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SDCC, WonderCon Coverage


Wednesday, 10 April 2013 14:44 Jennifer Devore
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Once upon a time there was a talented, sparkling, beauteous rocker named Leah Cevoli from the City of Brotherly Love. One day, in the historical land of Ben Franklin, The Barrymores, Will Smith and Liz Lemon, the fair Leah heard the Siren’s Song knell through Philadelphia’s brick corridors and colorful tulip gardens. Taking the form of The Black Crowes so she alone would hear it, the song trilled, lilted and riffed amidst the city streets, beckoning her independent and creative soul to the land of plenty: plenty of sunshine, plenty of sea, plenty of opportunity, plenty of cabbage, plenty of thee.

With blazing streaks of platinum and magical tips of royalist purple in her locks, our heroine fled her City of Brothers and set forth for the City of Angels, Los Angeles, a.k.a. “Hopeless Hole”, dubbed so by the dark and exotic, erotic Mistress of the Dorks, Ms. Adrianne Curry.

Upon arrival, the fair Leah was tapped by the magic wand of mediocrity. Shady agents and producers across the land chided the funky fair damsel. “Nay!,” screeched they, “You are too unique! Too different! Away, to Cookie Cutters Salon in the Valley we shall fly!” With a sprinkling of fairy smog, she did just this. The shady agents and producers then screeched further, like pterodactyls on new, weak prey, “Nay! You are too similar! You look too much like her! Average, Caucasian, brunette girl, take thee a number!”

Along her journey, she met like-minded, talented friends. A kindly lad named Collin would aid in her unConventional quest, a girl named Helenna would become a dear lass for life and in the land of nothing’s-too-odd, a robot chicken would scratch and peck and spin her gold. Yet, not only kindly elves, silky minks and futuristic poultry did she meet upon her trail. She also crossed paths with snakes, serpents and the insidious vendors of their oil. There would be dragons disguised as friends and weasels dressed as lawyers and vermin of every kind lurking on studio lots, in agencies and under the back tables of Starbucks along the rocky Wanderwegs of Lankershim and Magnolia.

One fine, California day, when feeling rather pleased with herself, the fair Leah posted upon her page of Faces, a happy, casual image of her likeness. Then, without warning and in one sharp strike, an evil serpent with whom she had once been acquainted in the tales of Deadwood, hissed and punctured her soul with the greatest of ignorance and insensitivity: I’ve seen you look better, Leah.

“Fie on thee!”, the Philly Beauty cried and away to Ana’s House she did go! “A panel at WonderCon I should like to plan!” she declared! “Where actresses, models, entrepreneurs and writers of all shapes and sizes may talk of slings and arrows besieging the women of entertainment! A panel I should like to form where bright damsels may speak intimately on body image, eating disorders, self-love, recovery and the curses of H-town’s poison apples! A panel where ladies such as these shall inspire and influence those younger damsels, those pretty rabbits and field mice speeding on Greyhounds, fresh from the pastures, meadows and mountaintops of Iowa, Georgia and Colorado, all ingressing to the land of the seedy and the greedy!”

 

With that, kids, All Shapes and Sizes Welcome: Body Image & Women’s Issues in the Entertainment Industry was birthed: a primal and proactive response to an insensitive Facebook comment about Leah’s weight gain. This may have been an epiphany for Leah. For, it was at this moment she truly realized what a duplicitous and presumptuous double-standard of beauty there existed in Hollywood and society en masse, no less. Why was it socially acceptable for a relative stranger to comment on her weight? Why was she told, “You’re too thin!” with the same pity as, “You’re too fat!”. Why did a period production like Deadwood specifically cast “curvy women”, then make certain all the lead girls were Santa Monica-svelte? This all got her head spinning. Of course, she’d also been on a forty-day Master Cleanse during her Deadwood days and that got her head spinning, too, considering she went from a 31-inch waist to a 22-incher. Oh, my, Scarlett!

Leah knew there had to be other women with Aha! moments like hers. What had they heard, endured and learned on their paths in and out of Hollywood, The Most Venomous Place on Earth? She wanted to know and to share. Was there truth in TV’s First Kiss? Were there antidotes to the poison apples that hang so lusciously and temptingly along the palm treed parkways to Burbank? Could the dragons, weasels and serpents be slayed?

