Con-Gregate Con Report! (And Interview with the Carolina Ghostbusters)

This was the inaugural year for Con-Gregate, a general sci-fi convention held in Winston-Salem, NC on July 11-13. The guest of honor was New York Times bestselling author Larry Correia, known for his Monster Hunter series, though he does have other writing credits, including “The Christmas (Noun)” and “The Christmas (Noun) 2: The Nounening.” (What’s next? “How the Gerund Stole Christmas”?) Other guests included writers A.J. Hartley and Faith Hunter; Magic: The Gathering artist Mark Poole; and movie make-up professional Jennifer McCollom.

The con was led by a team of veterans, including folks from RavenCon, Stellar Con, and DragonCon. Yet, as with any first-time event, there were hiccups. Larry Correia’s first book signing was held on Saturday morning, when a lot of convention goers weren’t yet up and at ‘em. The lighting was poor in the vendor room, and though much was made in the convention program about name badges (even vendor badges bore individuals’ names), I never saw a staffer checking them.

Still, it was a fun weekend, with a costume contest, a book launch party (D.B. Jackson’s A Plunder of Souls), a charity auction (I won a signed photo of Avery Brooks as Capt. Benjamin Sisko), and some fascinating panels. Plus one of my favorite groups, the Carolina Ghostbusters (www.carolinaghostbusters.com), made an appearance. On Friday, I got a chance to talk to three team members–”Doc” Geressy, Chuck Carte, and Mikki Smith.

Me: How did the Carolina Ghostbusters get started?

Doc: About 5 years ago, I got divorced and laid off from work in the same week. I got a great severance package and didn’t have anyone to spend it on, so I was like, I’m gonna build a Ghostbusters car. That was five years ago. It took about 2½ years to get everything together. Once the car was built, we started getting requests for conventions, charity events, car shows, baseball games, birthday parties, weddings . . . we do a lot of weddings, oddly enough. We spend about 70-80 days a year on the road now, with the vehicle, and I never would have imagined, but it has been the most awesome thing ever. We got to meet Dan Aykroyd. He signed the car. We met Ernie Hudson from the film. So it’s been a lot of fun.

Me: How did you meet Dan Aykroyd?

Chuck: He was on his Crystal Head Vodka tour, doing signings of the bottles when the liquor had first come out. And we got treated really well by the Aykroyd camp as soon as they saw us in our car. He ushered us to the front of the line, took photos with us, signed the car, and he was just a real . . . I look at it as my favorite moment of getting to do this, getting to meet him, and just how cool he was to us.

Me: Why Ghostbusters?

Doc: I am a big fan of movie cars, always have been, and when I was originally going to build a movie car, I had thought about doing a classic Batmobile. I had some people looking for a late model Lincoln to use as the base for it, and we ended up finding this hearse first, and one of the guys called me and was like, hey, would you be interested in doing a Ghostbusters car? I was like, sure, love to, and so we ended up doing a Ghostbusters car instead. And it is actually, interestingly enough, the most recognizable movie car with the least amount of screen time. It is only in the film for 5 minutes and 28 seconds. But everyone knows it. We have had people drive 20-30 miles out of their way to take pictures with us.

Me: And you also have the Men in Black car, right?

Doc: That is our new one. We’re about a year into that build, and it was another one where the car kind of found me. We ended up getting it at a really good deal. It had low miles and was in excellent condition. So we started the build on that. We should have it done in the next year. It is actually roadworthy now, but there are a lot of things we want to do to it, and a lot of props we need to build. It’s probably about 80% done.

Me [to Mikki]: Tell me about your involvement with the group.

Mikki: Honestly, I asked. That sounds kind of like a boring way. Basically, I originally hired the Carolina Ghostbusters for a very small, one-off convention that I ran called Jax Con that happened in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida—

Doc: It was an awesome convention.

Mikki: Thank you so, so much. That’s what people say now. That’s not what people said right after it happened.

Chuck: That’s what I said right afterward.

Mickey: Me booking [the Ghosbusters] was literally the best thing I ever did for that convention. After that, I was still really into cons, and I started going to them more and more, especially local cons. I became really good friends with the team, became pretty good friends with Doc and Chuck and Cher [Cheralyn Lambeth, another group member]. That was kind of how I got involved. I think at XCon 2013 was my first official event, and I worked that one. I was an intern for about 6 months, and now I have been moved up to Acting Ensign of the Deck Department, and I serve under Chuck Carte, who is a fantastic immediate boss.

