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SDCC, WonderCon Coverage


Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:11 Jennifer Devore
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Cheers, kittens! One week to go! San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC) is nigh and America's Finest City is all abuzz. Not only is our lovely beach burg stuffed to its cliffs and cul-de-sacs with not just the usual Summertime crush of les touristes from all over the globe, but also with a healthy, amusing dose of geekery. Bienvenue a tous! San Diego loves geeks!

Be ye a local geek (comme Moi) and didn't get in (ni comme Moi), there's still a faint ray of hope. Local "news" station FOX5 is giving away a pair of badges in this week leading up to the Con; naturally, one must actually watch the local broadcast every morn to learn a code-word. Of course, considering what one goes through for badges, the hoops could be worse than having to endure an hour a day of local news ... maybe. If you are going, local or not, contest winner or no, I proffer a few helpful tips and links to help your Comic-Con be as easy-peasy lemon-squeezy as can be.

  • Toucan Blog: daily tips leading up to the Con from the very wizards themselves behind the Comic-Con Int'l (CCI) curtain
  • Programming Schedule: SDCC's complete, online, Wed.-Sun. catalogue of panels, screenings, autograph signings et al
  • Transportation Info.: quick links to parking, hotel shuttles and local transportation like the MTS Trolleys, Coaster and Amtrak
  • Uber and Lyft: sure-fire, friendly ride-sharing to, from and around the Con; but know these private companies' rates fluctuate depending on the time of day/night and need. Business 101, kids. Supply and demand hard at work here.
  • Taxi Magic: the beauty of free enterprise and capitalism? It forces real competition! The taxi industry is trying a friendlier, gentler, cleaner approach to service. Download the Taxi Magic app and give S.D. Yellow Cabs another chance.
  • North County Coaster: a great option if you're coming anywhere from Oceanside south; the Coaster is a quiet, clean ride with great views of the Pacific for most of the way (Snag a seat on the west-facing side for the best views!).
  • Call a friend or beg Dad: if you have anyone in the area whom claims to love you, even tolerate you, even a little bit, capitalize on that. Beg them for a ride! Drop-off and pick-up anywhere in the Gaslamp District makes your life easy-peasy!

    As one expects, SDCC is a complete jumblef#&* at every turn. Whether you end up inside the Con rubbing elbows and armour with the likes of  Salma Hayek, Daniel Radcliffe, George R.R. Martin, Weird Al and Seth Green or, enjoying the wild festivities that occur just outside the Con doors, it can, at times, feel like a claustrophobic nightmare. Remember to be kind. (As a dyed-in-the-wool geek, I can attest that a lot of us don't groove well in large volumes of people; we're oft a pale, quiet, nervous type.)

    Comic-Con is a haven for nerdery, creativity and pop-culture camaraderie. It's also a Tokyo metro-style, sardine-packed, hot-and-humid mess. Try to say "Pardon me" when you bump into Poison Ivy, "Thank you" when Adam West Batman holds open a door for you and a chivalric "After you, Milady!" when you and Princess Leia arrive at the same egress, at the same time. When it comes to cosplay, leave the snark and sneers at home; compliments go a long way in making someone's day. Some of those costumes take forever to make, are probably raw-ther uncomfortable and it's a good bet that no matter how smoking they look, the wearer feels just a tad self-conscious.

    Apropos: the boobs. Yes, the boobs. As I wrote in my coverage of WonderCon Anaheim 2014, Of course, de rigueur, there are lots and lots of boobs. There are always lots and lots of boobs. Funny thing is, after a few years of this, I’m beginning to recognize some of them. There is also a lot of chatter about the appropriate amount of attention one should give those boobs. For this girl's take, if you're going to put them out there, waaaay out there as some of the ladies do, I think you'd better expect some feedback. Still, that does not excuse some of the vile, verbal assaults hurled their way. Keep it clean, folks. Common courtesy guides one should ask before taking a picture, glance but don't gawk and never, ever touch! (Please, see official guidelines below.) Just be nice. Like Thumper's mama says, "If you can't say somethin' nice, don't say nothin' at all." A good time shall be had by all, especially when we're all cheery comic chums! Come on, everyone! Let's all play the Pollyanna Glad Game!
  • As in years past, Eslilay Evoreday (Twisted Pair Photography) and I shall be covering SDCC for JennyPop.com. To boot, Yours Truly is champing at the bit to learn if this year's submission to the official Souvenir Book (a Hellboy retrospective) made it in again: previously published articles include Catwoman, Batgirl, Hellboy, Betty and Veronica, Peanuts, Tarzan and The Simpsons. So, follow Moi on Twitter and Insta for all the geeky, gooey, booby goodness coming straight from San Diego Comic-Con!
  • *CCI's Code of Conduct and Anti Harassment Policy

    Attendees must respect common sense rules for public behavior, personal interaction, common courtesy, and respect for private property. Harassing or offensive behavior will not be tolerated. Comic-Con reserves the right to revoke, without refund, the membership and badge of any attendee not in compliance with this policy.

