A special look inside Creation Entertainment’s Salute to Supernatural DC May 2-4, 2014 Convention.
Creation Entertainment was founded in 1971 by Gary Berman and Adam Malin, two youths with a shared vision of “traveling” fan conventions. Producing “live, interactive” shows, Creation Entertainment soon cornered the market on Star Trek conventions. Being fans of Sci-Fi, Berman and Malin began producing scores of genre-specific events that showcased individual movies and television series. Their policies are “not to oversell its venues” and “guarantees a seat in the main theatre for all ticket holders to see all guest appearances and attractions.” Having only ever attended conventions that sell until the Fire Marshall arrives and institutes the one-out-one-in policy, I couldn’t wrap my head around how this could work. I’m used to large convention centers, massive halls and ballrooms lined with tables of celebrities signing autograph after autograph. Even if you purchased your tickets in advance, you could spend an entire weekend standing in line and risk missing celebrity panels and photo-ops. Surely, an entire convention devoted to the CW series Supernatural, which is coming into its 10th season, couldn’t be confined to seats in a singular theatre, could it?
When I interviewed Barry Bostwick in March of 2014, he had this to say about Supernatural, “That show [Supernatural] has such a fan base! We were at a convention once where there was a whole panel of just people from Supernatural; people who maybe only did it twice. And the audience was rabid. I mean RABID. It was amazing!” (Bostwick appeared in a single episode of Supernatural). I have to be honest; I half-expected this weekend to be a hot mess. I was never more excited to be proven wrong!
The convention was held at the Double Tree by Hilton hotel in Crystal City, Arlington, VA, which is basically Washington DC. I should mention that an announcement was made that this was to be their first and only show in the DC area. Climate control was a major issue, with some areas too hot to breathe and other areas too cold. This, however, is a venue issue and not a convention issue. But since it was the only complaint I heard from attendees, I felt the need to mention it. We visited the vendor room downstairs first. I’d come to expect a sea of small store fronts. Surprisingly, there were less than a dozen vendors to shop with. Save for a handful of tables with handmade jewelry and vinyl stickers, the majority of the items for sale were top quality, officially licensed Supernatural products. What are we supposed to do during “down time” if we don’t have 100 booths of fan junk to sift through each day? The big laugh here is that I actually thought there would be “down time” at this show.
We returned to the lobby where the main stage theatre was located. The lines at the registration and photo-op ticketing tables were moving along in a timely manner. Volunteers at the theatre door were checking wristbands and credentials, guiding fans to their designated seats. With your ticket purchase, you are assigned a specific seat for the entire weekend. This meant you didn’t have to worry about lines, since you already knew where your seat would be. We took our place alongside the videographer, one of the many friendly volunteers at the show. Her name was Rachael Augsburger and she’s been volunteering exclusively with Creation Entertainment for 4 years. “It’s always so much fun,” she said. “No other show is put together like this. And I love meeting all the guests who visit us from so far away. We’ve had people from South Africa, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.” As we chatted, I watched throngs of fans file into the room. No one was rushing around. No one was pushing to get closer to the stage. In a virtual sea of plaid-flannel and tan-Trenchcoats, fans were courteous and pleasant. I’d never seen anything like it. Adam Malin took the stage to make a few quick announcements. And then, the stars of the show literally took over the convention.
Dressed in patriotic garb, the house band entered the theatre in a military style march. They called themselves the Elastic Waste Band, but are professionally known as Louden Swain. The band is fronted by Supernatural cast member, Rob Benedict (Chuck), who adopted the stage name “Tango“. The band rocked from open until close each day of the convention, alternating between classic rock songs and original material. They were quickly joined by cast member, Richard Speight, Jr. (Gabriel/Trickster) who was our emcee for the weekend, and who described the long theatre room as being, “Like Jared [Padalecki] laying down; it keeps going and going and ends up in a pile of hair.” Speight and Benedict controlled the rhythm and pacing of the panels, both literally and figuratively, keeping the events as close to the program schedule as possible. For two cast members that had never worked together on the show, their friendship and quick-witted rapport was contagious. I am of the opinion that they should have their own late night talk show. That, or they should host every convention, every where. Forever.
