Sonic Cinema

Sounds, Visions and Insights by Brian Skutle

The problem with being a geek at Dragon*Con is…there’s so much to take in. You have to pick and choose the panels you want to go to carefully, and chances are, you’ll miss out on a lot of stuff you would’ve liked to see.

This year, I felt the geek’s burden pretty hard. Sometimes time slots were 3-4 panels deep when it came to events of interest. And that’s not even including time to hit the Walk of Fame, Dealer Rooms, and taking in the sights of Dragon*Con. That’s part of why it’s a Catch-22 when certain celebs (such as “Buffy’s” James Marsters, “V’s” Laura Vandervoort, and stunt master Ray Park) cancel- it’s disappointing when personal faves and people I wanted to see cancel, but it thins out the panel “musts.” This is part of the reason why next year, I’m going hotel.

All that being said, onto Day 3…

Day 3: Sunday, September 5

After the stress involved with my mom and the driving arrangements Saturday night, we all decided that the best course of action would be for Ron & I to drive down separately from my mom. Very advantageous, since we also decided to don the Jay and Silent Bob costumes once again…

…Partly for our first idea of the day. The day before I had suggested that it might be fun to stand outside of a nearby liquor store (right across from the Sheraton) and see what happens photo-wise.

After 90 minutes of doing that (and thank God that place is closed on Sunday), we had become cult icons of the Con. People stopped to take our picture. People did double-takes, and doubled-back to give us their approval. We got a lot of pics taken with other people (including a Jersey native and a woman in a Mooby’s shirt), and even were asked to do a video intro for one woman’s podcast. We also got a bit more into character. True, Ron seemed to have way too much fun smacking me and dropping the F-bomb, but it felt like performance art in a way. Now if only that damned Silent Bob would put away his Blackberry… πŸ˜‰

At about 11:30 or so, Ron and I left the store to go walking. Our first big “must” panel didn’t start until 2:30, so we did some Dealer walking and hit the Walk of Fame. Sadly, the line for Summer Glau was a bit too long for me to get into, and was tightly regulated. She was one of two autograph gets I didn’t, well, get this year I’d wanted to (the other was her onscreen brother Sean Maher).

I did make my Top 10 collection more complete, however, by meeting and getting autographs from “Firefly’s” Jewel Staite (just as lovely and sweet as Kaylee is), “Futurama’s” Billy West (Fry; I also reserved an autograph for John DiMaggio, who was ill at the time), Shawnee Smith (who I knew best from the “Saw” films, and I got my picture taken with), and Kane Hodder, whose performances as Jason range in films both good (“Part VII: The New Blood”) and bad (“Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan”).

Not only did I get my picture taken with Hodder, but I got two pics with his autograph- the second with a stuntman friend of his who’s the only person Jason has ever killed twice- and he kindly asked me why I was oxygen. When I told him, it was great to hear him talk about his own experiences away from the hockey mask. This wouldn’t be the first surprise Hodder had in store for me this weekend. Ron & I also had eyes for going in on an autograph of “Superman Returns'” Brandon Routh for a friend, but while I can justify the price of some of these, others are just too high. Sadly, that’s how it went with Routh’s.

After hitting the dealer rooms again, where Ron tried again to look for just the right shirt for a dear friend of ours, we had to hustle up a floor in order to make it to the 2:30 panel with Stan Lee. Yes, THAT Stan Lee. He was only onstage for roughly 30-40 minutes, but he hit on a lot of topics, from his Marvel cameos to how he felt about Spidey’s organic webshooters in the Raimi films to his new series he’s writing for the creators of Archie comics. I didn’t get a chance to meet him in person, and didn’t have the cojones to ask him a question, but it was a truly special and entertaining panel to see…

…But remarkably, not my favorite of the day. That belonged to the 4pm panel of Billy West, John DiMaggio, and Phil LaMarr, who were here to discuss “Futurama,” which just came back with new episodes on Comedy Central this summer. Yeah, it was a royal pain in the ass to get seated (crowd control can be tricky at Dragon*Con), but once those three got rolling, and the questions started coming, it was worth the hassle. I’m so glad these guys are back voicing characters they clearly love, and their answers to the audience questions were just as informative and entertaining as they have been on commentaries for the show. Between this and the “Firefly” craziness on Saturday, it’s hard to say which panel I enjoyed most this year…

…That’s not to say there’s such a thing as *too much* fun on a D*C panel. Not only did the “Futurama” panel start late, it ended late, which normally wouldn’t bother me, except it made life difficult for Ron & I as we broke off from my mom- who stopped by the Walk of Fame- to head back over to the Marriott for a panel with Routh. It was already in process when we walked in (maybe 5-10 minutes or so), but we set up the camera, sat down, and listened in as Routh took questions on everything from “Superman Returns” to working with Kevin Smith to his wife’s exploits on season four of “Dexter” to his recent forays into comic book adaptations since “Superman.” Admittedly, it was probably the driest panel I saw tone-wise, but it certainly gave me more admiration for Routh.

After Routh’s panel, Ron and I packed up our purchases and the camera at the car, and headed back over to the liquor store for more fun and photos. We weren’t disappointed, and neither were the people who came to see us. Well, there was this one group- including two lovely ladies- dressed as the characters from “NCIS,” but the less said about that, the better. Needless to say, it was not the way we had hoped to end the day, but we have a lot of new ideas to try out next year…

To be concluded…

Brian Skutle
www.sonic-cinema.com

Read Brian’s Second Blog for Dragon*Con 2010 here.

Read Brian’s First Blog for Dragon*Con 2010 here.

Read Brian’s Blog for Dragon*Con 2009 here.

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