    Persons finding themselves in a situation where they feel their safety is at risk or who become aware of an attendee not in compliance with this policy should immediately locate a member of security, or a Comic-Con staff member, so that the matter can be handled in an expeditious manner. If your safety is at risk and you need immediate assistance you may also use a white house phone and dial 5911.

    Security may be contacted by visiting our Show Office in Lobby C. A Comic-Con staff member will be in the office during public hours.

    Follow  @JennyPopcom (Twitter and Insta)

 
Monday, 07 July 2014 12:56 Jennifer Devore
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Holy moly, Hellboy!! This year was a close one! If you read my Adventures in WonderCon post, you will have noted the tint of sadness that came with realizing WonderCon Anaheim (WCA) was it for the year; the Comic-Con Badge Quest Slaughter of 2014 had left Dr. Lucy and myself emotionally exhausted and near expiration, with little hope of survival on the Con battlefield. Yet, like a Phoenix, rising from Arizona -wait, that doesn't sound right- we mustered every cell of life that remained, gathered our courage and cerebral weaponry and ... huzzah! With two weeks to spare, we parried and riposted our way into San Diego Comic-Con!

Dr. Lucy and I have had a pretty good run of not only getting into SDCC to cover it for geek-culture website GoodToBeAGeek, but also of Yours Truly getting into the accompanying Souvenir Book for a number of years. (Past years included articles on Peanuts, Tarzan and Bongo/Simpsons Comics.) This year's submission is a piece on the 20th anniversary of Mike Mignola's half-demon/half-Boy Scout, Hellboy. (Cloven-hooves crossed I get in the Book this year, too!)

  • Update: 23 July 2014: Yes, my Hellboy article did make it into the 2014 Souvenir Book!

Still, as anyone will tell you, SDCC is becoming more and more difficult to permeate. Getting into the Con via standard, online badge purchase is a crap shoot; obtaining a Member ID is simple enough and getting in the online queue is equally non-taxing; getting to the front of the queue before every day sells out is a seemingly random, lottery-style mind%&*#. GoodToBeAGeek's very own editor, Jessa Lynn Phillips, who one should note is closely tied-in with SyFy Channel's upper-echelon, stated, "I don't think I know anyone who got passes (other than panelists) for more than one day this year."

To wit, not only is a badge purchase a shot in the dark, this year Comic-Con International (CCI) eliminated the ability to purchase 4-day badges. (Exception being if you purchased a Preview Night badge, for an extra fee, you can add an automatic 4-day pass.) The purpose, according to CCI, was to cut down on unused, precious badge space: folks buying all four days with the intention of only using one or two days. Further, the ability to purchase for friends (up to three plus yourself) during the pre-registration phase -which one can only enter if one attended the previous year- also limited those three friends to those whom attended the previous year. (Crikey! Getting a law degree has got to be simpler. Of course, based on some attorneys I know, it very well might be!)

Naturally, WCA was a blast and, for someone whom loves to play dress up, getting to don my Louise Belcher costume was fun enough in itself and enough to hold me over until Hallowe'en. Still, there had been a faint raincloud over my head as I read CCI's Toucan Blog daily posts counting down to SDCC 2014.

I had worked my wee fingers to the bone massaging every contact, acquaintance and stranger I could. No one can say I didn't try. I jiggled all the door handles; like Hillary trying to get into the White House. I even answered an ad on Craigslist to wear an M&M costume; and offered my scribing services for legit pro or press passes, only to be flagged. Apparently "honest-work for honest-comps" is offensive to the CL community; had I offered boudoir photos for scalped badges, I might have made "Best of Craigslist". Besides the Badge Quest Slaughter, we here at GTBAG applied for press passes, only to be sliced and diced by CCI's intensely perlustrative press wizards: You shall not [press] pass! I offered to man a booth at GoComics -sadly that contact was no longer with the organization- ; and I looked into volunteering anywhere there was a need within the Con, except the lavvies. One industry-insider advised with a pitiful shake of the head, "Volunteers was filled months ago. It goes almost as fast as the badge sale these days."

