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SDCC, WonderCon Coverage


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

 
Friday, 13 January 2012 12:16 Jennifer Devore
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Originally published at GoodToBeAGeek.com, by Miss Hannah Hart, ghostdame of the Hotel del Coronado, on January 13, 2K12.

Ain’t no place nobby like San Diego, babies! I knew it when I transplanted from Boston during Prohibition, Lucky Lindy knew it when he test flew the Spirit of St. Louis here before making tracks for Paris and a geeky teen named Richard Alf knew it when he convinced fellow geek Sheldon Dorf from Michigan, not to mention Ray Bradbury, that America’s Finest City could also be America’s Comic City.

Not only does this swell apple have the keenest weather anywhere on this dizzy planet, but it’s also got a vibe that attracts, nay welcomes, the most creative, odd and inventive of funky souls. Whether you’re a tech industry torpedo, a bio-tech wiz, a jazzin’ musician, a visual artist, a jolly good writer or just all-around loose cannon, San Diego is waiting for you with open arms! Goths, geeks, punks, dorks, goobs, gamers, nerds, hippies, preppies, fashionistas, vintagistas, dancers, pin-ups, skaters, singers, slackers, surfers (I dig those Carlsbad surfers, I must say. Zowie!) and ghosties alike … San Diego makes room in its sunny and mild heart for all. Even America’s Mom lives in America’s City: Marion Ross of Happy Days, a.k.a. Mrs. Cunningham lives the quiet life on one of our crazy-beautiful beaches. What more comforting arms than that of Mrs. C? Been thinking about kissing off your burg and heading for the the sparkling limelight of L.A.? Skip it. Try San Diego: cleaner water, better coffee, snazzier bars and sunnier folk. Plus, we S.D. girls are plenty friendly and tend more toward the au naturel look. Ya keen?

So, what better place to invite all the geeks, the world over, to the biggest geek fest ever? San Diego Comic-Con is back in town, kids! I get myself to Comic-Con every year; being a ghostie girl, that's easy beans. In fact, I’ve been there since the first big event in 1970 when one Richard Alf, Kearney High Schooler and a Detroit-transplant named Sheldon Dorf, after meeting via one of Alf’s regular ads in the back of Marvel comics to buy and sell comic books out of his parents’ garage, set up in town at the U.S. Grant Hotel: first attendees included sci-fi writer Ray Bradbury and comic book artist Jack Kirby.

Initially dubbed San Diego’s Golden State Comic-Con, this three-day gathering was the birth of what would eventually become the wildly costumed, Hollywood-frenzied, world-media covered, global wingding more in line, business-wise, with France’s MIP and MIPCOM media conventions than a community garage sale and meet-up for comic geeks and their wares. Later knighted San Diego Comic-Con International, it and our fair city are now synonymous with comic geeks, fantasy and wicked hot cosplay the world over. They also now produce SDCC's baby sister: WonderCon. Tim Burton and Steven Spielberg may not have been at the earliest shows, but I was!

I did a brief fly-by the year Alf took advantage of his matriculation as a U.C.S.D. music student and moved the Con to campus, even renting dorm rooms to attendees for “discounted rates”. Murder!  What a keen kid! No wonder he ended up in advertising and stocks. Tell me Campus Con wasn’t bonkers! Comic dorks, college scrubs and, unfortunately for their study needs, a meek Montessori group found themselves housed alongside each other in cramped quarters one week back in the early ’70s. Since then, if it’s a biotech dork dressed like The Flash or a college kitten dressed like a hot preschooler, it must be summertime in San Diego.

Even though Alf and his fellow founders delved into other passions throughout the years, Comic-Con would remain cognizant of its nexus. Savvy? At the 2009 show, Richard Alf, Mike Towry, Sheldon Dorf and Ken Kreuger were saluted and honoured by Comic-Con International. Eerily, all but Towry have now since passed away; the honours came too late and none too soon. San Diego State University had even been in the midst of researching the phenomenon that is SDCC and talking with Alf and Towry about their early days for S.D.S.U.’s Comic-Con Tales when Alf took ill.

Now, while I'd never met Richard Alf personally, I’d certainly seen him about town on occasion. Heck, I’ve been here since the 1930s; I’ve seen everyone on occasion. Plus, no one could miss those Central Casting, nerd glasses and beaming smile of the 6’6″ Alf! Last year, just prior to the commencement of the 2011 Con, while checking out all the pre-show jitters around town, I buzzed a dedication ceremony at the airport for San Diego’s newest tribute to the visionary mind. Running gleefully along San Diego International Airport’s pedestrian walkway hangs a mural titled The Sky’s the Limit, dedicated to the city’s aviation and cartooning history. Sweet kazoo, a city that appreciates animation! Snoopy, as the Red Baron, and Shel Dorf himself grace the mural’s colourful, historical tale. Who was there to help commemorate this embrace of flight and funny? Richard Alf and Mike Towry themselves.

By the way, babies, I wish I’d had the ability to shutterbug as easily over the decades as you do today. Luckily for all of us, there were folks who did have such abilities and I refer you to the Richard Alf memorial website brought to you by the pips at The Museum of Modern Mythology and Pop Culture. You'll find loads of snazzy snaps of the first Comic-Con Souvenir Book, the legendary Alf V-dub Bug and keen snaps of young Richard, Mike, Shel and more.

You’re a good man, Richard Alf. Rest in peace. Last year's Comic-Con was just wild! This year's is looking even finer than that! Thank you, Mr. Alf.

By the by, read all of Savannah of Williamsburg author Jennifer S. Devore’s (Miss Hannah's alter ego) SDCC Souvenir Book articles here: Peanuts (cited by TIME magazine), Hellboy, The Simpsons, Catwoman and Tarzan (a piece which garnered her a Meet & Greet with Dr. Jane Goodall!).

Abyssinia on the Con Floor, cats!
Hannah Hart, ghostdame of The Del’s fave places to haunt online? JennyPop.net amazon.com/author/jenniferdevore and @JennyPopNet
 
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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!

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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!