Chuck: Thank you. I don’t get that often.

Me: I was reading on your web site that you also do paranormal investigations. Tell me a little about that.

Doc: About 30% of what we do is paranormal investigations. We are the only Ghostbusters group in the country that actually does paranormal investigations as well. Sometimes we joke that the Ghostbusters car is our dog and pony show, but we have a lot of fun going out and actually not just dressing up as Ghostbusters but actually being Ghostbusters to an extent.

Me: How do you measure your success as paranormal investigators?

Chuck: Whether or not the check clears.

Doc: Yeah, that’s a good answer! [Laughs] We approach things from a very scientific viewpoint, very much like the Ghostbusters did in the film. We don’t employ or work with any mediums or psychics because we can’t quantify that information. We try to be as empirical as possible, and we have captured some amazing photographs, we’ve got some awesome EVPs [electronic voice phenomenon], and just the experiences of being able to travel around. One of the things that being Ghostbusters has provided us is a lot of access to places that other paranormal groups can’t get into. People see the car or they see us, and they’re like, oh, you guys are like legit! There are so many other paranormal groups out there that are just as legitimate as we are, but just that knowledge of Ghostbusters affords us the ability for people to just wave us in and be like, yeah, come investigate this place.

Me: What are you working on next? What are your goals?

Doc: Oh god. Replenishing my bank account is what I’m working on right now.

Chuck: The speedboat from Thunder in Paradise.

Doc: Yeah, I gotta buy a boat trailer first.

Mikki: You’ve been talking about the Blues Brothers car lately.

Doc: I would love to find a Blues Brothers car. That would be the next thing on the list. I also really like the ambulance from Cannonball Run. That would be another one.

Me: I guess it’s time to wrap up. Can you say a few words about your podcast?

Doc: Our podcast is called Sci-Fried Eggs, and we get to travel to all these conventions and meet all these cool guests, and we bring that to the rest of the people. So if you miss the convention, or even if you’re at the convention and you didn’t get to meet that person you wanted to meet, we may have interviewed them [on the podcast], so you can check them out.

And while you’re at it, check out the photos below.

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Carolina Ghostbusters: they’re ready to believe you.

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No, this isn’t a promo poster for Avengers 2. It’s the winners of the Con-Gregate costume contest.

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Must . . . not . . . make . . . bird-brain joke.

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“Good evening, Clarice.”

ConCarolinas Con Report!

ConCarolinas is a general sci-fi and fantasy convention held annually in Charlotte, NC. Attendance was 300 in the inaugural year, 2002, and the guests were small potatoes, but those days are done. Well over 2,000 people (my estimate) showed up this year, and the guest of honor was a bona fide celeb: George R. R. Martin, creator of Game of Thrones. Other guests included Anthony Montgomery from Star Trek: Enterprise and Laura Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott from the original Dark Shadows.

Sounds accomplished, right? GRRM was announced over a year ago—not even Comic Con International is that foregoing—so I expected the con to run like a thoroughly Penzoiled Sprint Cup chassis. In some areas, it did. Events started and stopped on time, and they were easy to find, for the most part. One exception was the ballroom divided into three smaller rooms that the schedule called, noninformatively, “Main,” “Programming 2,” and “Programming 3.” I missed the start of one panel because it was scheduled for Programming 3 but took place in Main, and each time I passed these rooms, the only sign I saw bore the Hilton’s name for the room: Lakeshore.

This plaint is piddling, however. The real mess came with Saturday’s GRRM autograph session. It was scheduled for 3:00, and by 12:15, a line was evident. “You should get in line now,” my wife said, to which I replied, “But the sign says the line will start forming at 2:00.” A woman of few words when she’s right, thank God, she pointed to the dozen or so people standing there. Just then, another two or three walked up. I assumed the position.

A few minutes later, a con staffer—I’ll call her “Bee”—came over to wrecking-ball the line. “We’ll start the line at 2:00,” she announced. Until then, we should “go enjoy the rest of the con.” Instead, the now-twenty of us moved six feet away to flank the concrete steps that led from the hotel entrance to a duck pond. Unsatisfied, Bee told us to move on, saying she had to “keep the steps clear.” They were currently so clear that piano movers could have carried a Steinway up them.

A guy who looked like Robert Downey, Jr. tried to tell Bee she was being unreasonable. We had paid for admission, he argued, and it was our prerogative to waste three hours in line—a line that had formed against the fence surrounding the patio, well out of the way. Someone else offered that there was “nothing else to do,” which hurt Downey, Jr.’s case. He wanted to negotiate, not inflame.