In the end, neither the M&M suit nor a volunteer's t-shirt was necessary. Happily, Lucy and I were fortunate enough to garner not just an enviable Saturday-pass, but the much-coveted Preview Night-pass! How, you may wonder, mouths collectively agape like codfish? Simple: intricate dealings in the Black Arts, magick of the Teutonic strain and a serendipitous, random spin of Lady Fortuna's wheel.

Keep all this in mind next year, kids. SDCC online badge sales usually hit mid-February to mid-March. If you got in this year, use that pre-registration phase next year! If you don't get a badge for 2015, try not to utter in disgust the words of Dr. Sheldon Cooper. It’s okay. You know, th-there’s always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that’s just as good. Excuse me. (Turns to cry)

Take not ye Cons for granted! Each one seems to grow exponentially, year over year. Citing Events in America, a North American trade show and conference directory, SDCC 2014 augurs 130K attendees once again: a self-imposed, max. capacity. Only CES Int’l Las Vegas and New York Comic-Con (NYCC) will bring in more geekage per cubic sq. ft.: 150K and 133K, respectively. NYCC's projected attendance is up from 117K last year.

As I wrote earlier this year of WCA, oft minimized and discounted as Comic-Con's little sister, "Whether you get into SDCC or not, WC is fast-becoming a good time all her own and very possibly, depending on how things line up, just as high-maintenance."

 

Follow  @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @Eslilay for Con-floor Tweets and pix! #geek #SDCC

Hannah’s other fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net jenniferdevore.blogspot.com and amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore

 

 

 
Tuesday, 22 April 2014 13:36 Jennifer Devore
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Picture it ... early-morning Saturday, March 15, 2014: San Diego Comic-Con Badge Quest

  • 6:00a.m. Awakened ceremoniously with rousing rendition of John Williams' Star Wars Theme, performed by Boston Pops
  • 6:15  Fully awake, finally, after repeats of Star Wars Theme
  • 6:20  Espresso
  • 6:30  Text cohorts in NorCal, registration codes and Member IDs ready to go
  • 6:35  Re-read official CCI email re: SDCC badge-sale
Remember, there is no need to rush to the landing page at 7:00 AM! You can enter the waiting room two hours before the sale begins [ at 9:00 AM] or 10 minutes before the sale begins, and your chances are the same. Your wait time is up to you!
  • Ha!
  • 6:56  Forefinger poised. Nobody's going to get in before I do!
  • 7:00  Go! Go! Go! I'm in!
  • 7:05  Text cohorts again; You guys in? Huzzah! Everybody's in! One of us will surely get our badges!
  • 7:05-8:56  More espresso. More texting. Granola and youghurt. Comic Book Men, Arrested Development and France24 news.
  • 8:56-8:59  Check pulse. High. Mellow out, dork; it's just a stupid convention. One more espresso.
  • 9:00  Huzzah! We're in the official queue!
  • 9:00-9:20  This is so exciting! Already doing better than last year! We'll have such fun! Better get hotel a.s.a.p.!
  • 9:20  Saturday badges are running low. Hmm. That's okay. "Low" does not mean "sold out".
  • 9:25  Saturday badges are sold out. Okay. No worries, we'll go Thursday, Friday, take off Saturday, back on Sunday. Awesome!
  • 9:30  Friday badges are running low. Cool. Cool. No problem.
  • 9:33  Friday badges are sold out. Damn it. Okay, okay. Thursday's awesome! First day, fresh, that New Con smell!  Anything but Sunday. Sunday sucks. Nobody dresses, no good panels. Vendors only have crap left. Thursday will be awesome!
  • 9:35  Thursday badges are running low. Tina Belcher-style groan.
  • 9:36  Thursday badges are sold out. I don't care. Sunday rocks. I love Sunday actually! Lighter crowds, all the vendors slash their prices, loads of people will still be dressed. Sunday is going to be amazing!
  • 9:40  San Diego Comic-Con is now sold out. Thank you for your participation.
  • M*&$%#  F#*&@%!!!!
  • Instantly recall The Big Bang Theory's "Convention Conundrum" (S7e14)
It's okay. You know, th-there's always WonderCon in Anaheim, you know? Th-that's just as good. Excuse me. (Turns to cry)

-Dr. Sheldon Cooper, The Big Bang Theory

No. No, Sheldon, it is not just as good; but, as this girl is quickly learning, it is not something to pish-tosh, either. WonderCon Anaheim (WCA: April 18-20, 2014 Anaheim Convention Ctr.) seems to be growing exponentially. Like the Richter scale used to measure earthquake activity, what seems like a fractional uptick is, in fact, a greater output than one might presume. Noting the difference between this year's WCA and WCA2013, it may retain slightly less cachet than San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC: July 24-27, 2014 San Diego Convention Ctr.), but like your best friend's little sister who just started law school at Stanford, she's starting to look pret-ty, pret-ty good.