A host of fierce and lovely ladies, inside and out, came to her side and in a meeting room filled to capacity at the Anaheim Convention Center, Leah and her glossy posse set about to tell Hollywood, Broadway and Burbank a thing or two about a thing or two.

Watch your step, Hollywood! These ladies will get Medieval on your ass! The March 30th, 2013 WonderCon panel featured Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse), Adrianne Curry (Adrianne Curry’s SuperFans), Helenna Santos Levy (founder, MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder, BodyHeart.com) and Lynn Chen (founder, www.theActorsDiet.com). It was my pleasure to attend this panel and, afterwards, chat with Ms. Cevoli, her pals and fellow panelists, Ms. Helenna Santos Levy and Ms. Amber Krzyss. Please enjoy my interviews and read what these energetic and powerful chicas had to say.

 

Comic-Con Int’l Presents WonderCon Anaheim, All Shapes and Sizes Welcome Interview with Leah Cevoli and Helenna Santos Levy, March 30, 2013

 

GTBAG: So, thank you both for taking time today to chat with us. Your panel was very intimate! (laughs)

Leah Cevoli: I’ll say! (laughs)

Helenna Santos Levy: (laughs)

GTBAG: You really covered everything so thoroughly in the panel, I just want to ask you to expound a few things, if that’s okay?

LC: Absolutely. Let’s do it!

GTBAG: Great! Being in entertainment, what do you both find to be the most pressing issue against women, besides the body image?

HLS: Okay, one of the things we just skimmed the surface of, that Miss Representation [.org] deals with a lot and which I’m really passionate about, is the whole sexualization of women. This is really interesting to me, what we’re kind of doing right now. It seems to be since the Spice Girls, or what I call the Christina Aguillera Dirty version of feminism, where we think that by putting on the heels and making ourselves look sexy … see, I’m caught in the middle of it. I don’t pretend to be outside of this issue, I’m caught right in the middle of this issue and I’m trying to search my way through it. So, we’ve taken that on as the version of female empowerment: “I’m going to use my sexuality. I’m going to be in charge of that.”

GTBAG: So, what is modern feminism to you?

HLS: It’s funny, my husband and I had this discussion and it actually feels like the new version of feminism looks like the old Penthouse

GTBAG: Unshaved?

LC: (laughs)

HLS: (laughs) No, it feels like we’ve gone so far past it all that we’ve come all the way back around and we’ve developed our own new version of feminism that’s actually just the old form of sexism, but we’re re-branded.

GTBAG: It’s like the political spectrum. You can go so far in one direction, you merely end up back where you started, the point from where you thought you were progressing.

HLS: Right. So, the question is, for me, if I know all this exists and I’m in an industry where, at the moment, it is what it is and, in order to work you have to accept the system, how do you work in that system while keeping your own voice and be strong enough that you can then change the system? I think that’s the ongoing struggle.

GTBAG: What’s your answer to that?

HLS: Do I have the answer to that? Absolutely not! Trying to figure it out every day, but I think by having panels like this and creating more of a dialogue that women who are strong and sexy and powerful, that we can then figure out how to do this and feel good about ourselves, and it’s not just because we live in a male-constructed society.

GTBAG: Is there an element of becoming successful enough where you don’t have to take that role, you don’t have to take that gig?

LC: That’s interesting, because it goes down even to just things like your hair and makeup. When I first moved to Hollywood, I had a tongue ring and blonde streaks in my hair with purple at the ends, but I was going into the acting industry and I heard, time and time again, “No. You need to look like everybody else. You need to look like that Girl Next Door.” Which is interesting, because now I’m that “Girl Next Door”. I’m in my thirties and all I hear is, “There’s so many Caucasian, 30 year-old brunettes. Pick a number.” Okay. But, when I was more unique with my piercings and my colors, they were like, “Oh, no. You have to look more cookie-cutter.” So, there’s always mixed messages.

GTBAG: How do you affect these messages, change them?

