Salute to Supernatural DC 2014 Con Report!

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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.

Misha Collins judges the 'Castiel' cosplayers at DCcon.

Misha Collins judges the ‘Castiel’ cosplayers at DCcon.

 

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles share a laugh at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles share a laugh at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles speak to fans at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles speak to fans at DCcon.

One lucky fan donated enough funds to Random Acts to literally win the shirt off Matt Cohen's back at DCcon.

One lucky fan donated enough funds to Random Acts to literally win the shirt off Matt Cohen’s back at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles at DCcon.

Misha Collins addresses crowd during live Stageit fundraiser at DCcon.

Misha Collins addresses crowd during live Stageit fundraiser at DCcon.

Sebastian Roche working the crowd at DCcon.

Sebastian Roche working the crowd at DCcon.

Osric Chau dressed as Jensen Ackles at DCcon.

Osric Chau dressed as Jensen Ackles at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki, Richard Speight Jr. and Jensen Ackles sing 'The Boys Are Back in Town' with Louden Swain at DCcon.

Jared Padalecki, Richard Speight Jr. and Jensen Ackles sing ‘The Boys Are Back in Town’ with Louden Swain at DCcon.

Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins at DCcon.

Mark Sheppard and Misha Collins at DCcon.

Gil McKinney and Sebastian Roche sing with Louden Swain at DCcon.

Gil McKinney and Sebastian Roche sing with Louden Swain at DCcon.

Misha Collins answers my question during DCcon.

Misha Collins answers my question during DCcon.

Rob Benedict and Louden Swain at DCcon.

Rob Benedict and Louden Swain at DCcon.

Misha Collins speaks to fans at DCcon.

Misha Collins speaks to fans at DCcon.

CA – Bagged & Boarded w/ Phil LaMarr

Actor Phil LaMarr appears on the Bagged & Boarded podcast show with Matt Cohen on Wednesday July 6th at 8pm!

Golden Apple Comics
7018 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90038

Wizard World Announces Anaheim Comic Con 2011 Programming

 

Press Release:

‘Grease’ Cast Sing-A-Long, ‘Buffyfest’ Q&A, Panels Featuring ‘Batman’ ‘The Guild’ Actors, Tricia Helfer Highlight Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con Programming

‘Secrets of Pro Wrestling,’ Wizard Spotlights, ‘Wizard School,’ Voice Actors, Musical Intermissions and Costume Contests Also On Tap For April 29 – May 1 at Anaheim Convention Center

NEW YORK and ANAHEIM, Calif., April 14, 2011 – Wizard World Anaheim Comic Con today announced its diverse programming schedule, featuring unique celebrity Q&A’s, music, screenings, artist schools and more for the event, set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, April 29 – May 1 at the Anaheim Convention Center.

Some of the highlights include:
–A Grease cast Sing-A-Long, featuring original movie director Randal Kleiser, cast members Jamie Donnell (Jan), Annette Cardona (Cha Cha) and Jeff Conaway (Kenickie)
–Popular “Batman” panel with Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar and Lee Meriwether, helping commemorate the 45th anniversary of the start of the iconic television program
–Rare Q&A session with Tricia Helfer, discussing her roles in “Battlestar Galactica,” “Burn Notice” and other appearances
–Special screening of Disney’s “Messenger from Hell,” the first episode of the important new Stan Lee/Neal Adams motion comic “They Spoke Out: American Voices of Protest Against the Holocaust”
–“Buffyfest” Q&A with Nicholas Brendon and twin brother Kelly Donovan
–Wizard Art School and Q&A’s featuring leading artists like Michael Golden, Bill Sienkiewicz, Mike Grell, Greg Horn and others
–Music and entertainment intermissions by “Jedi Elvis,” the L.A. Dance Co., and “The Force Experience”
–Stars of “The Guild,” Amy Okuda, Vincent Caso and Robin Thorsen talk about the popular Web series
–The popular adult costume contest and fun kids costume contest with great prizes

Unless noted, Anaheim Comic Con programming will take place in Room A and Room B at the Anaheim Convention Center, and is included with admission to the event. Seating for panels is strictly limited and available on a first come first serve basis and each room will be cleared between panels.