Attendance at WCA, in its third year now, was estimated at 56K for 2014 (Red Flag: roughly SDCC's numbers in the early-Naughties), continuing its yearly climb. 2014 numbers are an increase from, according to Publisher's Weekly, the approx. 40K attendees for 2012, and slightly higher than that for 2013.  Further, SDCC 2014 is predicted to once again reach its self-imposed max of 130K attendees; this is to be topped only by CES Int'l Las Vegas (150K) and New York Comic-Con (133K), itself up from 117K last year, citing Events in America, a North American trade show and conference directory. Clearly, the geek con continues to trend.

The growing popularity in geek culture manifests not only via the annual mass-disappointment amidst failure to obtain SDCC badges, but also in the burgeoning desires of Hollywood. Longtime con-pros (distributors, producers, manufacturers, publishers) will tell you, quietly over a Dirty Shirley at Mix Bar in the Anaheim Hilton after the con doors close, that many of the old-timers still love the concept of the con, but philosophically loathe the H-town intrusion. "I noticed the change coming like a locomotive in 2004," said a dead ringer for The Simpsons' desperate salesman ol' Gil Gunderson. "Hollywood changed everything. Yeah, we're makin' more money, but it's not the same," he hung his head over his drink with the resolute shame of a jaded, tired mob wife. To drive the point home, I quote Mark Hamill's character Donald Swan in Comic Book: The Movie (2004).

The movie people? I know they're just doing their jobs; but they don't care about us. They only care about our wallets.

Still, Hollywood is nothing if not shameless and persistent, and has now taken notice of wide-eyed, wallflower WonderCon, The Other White Geek, and is asking her to dance, too. Changes at WCA this year included, most notably, the restriction of badge sales to online only: nothing at the door this year. Wise move, considering it sold out completely. As well, whereas last year's event used one exhibit hall, this year's took over two, fully. "Artist's Alley" and "Small Press" areas were expanded and, to boot, nearly every upstairs room was utilized for panels and L&D.

Of note, amongst hundreds of events, was a Bob's Burgers panel f/Loren Bouchard, Kristen Schaal, John Roberts, Dan Mintz and Larry Murphy; Rotten Tomatoes vs. The Fans in "Your Opinion Sucks" f/Matt Atchity; Frozen: The Art of Story f/Jeff Ranjo; The Psychology of Star Trek vs. Star Wars; Hanna-Barbera History f/Jerry Eisenberg and Wally Burr; and Once Upon A Time f/Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz. Not enough hours in the day or days in the Con; choose wisely when planning future visits and get in line early.

Another tell-tale sign WC is starting to hang with hip crowd? Celeb sightings are on the rise. Eric Bana, Jerry Bruckheimer, Joel McHale, Kristen Schaal, Ethan Spaulding, Olivia Munn and Kevin Smith. (Smith was more a snub than a sighting. We said, Hi! He appeared focused and on a mission. You still say Hello, big guy.) There was even a Captain Bloodstone sighting: best known as Blackbeard's loopy first mate in Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates.

Sony Pictures, Warner Bros., DC Entertainment, BBCAmerica and Dreamworks were all present in force. Sony offered a sneak peek of Deliver Us From Evil; Warner Bros. presented the world premiere of Son of Batman; and BBCAmerica delivered the exclusive screening of Orphan Black's S2 premiere.

If Disney is your gig, as it is for so many of us comic geeks, you spent your evenings across Katella at Disneyland, or if you wanted to save your hard-earned Disney Dollars, went to the admission-free Downtown Disney. Back inside the Con, it was a treat to see Margaret Kerry at her booth: Walt Disney's very own pick, the original model on whom Tinkerbell was based! Aimez-bien Les AristoChats? Gary Dubin, voice of zee chaton Toulouse from Disney's AristoCats was also on-site, signing colour animation stills.

Other easily chattable guests on-hand included Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Kaite Cook (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic), Marjorie Liu (Dark Wolverine), Jim Pascoe (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and Richard Hatch (Battlestar Galactica).

Where cosplay is concerned, if you're thinking WCA is like going to a club on a Wednesday night, thinking you can leave your A-game at home, you'd be wrong. Cosplayers are as serious and creative as ever, if not as numerous as SDCC. Fewer folks might be dressed than at SDCC, but those whom are, are in their Saturday night best. Listen up, wheats; you know if Adrianne Curry, Mistress of the Dorks and cosplay queen, is in the house, you'd best get your act together. Professional stage makeup, Colleen Atwood-quality costuming and the spirit, personality and energy behind it all to make every character pop. Cosplayers don't just pose, they become their characters, for your pleasure. They know their characters intimately and want to interact with you. Of course, de rigueur, there are lots and lots of boobs. There are always lots and lots of boobs. Funny thing is, after a few years of this, I'm beginning to recognize some of them.