LC: One of the things we didn’t touch on in the panel, and that’s been kind of rolling around in my head is … so, if we’re saying, “Accept everybody, all shapes and sizes”, no matter what industry and if you want to be an actress or a model, all shapes and sizes, then, yay! Let’s get more women of all shapes and sizes on mainstream television. Then, the flip side of that is, what are we teaching our youngsters? Is there a point when it’s actually unhealthy when we’re saying, “You’re very heavy, you’re obese, you’re this, you’re that and it’s acceptable.” We’re putting this in our commercials and ads, as well. So, what are we saying? Are we promoting unhealthy things? Are we promoting it’s okay to sit around and eat McDonald’s all day long as long as you love yourself? Because, now we’re promoting heart disease and diabetes and high cholesterol and everything else.

HLS: Right. We’re not promoting a healthy image, one way or the other, and everyone is confused right now. We had this discussion earlier, why Girls and Lena Dunham are so polarizing to people. She’s not going with the typical, Hollywood norm. She’s doing something completely opposite of it. So, if it’s not appealing to men, they’re like, “Ugh! I could never handle watching this!” Whereas, women are like grabbing onto it. But then, people are like, “Is she healthy? Is she promoting a healthy body image?”

LC: In her case, I think she is.

HLS: I think she is, too.

LC: I think she’s like, “Hey, a got a little bit of meat on me and I’m okay with it because I’m having sex as well and here’s my butt!” What’s wrong with that?

GTBAG: So what is sexy, what is feminine to you?

HLS: Your own inner quality. It really shouldn’t matter what we look like, what we’re wearing, what we’re doing, because it’s our own inner quality that shines through.

GTBAG: Still, it does matter what you look like, in entertainment.

HLS: Well, the irony of this all isn’t lost on us because we’re in a pin-up magazine! (laughs)

LC: (laughs) Yeah! We just came from an autograph signing! We were both featured in Cupcake Quarterly magazine, which is a pin-up shoot, right? So, now we’re about to go speak about body image and here’s this magazine. I had lingerie on! I posed in lingerie and garters! Helena’s got garters and a bra on! (laughs)

GTBAG: Isn’t that a healthy body image though? Because it really is all shapes and sizes.

LC: It is. But, at the same time, could it be sexploitation?

Helena: Of course it is, because that’s inherently what pin-up is. But then, we as women are taking back that title.

GTBAG: Yes, but do they have to be mutually exclusive?

LC: For me, this was actually a cathartic experience, because I did it a couple of months ago, at the heaviest I’ve ever been and I’m invited to do this and I said, “Yes!”. The night before I was like, “Oh, my God!” I mean, I’m okay taking photos, I’ve been taking photos since I was a little girl, but in my underwear?! I’ve never taken photos in my underwear and I’m the biggest I’ve ever been and am I really doing this?!

GTBAG: How did you get through it?

LC: I had to trust that Elisa [Jaeger], who is the editor-in-chief and creator of Cupcake, I had to trust in her and her vision and I’d seen her work and I know she’s very body-positive. (She wanted to be on this panel with us.) I had to trust in that and, you know what? I like the way I looked! I put them on my Facebook page!

GTBAG: Did you send them specifically to the gentleman whom was the impetus for this panel?

LC: (laughs) No. I think he’d already been deleted from my Facebook page by that point. Isn’t that interesting, though? What gives anybody a right to comment on anybody’s Facebook photo like that?

GTBAG: Well, there is a prevalent mechanism for comments on Facebook.

LC: Well, yes. And that got me spinning on, what if I got more mainstream, if I was on a show like Dollhouse, like Miracle [Laurie] was?

HLS: If you were Melissa McCarthy?

LC: Lord knows, right?! Lord knows what would come up if you Googled my name?!

GTBAG: I imagine there’s a level of personal dissatisfaction. Like the fellow with the broken-down Porsche on the side of the road. Everybody laughs because there’s dissatisfaction they don’t have a Porsche and never will.

LC: Exactly! It makes people feel good to tear us down and we accept that to some degree, being in this industry.

GTBAG: There is constant critiquing. You’re not wearing enough, you’re wearing too much. You don’t have enough flesh, you’re too fleshy.

LC: They like to build people up to tear them down.

