Friday, December 25, 2009

Reviewing Old Christmas Tapes

Aside from the traditional fare that TV stations and cable show every year, such as Lifetime and Hallmark Channel's Totally Ridiculous Holiday Happy Endings Marathons, I review some of my old homemade DVDs or other Christmas specials.

Aside from the Grinch and Charlie Brown, I also have holiday specials from Billy and Mandy, My Life As A Teenage Robot, and Robot Chicken. I also have Little Drummer Boy and the Alistair Sim version of Christmas Carol, which don't seem to be on TV this year. I also have a ton of GSN reruns including Christmas shows from I've Got A Secret and What's My Line, but they can be seen anytime.

Anyway, I also started to look at which specials have the best stories. I saw Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, but I have to admit after Kris Kringle escaped from Burgermeister the story starts to fade out. We should have had Burgermeister tossed out of town by the kids who didn't have toys thanks to him, and their parents. For compelling stories, nothing beats the Grinch, Rudolph and Charlie Brown. That's why they're required viewing.

Cable TV , meanwhile, have their own ideas. It explains why Spike is running Bad Santa 24 hour a day, while TNT has A Christmas Story. It's too bad NBC is only allowed to show It's A Wonderful Life twice a year. Why not throw in a couple of cable showings on Lifetime, USA or even SyFy? It should really be in Turner Classic Movies.

Whedonistas, meanwhile, now swear that proper holiday fare are are both the "Amends" episode from Buffy and "Objects In Space" from Firefly, only because Jubal Early compares himself to Santa. Angel should have had a New Year's episode where some terrible thing was about to happen at the start of a New Year, only it gets defeated by too much vodka.

Afterwards, what happens on the 26th? Are holiday specials automatically obsolete? There's Boxing Day in the UK and Canada, and that's Leftover Christmas. I say you watch those specials through Sunday, especially in those areas where their NFL teams are not going to the playoffs (cough49erscoughRaiders,dammitcough).

So, I will look over as much as I can from my Xmas DVD collection, even though Saturday. If I saw the MST3K version of "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians", I should see the Cinematic Titanic version.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Live from's Cinematic Titanic

Now that Joel Hodgson and his gang has escaped from the TimeTube, they wondered what would the first thing they'd do.
Then it came to them: they would gather at a small theater in Los Angeles, mock a lousy movie, and charge people to watch.
Hey, it worked a few dozen times, but this time they'd also tape it for DVD.

It took ten months to get "East Meets Watts", aka "The Dynamite Brothers", from the premiere in San Francisco to a DVD that's one of the unsung stocking stuffers this Christmas season
I've already made a report of the premiere in San Francisco. A couple of days, I got the DVD version. The plot, such as it is, is about a guy from Hong Kong who comes to California to find his brother. He meets up with a groovy cat named Stud Brown, as they battle racist cops and assorted hoodlums.

They set up the five members of the CT gang with Trace Beaulieu, Joel and Mary Jo Pehl on the left, with J. Elvis (Josh to me) Weinstein and TV's Frank Coniff on the right. I think the final product is merging three shots together, but it works out great. I wish there were close-ups of the cast, or even the pre-movie entertainment such as Frank singing "Convoluted Man".

Now a list of some of the riffs I didn't mention last February:

Larry arrives in San Francisco, and meets an unwelcoming committee..
"Go back to China"
Trace: But I'm from Sweden!

Larry and Stud hitch a ride on a moving truck, but are joined by some rednecks. One of them is wearing a hat that says "LB"
J. Elvis: "The "LB" stands for "Leanin' Backwards"

Then, after a girl named Betty gives them a ride to L.A.
J. Elvis This is how people get laws named after them

A gang clobbers the bouncer at Smiling Man's Bar
Frank: People commit violence just to get in. That's how good the onion rings are.

J. Elvis' comment on Stud and his mute girlfriend:
I haven't seen this much chemistry since the Rufus Wainwright/Ellen Degeneres production of "Love Letters"

Larry surprised by more Chinese hoodlums:
Mary Jo: They got the egg drop on him

And other weird comments like:
"The Coen Brothers, no!"
"Forget it, Jake, it's the Asian District"
And yes, the Spit-Take Heard Round the World is included

It'll be the best 20 bucks you'll spend, except for District 9, and actually seeing Up In The Air and Princess and the Frog at full price.

Then again, for 25 bucks, you can see the Cinematic Titanic gang live at the Sketchfest at the Castro in San Francisco. They'll take on Danger at Tiki Island, another Hemisphere Pictures "movie". It's been pummeled a few times, which means the commentary will be broken-in. There's still The Alien Factor to do as well. The big news is that the gang will take their tour to New York City in April.
And since they made it everywhere, they'll make it there, too (instead of the other way around).

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Strange Mail from Los Angeles

A while ago, I mentioned that I wanted to see the Nov. 23rd taping of The Ellen Degeneres Show. I had to give up a ticket to Conan O'Brien to do it. Then, the people from Ellen informed me that taping had to be rescheduled. I casually asked if I could be in one of the tapings for December, but they said they were already sold out. Considering you get a bunch of stuff from those tapings, that made sense. Thus, I'll have to wait until they had an opening in 2010, which for me could be March depending on what they'll offer at the Paley Festival. April may not be possible because getting from Anaheim to Burbank without borrowing a car or basic knowledge of freeways would be too painful for most people.