Beyond being called out for photograph and autograph sessions, and perhaps the occasional visit to the lavatory, there was no need to leave the theatre. The momentum never ceased to build. Stars would come in and share in a mutually entertaining hour with the fans. There was a microphone set up at both stage left and right where fans could line the walls and wait their turn to talk to the stars. As each celebrity appearance ended, that guest would journey to another room in the hotel for private meet and greets, autograph sessions and photo-ops. But as I said, there was no “down time”. The time between guest appearances was filled with activities within the theatre such as trivia contests, a costume contest, a no-minimum-bid auction, music videos (made by fans), and a tribute to the “Angels, Demons and Other Creatures of Supernatural”. The entire weekend was one of perpetual motion. By the time I went to bed Friday night, I was physically exhausted! Kudos to Rob Benedict, by the way, for his energy, commitment and devotion to the fans and the show. Benedict suffered a stroke at last year’s Toronto Con. But he was back and in top form, outlasting the Energizer Bunny. Truly inspirational!
Benedict wasn’t the only heart-warming aspect of the show. Rachel Miner (Meg) made a late evening appearance on Sunday. Miner, who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, was an example of strength in the face of adversity; a definite highlight for Supernatural fans. Over the weekend, various items were auctioned off with the proceeds going to an MS charity in her honor. Two things I love: shopping and philanthropy. I donated $70 and came away with quite a haul. Creation Entertainment also donates a table at every show to Random Acts, a non-profit organization started by cast member, Misha Collins (Castiel). Random Acts collects monetary and tangible donations at every event and donates them to a local charity in that particular city. This show’s donations went to support a local food bank in the DC area. On Saturday, Collins did a live, one-hour event through Stageit, broadcasting from the convention over the internet. Collins screened two the short films from his TSA America: Level Orange series, while fans in the audience and worldwide logged in to Stageit and made donations to help fund Random Acts. “Small sacrifices in your life can help other people’s lives in a big way,” said Collins. The selfless generosity displayed that day was overwhelming.
As Bostwick teased, Supernatural fans are rabid. As with any fandom, there will always be a contingency of people who take such possessive ownership over their beloved characters, that they tend to ruin it for everyone else. Those people are the reason the stars must find a working balance between connecting with the fans and maintaining a healthy distance. Thankfully, the majority of fans bond over their shared love, some returning time and again, following Creation Entertainment shows like rock concerts. For Alex Harbet, 20, this was her fourth time at one of their shows. “I prefer these conventions to other ones, especially the way they run the photo-ops. You actually get quality time with the stars. This is just awesome.” Cassandra Martin, a first time attendee, had a lot to say about her experience. “All of the volunteers are very kind. The photographer, Chris, is amazing and never takes a bad picture. This whole weekend has been very personalized. The lines move quickly, but when you are up there getting autographs or pictures, you never feel like you are being rushed. You definitely get your money’s worth.” Martin and her friend lost over a $1,000 in photo and autograph tickets and lost all hope for the weekend. The staff of volunteers quickly rallied, making announcements and getting other guests involved. Their tickets were recovered. “They were so helpful in resolving that. I haven’t had a bad experience yet.”
It helps that so many of the volunteers have been with Creation Entertainment for years. Johanna Burris first attended one of their Twilight conventions 4 years ago. “It stuck,” she told us. “I knew I had to volunteer with them. Everyone here is like family. I have met friends I wouldn’t have otherwise, who will be with me forever.” We spoke with volunteers and staff who had been with the company from 3 to 23 years, completely dedicated to their business model and willing to travel around the c0untry to assist with productions. For this show, volunteers suggested the idea of utilizing a designated hashtag for fans to use, then broadcasting their Twitter and Instagram posts on the screens in the theatre all weekend long. The interactive nature of the convention pleased a lot of fans.