GTBAG: I’ve seen horrible Tweets to your other panelist, Ms. Curry.

LC: Oh, Adrianne! Yeah. I love that she takes care of herself. She’s doing it in a healthy way and she doesn’t care. She just doesn’t care what people say. I have to say, sometimes, I just can’t look. I can’t look at her Twitter feed because she gets it on a daily basis.

GTBAG: She gets ripped to shreds, by men and women alike, no matter what she says or posts. She’s a Porsche.

LC: Yeah! And why? Because she’s a sexy, confident woman who overcame a drug addiction and now works her ass off like crazy to keep her sane, keep her off drugs, does it in a healthy way and they rip her apart, why? Because she’s got a better ass than you!

HLS: Exactly. They hate her because she’s doing it.

GTBAG: Plus, they’ll never have her.

LC: They wish, right?!

GTBAG: I know you ladies have a busy afternoon ahead of you. Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish?

HLS: I just think it’s important we’re having this discussion, that we have options in this industry. It’s changing.

LC:  Yeah, options! It’s not just a bunch of old, white men calling the shots anymore.

GTBAG: On that note, thank you very much, ladies.

HLS & LC: Thank you!

 

Comic-Con Int’l Presents WonderCon Anaheim, All Shapes and Sizes Welcome Interview with Amber Krzys March 30, 2013

GoodToBeAGeek: Thank you for taking a moment to chat. I just have a few questions not covered in the panel, if you don’t mind.

Amber Krzys: Not at all! I love to talk about this stuff! I think humans want to help each other and that’s what we’re doing here today!

GTBAG: Okay then! So, what drives you to speak publicly, to be actively passionate about body image and women’s issues, specifically in the entertainment industry?

AK: I love women! So, who’s determining the rules, is what I want to know? The rules in this industry. I think women are incredible! Our innate gifts – our nurturing, our sensitivity, our feelings, our caring. I think, at this point, women actually outweigh men.

GTBAG: No pun intended?

AK: No! (laughs) I think, in actuality, women are 51% and men are 49% in our country. But we don’t know that yet. We don’t have our voices out there yet. So, that’s for me, the big reason I’m doing it.

GTBAG: So women need to back each other? Do you tend to seek and support women in the Arts, in business, even in politics, strictly because they’re a woman and overlook a qualified male for the part?

AK: Not necessarily. No. No. Not necessarily. I’m a believer in doing your research and I think there are a lot of men pulling for us. There are women out there who aren’t, too. Women who believed that in order to succeed they needed to become a man and they forced through these things. So, no, I’m not advocating that at all. Do your research, whatever is most important to you. You go with that.

GTBAG: Most important issue facing women in entertainment, specifically?

AK: (pauses) That’s a really good question! I have two things. First is the body image and feeling this pressure to look a certain way because the media is dictating this. But, the second thing, I think, is the roles. You know, how often are you watching a movie and the woman’s taking her clothes off? She’s a mistress or the sex queen? It’s rare to have a really meaty, nice role that’s basically not focusing on the woman’s body.

GTBAG: The roles are defined by their sexuality, then? Defined by the men they’re with in the film?

AK: Exactly! If you think about it, the media is a reflection of where our society is. How does the world see a woman? How does the world see a man? It goes back to what Helena [Santos Levy] was talking about in Miss Representation [.org] during the panel. The fear and insecurity for a man comes from power and providing. It’s the money thing, right? It’s the status.  ”I drive this car.” It’s the status. For women, it’s, the way they get to us, it’s the body style. “Be thinner, no acne, wrinkles are bad, growing old sucks.” So then, what does the media do? Even the entertainment industry? They realize these are real fears and concerns and they heighten that, you know?

GTBAG: So, what role would you write for yourself? How would you take back that power?

AK: I’m no longer pursuing acting.

GTBAG: If you were, if you could create that “meaty role” on stage or screen?

AK: I don’t know. I think, to me, a role that represents a real woman today. So, her real struggles. Yes, facing her body … but also like having to choose between work and family. For me, I’m thrity-six. I’m single. My family’s like, “Are you ever going to get married? Are you ever going to have kids?” The clock is ticking. I only have a certain amount of time if I want to have kids.

