more than taking Boba Fett & re-imagining him as Green Lantern, Wonder Woman or Batman. I absolutely loved these costumes and give this trio a ton of credit for their creativity.
This No Face caught my attention on my way out the door on Saturday and I had to snap a picture. It's simple and well-done & since Spirited Away is one of my favorite films, I just had to get a picture. Too bad Arn Anderson there decided it would be a good idea to photo bomb me, but I guess I deserve it since I photo bombed a ton of people this weekend.
Clem & Nora love Adventure Time, but they didn't want to take pictures with any of the myriad Finns & Fionnas we saw. However, when they got a load of The Ice King & Marceline here, they just had to get their picture taken with them.
My personal favorite cosplayer I saw all weekend was this Ralph McQuarrie-style Concept Darth Vader. While it has elements that look store bought, it's definitely a homemade piece at heart. As iconic as the image of Darth Vader has become, when you see his original concept, complete with blaster rifle, he's somehow even more menacing.
All in all, C2E2 was a fantastic experience. There truly is something for everyone: film fans, sci-fi/horror fans, comic fans, anime fans, kids, adults, singles, couples, parents. It's a wonderful melting pot & lets us geeks feel comfortable letting the geek flag fly for a few days. While I probably participated in about one-fiftieth of the various activities, it was a great time nonetheless, and if you're in Chicago on the last weekend in April, I cannot recommend it any higher.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
It's Saturday in Chicago, and you know what that means: Day Two of C2E2 2013. The lines are longer, the crowds are bigger, and the cosplayers are bringing their A Game. As part of my morning coverage, I conducted an interview with comic artist & writer Tim Seeley (Hack/Slash) and tried to avoid getting crushed to death by the maddening crowd.
Tim Seeley is a Chicago based artist & writer, and during his time with Devil's Due here in Chicago, he created the critically acclaimed series Hack/Slash, which follows the continuing adventures of serial killer hunters Cassie Hack & Vlad. He has worked for Image & Marvel, as well as Devil's Due, and has worked on such series as G.I. Joe, New Exiles and even wrote the mini-comics for Mattel's Masters of the Universe Classics figures.
I caught up with Tim this morning before things got to crazy and asked him a quick series of random 5 questions...
Who are your primary influences, either inside or outside the comic book world?
Wow, that's a really good question. I would have to say Erik Larsen (Savage Dragon, co-founder of Image Comics). John Carpenter, the horror movie writer & director, and definitely Alan Moore.
What is your favorite character that you've worked on that you didn't create?
Oh, Ant-Man, definitely.
If you could work on any hero, which one would you pick?
Tigra. (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tigra)
If you could work on any villain, which one would you pick?
Dr. Moon. (Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Moon)
And finally, give the readers of Pop GO five words...
Five words? Any five words. (Counting on his fingers) Too much cheese last night.
Awesome, thanks a lot.
Not a problem, thank you.
The doors have been open for a little less than two hours now, and I think this clip best sums up the atmosphere inside McCormick Place...
Here's some crowd shots to give you an idea of what it's like in here right now...
I may be the only one here that got this cosplay, but for all the Tim & Eric fans out there, I found The Beaver Boys. Sadly, they were drinking beer instead of white wine, and there was no shrimp in sight, but still, I gotta give them credit...
The afternoon of Day Two was jam packed with activity. Patton Oswalt hosted a Q&A that was being twitter-bombed by Brian Posehn, Burt Ward & Julie Newmar took part in what could best be described as a disastrous Q&A, and I got to take part in some Sci-Fi Speed Dating.
Ryan Glitch owns & operates a company called Sci-Fi Speed Dating that tours to various sci-fi & comic conventions to provide "fun, safe, and awesome speed dating." I had the opportunity to take part in a session this afternoon that was fast-paced & fun.