That being said, look what I got yesterday....

They mailed this to me on the 18th, the day after its last taping for the year.
This, I think, is sort of surprising. I'm guessing the secretary just wanted to get the mailing done before the two-week break. It happens.
I left voice mail for the audience relations person for the show, and told her that if I can get to Burbank, I do plan to see the show. I also added a note to the Twitter page.
I mean, when was the last time a talk show sent someone a ticket to a taping that was rescheduled and a month too late?
Just in case someone doubts me, I'll keep it along with the ticket to the Comic-Con Dollhouse autograph session I wasn't allowed to be in because Fox miscalculated how many people would show up. That's why I want to go to the Wizard World event in Anaheim in April. I am hoping this time I'll actually exchange a sentence with Eliza Dushku, like most men would.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Movie Weekend

While people were scrambling for bargains, or running to see Avatar, I decided to take the back roads of movies, and try out some other films before I get roped into seeing James Cameron's comeback.
I saw three movies this weekend, and cost me just eleven bucks thanks to the Cinemark Early Bird Special, and getting inside a special sneak preview.
Earlier tonight, I saw Emily Blunt as The Young Victoria. I thought she did a fine job as the woman who would define the 19th century for England. They played up the love story with Prince Albert. However, there should have been more details about efforts to get her to agree to a "regency" where someone becomes the monarch until she's old enough. It was lacking in drama, but it told the Queen's story just fine...despite some embellishments. I really liked Jim Broadbent as William IV.

As for the weekend, I chose Up in the Air and Princess and the Frog. If The Hurt Locker goes back into release, I'll see that, too. I should have done that the first time a couple of months ago.
When Up in the Air was first released, a lot of people said it was a movie of the times. George Clooney plays Ryan, a guy who flies around the country to fire people. You can see why he loves this lifestyle because he's treated like a king with a ton of perks he's earned the hard way through frequent flier programs. His lifestyle is threatened by Natalie, played by Anna Kendrick. She prefers using teleconference to fire people by remote control. Ryan is told to let Natalie join him on his rounds to show her the ropes, and maybe learn about whether her way is the best way.
Along the way, Ryan meets Alex, played by Vera Farmiga. She, too, is a frequent flier, and they cross paths quite often.
It's interesting that while Ryan has no need for marriage or a basic home life, Natalie does, even though she's gung-ho about her process.
It's not long before Ryan wonders about his life, and whether he should make changes. This is especially true when he shows up for his sister's wedding in Wisconsin. Natalie also has her doubts when she actually has to fire people through a script that doesn't prepare her for every situation.
The movie is directed by Jason Reitman, who directed Juno a couple of years ago. It's been getting a lot of Oscar buzz. The movie's timeliness, and Clooney and Kendrick as the leads, help this movie work. We'll know for sure when awards season starts in a few weeks.

I was also interested in Princess and the Frog because it's Disney's return to traditional animation, as in not CGI or Pixar. So, how can you teel a familiar fairy tale in a new way? You raise the stakes, put the story in New Orleans, get some good songs that work better than you'd think, and some swerves to get the usual happy ending. It's not just about kissing a frog, but also about how hard work and faith can get a person ahead. Anoki Noni Rose, who was robbed big time by the Emmys for ignoring The Ladies No.1 Detective Agency, does a wonderful job as Tiana, while Bruno Campos is great at the Frog Prince Naveen. Keith David is really spooky as Dr. Facilier, the voodoo doctor who casts the dark spell. Louis, the trumpet-playing crocodile, is also a hoot, thanks to Michael-Leon Wooley providing the voice.
Among the songs, I liked "Almost There", which is about Tiana's plans to turn an old sugar mill into her restaurant. I expect the Saints to adopt that song through the NFL playoffs. If the Oscars are smart enough to bother looking for a "Best Song" this year, that should make the cut. The Golden Globes don't think so, but I bet 100 Avatar t-shirts got them to put that movie's "love song" in the final mix.

After that, I may give Avatar a try if I get one of those passes the Sacramento Bee is giving out. Of course, I'd have to wait until the new year to see it, but I wouldn't feel left out. If The Hurt Locker does start picking up awards, that will be next for me.

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Recession Christmas

Even though my year was just about OK, mainly thanks to the biggest fan interview I ever had, I am still reminded that our economy is not as cheery and bright as it should be.
It's not unusual to see a homeless guy or two sleep out in the cold just a few blocks away from my apartment. I remember seenig one just outside my complex just a few days ago.
Meanwhile, business at Downtown Plaza isn't as good as it used to be. I discovered just after I got back from the Serenity Salute last month that the Suncoast Video place was closing down. A few yards away, the Doubleday Book store was also closing. This comes on top of the news that the shopping center could be sold. I now people are migrating towards target and Walmart for stuff, but this is ridiculous. You wonder if the only part of downtown Sacramento that will have open stores will be Old Sacramento.