Personal highlights for me included:
Osric Chau (Kevin) appeared dressed in fellow character Dean Winchester’s Ren Faire inspired costume, reciting the famous speech from the film, Braveheart. “When I said I would cosplay at every single con, I just…I forgot how many there were!”
Gil McKinney (Henry Winchester) making his first Supernatural convention appearance, seemed slightly overwhelmed, but with his sense of humor and charm, he quickly adapted. “Years ago, I actually auditioned for the role of Sam Winchester. So, when they called me about the role of Henry, I was surprised. I mean, I didn’t even know the show was still on the air,” he laughed with the crowd.
Sebastian Roche (Balthazar) commanded the theatre like a bona fide rock star. Though he answered only 3 fan questions in an hour, they didn’t seem to mind. For Roche spent the majority of that time singing, dancing, running through the audience, and being his naughty, flirtatious self.
Mark Sheppard (Crowley) came down from the stage to console a young woman who had broken down in tears at the microphone. He also proceeded to erupt Misha Collins in a fit of laughter over a story about the Wind in the Willows, leaving Collins unable to speak.
Chad Lindberg (Ash) spent the majority of his time on stage regaling the crowd with tales from his own ghost-hunting experiences, even using a “ghost box” on stage to try and summon spirits to communicate within the theatre.
Cast members pranked Matt Cohen (John Winchester), Benedict, and Speight during their panel. Unbeknownst to them, a message was displayed across the screens that faced the audience that read “Jacques E. Normus Please remove your package from the registration table.” That’s how it was for most of the weekend. This family of actors laughed, talked, sang and played with one another just as you’d expect a real family would.
The costume contest on Saturday had, from my best guess, around 200 contestants. They paid tribute to the obvious and the more subtle only-a-true-fan-would-know-this aspects of the series. A separate judging was held of approximately 30 dressed as Castiel. Those fans were judged by the angel himself, Misha Collins. On Friday night, guests were treated to an 80s themed Karaoke party, where fans had the opportunity to sing on stage with their favorite stars. On Saturday night, the cast held a special Cabaret, or as Collins put it, “…a bad talent show.” The cast members sang a variety of songs, some solo, others duet and in groups, showcasing their talents beyond hunting demons. McKinney, who was a voice major, stole the show (and ruined a lot of women) when he sang John Legend’s hit, All of Me.
Of course, a Supernatural weekend wouldn’t be complete without the Winchester brothers, themselves, Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki. The pair attended an exclusive breakfast with fans, then for one sweet hour, they took to the theatre stage, thrilling fans and answering questions. I would imagine seeing them years ago at a convention was a wholly different experience. But, as a parent, I found their honesty refreshing. Ackles and Padalecki admitted to being tired and sleep deprived, and they seemed most genuine when telling stories about their children. Both men were taken aback when a fan thanked Ackles for “saving my life“. She had heard him tell a story about losing a friend, some years back, and it moved her. She has since been sober for 8 years and through streams of tears, wanted to present Ackles with her sobriety chip. Ackles was hesitant, reminding her of the significance of the chip, but she assured him it was what she wanted. Ackles reluctantly and emotionally accepted it with a hug. From there, they humbly told the audience of how they feel about the impact of what they do, on their fans. Said Ackles, “We may not be curing cancer. But we sure may be helping someone who has it.”
