How I Stopped Worrying, and Learned to Love the Con
I will start with the apology. I began this trip determined to take a lot of great pictures of The Geek wherever I might find it. Unfortunately, my camera died and I had to take pictures on my cellphone. They are of poor quality. Eventual exhaustion and overexposure lead to apathy and the inability to take any kind of picture at all.
One hard and fast rule of Con that we intend to follow from now on: always take the train. This is the Glendale train station, built back in the 20s. It is small, lovely, and quiet. The parking is free. The trip is about three and a half hours, which is short considering many people on the panels who went by car didn't even make it. The conductors are strange and a little giddy, sort of like Southwest airlines attendants if they were drunk and had no FAA guidelines to follow. They sang over the intercom and told jokes and hurled humorous insults.
We started this trip tired, which is never good. David had been through a lot already by Thursday morning. Very little sleep in the last few weeks, a lot of work stress, birthday, it just all came together to where he got goofy. One second he was eating his bagel, the next, he'd smashed it on his face, and then just let it sit there.The highlight of the entire convention happened for us right at its start. We registered and went straight to the panel with Deepak Chopra and Grant Morrison discussing the Seven Spiritual Laws of Superheroes. It turned out to be an extremely intense, beautiful, spiritual, and soul-opening experience. What? At Comic-Con? Yes. Life is so strange, you never know when you're going to get smacked in the head by the Divine. I got so much inspiration from it that much of it will most definitely turn up in the writing of the next album. Someone wrote a wrap-up of it here. I guess I need to read me some Grant Morrison. Shawn? Where do I start?
We saw the end of the panel with Daniel Clowes, which consisted of stupid people asking him inane questions. That is par for the course with all Q&As at Comic Con. You watch the brilliant people get interviewed for a while, and then you brace yourself for the horrorfest that is the Q&A. There are invariably the "I have written a script/comic/I'm an actor/director/I want to kiss you/marry you/bear your children" self-promoters, followed by the "WHAT'S IT LIKE to work with blah blah blah," and always topping off with the fool who repeats a question that the person has answered four times already. Hilarious!

OH! So we saw this documentary called Dream On, Silly Dreamer about the Walt Disney Company completely wiping out its hand-drawn 2D animation department. It's interviews with the animators and all the heartbreak that followed that very ill-considered decision. The panel was great because many of the animators were there and they have an extremely cautious hope that with John Lassater now at the helm of Disney Animation, it's very possible that 2D will come back to Disney.

Also seen: Guillermo Del Toro discuss Pan’s Labyrinth, which looks gorgeous. The man had a prodigious ability to work the word or concept of “scrotum” into his sentences.

We then wandered outside, where we found that the San Diego symphony was playing the Lord of the Rings suite nearby. We had a magical moment sitting on some rocks, hearing the elven music wash over us as several people glided up through the water in kayaks with small lanterns on them, making it feel for just a moment that we’d slipped through dimensions. I tried to get some video of it, but camera was dying.

Friday was all about parking ourselves in the giant Hall H to see movie stuff. We sat through WB’s promos for The Reaping and The Wicker Man and Harry Potter 5.0 and were absolutely delighted by the lovely Bryan Singer, who discussed Superman. He said he was looking forward to working on the next one, where he can “get all Wrath of Kahn on it” and introduce lots of new problems and such. People asked if maybe he could go back to the X-Men, to which he very judiciously cringed that he’d love to but he’s “not sure who’s left in the cast,” to which everyone yelled OUCH! He brought out Richard frickin Donner and it was a mutual adoration festival. Singer showed everyone that he is extremely intelligent, progressive in thought, and just cool.

What next? More movie stuff. We sat through 20th Century Fox stuff, not even realizing that the greatest and most horrifying thing was about to happen to us: Borat arrived. This was the precise moment that my camera decided to die for good. I took some very poor quality video on my phone, but you can see a better version on YouTube. We really weren’t prepared for what happened next. Tifanie, you’ve seen the film, and I’ve seen the look on your face when you’re thinking about it, and now I think I know why. They totally assaulted us with the scene with the, uh, men, and the hotel room…and the running around the hotel. It was about 12 minutes of utter…I’m not sure I’ve had these emotions mix before…horror/hilarity/disgust/admiration. I will never be the same.

The amazing Ashley, Joel, and Casey drove in all the way from Albuquerque and it was so much fun to be together for this. This is the worst, most poorly-lit picture ever, but it's all I've got.