The full schedule is below:

Friday

6:00-6:45PM
Exposed: Secrets Of Professional Wrestling
Ted DiBiase and Virgil give fans the low down on what’s real and what’s not in the world of professional wrestling. (Room B)

7:00-7:45PM
Behind The Scenes With Dan Fogler
Actor Dan Fogler (Take Me Home Tonight; Kung Fu Panda; Mars Needs Moms) sits down dish on everything from the on-set shenanigans, to what it’s like behind the scenes of a Hollywood set. (Room B)

8:00-8:45PM
Way Of The Nerd (Room A)
Join Way of the Nerd author Ken Goldstein as he talks about the book and how it teaches people how to reach extraordinary goals, with an emphasis on making a living as an artist in video games, comic books and toys (Room A)

9:00-10:00PM
“SNAKE And Mongoose” Preview Screening (Room A)

Saturday

10:45-11:00AM
L.A. Dance Co. Intermission
Come watch this L.A. dance troupe heat up the dance floor. (Room A)

11:00AM-7:00PM
Neko Press Comics Presents: Live Art Demo With Billy Martinez
Witness a masterpiece in the making from start to finish with a cutting-edge painting exhibition. Join Billy Martinez (Wildflower; The Deepest Dark) as he pulls back the curtain on his creative process, transporting you directly into his art studio with a musically-infused live art demo. (Booth 571)

11:00-11:45AM
Claudia Christian Q&A
“Babylon 5” beauty Claudia Christian shares the secrets to her multi-faceted success, and previews a sneak peek of her new Showtime series “Look.” (Room A)

Voice Acting Panel W/ Matthew Wolf, Neil Kaplan, And Charles Fleischer
Join some of the voices behind some of your favorite characters for this interactive panel. (Room B)

11:45-12:00PM
L.A. Dance Co. Intermission
Come watch this L.A. dance troupe heat up the dance floor. (Room A)

12:00-12:45AM
Grease Cast Sing-A-Long
“Oh Those Summer Nights!” Join the director of the film, Randal Kleiser, along with cast members Jamie Donnelly (Jan), Annette Cardona (Cha Cha) and Jeff Conaway (Kenickie), as select musical scenes are screened and the cast leads the audience in a true sing-a-long. Now is your chance to not only sing-a-long fellow GREASE fans, but alongside cast members from the film. Be part of the magic, don’t be shy! Cast Q&A to follow. (Room A)

Wizard Writing School: DJ Kirkbride, Jim Kreuger And Nathan Edmondson Q&A
Don’t miss this panel with award-winning writers DJ Kirkbride (PopGun), Nathan Edmondson (PopGun; Who is Jake Ellis?) and Jim Kreuger (Earth X) as they give their tips on writing for comics. (Room B)

12:45-1:00PM
L.A. Dance Co. Intermission
Come watch this L.A. dance troupe heat up the dance floor. (Room A)

1:00-1:45PM
Power Rangers Q&A
Join the colorful cast of characters from the popular series and its spin-offs as they discuss life before and after “The Power Rangers.” (Room A)

Harry Hamlin And Lisa Rinna Q&A
Celebrity husband and wife Harry Hamlin and Lisa Rinna dish on how they conquered everything from TV and movies to Broadway, and share their secrets to maintaining a successful marriage and family under the bright lights of Hollywood. (Room B)

1:45-2:00PM
L.A. Dance Co. Intermission
Come watch this LA dance troupe heat up the dance floor. (Room A)

2:00-2:20PM
“The Force Experience” Saber Show W/ The Saber Guild (Wizard Arena)

2:00-2:45PM
Buffyfest Q&A With Nicholas Brendon And Kelly Donovan
“Buffy The Vampire Slayer” star Nicholas Brendon (Xander Harris) sits down with his on and off-screen twin brother Kelly Donovan to take fan questions about life during and after the pop culture phenomenon. (Room A)

Breaking Into Comics With Phil Jimenez And Alé Garza (ROOM B)
Fan favorites Phil Jimenez (Wonder Woman; Astonishing X-Men) and Alé Garza (Superman/Batman) team up to give out their tips on refining your art, pitching to publishers, and any other sound advice they can think of about working in comics.