GTBAG: Like Liz Lemon and Murphy Brown lied to you?

AK:  Totally. Raising a child, working alone, those things make a good role.

GTBAG: There are a lot of women talking openly via Facebook about single-motherhood. How do you approach a role like that then, to speak to those women?

AK: Right. Rather than buying into the fairy tale of, “I’m going to get married and he will save me because I need saving, I can’t do it on my own”, I’d do something that’s completely opposite of that. You know, “I may not know what the ‘F’ I’m doing, but I’m going to figure it out ’cause I’m smart enough and I’m good enough where I am today.”

GTBAG: I think that’s a good way to end this.

AK: You’re so welcome! I love having this discussion! I’ll be sure to share this with my community.

GTBAG: Thank you, Amber. We’ll be sure to share it with ours as well.

Have any questions or comments for our interviewer? Contact Jennifer Susannah Devore @JennyPopNet or jennypop.net Want more fab panel pics? Check out Dr. Lucy’s Twisted Pair Photography!

 

Hannah’s fave places to haunt on-line? Jennypop.net @JennyPopNet & Jennifer Devore’s Amazon Author Page

 
Monday, 01 April 2013 15:41 Jennifer Devore
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WonderCon Anaheim is a fait accompli. These California comic book conventions are like a Tequila Sunrise: equal parts fun, tequila, sunshine and just the right amount of tart. The bar in the Anaheim Hilton, Mix Lounge, was a bit too much fun. Of course, like any trade show or con, those après-show mixers also serve as yummy networking juice. Having an affable, excitable, confident pirate in your corner also helps the networking process.

This con was chock full of crucial contacts, old friends, new Geek Meets and enough pop culture goodness to make the wait for summer's San Diego Comic-Con nearly unbearable. I met a Batman Ph.D., dined with a Monster Man, met a smarmy yet kindly fellow from Bongo Comics and missed meeting Seth Green, again, by thiiiiiis much. As I covered the event for GoodToBeAGeek, there shall be a full wrap-up and slideshow coming soon. There shall also be interviews. Whilst there, I attended a few panels, including All Shapes and Sizes Welcome and Geeks Get Published - and Paid!.

All Shapes and Sizes Welcome, moderated by power chica Leah Cevoli (Deadwood, Robot Chicken) featured Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse), Adrianne Curry (Adrianne Curry's SuperFans), Helenna Santos Levy (founder, MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder, BodyHeart.com) and Lynn Chen (founder, www.theActorsDiet.com). Without giving up too much booty here, the panel was an intimate, inspiring and touching look at the effects of body culture on women in Hollywood and media. Moreover, these strong femmes shared their histories and personal tales of how they came to be the ladies they are and what pivotal, Aha! moments got them there.

Geeks Get Published - and Paid! was moderated by the sparkling Jenna Busch (Cocktails with Stan), with whom I shared a lovely chat on our mutual fondness for James Michener over Stella Artois and gin martinis at Mix. Jenna's panel featured S. G. Browne (Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament), Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook), and Dr. Travis Langley (Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). This panel was partially selfish on my part. Learning how to grow cabbage out of words? Yes, please! Perchance next year, or even at SDCC, she might like this published geek to sit on her panel.

The GGP panel was also a lovely chance to meet the quietly sweet Katrina Hill (her kind demeanor being totally anathema to her Action Flick Chick persona), the boyish Alex Langley (His love of Calvin and Hobbes and, I'd bet, Dennis the Menace happily shines through.) and his brother Dr. Travis Langley. Having gifted the good doctor's Batman and Psychology to my own psychologist-father, it was my pleasure to meet Dr. Langley, discuss secure attachment theory with him and have said-book signed for Dear Old Dad. To boot, Katrina and the brothers Langley and are affiliate-partners with GoodToBeAGeek and its editor, Jessa Phillips. My articles there are syndicated via RocketLlama and soon Nerdspan. It was very nice to finally shake their hands.

I also took part in one of the oddest, strangest, most memorable fine dining experiences of my life. Suffice it here to state merely the following: Morton's Steakhouse, Monster Man Cleve Hall, homemade rum, an à la carte-meat travesty, a renegade pirate and Night of the Evil Dead Corset that nearly killed Lucy.