Most popular costumes this year? Doctor Who variations, by far. The best Doctor Who costume? Not a Who, but a What: the villainous, ever-moist Lady Cassandra and her attendants. Halo Kitty was a bit unsettling, as was a male version of Morticia Addams. Thankfully Mary Poppins & Bert, Zelda & Link, Harley Quinn & The Joker, all the Pirates of the Caribbean, a score of Japanese Lolitas and a very attractive Morticia & Gomez (phew!) cruised the con floor and our Hilton lobby. There were also a few Bob's Burgers folks: Beefsquatch! The Bob's Burgers panel must have been a wild scene! Damned Anaheim Gardenwalk Happy Hour got in my way of getting there. I blame P.F. Chang's Asian pear mojitos.

Vendors, as always, number too many to recall. However, I do treat myself each year to a few tidbits, as I like to help the economy and support independent artists whenever I can.  This year's fave choice? Besides a couple of Big Bang Theory, babydoll tees, I acquired a beautiful bit of steampunk art from Awkward Affections of San Francisco. Charming and shy, the pretty artist known as Kaz proffered an eccentric, quirky and whimsical selection of cards, custom invitations, matted prints, and canvas wall art featuring animals I would very much enjoy meeting, all with a  Wind in the Willows, Alice in Wonderland and Edward Gorey style and sensibility. Other fave pieces included her "Anatomy of a Mermaid" and "Anatomy of a Unicorn". I say! (Of course, if you read my Savannah of Williamsburg novels, you'll understand my weakness for les animaux anthropomorphic.)

If, like Yours Truly, you originally failed in the March morning mayhem that was the SDCC badge-massacre, I guarantee your first thought was similar to Sheldon's: "At least there's WonderCon. Right?" Well, kids, if you thought WonderCon was your Get-Out-Of-Hell-Free card and waited too long to buy those badges, epic fail. Now look at you. You've got no Comic-Con and you missed out on WonderCon. What a mook.

To make matters more tenuous, WonderCon is rumoured to return to San Francisco's Moscone Center next year, it's original home for nearly thirty years. (WCA was supposed to be a temporary show, as Moscone Ctr. received a full refurbishing.) Of course, CCI did take the effort to officially name the Con next to the Mouse House, WonderCon Anaheim. Maybe it's here to stay? Maybe we shall have a Norcal and SoCal WC? Maybe you bring a sport coat next time so we have some options for dinner? As of the date of this posting, nobody, official or otherwise, has an answer. The best I could learn was to check the San Diego Comic-Con/WCA website over the year; WonderCon 2015 updates, be they North or South, will be posted there.

In the end, I'm still not sure I'm buying the common line heard at WCA. "You know. I really prefer this, to Comic-Con. The crowds are lighter, it's easier to get a hotel room, it's just nicer all around." Sure. That's like saying, "Dude, it's so much easier dating Debbie in accounting. Kate Upton is probably totally high-maintenance. Debbie's way easier to deal with, and a much cheaper date." Sure. I do have to admit the Starbucks is nicer at the Hilton Anaheim, as opposed to the Sbux carts at SDCC. Of course, the line is so outrageous, who has time to wait, what with all those amazing panels and vendors such?

If you can't get an SDCC badge, WC is an absolutely fun and doable alternative (like Debbie). If you did get an SDCC badge, WC is just double-fun for you (You cad!). Yet, think about next year. Whether you get into SDCC or not, WC is fast-becoming a good time all her own and very possibly, depending on how things line up, just as high-maintenance. Next year, Debbie might not be available ... if she's even in town.

As for this kitten's last-ditch chances for SDCC? As Orange County's own George Bluth says, "There's always money in the banana stand."

Special S/O: Speaking of supporting independent artists, if you like my Louise ears, and I cannot count how many folks at WCA loved them, please know the quality is superb, the cap-portion is very snuggly and comfy and the ears actually stay upright. Available via Epic Costumes on Etsy!

For even more WonderCon Anaheim 2014 pics, visit Twisted Pair Photography!