Since this is a comic convention, the men participating in the speed dating outnumbered the women, but in the span of ninety minutes, every guy got to talk to about 20 women. The conversations or speed dates, are limited to three minutes a piece, and since it was a comic convention, the topics remained fairly geeky: favorite movies, tv shows, video games, etc. Here's some advice I can give any guys thinking of attending a session...
-Be yourself. It's tempting in a three minute time span to put on a show, but if you're serious about making a connection with someone, it's better to show who you really are.
-Abide by the rules. During my session, some poor schmuck broke the flow of traffic, and was called out in front of the whole group. It was embarrassing, and, to be completely honest, a tad unprofessional on Mr. Glitch's part to call him out in this way in front of the whole group. Geeks have enough complexes without being embarrassed in front of a group of their peers. So follow the rules, it'll save you time & potential embarrassment.
-Have faith. There's a ton of women in the world that are into the same geeky nonsense that we're into. Most of these women are also very attractive, so keep hope alive that you may indeed meet someone that you connect with in a very real way.
I was also happy to see that they conducted an LGBT session in the morning as well. One thing I can safely say about the geek & otaku community is that we're an incredibly inclusive group, and it's nice to see opportunities like this being given to people that aren't heterosexual. More information about Sci-Fi Speed Dating can be found on their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/SciFiSpeedDating/info. If you're at a con, by yourself, and looking for that special someone, I highly recommend you make this a part of your weekend.
Okay, it's time for another installment of "Guess the Cosplayer" where your faithful correspondent poses for pictures with people who may or may not be cosplayers.
First up, Alan Moore cosplayer or just some poor, unassuming guy?
Next, V For Vendetta cosplayer, Anonymous hacker, or the real Guy Fawkes himself?
Lastly, it's DC Comics favorite Speedy... I think.
So that's it for Day 2 at C2E2. Tomorrow will be my final recap, along with a gallery of some of the best cosplayers I've seen all weekend. Until then, sleep well faithful readers...
Friday, April 26, 2013
The afternoon brought some interesting developments. I won't be attending the speed dating event until tomorrow. I did, however, attend a dramatic reading of a new comic & I spent some time hanging out with some of my favorite cosplayers...
As the crowds thinned out in the afternoon, the lines for celebrity autographs began to dwindle, as did the lines in Artists' Alley. At 3:15, Chicago theatre comapny StrawDog presented a dramatic reading of a new comic from IDW titled Kill Shakespeare. Images from the comic were projected on a screen while actors read the various parts. It was an interesting concept, and I recommend the book when it comes out for any literary minded comic book fans.
I've been seeing tons of cosplayers, and needless to say, some are better than others. I'm waiting until my recap on Sunday to share the best that I've seen, but below is a gallery of some of my favorites that I've met on the first day...
This guy said he was The Mandarin, but he didn't have his ten rings.
Who is that? Why, it's Mr. Spock of course!
Look out Gale & Peeta, I think Katniss Everdeen here has a new man in her life...
Hey kids, it's Indiana Jones... I think...
Well, that's enough fun for today. Hope you've enjoyed reading. Stay tuned tomorrow for "Sci-Fi Speed Dating" and my interview with Tim Seeley. Signing off from the Press Room at Day One of C2E2. See you tomorrow faithful readers...
Monday, April 22, 2013
"Francis? I mean, who's named Francis? A talking mule?"
I became aware of Rob Zombie, as I think most people of my generation did, when his band White Zombie's video for "Thunder Kiss 65" appeared on Beavis & Butthead. Like most other people, I wrote him off as a novelty musician, but then his career took a strange turn when he directed House of 1000 Corpses in 2003. While I didn't love that film, I recognized that he was very savvy behind the camera, and clearly knew what he was doing as a director. His follow-up film, The Devil's Rejects, was one of my favorite movies of the decade, combining a love for the gritty exploitation films of the 70s with an uncanny ability to combine music and images.