Over all, the entire weekend was nothing at all like I’d expected it to be. The pacing was smooth enough that hours could go by and I’d completely forget that I’d been in the same theatre all day. There was constantly something more to see and do. Of course, there were a number of technical difficulties with regards to multi-media and lighting, but you’ll have that any show from time to time. There was some time lost due to seating confusion during the Cabaret, but that was mostly because once the fans had taken their seats, the stars encouraged them to all move forward, closer to the stage. Officials quickly had them retract and send everyone back to their designated seats. Aside from that, I honestly did not hear a single complaint from any of the fans (and you’d best believe I do my share of eavesdropping in order to hear what people really think). The volunteers were knowledgeable, committed and friendly. Again, the element of the house band and emcee was absolutely wonderful and, in my opinion, a necessity that should be considered by all conventions. The idea of having an emcee, yet no moderator during the panels was somewhat risky, as stars can become “trapped” by a fan’s question and momentum can be lost, denying opportunities to other fans who are patiently waiting their turn. Conversely, the absence of a moderator allowed each star to speak freely and plainly with the fans and “shoot from the hip” rather than dole out stock answers to the same tired questions posed interview after interview at other conventions. This show was completely unstructured in a structured way; controlled chaos, if you will. And that environment suits Supernatural very well.
Creation Entertainment truly and pleasantly surprised me with the level of intimacy and element of fun with regards to the atmosphere of their Supernatural convention. According to Speight, “All four leads [Ackles, Padalecki, Sheppard, Collins] have signed on to do one year of conventions worldwide, so that all of the fans would know when and where they’d be and could plan to meet them. That’s rare for a TV show cast.” Indeed. Rarer still, is the ability of a cast nearly 10 years later, to have this much fun spending time together. I only wish we’d had as much time with Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki as we did Misha Collins throughout the weekend.
Thank you, Creation Entertainment, for allowing us the opportunity to be a part of your Salute to Supernatural DC. It was an exciting weekend filled with laughter, good deeds and quality “entertainment”. I would highly recommend your conventions to any fan eager for a unique experience!
To see a full schedule of Creation Entertainment’s upcoming fan conventions, visit creationent.com
Supernatural airs on the CW Network. Check your local listings.
Rep. John Lewis and co-author Andrew Aydin appear at the St. Augustine Catholic School on Thursday May 1st from 6:30 – 8:30 pm for a lively discussion about lessons from the Civil Rights Era and how the youth can carry on the Movement today!
The event is designed for teenagers and young adults. However, the event is open to all, and parents, teachers, and mentors are welcome to come with their children, students, and mentees. Details at the link…
St. Augustine Catholic School
1421 V Street NW, Washington DC 2009
Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki appear at Politics & Prose to sign This One Summer on Saturday May 17, 2014 at 7:00 pm!
The latest graphic novel from the writer/artist cousins who created Skim is the story of Rose and Windy, friends from many summers together on Lake Ontario. This particular year, the two rely on each other more than ever as Rose faces the end of her parents’ marriage and a confusing crush on the wrong boy. Ages 15 and up.
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
Cartoonist Roz Chast appears at Politics & Prose to sign her new collection Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? on Tuesday May 13, 2014 at 7:00 pm!
While her style is inimitably her own, Chast’s story of aging parents will resonate with many. In four-color cartoon panels, photos, and text, Chast, a New Yorker contributor since 1978 and the author/illustrator of a dozen books, recounts her life with a needy father and strong-willed mother and faces their mental and physical deterioration with wit and honesty.
Politics & Prose
5015 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC 20008
BOOM! STUDIOS GOES COAST-TO-COAST WITH AWESOME CON AND WONDERCON, APRIL 18-20, 2014
April 9, 2014 – Los Angeles, CA – Award-winning comic book publisher BOOM! Studios announced today it will exhibit at both Awesome Con in Washington, D.C. and WonderCon in Anaheim, California, during the weekend of April 18-20, 2014.
At Awesome Con, which will be held at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C., BOOM! can be found at booth number 421. They will host the following creators all weekend:
Brooke Allen (LUMBERJANES)
Ian McGinty (ADVENTURE TIME: CANDY CAPERS)
Jerry Gaylord (LOKI: RAGNAROK & ROLL, FANBOYS VS. ZOMBIES)
In addition, an Awesome Con exclusive variant cover of ADVENTURE TIME 2014 ANNUAL #1 illustrated by Ian McGinty will be sold through the convention. Starring baby versions of Fionna and Cake, this is the first-ever horizontal ADVENTURE TIME issue!