@JennyPopNet #WonderCon #SDCC #cosplay

 
Monday, 27 January 2014 09:09 Jennifer Devore
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As Valentine's Day looms on 30 Rock's "Anna Howard Shaw Day" (S4, e13), Liz Lemon takes herself "out of the equation" by scheduling a root canal to shun the greeting card-holiday she so loathes, and, most importantly, to avoid the clear and present abundance of "nobody" in her life. When she cannot arrange the necessary ride home after said-surgery because, as Virginia singer-songwriter Stephen Christoff once wrote, "everyone is in love, except for you", TGS writer Frank Rossitano, resident Italian, porn-addicted, Momma's boy, sums it up for Liz: "All we want on Valentine's Day is to know that someone cares, even a little, about us. Aren't you looking for the same thing? In fact, yours is worse. If you don't get that tooth fixed the infection will probably move to your brain and kill you."

We do want to know someone cares and Lady Fortuna has spun her wheel raw-ther kindly for me; happily, there exists a plethora of folks, friends and fam, upon whom I am certain I could rely for a ride home, drooling and slurring from a day at the dentist and too much nitrous oxide, or a night at an Irish pub and too much Guinness. To wit, each and every one of us must count one more person amongst our beloveds, one we may not even know. Or, maybe we do know of them, but are unaware of their affections. Secret admirers come in myriad form and format. Mine is a transplanted, Canadian-Maritime chick now living deep in the heart of Texas, and the not-so-secret admiration is mutual. She's bonkers and witty, speaks French and loves animals and vintage porcelain. I imagine, were we to live closer, we'd spend many a day at cafés, museums and antique shops. Such days would end enjoying wine in her wine tree, or on my beach, with our supportive, patient, long-suffering husbands. She is Jannie Funster.

Jannie sings for beer and donuts, is a damn fine Mommy of a wee gymnast/artist/musician, gives affection and a luxurious home to a "crap-ton of pets", had a wedgie on her wedding day and lives for five o'clock in her wine-drinking tree (a tree for drinking wine, not a tree which guzzles wine itself), weather permitting, which it almost always is in Texas. From her lushly gardened, poshly situated neighborhood in an Austin suburb, Jannie composes melodies and divines lyrics in her home studio, keeps fit via SPAM yoga, sells goodies once ina while on eBay (I got a gorgeous pair of red, suede Via Spigas) and scribes poems, non sequitur musings and intimate posts for her blog: categories range from "Ass Kicking" and "Bra Flinging", to "Nova Scotia" and "Rooftop Yodeling". Her words ever proffer selfless support, love, admiration and kindness for anyone whom cares to claim it. With the soprano lilt of a Disney bluebird, similar to the springtime café stylings of former-first lady of France, Carla Bruni or 1990s beauteous, dream-pop hippie Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star, Jannie's lyrics and poetry tell you oh-so-sweetly to stop whining and live your life: recall fondly your past, relish your present and grow excited about your future. To boot, if you thought Jewel was the only pretty, blonde yodeler who could milk a cow and write about wedgies, you've not yet met The Funster!

"Kissing 39 Goodbye" (track 3) blows out the candles and wishes for 30 again: Another year disappeared so fast, fading forever like fireworks flashing / I'm kissing 39 goodbye again / All those pretty ladies on the covers of magazines / Those picture perfect babies, some still seventeen

"Rosie's Song" (track 9) pines for a sister, parted by silly distance: I've got a picture of you in my heart, it helps me try to be strong / Because I haven't seen you in so long / I miss you, I miss you, I miss you now / Hey, little sister, I never dreamed I'd live in Texas someday / Here I am and there you are, half a world away

"I Need a Man" (track 4) is quite apropos for some this Valentine's Day: I need a man with a chainsaw, I need a man with an axe / A guy who's good in the garden, to give my weeds a whack / I need a man to trim my hedges / I need a man who can cut my grass

Love is out there, life is out there and, best of all, wine is out there: go get some! Who's stopping you? She drinks wine in her tree in Texas, I drink mine on my beach in California. Where is your wine tree? No matter who you are, how far your loved ones are or where your wine tree grows, I Need A Man will cheer you, make you weep and make you spit out your wine. Even sans CD, The Funster will cheer you. Even if you are truly alone (and I do hate to think that anyone is in such a way), you shall ne'er be alone again when The Funster spreads her zen! Follow her blog; you shan't be sorry, ever! She and Fox Mulder tell us, "We are not alone" and "The truth is out there". Similarly, Jannie Funster is out there ... waaay out there sometimes, but then again, so am I. I'm willing to bet you are, too.

Jannie is currently recording her second CD, where you will find the long-awaited, "Banana Seat Bicycles": a charming, lilting tune of summer days, that awesome bike you had back in junior-high and endless, childhood friendships.

To quote Liz Lemon, "Happy Valentine's Day, no one!" and "Happy Anna Howard Shaw Day to us all!"