2:45-3:00PM
Jedi Elvis Intermission
Eric Cajiuat is…“Jedi Elvis”- an Elvis tribute artist who specializes in Elvis songs with Star Wars-themed parody lyrics. Catch him and his band The Rebel Alliance as they perform “Death Star Rock,” “Viva Mos Eisley,” “In The Desert” and more. (Room A)

3:00-3:45PM
Sound Of Musical Interlude With Ethan Van Sciver
The halls are alive with the sound of…“music.” Ethan Van Sciver (Flash: Rebirth) invites you to spend the hour trapped in a small room discussing cannibalism, Wolverine, deviancy and all manner of filth and disease through the art of song. Not since Liberace has anyone tickled the ivories with such aplomb. Well, Richard Marx was good… but Ethan is good too! Come and see! (Room A)

Smallville Q&A W/ Alaina Huffman And John Schneider
“Smallville” stars Alaina Huffman (Black Canary / Dinah Lance) and John Schneider (Jonathan Kent) answer fan questions about the popular TV series, and discuss their newest TV conquests. (Room B)

3:45-4:00PM
Jedi Elvis Intermission
Eric Cajiuat is…“Jedi Elvis”- an Elvis tribute artist who specializes in Elvis songs with Star Wars-themed parody lyrics. Catch him and his band The Rebel Alliance as he performs “Death Star Rock,” “Viva Mos Eisley,” “In The Desert” and more. (Room A)

4:00-4:45PM
Batman And Robin Q&A W/ Adam West, Burt Ward, Julie Newmar And Lee Meriwether
The ’60s Dynamic Duo reteams with their former first ladies for the 45th anniversary of the original hit show. Don’t miss this one-of-a-kind Q&A, where Batman and Robin drop their masks and talk about their lady co-stars, the villains they faced and the wild nights after the show! (Room A)

Storytelling With Michael Golden
No matter if you’re a writer, artist or a reader of comics, come for this sit-down with one of the most renowned storytellers in the business, Michael Golden, as he tells you a few tricks of the trade that will help you no matter what type of story you tell or enjoy, in whatever medium. It’s a rare opportunity to talk with the co-creator of X-Men Rogue, and groundbreaking penciler on such projects as Bucky O’Hare, The ’Nam, Micronauts, G.I. Joe, and much more. (Room B)

4:45-5:00PM
Jedi Elvis Intermission
Eric Cajiuat is…“Jedi Elvis”- an Elvis tribute artist who specializes in Elvis songs with Star Wars-themed parody lyrics. Catch him and his band The Rebel Alliance as he performs “Death Star Rock,” “Viva Mos Eisley,” “In The Desert” and more. (Room A)

5:00-5:45PM
Tricia Helfer Q&A (Room A)
Tricia Helfer – also known as humanoid Cylon ‘Number Six’ on the critically acclaimed sci-fi series “Battlestar Galactica”- is making a rare appearance at the Anaheim Comic Con, so don’t miss your chance to chat with this multi-talented actress and model!