Bee was having none of it. She walked away and returned with con security, one of whom asked us nicely, in contrast to his Ghiscari Legion cosplay, to disperse. Downey, Jr. stood up defeatedly. “It’s a little unnecessary,” he said, more soliloquy than direct address, “but whatever.” And we moved away.

Things were tense after that. People arrived by the minute, and because we couldn’t form a line, we had to hang around pretending that we weren’t forming one. Annoyance passed from one person to the next, growing with each utterance as in the telephone game. “This is literally why we bought tickets,” one person said. “I don’t think they were ready for this kind of crowd,” said another. I took a philosophical tack. The con staff had taken an orderly line that had arisen spontaneously and, through human agency, made it into a mob. Maybe they were anarchists.

At 1:16, Bee pulled out a megaphone and announced, “If you are gathered here in order to rush the line, your badge will be taken, and you will be escorted off.” All 100 of us? 200? Versus her little honor guard? We didn’t move. When a Canada goose wandered off the pond, Bee walked up to it and blared through her megaphone, “This is a goose-free zone.” She said it to be funny, but nobody laughed. Too much had passed between her and us.

By 1:45, at least 400 people had gathered. The original group was still camped on the concrete steps, with newcomers forming parallel lines that stretched alongside the duck pond toward the hotel parking lot. About every thirty minutes, a con employee walked between the lines, urging us to keep the sidewalk clear because “the fire marshal is here,” though I never saw anyone official-looking. One person dubbed our station “the line to get into the line,” and we laughed—finally.

At 2:00, Bee started assembling the line. She did it fairly, calling ten people at a time from different spots, starting with the ur-group on the steps. I got in with the seventh summoning. My reward was to wait another hour before the 3:00 start, though this was better: Revolution had been averted, and I was now guaranteed an autograph. GRRM was scheduled to sign for only an hour, and those who didn’t reach him during that time might be turned away. (When someone griped about this, Bee said simply, “He is not a machine.”)

In all, I waited from 12:15 to nearly 4:00 to meet George R. R. Martin, and it was over with a few strokes of his pen. But it was worth it. The writer was gracious, even charming, and he signed two books for me. Autographs are my favorite part of conventions, and Downey, Jr. was right: You can have fun just sitting and waiting. Looking at cosplays. Writing a story (I got most of this done during the downtime). My wife and I rounded out the day with a couple of panels and that evening’s charity auction, hosted by podcaster and voice actor Rich Sigfrit, who also moderated a sci-fi-centric Whose Line Is It Anyway? starring the improv comedy group Pineapple-Shaped Lamps.

So that was it from Charlotte and the 13th ConCarolinas. Next year is already shaping up to be a good one with writer John Scalzi as the guest of honor. My next stop: Charlotte again for Heroes Convention on June 19. Maybe I’ll see you there!

 

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Indication #1 you are at a sci-fi convention.

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Indication # you are at a sci-fi convention.

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Guys, no need to fight. There are enough tickets for everyone.

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I would have seen GRRM sooner if it weren’t for those meddling kids!

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Inside the dealer room.

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People came from all over for this convention. Even Golgotha.

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No, Johnny Depp was not there. Would have been awesome, though.

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GRRM signing line: the Haves . . .

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. . . and the Have-Nots

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I’m not sure why I bought so much stuff at the auction. Any ideas?

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GRRM addresses fans during one of his readings.

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Lara Parker and Kathryn Leigh Scott pose for a picture.

 

Minneapolis Wizard World Con Report!

My feet were hurting. Throbbing, in fact. With blisters on each ball and heel, even short walks delivered a four square of pain. Ever had a pebble trapped in your shoe? How about a shuriken? Watching me walk, people must have thought, “The poor man. Must have forgotten his crutches. How can he get around on two broken legs?”

I was in this predicament thanks to walking twenty-seven miles in one weekend, mostly around the latest Wizard World Comic Con, which was held May 2-4 in Minneapolis. It was that city’s first-ever Wizard World con, and everything from guests to vendors to venue—the 87-room, 475,000-square-foot downtown convention center—was spectacular.