Tracks on I Need A Man

Hearts and Bones

Motorcycle Cop

Kissing 39 Goodbye

I Need A (Chainsaw) Man

Hurricane Jane

Bones

What'll I Do With Me

Sugar Lady

Rosie's Song

Bob's Coffee Shop

Mystery Tune

Wedgie Wedding

Smallest Songwriter (Music, lyrics by Kelly, age 5)



All music and lyrics, except Smallest Songwriter, by Jannie Funster, ASCAP
Copyright 2009, all rights reserved by Jannie Funster and Roski-Otto Records
Recorded, mixed and mastered by George Coyne, Parrot Tracks Studio, Manchaca, TX

 

Buy I Need A Man! Can't make it to Austin to see Jannie live? Fret not, Jannie records some performances for you!

Where is your wine tree? Tell us @JannieFunster & @JennyPopNet

 
Wednesday, 31 July 2013 17:59 Jennifer Devore
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If San Diego Comic-Con was a geologic feature, it would be the Grand Canyon: strata upon strata of distinct, well-defined, colourful variants comprising an arresting, alluring travel poster for destinations Geekward. Every summer, America’s Finest City hosts Hallowe’en in July wherein layers of sci-fi, fantasy, history, science, IT, comics, gaming, cosplay and countless other substrata converge on the San Diego Convention Center to make each year’s Con more popular, more profitable and more prohibitive to entry than the last.

It’s arguable which strata top the bunch, but it’s clear the lone comic dork is at the bottom of the pile, at least where acquiring a badge or an independent press pass is concerned. Press passes, unless associated with a major outfit, are becoming more difficult to garner; online badge purchasing for the individual comes earlier and earlier each year and your clicking finger better be younger and faster than your competition’s. Badges sell out in mere minutes and second chance lotteries just play with a dork’s heart like a cat with a wounded bird. Still, if you can get in the air-conditioned doors, press or otherwise, the event will present you with an experience fantastic and powerful enough to drain you of all common sense, vacuum up all your hard-earned dough, morph your feet into Chinese feet-binding and deliver claustrophobic flashbacks for years to come … and leave you salivating and shaking to do it all again next year.

San Diego Comic-Con, the grandfather of all DorkCons and once a purist, geek Mecca, is now a Gigantor, world-class, Cannes-scale, multimillion-dollar, media bash of Big Bang proportions. Always something of a boon to the local economy, SDCC has become a veritable pot o’ gold over the past decade, the rainbow streaming in from Hollywood-way and infusing  hundreds of millions of dollars into San Diego coffers and wallets, not to mention luring paparazzi, as well as legitimate photojournalists, to San Diego’s sunny harbor for five, titillating days. The byproduct of the manic, short-lived press coverage? Unquantifiable results in healthy tourism the rest of the year.

Although no exact figures have been released yet, attendance for 2013 threatens to easily top 130K. As far as local pockets? Last year’s Con delivered the area a vintage, Adam West-era Batman KAPOW! of 180 million clams. Add approximately three million more clams in local tax revenue and no wonder San Diego and The Simpsons‘ Comic Book Guy have been scratching, clawing and letter-writing to keep The Con in town and out of Anaheim.

Why would anyone want to move The Con, other than the obviously jealous Anaheim? (Anaheim, you have WonderCon for a bit; be happy with that.) The Hakken-Kraks, Buzz Killington and young and old biddies alike will complain about the crowds, the late-night boozing in the Gaslamp Quarter and the annual, predictable proliferation of Leeloos, Slave Leias and Sailor Moons. No worries though, Comic Book Guy. Leeloo’s ass, Slave Leia’s gold bra and Sailor Moon’s navel will remain in place, relatively firmly, in San Diego at least through 2016.

Conventioneers and the correspondents covering them bound in from around the globe to gather and gawk at all Comic-Con has to offer: the costuming being the loudest Call of the Wild. Cosplay becomes more and more the focus each year. When Charlie Rose reads “The Babes of Comic-Con” on his Teleprompter with a stilted discomfort in his voice, the Con is reaching its alternative threshold. What used to be counter-culture and Mom’s Basement-nerdy, is now the pinnacle of geek chic. Comic-Con is, for now, the Hurley of Geekdom. Even though H-town seems to have taken over, the core elements are still there, like Spanx: tightly bound and working feverishly to hold the whole thing in place. Akin to the Colorado River, subtly trickling through the Canyon it created it in the first place, the Old School comic strip and graphic novel can still be found at Comic-Con. You have to walk your Duff Man off to find them, but they’re in there.