For tickets and more information on Awesome Con, visit awesomecondc.com.
At WonderCon, which will be held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, BOOM! Studios can be found at booth number 319. They will host the following creators at the booth all weekend:
Eric M. Esquivel (LOKI: RAGNAROK AND ROLL, BRAVEST WARRIORS, FREELANCERS)
Megan Hutchison (AN AURORA GRIMEON STORY: WILL O’ THE WISP)
Michael Alan Nelson (DAY MEN, 28 DAYS LATER, PROTOCOL: ORPHANS)
Mike Kunkel (HEROBEAR AND THE KID)
Noelle Stevenson (LUMBERJANES, ADVENTURE TIME)
In addition, signings with the following creators are scheduled:
FRIDAY, April 18
2-3 p.m. R.J. Ryan (THE JOYNERS IN 3D)
5-6 p.m. Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert (TRANSLUCID, AMORY WARS, KEY OF Z, KILL AUDIO) – This is a ticketed signing. Tickets are only available at the BOOM! Studios booth whille supplies last on the day of the specified signing.
SATURDAY, April 19
1-2 p.m. Steven Grant (2 GUNS, 3 GUNS, ROBOCOP, DECEIVERS)
3-4 p.m. Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert (TRANSLUCID, AMORY WARS, KEY OF Z, KILL AUDIO) – This is a ticketed signing. Tickets are only available at the BOOM! Studios booth whille supplies last on the day of the specified signing.
5-6 p.m. R.J. Ryan (THE JOYNERS IN 3D)
SUNDAY, April 20
11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. R.J. Ryan (THE JOYNERS IN 3D)
1-2 p.m. Claudio Sanchez and Chondra Echert (TRANSLUCID, AMORY WARS, KEY OF Z, KILL AUDIO) – This is a ticketed signing. Tickets are only available at the BOOM! Studios booth whille supplies last on the day of the specified signing.)
3:30-4:30 p.m. Natasha Allegri (ADVENTURE TIME: FIONNA & CAKE, BEE AND PUPPYCAT)
In addition, the BOOM! Studios booth will host sketch artists all weekend, including:
Hannah Nance Partlow (ADVENTURE TIME: CANDY CAPERS)
Kassandra Heller (ADVENTURE TIME)
For $20, fans can request and purchase custom sketches to be drawn on blank ADVENTURE TIME Get-A-Sketch covers.
Special WonderCon exclusive variants will be available for purchase for:
BRAVEST WARRIORS 2014 ANNUAL #1 (cover by Sam Lavagnino, the voice of CatBug on the “Bravest Warriors” show!)
HEROBEAR AND THE KID: SAVING TIME #1 (cover by Mike Kunkel)
LUMBERJANES #1 (cover by Jess Fink)
TRANSLUCID #1 (cover by Dan Duncan)
BOOM! will present the following panels at WonderCon:
We Are BOOM!
Sat., April 19, 3:30 p.m., Room 208
Last year was a banner year for BOOM! highlighted by the release of our first feature 2 GUNS (starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg) and new first-look deal with 20th Century Fox. Archaia joined us as a new imprint, we expanded the all-ages KaBOOM! lineup, and launched our newest imprint, BOOM! Box. Join BOOM! Studios VP of Publishing and Marketing Filip Sablik and Editor-In-Chief Matt Gagnon as we share our mission to create the future of comics…now. We are BOOM! Come Innovate With Us.
Redefining All-Ages Comics
Sun., April 20, 11:30 a.m., Room 203
Join KaBOOM! Editor Shannon Watters as she moderates a lively discussion about the importance of all-ages comics in today’s market and teases what’s in store from the BOOM! Studios imprint in 2014. We’re not just talking about “kids” comics, we’re talking about amazing comics that can be enjoyed by young, old, and everyone in between! Adding to the discussion are all-ages creators Mike Kunkel (HEROBEAR AND THE KID), Natasha Allegri (ADVENTURE TIME: FIONNA AND CAKE), and Noelle Stevenson (ADVENTURE TIME)! Bring the whole family and discover comics to share!