Headlining the event were Matt Smith and Karen Gillan from Doctor Who. Gillan, a former model, played traveling companion to Smith’s Doctor in series 5-7. I saw her on Saturday, smiling and chatting, her hair in a bun, amid a sea of fans. Smith showed up the next day, and the two had a joint photo op—the third time in North America that this had happened (the first two were the Louisville Comic Con and the St. Louis Comic Con). Other stars were William Shatner, Robert Englund, Ernie Hudson, Ralph Macchio, Neal Adams, Mike Grell, and Lou Ferrigno (my interview with Ferrigno will appear on ConventionScene in a few days). Other events included celebrity one-on-ones, panel discussions, a film festival, RPG tournaments, speed dating, at least 75 exhibitors, and a cosplay contest.

I caught most of Ralph Macchio’s one-on-one session on Saturday afternoon. Now 52 years old, Macchio delights in the Karate Kid franchise, though it used to bother him. In the early 90s, he said, he struggled to find acting work, and there were days he stayed hidden at home because he couldn’t face another “wax on, wax off” encounter. But film quotes were not all that fans said to him. Some told him how the movie had helped them deal with bullying, or it had changed their lives in other ways. When he thought about those people, he realized he would be “foolish” to reject his legacy. Ralph Macchio is a funny, humble guy who likes the Karate Kid re-make (though he doesn’t see it as “iconic”) and who is hoping his future includes more voice acting (he has done several episodes of Robot Chicken). And do his two kids understand their dad’s place in cinematic history? Macchio told the story of his son Daniel (hmm . . . coincidence?) coming across a trove of magazines and other memorabilia from the 80s. The boy raced into his sister’s bedroom and said, “Julia! Dad was huge and we missed it!”

Minneapolis was cold this May—unseasonably so, according to one native, which is just my luck—but the city was grand, the people welcoming, and the comic con a smash hit. If you weren’t there, browse the photos below to see what you missed. Next I am off to ConCarolinas (May 30-June 1) in the Queen City, Charlotte. Maybe I’ll see you!

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Day 1 of Minneapolis’s first-ever Wizard World

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Can’t wait to get in!

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I had trouble finding a parking spot, so . . .

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Robert Englund plans his next nightmare.

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Fabulous costumes!

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Deadpool! Get out of the picture!

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A couple of convention security officers.

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Minnesota isn’t quite the Caribbean, but this pirate didn’t mind.

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Look just under the poster of Karen Gillan to see the real Karen Gillan.

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My cell phone wasn’t working, so I asked this guy to call my wife. With his mind.

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Yes, it’s bigger on the inside, but how many licks does it take to get the Tootsie Roll center?

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I thought about asking this guy for directions but decided against it.

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Who scheduled a dance competition on the same weekend as Wizard World?!

Esme Bianco Headlines Pop Culture Expo 2014

Esme Bianco

Press Release:

Esme Bianco Headlines Pop Culture Expo, May 24-25

On Memorial Day Weekend (May 24th- May 25th), Esme Bianco, from the hit television drama, GAME OF THRONES, will be appearing at the first annual Pop Culture Expo, being held in Wilmington, Mass.

Pop Culture Expo is a celebration in all forms of popular culture including: a Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza, Cosplay, Costume and Videogame Competitions for Cash Prizes, Celebrity Guests, Panels, Autographs, Screenings, Animation and Anime, plus 50 vendors of Vintage and Modern Toys, Comic Books and Pop Cultural Artifacts.

Alongside of these events, cash and prizes will be awarded in Cosplay Contests including their unique “Create-A-New-Superhero” categories, Video Game Tournaments and have levels of entry for all ages! VIP packages can also be purchased, as well as meal packages with Esme or various other celebrities of your choice. Admission to the Expo can be purchased here: www.popcultureexpo.com, and advanced pricing is only $25.00 for 2-day weekend admission and will be an additional $5.00 at the door. Dining packages can be purchased here: http://www.popcultureexpo.com/collections/meals

Vendor spaces are available for dealers who sell pop-culture items, antique and collectible toys, authentic memorabilia, accoutrements of the nerd or geek lifestyle, anime and animation artwork and toys, comic books and art along with a large variety of out of the ordinary. We hope to see you there!

For More Information

LivinOnADreamPR@Gmail.com
www.facebook.com/PopCultureExpo
www.twitter.com/PopCultureExpo

Sam Huntington to Headline at Pop Culture Expo 2014

Being Human

Press Release:

SAM HUNTINGTON TO HEADLINE AT POP CULTURE EXPO

On Memorial Day Weekend ( May 24th- May 25th), Sam Huntington, from the hit television drama, BEING HUMAN, will be appearing at the first annual Pop Culture Expo, being held in Wilmington, Mass.