Clearly, Comic-Con’s focus is still based in comic-as-art-form; just look at some of this year’s themes. Superman, Sandman, Bongo and Aspen Comics are all celebrating milestones of great note. Still, H-town’s involvement, Hulk heavy-handed since the mid-2000s, turns the global focus over to the folks at Entertainment Tonight, Huffington Post and the heaving, final gasps of air coming out of the crew at Variety. Every one of their correspondents tripping over their own phone chargers to cover Halle Berry’s baby-bump, Hugh Jackman’s stubble and Tom Cruise’s impromptu, Rock of Ages serenade. Meanwhile, the Clark Kents of Comic-Con quietly and sagely keep the homefires burning in small, cheerful booths, oft near the lavvies, along the side doors or buttressing Café Express, the indoor, overpriced hot dogs-and-shady-nachos stand. The booths are manned by company execs themselves whom happily snap and post Instagram pics of their fans and heartily shake each and every hand that wends through the maze of aisles to seek their comic wares.

Whilst the Craigslist-hire, brand-ambassador models and bouncers working the behemoth, Hollywood studio booths poorly hide their sneers and eye-rolls at overzealous fans and, with tight-lipped smiles, begrudgingly hand out buttons and bandanas for shows they will likely never watch, the head honchos, chiefs and veeps at smaller media companies like IDW, Diamond Comics and GoComics are happy to stand with a fan for a picture (Plus, help her find the last X-Files: Season 10 comic book in the booth … sadly sold out, though.) or enthusiastically proffer pro subscriptions “for special folks” and other goodies produced from behind the curtains and posterboard.

Whether they be creators and publishers like IDW Publishing (X-Files, Star Trek, 30 Days of Night, Doctor Who) and SLG Publishing (Haunted Mansion, TronGargoyles), distributors like Diamond Comics Distributors (Dark Horse Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics) or syndicators like GoComics (Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Get Fuzzy, Foxtrot) and its parent company Universal Uclick, these folks are the lifeblood of any comic book convention, the River to the showy Canyon walls. Without their conveyance, nobody gets Wolverine costume claws, The Big Bang Theory t-shirts or Sandman annotations. Even within the river, notable and gifted creators like SofaWolf Press fight the current of mass media, straining and mushing like sled dogs just to get the Kudos they so deserve. Read Caterwall or Nordguard? If not, acquaint yourself with the Disney-level artwork and storytelling of Jack London proportions.

True, the course of the river has shifted dramatically; it’s more of a culture-con now, and that’s fine. Most folks love some glam, some flash and even boobies, naturally. To boot, when more eyeballs seek a curiosity such as Comic-Con, it can mean a lucrative, pleasurable outcome for all. Art and the creatives will always progress, should progress; it’s the nature of the beast. Still, amidst the après-hours, high-end hotel-bar, cocktail parties, the Gaslamp pub networking circuit and even the intrageek debates about cosplay inaccuracies, it’s nice to recall the original trickle from whence such a gathering came.

Comic-Con International has a mission statement. Brief and to the point, it reads:

Comic-Con International: San Diego is a nonprofit educational corporation dedicated to creating awareness of, and appreciation for, comics and related popular artforms, primarily through the presentation of conventions and events that celebrate the historic and ongoing contribution of comics to art and culture.

Clearly, the hot Poison Ivys, the intricately detailed Walking Dead, the frenzied sightings of Halle Berry and Neil Patrick Harris and the rumours of surprise appearances by Tim Burton or Guillermo del Toro will always win the gaze of amateur phonecams and AP entertainment reporters alike. Yet, even when the Con is gone, if years down the road the flash and dash dim, all our fave comic characters will remain: Betty & Veronica, Citizen Dog, Sherman’s Lagoon, Calvin and Hobbes, Vampirella, The X-Files, Peanuts, Haunted Mansion, My Little Pony, Wonderland, Gargoyles, Foxtrot, Get Fuzzy, The Simpsons, Sandman, Superman, Spongebob Squarepants, Dick Tracy, Savage Chickens, The Avengers, The X-Men, Pearls Before Swine and so many other familiar, longtime and new-found friends. Tiny, tireless warriors one and all, they will surge ahead quietly, like the greenish-grey Colorado River forever playing second fiddle to the colour-saturated travel posters of breathtaking, Canyon sunsets. Diligently they will trudge so we might enjoy their quirky company all year long … until the Con, the crowds, the chicks and the claustrophobia return to San Diego next year, at least through 2016. Better start getting your clicking finger in shape now.

Authoress Jennifer Susannah Devore contributes regularly to the official San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Guide. Read her articles here: BongoComics/The Simpsons, Peanuts & Tarzan! She also loves a Pikachu!

 
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