Something Wicked-Awesome This Way Comes

Okay, so it’s probably not wicked-awesome, but I’ve decided to schedule some of my reoccurring posts live Covering Vinyl, Crossovers I Want To See, Toy Commercial Tuesday, Trade Post, Ad It Up, Supergroup Showcase and I’m repurposing Sketchbook Sunday as Sketchbook Saturday. I’m also looking to start reviewing records on a weekly basis, just because I love talking about music. I’m a big fan of making lists and crossing things of said lists, so this is the best way for me to keep up on the posts I intend to do. Of course, you’ll also be seeing the usual Real Housewives, Real World, Jersey Shore, Mad Men and Big Bang Theory posts, plus a few potential other returning favorites and new shows on the corresponding days. Of course, I’ll still be watching movies and random other TV shows and sharing my opinions on those here and there.

I’ve also been toying around with the idea of a weekly post called The Perks Of Being A Freelancer, that won’t just cover the perks, but some of the ins and outs of making it as a freelancer nowadays. I’m going to see how August goes and then move on from there. I might also be getting another writer or two in the near future to make the name of the website really make sense (can one monkee be united?). So, keep your eyes peeled, tell your friends and leave some comments on what you might like to see on the site that I’ve done in the past and am no longer doing, or brand new kinds of posts you think might work. I appreciate the feedback.

I’m Sure SDCC Is Rad, But So’s The Met

Okay, so New York’s Metropolitan Museum Of Art probably isn’t as cool as SDCC, but it had a few things going for it. One, no weirdos in costumes. Two, it didn’t have that familiar con smell to it. And three, I got to see some cool art, which included sketches by one of the most famous artists of all time, some pop culture relics and a giant hall filled with armor, so it wasn’t TOO far off. The above picture is of the American Wing of the museum, which was featured on Project Runway last season (I don’t remember it, but the missus does, which lead me to searching for this pic). We kicked things off with a tour through the incredibly boring American Wing which mostly had furniture. Holy shit, you guys, looking at old chairs is boring. Anyway, I eventually ducked into the musical instrument section where I saw some crazy old instruments, heard some incredibly pretentious teenagers discuss the intricacies of outdated instruments and got to see two pieces of musical history. I love jazz. When I started getting into it, I thought big band guys like Benny Goodman were squares, but as I delved in I found that he was a sick musician whose orchestra could swing like no other. His Live At Carnegie Hall two disc set is absolutely worth checking out for anyone interested in the man or swing or jazz. Anyway, I was pretty excited to see Goodman’s clarinet on display. According to the sign next to it, it’s the one he has in the picture which was taken just a few days before he died. The other piece of popular music history on display was Ringo Starr’s Golden Drum which was a gift given to him by the Ludwig drum company in 1964. It’s not super interesting, it’s not like the 70 year old Beatle actually played the thing, but hey, I still haven’t been to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame yet, so I’ll take what I can get. Here’s another pic. We didn’t actually go down and walk through the Hall Of Armor (I have no idea if that’s what it’s called, it just makes sense because, you know, it’s filled with armor) but I snapped this pic from above mostly because the armors look awesome and it reminded me of how Jim Lee drew the Batcave in All-Star Batman And Robin The Boy Wonder. I want to see a movie set just in this wing where these bad boys come to life and kick the hell out of each other. There was also a pretty big showcase of Picasso artwork that was kind of whatever. I guess I’m not really into the man’s art or at least I don’t want to look at it with tons of other slow and smelly (hey, I guess it is like a con) people in small rooms. There was an interesting display at the very end of the circuit with drawings Picasso did. The man sure loved to draw naked women. My favorite piece that I saw was this one, I can’t remember the exact name of it though, but it’s something like “A Former Patron and His Ingenue Visit An Old Artist.”I got a kick out of this one because my reading of it is that Picasso’s poking fun at himself, showing himself drawing these huge naked people while his stuffy old patron shows up and is most likely embarrassed and confused by what had come over the artist. Hey, I just found a link on the Met’s site, the piece is called “Patron and his Retinue Visiting the Studio of an Old Painter,” check out more info here. The last picture I snapped, I wasn’t supposed to. It’s a cartoon for The New Yorker by artist Barney Tobey (you can read his 1989 obit here to learn more about the man). I’m not sure if you can read the caption, but one well-dressed woman is saying “Keeping it dusted must drive them crazy!” to another well-dressed woman. It’s kind of meta, but it was fun.

We also checked out the American Woman fashion installment, which was kind of cool, though, again, not really my thing along with a collection of photographs by Leon Levinstein which I loved. He basically walked around New York in the 60s and 70s and snapped pictures. They’re amazing. Nowadays we have reality television to give us a look into peoples’ lives, but back then, all there was was guys like Levinstein snapping pictures on the streets. I loved it. It helps that I’m fascinated by New York’s long history, but he had a great eye for snapping pics that really capture people in their natural element. Absolutely worth checking out if you’re in the area.