Pop Culture Expo is a celebration in all forms of popular culture including: a Comic Con and Collectibles Extravaganza, Cosplay, Costume and Videogame Competitions for Cash Prizes, Celebrity Guests, Panels, Autographs, Screenings, Animation and Anime, plus 50 vendors of Vintage and Modern Toys, Comic Books and Pop Cultural Artifacts.

Alongside of these events, cash and prizes will be awarded in Cosplay Contests including their unique “Create-A-New-Superhero” categories, Video Game Tournaments and have levels of entry for all ages! VIP packages can also be purchased, as well as meal packages with Sam or various other celebrities of your choice. Admission to the Expo can be purchased here: www.popcultureexpo.com, and advanced pricing is only $25.00 for 2-day weekend admission and will be an additional $5.00 at the door. Dining packages can be purchased here: http://www.popcultureexpo.com/collections/meals

Vendor spaces are available for dealers who sell pop-culture items, antique and collectible toys, authentic memorabilia, accoutrements of the nerd or geek lifestyle, anime and animation artwork and toys, comic books and art along with a large variety of out of the ordinary. We hope to see you there!

For more Information: LivinOnADreamPR@Gmail.com

www.facebook.com/PopCultureExpo

www.twitter.com/PopCultureExpo

Hero Initiative Breezes into C2E2 2014 with Brian Azzarello, Israel Idonije…

Protectors

Press Release:

Hero Initiative breezes into the Windy city of Chicago for C2E2 With special Guest Brian Azzarello

Los Angeles (April 10, 2014) - Hero Initiative, the non-profit organization that aids comic creators in medical and financial need, breezes into the windy of Chicago to attend the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo, also known as C2E2, located at McCormick Place April 25-27. Joining us is the well-known writer of 100 Bullets and Wonder Woman, Brian Azzarello! Hero’s booth, #836, will be the ONLY place Azzarello is doing signings. Brian will be at the Hero booth:

Friday, April 25, 11:30 a.m-1:30 p.m.

Sunday, April 27, 12:30 p.m-1:30 p.m. and again 3:00 p.m.-4:00 p.m.

On Sunday, April 27 from 10:00 a.m.-11:00 a.m., make sure you head to the Sharp Comics booth, #1317. Artist Bob Layton will be signing Gold Key/Dynamite Comics variant covers for Hero at the booth!

And you can celebrate the return of defensive end Israel Idonije to the Chicago Bears with signed Protectors prints for $25! The prints are signed by Idonije, plus Ron Marz and Bart Sears, the writer and artist of Protectors from Athleta Comics.

While at the booth, check out Hero’s AMAZING $1 specials—you can get the Marvel Apes #1 Hero Initiative variant or the 152-page ACTOR Comics Presents for just $1 each! Supplies are limited, and one of each per customer, please!

And check out the many Hero Initiative ambassadors throughout the floor who will be raising money for Hero at their own booths: Mark Bagley, Hillary Barta, Chris Burnham, Amanda Conner, Jenny Frison, Chris Giarrusso, Bryan JL Glass, Gene Ha, Phil Hester, Dan Jurgens, Scott Kolins, Paul Mounts, Mike Norton, Greg Pak, Ande Parks, Jimmy Palmiotti, Mike Perkins, Brian Pulido, Gordon Purcell, Chris Samnee, Alex Saviuk, Tim Seeley, Nicola Scott, Billy Tucci, Skottie Young, and Chrissie Zullo!

See you THERE!

About The Hero Initiative

The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book artists and craftsmen in need. Hero Initiative creates a financial safety net for yesterday’s creators who may need emergency medical aid, financial support for essentials of life, and an avenue back into paying work. It’s a chance for all of us to give back something to the people who have given us so much enjoyment.

Since its inception, The Hero Initiative has had the good fortune to grant over $500,000 to the comics veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.