For aspiring artists, BOOM! will participate in the following portfolio reviews at WonderCon:
Sat., April 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 206 B
With Assistant Editor Whitney Leopard and Editor Rebecca Taylor.
Sun., April 20, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Room 206 B
With Editor Shannon Watters.
For tickets and information for WonderCon, visit comic-con.org/wca.
ABOUT BOOM! STUDIOS
Founded by Ross Richie in 2005, Diamond Gem Award-winning “Best Publisher” BOOM! Studios (boom-studios.com) generates a constellation of best-selling Eisner and Harvey Award-winning original and licensed comic books and graphic novels with the industry’s top talent. BOOM! Studios is the home of Mike Carey’s SUICIDE RISK, Clive Barker’s NEXT TESTAMENT and HELLRAISER, Paul Jenkins and Humberto Ramos’ FAIRY QUEST, PLANET OF THE APES, Max Bemis’ POLARITY and Mark Waid’s IRREDEEMABLE. Steven Grant’s graphic novel 2 GUNS was recently released as a feature film from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg. BOOM!’s all-ages imprint KaBOOM! publishes Charles Schulz’ PEANUTS, Jim Davis’ GARFIELD, Cartoon Network’s ADVENTURE TIME and REGULAR SHOW, Mike Kunkel’s HEROBEAR AND THE KID, and Roger Langridge’s Eisner Award-winning SNARKED. In June 2013, BOOM! acquired Archaia Entertainment (archaia.com). Archaia is the Eisner and Harvey Award-winning graphic novel publisher of MOUSE GUARD, COW BOY, GUNNERKRIGG COURT, RUST, SPERA, JIM HENSON’S TALE OF SAND, and many other great titles. In October 2013, BOOM! Studios entered into a unique first-look relationship with 20th Century Fox, giving the studio access to its library of titles and giving the publisher access to Fox’s vast catalog of films.
As many of you know, we like to really bring the Third Eye Comics experience to the floor of any convention we set up at, and with how awesome AwesomeCon is shaping up to be — we really put together something special for you this year!
We’ve got a HUGE space loaded with cool stuff for you to snag, and, we’ve got a roster of all-star comic creators signing at the booth all throughout the day!
Here is the official schedule for the Third Eye Booth at AwesomeCon on Saturday 4/19/14!
11AM-12PM: Chris Pyrate (Bartkira) – Artist of the new Third Eye 2014 Summer T-Shirt! Purchase one of these limited run shirts, and get it signed by the artist!
12PM-1PM Joe Keatinge & Leila del Duca – Get issue #1 of their new series SHUTTER (From IMAGE COMICS) signed at the Third Eye Booth & get a 15% off discount on the SHUTTER TPB this Fall!
1PM-2PM: JUSTIN JORDAN (STRANGE TALENT OF LUTHER STRODE, GREEN LANTERN NEW GUARDIANS, DEAD BODY ROAD)
2PM-2:30PM: JIM ZUB (SKULLKICKERS, SAMURAI JACK, PATHFINDER)
3PM-4PM: FRANK J. BARBIERE (SOLAR MAN OF THE ATOM, FIVE GHOSTS, WHITE SUITS) & FRED VAN LENTE (MAGNUS ROBOT FIGHTER, INCREDIBLE HERCULES, ARCHER & ARMSTRONG)
4PM-5PM: CARLA SPEED MCNEIL (MY LITTLE PONY FRIENDS FOREVER, FINDER)
We’ll have tons of great books available for sale by these talented folks at the Third Eye booth during their signings!