So then Neil Gaiman and troupe hit the stage to discuss the Stardust movie, which is looking really fantastic. I had requested that he show the Ricky Gervais bits and they totally did, in spades. I love that dude so much. He’s got only one schtick but it is one funny schtick. I’m very much looking forward to that.

At this point, we’d been in that hall for about six hours, and would have had to wait another three to see the Snakes On A Plane panel, so we had to get out of there. Our eyes were almost bleeding in their sockets, couldn’t take any more stimulus, but somehow we managed to see a Boondocks panel, a Henson panel (Dark Crystal sequel in production!), and a very, very funny TV Funhouse panel with Robert Smigel and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Strangely enough, I got back to work here yesterday and who should appear in my doorway looking lost and confused but Robert Smigel, trying to find an office for an appointment. He was SO NICE as I gushed at him about how much we admire his work and loved the panel.

We were so tired that we managed to miss a party that night that we were invited to for WETA workshop, at which Richard Taylor appeared. Instead we ate some really good Indian Food and then crashed.

It was back to Hall H the next day for what felt like sixteen hours of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez blab about Grindhouse. Kevin Smith completely missed his panel due to traffic, and poor Rosario Dawson had to field hundreds of stupid geek questions in his absence. She also expressed that she’d like to return to the role of Mimi in Rent and very much wants to do it on Broadway. Very cool. She’s really adorable.

Then PIRATES! YES! There was an extensive presentation on how Davey Jones and his amazing face is accomplished, and yes, he is 100% CG. There were tons of side by side shots with Bill Nighy acting the role and then the final CG. It was really impressive. We then got a nice long preview of the next film, which looks great and I can’t wait, I seriously can’t wait. I think I am in love with that Davy Jones.

At this point, I looked over and David looked like he’d just been swatted by a giant comic book hammer and little stars and birds were flying around his head. The last several weeks just finally caught up with him, and he was S I C K. “Oh,” says I, “Time to go.” We dragged his soggy, floppy body back to the hotel and I went and got him Zicam and other anti-sick devices. I then proceeded to watch 6 hours of Brady Bunch reruns while he drifted in and out of consciousness. We missed the masquerade, which is the full-on Geek Parade, but it’s really ok. We’d seen enough.

Sunday was all about keeping David in bed for as long as possible before checking out. I never really did get a chance to look around on the exhibition floor, as the two times I tried to walk in, I was assaulted by a wall of humanity worse than I’ve ever seen even at Disneyland or in the worst of New York. The con has simply outgrown itself. Something has to happen. It’s too big. They were supposedly at the 100,000 capacity each day. If we didn’t have our professionals badges, I am not sure I’d be able to get around anywhere in that thing. I don’t know what they can do, but something must be done.

The train coming home was packed. They said it’s their biggest day of the year on that route. Somehow we managed to get amazing seats in the nicest car. David was able to rest, all was well. We got home to 4,000 degree temperatures in sunny Los Angeles. It’s Tuesday and David is still home, totally broken. Comic Con defeats us once again!

Shawn Jackson, I’m talking to you. I absolutely REFUSE to let another year go by where you don’t go to the con with us. I don’t care what you have to do to make it happen, you must make it happen. Consider this a threat. Or a warning. Or a plea on bended knee. Whatever works. I have to see you experience this.


Oh, I'm sorry to have missed this. You made my day with this entry! Thanks!
Tristen | Homepage | 07.26.06 - 6:43 am | #

Wow- I am rendered almost speechless by your epic comi-weekend. I can't believe they showed the hotel scene from the Borat movie- no wonder David got sick! But yes, you describe it perfectly. And, un, Dark Cryystal sequel? I need me some Gelflings now! I hope David gets better soon.
Anonymous | 07.26.06 - 7:58 am | #

Whoops- that was me above, baad speling and all.
tifanie | 07.26.06 - 7:59 am | #

Yeah, we couldn't believe they were showing what they showed either. I left that feeling like there can't possibly be anything in the film more over the top than that moment...oh god, could there?

Yeah, the Dark Crystal thing looks like it'll be really good, as it's designed by the original designers, will be all puppets, and will be using a story from the original writer, from what I understand.
a | Homepage | 07.26.06 - 2:07 pm | #

I miss DoofusFest!
Mimi | 07.26.06 - 6:34 pm | #

By Blogger adriana, at Monday, October 08, 2007 3:25:00 PM  

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006 : 10:38 AM     1 Comments  


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