Wizard Writing School: Screenwriting W/ Adam Glass, Mike Benson And Zeb Wells
When they aren’t screenwriting for hit TV shows, Mike Benson (“Entourage”), writer/producer Adam Glass (“Supernatural”), and Zeb Wells (“Robot Chicken”) are writing your favorite comics. Get your questions together for this all-star panel, as they dish on making it in the industry. (Room B)

6:00-6:45PM
Kids Costume Contest
Bring kids 10 and under for this special event with great prizes just for families and the youngsters. (Room A)

6:45-8:30PM
Costume Contest
Get your best costume together and come on down to Wizard World’s Anaheim Comic Con costume contest for huge prizes and some of the craziest outfits you’ll see this weekend. (Room A)

7:00-9:00PM
Matt Cohen’s Smodcastle
Join Matt Cohen and a special celebrity guest host as they ponder and pontificate the finer points of existence… and generally offend a whole bunch of people. The show records live in front of an audience every Wednesday at The SmodCastle in Hollywood, and is brought to you by the SmodCast Network and Golden Apple Comics. It can be heard for free each Saturday at Smodcast.com and iTunes. For mature audiences only. (Room B)

Sunday

11:00AM-5:00PM
Neko Press Comics Presents: Live Art Demo With Billy Martinez
Witness a masterpiece in the making from start to finish with a cutting-edge painting exhibition. Join Billy Martinez (Wildflower; The Deepest Dark) as he pulls back the curtain on his creative process, transporting you directly into his art studio with a musically-infused live art demo. (Booth 571)

11:00-11:45AM
Special Presentation: Stan Lee, Neal Adams And Disney Take On The Holocaust
Comic book legends Stan Lee and Neal Adams have teamed up with Disney Educational Productions and Holocaust historian Dr. Rafael Medoff to create “They Spoke Out: American Voices of Protest Against the Holocaust,” a series of motion comics that are changing the way the Holocaust is taught in the United States. On Sunday, May 1, we will commemorate international Holocaust Remembrance Day with Dr. Medoff presenting the first episode of this remarkable new series, narrated by Lee and illustrated by Adams. “Messenger from Hell” tells the amazing story of a Polish courier who smuggled himself into a Nazi death camp, and then made his way to the U.S. to alert Americans about the genocide. (Room A)

The Guild Q&A
“The Guild” stars Amy Okuda, Vincent Caso and Robin Thorsen sit down to talk about the popular web series, and dish about all of the behind-the-scenes drama that you never saw on-screen.

12:00-12:15PM
“THE Force Experience” Saber Show W/ The Saber Guild (WIZARD Arena)

12:00-12:45PM

Video Game Music Composition With Kevin Sherwood
(Room A)

Mike Grell Q&A
The “X-Men” and “Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace” star engages fans in this one-of-a-kind Q&A, where he discusses his extensive film biography and his evolution to genre icon. (Room B)

1:00-1:45PM
Digital Art School W/ Greg Horn
Superstar Marvel and DC artist Greg Horn (Blackest Night covers) leads a discussion on digital art and
takes you through his creative process. (Room A)

Con Costuming With The Rebel Legion
The Rebel Legion costuming group shares their tips, skills and ideas on how to build and improve your comic con costumes. Whether you’re a Jedi, Rebel Pilot, Trooper, or Princess, they will share their knowledge on how to make sure your costume is the best. (Room B)

2:00-2:45PM
Ray Park Q&A
The “X-Men” and “Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace” star engages fans in this one-of-a-kind Q&A, where he discusses his extensive film biography and his evolution to genre icon. (Room A)

Wizard Art School With Bill Sienkiewicz
Join Eisner Award winning artist Bill Sienkiewicz (Batman: The Widening Gyre covers), as he gives an insiders’ look at his art processes, and gives advice on his personal do’s and don’ts of the trade to new creators interested in sequential storytelling. (Room B)

3:00-3:30PM
Split Decision Improv Group

Anaheim Comic Con is the fourth stop on Wizard World’s 2011 North American tour, which to date has 13 events scheduled. Hours are Friday, April 29, 5-9 p.m., Saturday, April 30, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, May 1, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Tickets are available in advance online at www.wizardworld.com/anaheim.html at a savings over tickets purchased at the door. Advance adult single-day tickets are $25 ($30 on site); three-day weekend tickets are $45 ($50 on site), and tickets are free for children age 10 and under when accompanied by a paid adult (limit two children per adult). VIP packages with special entry and exclusive items are also available.