All signings take place on Saturday, but the Third Eye booth will be at AwesomeCon all 3 days Friday, Saturday and Sunday! Make sure you get your tickets online to avoid long purchase lines!
Awesome Con welcomes DANAI GURIRA (Michonne on The Walking Dead) to their 2014 show! Danai will be appearing both Saturday and Sunday. She joins a lineup including fan favorites like Billie Piper, George Perez, Cary Elwes, Steve Niles, Sean Astin, Marc Hempel, Ron Glass, Jewel Staite, Timothy Zahn, and many more!
About Danai Gurira:
Actress and playwright Danai Gurira stars as one of the most popular characters in AMC’s critically-acclaimed original series “The Walking Dead.” Based on one of the most successful comic books of all time, “The Walking Dead” follows a group of survivors who are searching for a safe home after a zombie apocalypse. In the season two finale, Gurira’s heroine ‘Michonne’ bursts onto the scene as the mysterious sword-wielding zombie slayer. “The Walking Dead” wrapped its third season in style, logging a monster 11 million total viewers for the season, making it the first original cable series ever to end the broadcast television season as the number one show in delivery for adults 18-49.
Prior to joining “The Walking Dead,” Gurira finished production on the independent drama “Mother of George,” the story of an African woman’s struggle after arriving in the U.S. to honor her heritage while attempting to define her new marriage in modern terms. The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and was acquired by Oscilloscope Laboratories. “Mother of George” will premiere in New York on September 13, 2013 and will expand to Los Angeles and an additional 10-20 markets the following week. Zeba Blay, from Indiewire, said “…Gurira, eerily luminescent in every frame, perfectly captures a part of the African experience – the struggle to reconcile tradition and heritage with modern, Western point-of-view.”
Gurira also starred in the multiple-award winning film “The Visitor,” opposite Richard Jenkins, in which she played a Senegalese immigrant in New York trying to survive while her illegal immigrant boyfriend is detained by the U.S. government. Other film credits include “Three Backyards” and “Restless City.” Her television credits include roles on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” “Lie to Me” as well as a recurring role on the HBO David Simon series “Treme.”
An award-winning playwright, her most recent play “The Convert” (Stavis Award) is an historical drama set in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Part of a trilogy Gurira is writing about her native country’s coming of age, the play ran at Woolly Mammoth Theatre in Washington, D.C. from February 13 to March 10, 2013.
Gurira was born in the U.S. and raised in Zimbabwe. She earned an MFA in theatre from NYU after moving back to the U.S. Her initial success was as the co-lead of “In the Continuum” (a play she co-created and co-wrote while in the acting program at NYU.) The upbeat powerful story focused on two women: one, an upper class, educated newscaster in Africa; the other, an impoverished teenager in south central L.A., who discover that they are HIV positive, and learn to cope in the face of hatred, discrimination and ignorance. Gurira performed the play off-Broadway, in numerous theaters around the U.S., and in Africa. She received numerous accolades including an Obie, the Outer Circle Critics John Gassner Award, the Global Tolerance Award (Friends of the United Nations) and the Theater Hall of Fame Honors. Gurira also received the Helen Hayes Award (Woolly Mammoth).
She subsequently received a grant for research in Liberia and Sierra Leone which resulted in her second play “Eclipsed”—the story of women abductees trying to survive during that region’s devastating civil war. Gurira won Best Playwright at the NAACP Theater Awards and Best New Play at Helen Hayes Awards. And, on Broadway, Gurira starred Bartlett Sher’s award winning revival of “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.” She also earned the Actor’s Equity Callaway Award for her performance as Isabella in the 2011 Shakespeare in the Park production of “Measure for Measure.”
Gurira is also a Hodder Fellow at Princeton and a commissioned playwright with Yale Rep. She is co-founder of Almasi (Al-ma-see), a Zimbabwean American Dramatic Arts Collaborative Organization. Their mission is to instill professional values, skills and practices in the Zimbabwean Dramatic Arts through education and collaboration with professional American dramatic artists and artistic institutions.