 

ReedPop Announces All-Star Kickoff Event for BookCon 2014 with Jason Bateman, Tina Fey, and More

BookCon Kickoff

Press Release:

BOOKCON ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ALL-STAR KICKOFF EVENT FEATURING JASON BATEMAN, TINA FEY, DIRECTOR SHAWN LEVY, AND WRITER JONATHAN TROPPER

Panel Discussion and Sneak Peek of Upcoming Feature Film Release “This Is Where I Leave You” on Friday, May 30th Sets the Stage for Highly Anticipated Consumer Book Event

NORWALK, CT – April 8, 2014 – Hot on the heels of its recent announcement of BookCon, a one-of-a-kind interactive consumer book event, ReedPOP, the world’s largest producer of pop culture events, announces a star-studded kickoff celebration to usher in the show.  Exemplifying the show’s mission of giving fans an experience where books and pop culture collide, ReedPOP will host a special panel and sneak peek of the upcoming film adaptation of Jonathan Tropper’s bestselling book This Is Where I Leave You. The panel discussion will feature two of the stars of the film, Jason Bateman and Tina Fey, along with director Shawn Levy, and Tropper, who also wrote the screenplay, based on his novel. It will be followed by an exclusive Happy Hour to celebrate the debut of BookCon which will feature access to a number of top authors, giving fans the ultimate interactive experience.  The limited access BookCon kickoff event will happen on the eve of BookCon on May 30th at the Special Events Hall in the Javits Center.

The all-star BookCon kickoff event was created as a window into the type of events that BookCon will offer attendees.  The day-long event is crafted for creative-minded, passionate book fans in the publishing capital of the world.  Every aspect of the show is thoughtfully designed to appeal to the modern-day book lover with an appreciation for broader pop-culture and where these worlds intersect. By bridging the world of film and literature, the panel is a prime example of the mission for this consumer event and will usher in more exciting events and panels soon to be announced.

The hour-long panel, moderated by Entertainment Weekly’s Anthony Breznican, will start at 4:00 PM. A limited number of tickets for the BookCon kickoff event will be available for all those who purchase BookCon and BEA tickets for an additional $10. ReedPOP will also offer tickets as part of a VIP package that will include special artwork, a signed copy of This Is Where I Leave You, First Access to seating, access to BookCon on Saturday, and more.

“This is exactly the type of event that embodies what BookCon is all about and sets the tone in a truly impactful way,” said ReedPOP’s Global Senior Vice President, Lance Fensterman.  “This is our way of celebrating the debut of BookCon and giving fans a unique experience that will carry into the following day.”

Announcement of the kickoff event follows ReedPOP’s recent news of BookCon and its lineup of feature headliners including Amy Poehler, Martin Short, John Grisham, R.L. Stine, Stan Lee, Cary Elwes, Cassandra Clare, and Maggie Stiefvater.

Jonathan Tropper says: “This Is Where I Leave You was launched at BEA five years ago, so returning now to introduce the movie for the first time is a fitting and deeply satisfying way to celebrate the adaptation.”

Additional exciting details about BookCon exhibitors, talent, and sponsors will be revealed in the coming weeks. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.TheBookCon.com or BookCon’s social media pages (Facebook, Twitter & Instagram).

ABOUT “THIS IS WHERE I LEAVE YOU” 

The dramatic comedy “This is Where I Leave You” is directed by Shawn Levy, and based on the hilarious and poignant bestselling novel by Tropper.  It features a starring ensemble cast including Golden Globe winner Jason Bateman (“Arrested Development”); Golden Globe and Emmy Award winner Tina Fey (“30 Rock”); and two-time Oscar® winner, multiple Golden Globe honoree and 2013 Emmy Award nominee Jane Fonda (“Klute,” “Coming Home,” HBO’s “The Newsroom”).

When their father passes away, four grown siblings, bruised and banged up by their respective adult lives, are forced to return to their childhood home and live under the same roof together for a week, along with their over-sharing mother and an assortment of spouses, exes and might-have-beens.  Confronting their history and the frayed states of their relationships among the people who know and love them best, they ultimately reconnect in hysterical and emotionally affecting ways amid the chaos, humor, heartache and redemption that only families can provide–driving us insane even as they remind us of our truest, and often best, selves.

Shawn Levy, who helmed the blockbuster “Night at the Museum” films, as well as “Date Night” and “Real Steel,” directs from a screenplay by Jonathan Tropper.

The film also stars Adam Driver (HBO’s “Girls”), Rose Byrne (“Bridesmaids,” “X-Men: First Class”), Corey Stoll (“House of Cards,” “Midnight in Paris”), Kathryn Hahn (NBC’s “Parks and Recreation”).

“This is Where I Leave You” is produced by Paula Weinstein (“The Perfect Storm,” HBO’s “Recount”) Shawn Levy, and Jeffrey Levine (“The Family Man”).  Mary McLaglen (“Real Steel,” “The Proposal”) and Jonathan Tropper serve as executive producers.  The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Terry Stacey (“Safe Haven,” “50/50″), production designer Ford Wheeler (“Rachel Getting Married”), editor Dean Zimmerman (“Real Steel”) and costume designer Susan Lyall (“RED”).   The music is by Oscar&reg-winning composer Michael Giacchino (“Up”).