After I my Con Haze lifts, I shall regale you with full coverage of WonderCon 2013, Morton's Horrorhouse and my interviews with Katrina Hill, Leah Cevoli, Amber Krzys and Helena Santos Levy. In addition, there will be a powerhouse slideshow by our very own Eslilay Evoreday of Twisted Pair Photography, a slideshow of such proportions that it will take longer to import and load these snaps than it will to write up all the articles. You're welcome.

 
Friday, 22 March 2013 13:41 Jennifer Devore
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Hannah Hart, ghostdame here, kids! I think we are being spied upon, as of late. As Dr. Lucy and I prepare for WonderCon (Anaheim Convention Center March 29-31, 2013), it appears the bonkers-brilliant minds behind Portlandia have clearly been engaged in careful examination of our cosplay methods. We mistakenly thought our crossed fingers to be our little secret. (Uninitiated to the wonky randomness of Portlandia? Read a wee TV review by my pally, Jennifer Susannah Devore.) Yes, I imagine our short sojourn at the Anaheim Hilton and WonderCon shall prove raw-ther similar to Portlandia's spot-on effort: Steampunk Convention.

 

Perhaps our own Ellen from Earth shall prove more useful. Nevertheless ... huzzah, Captain D.D. Cumulus and Lady Nightstream! Rose City Steampunks, do hold the ascending-room doors for Dr. Lucia Devereaux and yours truly, Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado! Check back here après-WonderCon for a wrap of the show as I cover it for GoodToBeAGeek.com, à la my SDCC 2K12 coverage, and another one of Lucy's fab slideshows: cosplay goodies, booths, artwork, celebrity sightings and even the Saturday Night Masquerade. (Unfamiliar with with her work? Peruse Lucy's SDCC 2K12 snaps.)

To boot, we shall be attending, and covering for you, the Geeks Get Published - and Paid! panel, moderated by Jenna Busch (Fanhattan): featuring S. G. Browne (Breathers: A Zombie’s Lament), Katrina Hill (Action Movie Freak), Alan Kistler (Doctor Who: A History), Alex Langley (The Geek Handbook), and Dr. Travis Langley(Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knight). You know, Jennifer Susannah Devore, is a geek who got published (Savannah of Williamsburg) and I do believe she shall be attending WC this year, dressed as Bellatrix Lestrange. Maybe she and her wand can work their Dark Arts and find her an elusive literary agent. Wish her luck! Better yet, if you know an agent, send them along to JennyPop.Net!

BTW, Lucy and I shall be interviewing, one-on-one, Katrina Hill (MTVGeek, Action Flick Chick) and Leah Cevoli (Deadwood, Robot Chicken) whilst at the Con. We'll also be covering Ms. Cevoli's own panel All Shapes and Sizes Welcome: featuring Miracle Laurie (Dollhouse), Adrianne Curry (Adrianne Curry's SuperFans), Helenna Santos Levy (founder, MsInTheBiz.com), Amber Krzys (founder, BodyHeart.com) and Lynn Chen (founder, www.theActorsDiet.com) Have anything you'd like us to ask these geek girls extraordinaire?  Leave us a comment below or simply Tweet us on the con floor @JennyPopNet!

Abyssinia, cats!

 
Monday, 11 February 2013 13:55 Jennifer Devore
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Cheers, kittens! It's Moi, your Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado! I imagine scads of you are reading on your devices whilst trapped amongst the winter remnants of Nor'easter Nemo. Ergo, I shall spare you the complaints of how chilly it is here in San Diego, in February: 56 with a low of 43! Of course, being a ghost, I'm always cold: sunny beach weather or no. (New to this ghostdame concept? My bio will get you up to speed.)

Well, if you're a geek in love and whether snowbound in Beantown or surfside in Solana Beach, chances are kippy you're focused on one of two things right now: Valentines Day and/or WonderCon. Should you be fortunate enough to live in Southern California, my Hotel Del, in this year of their 125th anniversary, is hosting the Sweetheart Ball for a mere $125.00/person for dance floor-flanked dining: $100.00/person for the rest of the Crown Room. Get out the red lipstick, your swishiest beaded skirt and those dancing heels, all you hot tomatoes! The Fox Trot is where it's at this year!