About Wizard World:
Wizard World is a producer of pop culture and multimedia conventions across North America that markets movies, TV shows, video games, technology, toys, social networking/gaming platforms, comic books and graphic novels. It has the rights to the names, marks, domains, customer lists and production rights for a portfolio of pop culture and multimedia conventions.

For the most recent event information please visit www.wizardworld.com and become an Anaheim Comic Con Fan on Facebook.

Wizard World Miami Comic Con 2011 Programming Schedule Released

BuffyFest at Miami Comic Con 2011

Press Release:

‘Buffyfest,’ ‘Batman,’ Julie Benz, Billy Dee Williams, Scott Thompson Panels Plus Fan Groups Parade, ‘Are You Smarter Than A Ghostbuster?’ Highlight Miami Comic Con Programming

‘Secrets of Pro Wrestling,’ Wizard Spotlights, ‘Wizard School’ and Costume Contests Also On Tap February 26-27 at Miami Airport Convention Center (MACC)

MIAMI, February 10, 2011 – Wizard World Miami Comic Con today announced its diverse programming schedule, featuring unique celebrity Q&A’s, movie screenings, game shows, artist schools and more for the event, set for Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 26-27 at the Miami Airport Convention Center.

Some of the highlights include:

* Rare Q&A panels with Scott Thompson and Julie Benz , as well as popular Comic Con guests Billy Dee Williams, Adam West and Burt Ward
* “Are You Smarter than a Ghostbuster” featuring Wizard World’s favorite Ghostbuster, Ernie Hudson
* “Buffyfest” with Nicholas Brendon and “Vampire Diaries” with Clare Kramer and Mercedes McNab
* Troopers, knights, Ghostbusters and other groups take over the Convention floor with a parade of fan groups
* Saturday evening programming for adults only, 300 Brigade Villains Unite Show and the Bagged and Boarded “Smodcast”
* Wizard Art School and Q&A’s featuring leading artists like Bill Sinkiewicz, Mike Grell, Phil Jimenez, Alé Garza, Michael Golden, Greg Horn and others
* The popular adult costume contest and fun kids costume contest with great prizes

Miami Comic Con programming will take place in Room A and Room B at the Miami Airport Convention Center, and is included with admission to the event. Seating for panels is strictly limited and available on a first come first serve basis and each room will be cleared between panels. The full schedule is below:

Saturday

11:30AM-12:00PM
Exposed: Secrets Of Professional Wrestling
Wrestlers Kevin Nash, Candice Michelle and Angela Fong give fans the low down on what’s real and what’s not in the world of professional wrestling. (Room B)

12:00-12:30PM
Julie Benz Q&A
As a star of hit shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Dexter” and “No Ordinary Family,” Benz talks to fans about her extensive career, ups and downs in the industry and her thoughts on the new generation of sci-fi and fantasy on television. (Room A)

1:00-1:45PM
Billy Dee Williams Q&A
Lando lands Miami Comic Con, as the coolest man in Star Wars history sits down to take fan questions. (Room A)

Filipe Andrade Unleashed
Andrade dishes on his new X-Men project: X-Men Unleashed, and offers tips about sustaining a career in comics whether you live in Manhattan or Siberia. (Room B)

2:00-2:15PM
Groups Of The Con Parade
Join troopers, knights, Ghostbusters and more, as they parade around the convention floor.