Wizard World Philly Weekend

Last night Em and I got back from Wizard World Philly and, as always, it was a trip.



After picking up Justin and Rickey , we got to the show Friday morning and got right to work after getting some lunch after checking in. The highlight of my day was sort of moderating a Q&A panel with Tom Savini, a man whose work I’ve been enjoying since I started watching horror movies. I say “sort of” because Tom handled the thing pretty much on his own while I struggled with a laptop. For anyone in attendance, I swear I’m slightly more adept at computers than I appeared at the panel. Tom was a great sport though and once we got everything up and running he showed off the next installment of Chill Factor, which was a story he wrote and directed and had the students that work with him to learn filmmaking do the rest. It was pretty rad, so keep an eye out for it. Em was even nice enough to video tape the whole thing, so maybe I’ll get it up on YouTube at some point. I didn’t, however, get a picture with him because I was running around so much.

Later that day there was a big toy industry panel that was super interesting, just like last years’. Look for more information on that in ToyFare. Friday night we grabbed lunch at a place called the Field House (you can actually spend the full weekend at WWP without going outside if you want to because so many things are connected around there). After that we headed down the hotel bar and had a good time. It’s always fun to sit there and see who you’ll run into. I ended up talking to guys like Shane Davis, Dennis Calero and Matt Serra, a fighter who was super nice. Plus, you always see random people walking through the lobby.

After a late night we got up and headed back over to the convention center. If you guys didn’t hear, Jesse Falcon showed off some potential future Marvel Legends for 2010 at his panel (X-Force Warpath, Lady Bullseye and Maddrox!). It was rad getting a peek at those and we’ll be getting more info at SDCC.

After that I headed over to Emma Caufield’s booth and escorted her to her panel room which was packed. For those of you who might not know, she’s Anya from Buffy. She did a great job and everyone really seemed to have a great time with it. As a Buffy fan, I was one of those people having a great time. I’m really hoping that the future projects she talked about come out quickly.

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Right after that we had a really great Customizing 101 panel with Matt “Iron Cow” Cauley, Bobby Torres (why can’t I find a link?!) and Pierre “Airmax” Kalenzaga. I learned a lot about toy customizing and I really want to give it a go. Now I need a studio. Or a man cave. I’m still hoping for man cave.

But, the big event of the night for us toy guys was the second annual ToyFare Hall of Fame awards. It was great seeing most of last year’s winners along with this years’ (Jesse Falcon, Tim Bruckner and Aaron Archer from Hasbro for Transformers, Randy Bowen couldn’t make it). Justin did a great job with the presentation and I muddled through with my Power Point presentation. I think it went well and everyone was really happy.

That night Wizard threw a party along with Kaiju Big Battle at a place called The Trocadero that was a 130 years old. As you may be able to see from the picture we were up in the balcony looking down on the fight. It was pretty crazy, though a little slow. Tired from standing all day, a few of us migrated into the adjoining room where karaoke ended up taking place. But it took a while. A bunch of the people we were with filled out the slips to sing and we were sitting there waiting and the room got PACKED. Then some guy said something about Skeletor. I had no idea what that was about until freaking Skeletor showed up. This guy was great, but what no one knew was that it was a gong show. So, you got up to sing and he’d gong you. Sam got gonged unceremoniously early which was BS, but Justin, Alex and Jim all got up there and rocked the mic. I missed a full on, all dude version of “I Am The Man Who Will Fight For Your Honor” because Em and I had to bolt, but it was worth it cause I think I would have passed out if I stayed in that room any longer. Check out the slideshow below for some incredibly blurry photos of the creepy stairs up to the bar, the Kaiju battle, the karaoke area, Justin, Sam and Alex singing. Plus some shots of Skeletor. Maybe I’ll tell people I did all this in Photoshop.

After that we met back up in the lobby where I got to meet some more cool people, but the funniest thing was seeing a bunch of people who just got back from a wedding reception at about 12:30AM looking at Lou Ferrigno walking away and being absolutely shocked. I’m guessing they didn’t know anything about the con and that was a pretty awesome experience for them.

Sunday was slower because it didn’t last as long, which was good because I think most of us were pretty exhausted. Justin, Alex and I had a Twisted ToyFare Theatre panel that was a lot of fun. We got a lot of good questions and it’s funny because I’m starting to recognize the people that show up to the toy panels. I also plugged the blog after some cajoling, so hopefully one or two of you guys made your way over here and are liking the site.

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The highlight of the day though was getting a sketch by Steve Dillon. I am a huge, HUGE Preacher fan and got him to do a Jesse Custer, which was well worth the donation to Hero Initiative. Heck, I would have probably paid my last paycheck (don’t tell Em). I don’t think Em had ever seen me geek out that much, I was super psyched. After that we got our things together, I had yet another cheesesteak (with whiz, this time, it’s way better that way) and we made the long trek back through New Jersey.

All in all, it was hard work, but a ton of fun as cons tend to be. The people I talked to all seemed to have a good time and I’m looking forward to the next one.