As for WonderCon (Anaheim Convention Center, March 29-31, 2013), if you're uninitiated, it's a comic book and pop culture convention similar to Comic-Con International, but smaller, earlier and sans the Gigantor schwag bags. Numbers? According to Publisher's Weekly, approximately 40K 2012 WonderCon attendees vs. some 130K for San Diego Comic-Con (SDCC). Historically a San Francisco-based event that prides itself on being more musty comic books than shiny vinyl girls, it has been moved down to Anaheim  for a couple of years to wait out refurbishing of it's true home, Moscone Center. Planning to head NorCal way once again for 2014, we SoCal geeks are lucky enough to get it one more time this year! It's a gentle, warming ease into our wackadoo SDCC, like walking gingerly into a mellow surf, as opposed to trouncing into a rough shore break and getting splashed right in your bits and pieces in one go. To boot, it's walking-distance to Disneyland!

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Tuesday, 31 July 2012 09:20 Jennifer Devore
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“There’s an awful lot of weird, pasty people in here, myself included.” So went my recurring, silent observance throughout this year’s Comic-Con, striking oft as I flitted hither and thither through the San Diego Convention Center, like a frantic mosquito seeking an open window on a muggy, Malibu, summer’s day. The pastiness was not truly what struck me, nor was the definitive weirdness. The real oddity was, like in so many gatherings where we geeks gather en masse -Renaissance Faire, Disneyland- the convergence of and shoulder-to-shoulder conditions pressed upon so many individuals not generally prone to mainstream socializing. Moi? I haven’t left my Hotel del Coronado much since 1934. Dr. Lucy, my ghostie cohort? 1904. Judging by the bevy of pale and malleable bodies endeavouring some severely awkward social interactivity, they’ve not left their abodes since 1904 either. Need more than just one fat Slave Leia? Dr. Lucy’s Comic-Con 2012 Gallery of Oddities!

On the flip side, after the initial shock of being face-to-face with strangers on a trolley and crushed side boob-to-side boob with fat Batman at Starbucks, a comforting calm washes over one and the irony of being surrounded by two-hundred thousand other Earthlings hits.

Suddenly the looks, stares and comments are friendly and complimentary. Instead of thinking the standard, snarky, “Hey, mook. Take a picture, it’ll last longer.”, I’m posing and flashing my Colgate smile and jack booted-gams left and right for anyone with a smartphone or a news camera. “Make sure you spell my name right!” becomes my de rigueur response, as opposed to my usual, “Grody”. (Yes, by the way, occasionally the more telekinetic of you live wires can actually see Lucy and me: Ghost Hunters types are quite adept. The stares and the infrared cameras do get to be a little boring after a while though. Costumed and fancy dress affairs tend to bring out more believers. Ergo, SDCC and Faire are perfect places for us to play without too much unwanted attention.)

Of course, once I hit the train each evening, my snark and sneers revived nicely, especially to a particularly forward sleazebag whose interest in my ruffled bloomers was creepy. Lowering my aluminum goggles down off my pith helmet and onto my face, now resembling Johnny Depp’s Willy Wonka, I gave the letch a hard stare à la Paddington Bear and, pulling my skirt tightly over my Victorian bloomers, I replied, “These are for the convention only.” and turned to watch the bay the rest of the way home. Thank goodness for Lucy; she handled him deftly and politely for both of us. Her Victorian manners are far more genteel than my Flapper Girl gums.

Back at the Con though, and all those other wackadoo jelly beans in your personal space, a thumbs-up from a dapper Mad Hatter and a 360-spin from a vixen Catwoman to tell you how amazing your costume is, combined with all the other praise throughout the day, tells you you’re not quite the freak you so oft feel. When a chap from the L.A. Times chases you down for a snap, a fellow from the Houston Press says he’s been stalking you for thirty yards and wants to know more about whom designed your gear and a gorgeous Ruby Red Riding Hood compliments your corsetry, well, it makes for some strong self-esteem boosts. (Stalking though, sans costume, generally bad.)