Zombie took a turn into commercial territory with his Halloween films, which I wasn't crazy about, but is now back on firmer ground with his latest film, The Lords of Salem. The film is an original story by Zombie, and the film's trailers seemed to indicate he was headed into new territory. So did he succeed? Read on to find out...
The Lords of Salem is set in the town of Salem, Massachusetts, famous for it's late 17th century witch trials. The film exploits this connection, and although it's set in modern times, never feels like it's fully disconnected from that dark past. Heidi (Sheri Moon Zombie) is a dj at a local Salem radio station who, one day, receives a strange record album housed in an old wooden box containing no labels other than that it's by "The Lords." When she plays it on her home stereo, it causes her to have sudden visions of a coven of witches being burned alive. When fellow dj Herman (Jeffrey Daniel Phillips) suggests playing it on their show, it seems to have a strange effect on the women in town that hear it.
A Salem witch scholar (Bruce Davison) is intrigued by the music and begins investigating its origin. Simultaneously, Heidi finds herself experiencing strange visions and occurrences after a strange encounter with her landlord (Judy Geeson) and her sisters (Patricia Quinn & Dee Wallace). Is she going insane, relapsing into her old drug habits, or is there something more sinister going on in her life?
The most immediate thing that I was taken with by The Lords of Salem is that it plays, strangely, more like an art house film than a standard horror film. Zombie's influences range from Georges Melies (photos from A Trip to the Moon hang all over Heidi's apartment) to David Lynch. In fact, this film feels more like a David Lynch film than anything else. If it weren't for the constant references to Satan, you might have been able to convince me that Lynch directed it. The film is slow and methodical, but never boring. It plays out like a fever dream, and is disorienting enough that you can never be sure if you're watching reality, a hallucination, a flashback, or some combination of the three.
Zombie's use of music has never been better than it is here. While he'll likely never top his use of "Free Bird" at the end of The Devil's Rejects, he uses everything from Mozart's "Requiem" to Nico's "All Tomorrow's Parties" to amazing effect in this film. The film's score by John 5 & Griffin Boice is fantastic, but its Zombie's use of recognizable music with eerie imagery that makes the film so unsettling. It's also worth noting how well he uses silence too, since some of my favorite moments in the film where when everything went silent. The film is a true feast for both the eyes and ears.
Another thing that Zombie does incredibly well is his use of actors and casting. Rocky Horror fans will delight at the appearance of Patricia Quinn, but film fans of the 60s and 70s will also find tons of great bit parts from people like Geeson, Wallace, Ken Foree, Michael Berryman, Maria Conchita Alonso, Richard Fancy, & Meg Foster. I was sad to see that Bill Moseley was not in the film, as he was a force of nature in some of Zombie's previous films, but keep your eyes peeled for a brief cameo from Sid Haig.
I fully admit to dreading him casting his wife again, but she's surprisingly good in the film. Her scenes with Phillips are very good, which isn't surprising since he looks so much like Rob Zombie himself. Don't find yourself turned off to the film just because she's the lead, she will definitely surprise you. The film's photography by Brandon Trost is very good as well, and very well subdued considering he's worked with Neveldine & Taylor on all of their films, but the film is very well shot.
The most important thing that I can say about The Lords of Salem though is this: If you're not a fan of Rob Zombie, this film will likely not appeal to you. There were several walkouts in the screening I attended, and it's most assuredly not a film for everyone. On the flip side of that, however, if you've been on the fence about Zombie as a director, this film will reinforce the fact that he is an undeniably talented filmmaker. His composition is excellent, his imagery is beautifully grotesque, and his use of music is second to none in the horror genre.
Just beware, this is his most "Rob Zombie" movie yet. While it looks and feels like an art house film, it maintains a firm obsession with Satanism, witchcraft and blasphemy. If that's not your cup of tea, avoid it at all costs. If you are a fan, however, I cannot recommend it any higher. I thought the film was fantastic.
GO Rating: 4.5/5
[Images via BoxOfficeMojo]