2:00-2:45PM
Buffyfest With Nicholas Brendon
Buffy’s “Xander Harris” sits down to take fan questions about life during and after the pop culture phenomenon. (Room A)

The Cutting Edge W/ Bill Sienkiewicz, David Mack And J. David Spurlock
Innovators Bill Sienkiewicz, David Mack, and J. David Spurlock discuss the wilder side of comics art. (Room B)

3:00-3:30PM
Are You Smarter Than A Ghostbuster? With Ernie Hudson
Think you know GHOSTBUSTERS? Go head-to-head with Mr. “Winston Zeddemore” himself, as the Orlando Ghostbusters test your movie knowledge of the 1984 classic. (Room A)

Tex: The Art Of Mark Texeira
The legendary Ghost Rider, Sabertooth, Wolverine artist talks with award-winning author J. David Spurlock (Room B)

4:00-4:45PM
Batman And Robin W/ Adam West And Burt Ward
The original ’60s Dynamic Duo reteams for this one-of-a-kind Q&A, where Batman and Robin drop their masks and talk about their lady co-stars, the villains they faced and the wild nights after the show!
(Room A)

Wizard Spotlight: Jim Starlin
Join award-winning Warlock and Captain Marvel writer-artist Jim Starlin, as he hosts a crash-course in comic writing. (Room B)

4:45-5:00PM
Miami Ballroom Dancers
Come watch this Miami dance troupe heat up the dance floor with an amazing cha-cha routine. (Room A)

5:00-5:45PM
Behind The Scenes Of “danny Husk: The Hollow Planet
Scott Thompson (“The Kids in the Hall”) and Stephan Nilson (President of Frozen Beach Studios) will take you behind the scenes and into the pages of their newest graphic novel “Danny Husk: The Hollow Planet.” At the Q&A panel, several lucky attendees will win an autographed copy of “Danny Husk: The Hollow Planet,” the signed CGC preview of the OGN and a CGC certified autographed photo of Scott Thompson.

Between The Lines W/ Alé Garza
Fan-favorite artist Alé Garza takes fans on an artistic tour of his style and storytelling. (Room B)

6:00-6:30PM
Kid’s Costume Contest
Bring any kids 10 and under for this special event with great prizes just for families and the youngsters. (Room B)

6:30-8:30PM
Costume Contest
Get your best costume together and come on down to Wizard’s Miami Comic Con costume contest for huge prizes and some of the craziest outfits you’ll see this weekend. (Room B)

9:00-9:45PM
The 3000 Brigade Presents: The Almost Got Em’ – Villains Unite Show!
This show is a parody of all aspects of convention, video game, comic, and anime fandom life. This time the 3000 Brigade will battle formidable foes, have sexy girls dances that interrupt everything, and of course ROCK YOUR SOCKS OFF in their sixth Spectacular Show! So be prepared to have your eyes and ears assaulted by the finest bunch of Cosplay/Comic Entertainers this side of the Mississippi. WARNING: This show can be crude, rude, explicit, and just plain wrong, so if you are easily offended please find something else to do at this fantastically awesome convention! (Room A)

10:00-11:00PM
Bagged And Boarded Smodcast W/ Matt Cohen And Branden Creecy
Join Matt Cohen, his friend Brendan Creecy and a special celebrity guest host, as they ponder and pontificate the finer points of existence…and generally offend a whole bunch of people. WARNING: Leave the kiddies at home; this program contains explicit content and is for adult audiences only! (Room A)

Sunday

11:00-11:45AM
Wizard Spotlight: Denise Crosby
Starring as “Tasha Yar” on “Star Trek: The Next Generation”, Crosby dishes on her early exit from the series, her memories of the first episodes and how “Next Generation” continues to endure.

Who Wants To Be On A Reality Show?! Hosted By Jarrett “The Defuser” Crippen
Have you ever wanted to be on a reality show? Are you curious as to what the producers are looking for? Come get inside tips about reality shows and what it takes to win from the winner of Stan Lee’s “Who Wants to be a Superhero?” Season II. The Defuser (Jarrett Crippen) will talk about and answer questions regarding the audition process, competition, living conditions and other topics related to his show and reality shows in general. (Room B)

12:00-12:45PM
Buffyfest With Clare Kramer And Mercedes Mcnab
McNab and Kramer talk about their days as “Harmony” and “Glory” in “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” (Room A)

Phil Jimenez: Breaking Into Comics
The School of Visual Arts instructor and long-time comic pro covers the dos and don’ts on pitching yourself to comic companies and editors. (Room B)