Warner Bros. Pictures presents a Spring Creek Production, a 21 Laps Production, a Shawn Levy Film: “This is Where I Leave You,” opening September 12, 2014.  It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment company.

ABOUT REEDPOP

ReedPOP is a boutique group within Reed Exhibitions, which is exclusively devoted to organizing events, launching and acquiring new shows, and partnering with premium brands in the pop culture arena. ReedPOP is dedicated to producing celebrations of popular culture throughout the world that transcend ordinary events by providing unique access and dynamic personal experiences for consumers and fans. The ReedPOP portfolio includes: New York Comic Con (NYCC), Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) Prime, East and Australia, Star Wars Celebration, Special Edition: NYC,  Oz Comic-Con and the UFC Fan Expo. In 2013 ReedPOP (has) added Star Wars Celebration Europe and PAX Australia to its rapidly expanding portfolio of international events. The staff at ReedPOP is a fan based group of professionals producing shows for other fans, thus making them uniquely qualified to service those with whom they share a common passion. ReedPOP is focused on bringing its expertise and knowledge to world communities in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia/Pacific (including Australia). (www.reedpop.com)

ABOUT BOOKEXPO AMERICA

BookExpo America (BEA) is North America’s largest gathering of book trade professionals attracting an international audience. The event is widely known as an ideal place for content creators, media, booksellers, rights professionals, and movie and television executives to meet new authors, discover new books, learn about trends shaping the book industry, and network with those who have a passion for books and reading. BEA is foremost a gathering place for creative writers and thinkers and the commerce they create. It is recognized for the media attention it brings to upcoming books as well as for the notable authors it attracts to the convention itself.

BEA is organized with the support of association partners including the Association of American Publishers (AAP) and the American Booksellers Association (ABA).

Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe Coming to Con+Alt+Delete 2014

April 9, 2014 by  
Filed under Anime, Convention News, Illinois

Press Release:

Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe coming to Con+Alt+Delete

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Rosemont, Illinois - Famed and beloved anime director Shinichi “Nabeshin” Watanabe will be coming to Con+Alt+Delete 2014 at the Hyatt Regency O’hare.

Shinichi Watanabe (aka “Nabeshin”) is known to anime fans as a larger-than-life, iconic figure with an outrageous sense of humor. He directed the comedy anime series Excel Saga, Nerima Daikon Brothers, and Puni Puni Poemy, which feature frenetic pacing and appearances by his animated alter ego, a mysterious, recurring character with an afro and distinctive outfit who is tangential to the story. Nabeshin has also served as series director for The Wallflower and Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and he can be found in these series as well, in cameo or supporting roles.

Nabeshin has been quoted as saying that he places great importance in making viewers laugh. Stating that he values laughter as much as tears, his preference is to motivate viewers to have fun and enjoy a show. He reasons that his success stems from provoking the same, strong emotional investment—in a humorous way—as a traditional, sentimental story does.

Nabeshin has also written lyrics for the opening songs of Excel Saga and Tenchi Muyo! GXP, and has served as storyboarder and episode director for a variety of other anime series. Nabeshin will be doing numerous panels at the convention, including “Friday Night in Tokyo (18+)”, “Q&A with Nabeshin’s Afro,” and more! For more, visit http://conaltdelete.com/guests.

About Con+Alt+Delete

Con+Alt+Delete is an annual anime convention in Chicago, Illinois! C+A+D this year is happening December 19-21, 2014 at the Hyatt Regency O’hare. Fans can join hundreds of other anime fans in events filled with cosplay, and fun. Join us if you love Hetalia, Fullmetal Alchemist, Dragon Ball Z, Yu-Gi-Oh, Lolita Fashion, Homestuck, My Little Pony, sci-fi, or video games. We encourage you to attend in your favorite cosplay costume and join us in celebrating everything that nerds and geeks enjoy. For more info, visit http://conaltdelete.com/

NBM Announces MoCCA Arts Festival 2014 Debuts and Signing Schedule

Press Release:

NBM Announces MoCCA Arts Festival Debuts and Signing Schedule

This weekend, April 6th & 7th, NBM Publishing once again heads to the MoCCA Arts Festival and we are happy to have attending both Jesse Lonergan, who will be appearing to promote the debut of his new book, the coming of age story All Star, and Ted Rall who will be signing copies of the new edition of his book, SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East.