Sure, it sounds needy, feeding on compliments greedily like a truffle pig zeroing in on the hunt. Still, when a trip to Trader Joe’s or even Nordstrom can be fraught with elbow nudges and snickers due to something as simple as a parasol or an oversized hat (No, I am not going to a wedding, the races or a funeral, thank you very much.) it’s nice to be in a venue, even if crushed like a pack of nematodes, and feel like part of the gang. Even if we usually don’t want to be part of any gang.

The only downside to the Con, if one can call it a downside, Dr. Lucy and I did have to field the query, “Now, who exactly are you supposed to be?” and then followed by, “Ah. Interesting. Now, what is steampunk?” Dr. Lucy had a great, if not lengthy description. Most tended to glaze over mid-description, but I liked it.

Think Jules Verne and Victorians and what their concepts of future technology would have been, utilizing the machinery and technology at their hands, in the 19th Century.

Blink, blink, the inquisitor would respond. I would then add succinctly:

Have you seen Sherlock Holmes, the newer versions with Robert Downey, Jr.?

Ahh! Yes, yes! Iron Man! Cool! they would exclaim, pleased with themselves. See, Lucy, people are obtuse, mostly. KISS, as the politicians say: Keep It Simple, Silly. Still not sure about this damn steampunk business? Keep a keen eye for steampunk stylings in BBCAmerica’s newest crime drama by Barry Levinson, Copper, set in 1864 NYC. Can’t wait ’til it airs August 19th? Find a bit more steampunk here.

Admittedly, speaking for both Lucy and myself, we did feel a tad out of place at one point. The old pangs of being the only kid dressed up at school for Hallowe’en flooded back in waves. Fortunate enough to garner admittance into the SyFy Press Room, Lucy and I attended a Being Human roundtable interview. With the exception of one chick in a hot pink anime wig, Lucy and I were the only ones dressed up in costume. Poor Sam Huntington, a.k.a. Being Human‘s Josh the werewolf, as he sat at our table, nearly had a cardiac event upon sight of Lucy’s corseted bosom, crushing a small, plastic water bottle to subdue his carnal desires. Good for you, Lucy. At 108 years young, you’ve still got it! The rest of the press room was filled to the brim with black-bedecked, serious journalists. A few were friendly, but the odd looks were there. (Why they were surprised, I have no idea. It IS Comic-Con.) As is oft the case IRL, nervous attempts at jokes and small talk were met with long blinks. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?

In the waning hours of Day 3 of the Con, as Lucy and I sat against a wall in the Meeting Halls catching our breath, a crowd piled up in front of us as they were held off by guest control, waiting for cross-traffic to pass: a ridiculous line for a Mythbusters panel. As I watched Hobbit feet and blistering stilletos shuffle by, I caught a good portion of a conversation as a lovely and petite, blue-haired fairy and a somewhat beefy Harry Potter came to stand nearby us.

So, is it what you expected? Harry asked his perky pixie.

Ohmygod! So much more! I’m already planning next year’s costume! she clapped.

What’s your favourite part so far? Harry asked further.

She thought for a moment, then replied, Remember

r when we went to your Mom’s that time? ‘Member we stopped by before that Halloween party? We did the Alice in Wonderland thing?

Yeah. Your White Queen costume?

Yeah. Well, nobody here has looked at me even once the way your mom and sister did that night. It feels natural, just being here. It’s amazing.

 

 

 

Note: Whilst we did see Mark Hamill, Adrianne Curry (beyond hot), Parasol Protectorate author Gail Carriger and Robert Downey, Jr. (Very, very hot. Sherlock, indeed.), we did not see Seth Green or Johnny Depp. Be assured, this was not from a lack of effort. Seth Green was indeed there, visiting the Peanuts booth, participating in a Robot Chicken panel and making general happy mayhem of the grounds. My final effort, a lone Tweet, is recorded for Comic-Con history:

Jennifer S. Devore ‏@JennyPopNet

Might as well seek w effort :D Is @sethgreen anywhere near aisle 1400 @Comic_Con? Would love to say Ciao! #sdcc

All photos by Twisted Pair Photography

 
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Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

Meet The Darlings

The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

Meet Miss Savannah Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Meet Miss Hannah

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!