1:00-1:45PM
Ray Park Q&A
The “X-Men” and “Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace” star engages fans in this one-of-a-kind Q&A, where he discusses his extensive film biography and his evolution to genre icon. (Room A)

Storytelling With Michael Golden
No matter if you’re a writer, artist or a reader of comics, come for this sit-down with one of the most renowned storytellers in the business, Michael Golden, as he tells you a few tricks of the trade that will help you no matter what type of story you tell or enjoy, in whatever medium. It’s a rare opportunity to talk with the co-creator of X-Men Rogue, and groundbreaking penciler on such projects as Bucky O’Hare, The ’Nam, Micronauts, G.I. Joe, and much more. (Room B)

2:00-2:45PM
Between The Lines With Mike Grell
The legendary comics icon behind classic Legion of Super-Heroes Tales and Warlord talks about his tips of the trade and shares his secrets from making it in comics. (Room A)

3:00-3:45PM
Wizard’s Digital Art School With Greg Horn
Superstar Marvel and DC artist Greg Horn (Blackest Night covers) leads a discussion on digital art and takes you through his creative process. (Room A)

Miami Comic Con is the second stop on Wizard’s 2011 North American tour, which to date has 13 events scheduled. Hours are Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 27, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.. Tickets are available in advance online at www.wizardworld.com/miami.html at up to a 20% savings over tickets purchased at the door. Advance adult single-day tickets are $25 ($30 on site); two-day weekend tickets are $40 ($45 on site), and tickets are free for children age 10 and under when accompanied by a paid adult (limit two children per adult). VIP packages with special entry and exclusive items are also available.

CA – TMNT at the SModcastle

Special guest Kevin Eastman - Creator of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Owner of Heavy Metal – appears on the Bagged & Boarded podcast on Wednesday January 19, 2011 at 8pm.

Buy tickets here!

SModcastle
6468 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA, 90038

CA – Pilot Season 2010

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Press Release:

Top Cow Productions, Inc. wants your votes for Pilot Season 2010, and to ensure fans can be educated voters, they are offering readers the opportunity to read all the contenders for this year’s Pilot Season for free.  In addition, the publisher invites fans to join them at this week’s Bagged and Boarded LIVE! at the SModCastle in Los Angeles to hear their pleas.
 
Up until the end of the voting period on November 30, 2010, 39 Minutes, Asset, Crosshair, Forever, and 7 Days From Hell will be available for free through many of Top Cow’s digital distribution partners including Wowio, MyDigitalComics.com, DriveThruComics.com, with more to come, as well as through select comic book and pop culture news sites like Comic Book Resources and Newsarama.
 
To further make their case, Asset writer and Top Cow publisher Filip Sablik, Crosshair writer Jeff Katz, Forever creator and Top Cow President Matt Hawkins and 7 Days From Hell writer Rob Levin will join Bagged and Boarded’s Matt Cohen and Brendan Creecy at the SModCastle (6468 Santa Monica Blvd, Los Angeles, CA).  Tickets to the show are available for purchase here: http://smodcastle.com/tickets.html.  If fans are unable to attend the live show, the show will be available online shortly after its recording, or fans can head to the Top Cow YouTube page for video pleas from the creators themselves.
 
Polling stations are now set up at the Top Cow site (www.topcow.com) with additional polling stations to appear on various comics news sites, blogs and social media platforms.  Readers can vote multiple times a day up until the polls close on November 30, 2010.
 
Pilot Season is an annual initiative Top Cow began in 2007 that borrows its concept from the television industry: “Pilots” are submitted for consideration to be “picked up for a season,” except instead of TV executives deciding their fates; it’s the fans who decide by voting online. 
 
Previous winners of Pilot Season include: Cyblade, Velocity, Twilight Guardian, and Genius.  Velocity can currently be found at your local comic book shop shelves, with Twilight Guardian and Genius debuting in 2011.
 
For more information on Pilot Season and to vote, go to www.topcow.com