Gurira divides her time between New York and Los Angeles.
Awesome Con DC will be on April 18-20, 2014 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC. Show hours are 3pm-8pm Friday, 10am-7pm Saturday, and 10am-5pm Sunday. Details at the website: www.awesomecondc.com
Author Marc Tyler Nobleman appears at Tifereth Israel Congregation on Saturday, February 8, 2014 from 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM!
Superman’s Jewish Roots
In discussing Boys of Steel, Marc will address the Superman/Moses parallel, the curious possible origin behind Superman’s Hebraic-sounding Kryptonian name, the truth about whether or not Hitler himself personally banned Superman comics, and why Joe Shuster could not draw on the day before Shabbat, plus much more. His presentation will include images from Superman and other comics to illustrate his points as he discusses two young Cleveland Jews and their enduring contribution to American pop culture.
A Very Special Birthday
February 8th would have been the 100th birthday of Bill Finger, the secret co-creator of Batman. As part of the presentation Marc will share the results of his research into this relatively unknown writer who influenced the Dark Knight as much as the publicly credited creator Bob Kane. This research led to the publication last year of “Bill The Boy Wonder”, a controversial picture book that addresses the writer’s Jewish background on the very first page.
Stay For The Dessert
Later in the evening we’ll be serving up soda shoppe classics including egg cremes, root beer floats, and ice cream sodas. Have a slice of warm apple pie or your choice of other desserts to finish off the evening right. During dessert Marc will be happy to continue the conversation from his talk and sign copies of his books.
About Marc Tyler Nobleman
Marc is the Maryland author of more than 70 books including the all-ages nonfiction picture book Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman, the only standalone biography in any format of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the two young Jewish teens who dreamed up the world’s first superhero. Boys of Steelwas named a Sydney Taylor Notable Book of Jewish Content, earned multiple starred reviews, was included on multiple “best of the year” lists, and was featured in a USA Today cover story. His companion book, Bill the Boy Wonder, was featured by NPR’s All Things Considered in August of 2012. We are excited to welcome him to the TI community.
Tifereth Israel Congregation
7701 16th St NW, Washington, DC 20012
January 28, 2014 by Michael Pate
Filed under Arizona, California, Canada, Comic Books, Comic-Con International, Convention News, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, New York Comic Con, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Top Stories, Washington
Hero Initiative Announces 2014 Convention Schedule—20 dates in all!
LOS ANGELES, CA (January 22, 2014) Hero Initiative, the non-profit organization that raises money for comic veterans in medical and financial need, will be attending 20 comic conventions in 2014!
Yes! The Hero crew will be busy bees this year bringing you special guests, parties, and much more from San Diego to Calgary to New York City! We may be attending a convention near you, so make sure you stop by and help us help others who have paved the way for many others and have brought us years of joy! JUST DO IT!
Schedule is as follows:
Wizard World Sacramento
Planet Comicon, Kansas City, MO
Orlando MegaCon With special guest Herb Trimpe appearing EXCLUSIVELY at the Hero booth, #733
Emerald City Seattle
Wizard World St. Louis
Awesome Con Washington DC
Reed Chicago C2E2
Calgary Comic Expo
Wizard World Minneapolis
Big Wow San Jose
May 31-June 1
Long Beach Comic Expo
Phoenix Comic Con
San Diego With Hero Board of Directors member Dennis O’Neil in attendance!
Wizard World Chicago
Baltimore Comic Con
Long Beach Comic Con
Wizard World Austin
Reed New York Comic Con
October 31-November 2
Wizard World Ohio
About The Hero Initiative
The Hero Initiative is the first-ever federally chartered not-for-profit corporation dedicated strictly to helping comic book creators in need. Hero 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 comic book veterans who have paved the way for those in the industry today. For more information, visit www.heroinitiative.org or call 626-676-6354.
For more information, please visit us at www.heroinitiative.org.
50 Massachusetts Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002