About All Star

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Set at the end of the school year in 1998 when Mark McGwire is racing Sammy Sosa to break the home run record, Bill Clinton is being questioned about a White House intern named Monica Lewinsky, and Semisonic’s ‘Closing Time’ is on top of the charts, Carl Carter is leading the Elizabeth Monarchs of rural Vermont to the state championship in his senior year.

A full scholarship to the University of Maine is waiting for him, and everyone says he has a shot at the pros.

He’s so good he can do whatever he wants.

Until he makes one very arrogant mistake.

 

About SILK ROAD TO RUIN: Why Central Asia Is The Next Middle East – 2nd Ed.

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Part graphic novel travelog, part tongue-in-cheek travel guide, here are the adventures of caustic cartoonist Rall in the wild and wooly central Asian countries, a powder keg sitting on tomorrow’s oil . . .

Combining articles with comic chapters relating his experiences retracing the old legendary Silk Road starting with the sublime history of China and ending in the absurdity of the petty dictatorships of the Stans where Rall had the temerity–or was it the blustery stupidity?–to go back, including once with a group of listeners to his radio show, on a dare. It’s exotic adventure, satire and a fun way to find out more about a part of the world that looms in importance with its immense reserves of oil . . .

 

Signing Schedule – Tables B6, B7


Both Jesse and Ted will be appearing at the NBM Booth throughout the weekend.

Saturday, April 6th:

  • Jesse Lonergan 11:30-1:00    
  • Ted Rall 1:00-3:00    
  • Jesse Lonergan 3:00-5:00 

Sunday, April 7th:     

  • Ted Rall 1:00-3:00    
  • Jesse Lonergan 3:00-5:00 

Be sure to follow @nbmpub on Twitter.  So come on by, meet some cool folks and celebrate comics!

Doctor Who’s Paul McGann Coming to Cincinnati Comic Expo 2014

Paul McGann image

Press Release:

DOCTOR WHO’S PAUL MCGANN COMING TO CINCINNATI: TIME LORD ATTENDING 2014 CINCINNATI COMIC EXPO

“Doctor Who” fans of all ages are getting excited with the announcement that veteran English actor Paul McGann will be in attendance for the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo being held this September at the Duke Energy Convention Center. There, the star will be interacting with local fans, taking photos, signing autographs and answering questions as part of a panel discussion.

Paul McGann is best known for playing the eighth incarnation of the beloved time traveling alien adventurer, the Doctor, in the 1996 television film “Doctor Who,”a role he reprised in 72 audio dramas and the recent 2013 mini-episode “The Night of the Doctor”. McGann is still a regular face on British television where he has appeared in major roles on the programs “Luther,” “Jonathan Creek,” and “Waking The Dead.” The actor has also appeared in a variety of films over his lengthy career including parts in “My Kingdom,” “Alien 3,”and “Queen of the Damned.”

First airing in 1963, the BBC series “Doctor Who” is recognized by Guinness World Records as the world’s longest-running science fiction television show. Since its relaunch in 2005 the series has brought in an entire new generation of devout young fans and is still recognized as a world-wide cult television phenomenon. The announcement of Paul’s participation has met with an enthusiastic response from not only local fans but also other guests coming to Cincinnati as part of the Expo. This includes artist Patrick Baumgardner who has done promotional work for the Dr Who Fan Club of America. Patrick, who has already met several of the other actors who played the seminal time traveler, explains why he is so eager to meet Paul McGann, “For me he is one of the elite actors who was able to capture the soul of the Doctor and make it his own…..on a fan note, I’m soooooo excited.”

Mr. McGann is just the latest celebrity confirmed to be attending this year’s convention. He is joining a roster of special guests that already includes beloved actor and television personality Lou Ferrigno, Dave Prowse and Peter Mayhew from the “Star Wars” film series, John Rhys Davies who is best known for his roles in the “Indiana Jones” and “Lord of the Rings”franchises, and Jewel Staite from the cult hit television program “Firefly.” Many more guest announcements are expected in advance of the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Book Expo.

About Cincinnati Comic Expo

The Cincinnati Comic Expo has been entertaining thousands of fans since 2010 with an annual show celebrating all periods and genres of pop culture with an emphasis on comics. The 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo will be held from Friday, September 19, through Sunday, September 21, at the Duke Energy Convention Center. Tickets vary in price and are available to purchase online. More information on events and exhibitors attending the show can be found at www.cincinnaticomicexpo.com

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