State budget cuts are also dimming the cheeriness of the holiday. Usually at Sutter's Fort, there is a tree that's decorated with ornaments. Not so this year. There's still a lit tree outside the Capitol, as it should be. That's for the tourists.

Well, there's still a week before the big day. Maybe something will happen that will surprise me. I hope so.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Family Horror Films

In between baking turkeys and pumpkin pies, and enjoying a really good football game between Stanford and Norte Dame, I decided to use up my Tower Theatre Movie-Lovers Pass to take in what could be contenders for Best Picture at the Oscars next year.
Both were about family, and dealing with situations that are scarier than Freddy Krueger, Jigsaw or Spiedi even trying to make a movie starring them.
They're also not exactly feel-good movies of the year, but are still worth your time.

The first is The Road, about a father and son trying to survive a post-apocalyptic road. Now, I have heard that it's very dark and depressing, but this isn't The Road Warrior. It's a realistic portrayal of how we'd revert back to being animals ten years after the world we know collapses in every way. Forget 2012, and its message of hope and convenient arks. This is what would really happen.
The cinematography is incredible, as it shows a world without animals, sunlight or hope. We see humans literally regress, and even resort to cannibalism. A Reaver would be sick to see something like this.

At the center of it all is the Man, played by Viggo Mortensen, and the Boy, sensitively played by Kodi-Smit-McPhee. They're trying to get to "the coast", hoping things will be better. The Man is just concerned about making sure they keep going. He's armed with a gun with only two bullets. It's used to defend themselves, but also as a last resort if they lose all hope. It's interesting the Boy has never known what the world was like before the disaster because he was born after it happened. He represents hope in a world that has none. He's there to make sure his dad doesn't lose his humanity.
Also, look for small but interesting roles by Charlize Theron and Robert Duvall. Even Garret Dillahunt, best known as Cromartie/John Henry on Terminator: Sarah Connor Chronicles, is there. I didn't recognize him in the movie.
This is based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy, also known for No Country For Old Men. It's a tough movie, but well worth your time.

As tweens and teens pack theaters showing the latest Twilight movie, their parents are checking out Precious, a movie that has received the seal of approval of Oprah Winfrey and several film festivals. Naturally, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. As most people know, it's about a pregnant 16-year old girl with a very difficult home life trying to survive. Again, it's a tough movie to see. The scenes between Gabourney Sibide and Monique are really tough. They play Precious and her mom Mary, respectively. Precious doesn't have a lot of ambitions because Mary makes sure she doesn't have any. All she cares about is that Precious go apply for welfare. She's very abusive, especially physically. Precious is also pregnant with her second her father...and still in junior high school.
When life gets too tough, Precious imagines herself living as a famous singer, or having a loving boyfriend. Those fantasies are much brighter that her harsh reality.

She finally gets help from a teacher an an alternative school. She's played by Paula Patton. While this part of the story may be a familiar plot to anyone who has seen similar movies, Patton does a great job as a woman who won't give up on anyone with potential. Inside the large downtrodden teenager, the teacher sees hope and potential.

When it first premiered in Los Angeles and New York, the movie houses were filled. he showing at the Tower was just about full as well, and I heard a lot of gasps from the crowd as the plot unfolded. Safe to say, Sibide and Monique are incredible as the mother and daughter, as in Patton.
You may have also heard Mariah Carey is in the movie, totally de-glamorized as Mrs. Weiss. She's also great here. If she wanted a movie career, she should have started with this rather than Glitter.

For the record, I will be looking for ligher fare are the parade of holidays movies starts its march. Up In The Air with George Clooney looks like a winner, and Disney's return to traditional animation, The Princess and the Frog, also looks like a winner only because in this version, one kiss won't be enough to solve everything (proof that they've learned something from Enchanted).

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

After the Salute Is Over...

It was a great three days in Los Angeles, although I wish it was a bit longer.
The Sereniy Salute attracted a lot of fans, but Creation Entertainment admits it's not as popular as it used to be. That's why any future con that doesn't include cast members from Twilight (aside from Bella, Edward and Jacob) will be bunched together into mega-conventions. That makes sense because you save money in the long run, and there's hope we can a Whedonverse con a year from now. This will be good news for Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible fans, or should be.

This was also my first experience with LAX for the first time since the Wolfram and Hart Revue. My difficulty in trying to get to my hotel made me miss Adam Baldwin (darn it!), but I think I should have scheduled an earlier flight to get more time to get to the con. If I can afford it next year, I will remember that. My hotel, a renamed Travelodge, was great. It was a bit fancier than my usual place, a Super 8 near Ralphs on Hollywood Boulevard, but it lacked a mini-fridge and microwave that Super 8 does provide.

I also found out there was a Metro Rail stop a half mile away, which solved my transit problems. I was able to go to Conan O'Brien and the Cartoon Dump revue with no worries about when my next ride was coming from.

Tonight Show Parking

Now a few words about Conan O'Brien....the studio at Universal isn't that big. I'd say it's the same size as Jay Leno's old digs. I was luck to get a seat above Andy Richter's podium, and a nice view of Taylor Lautner. Max Weinberg was back after he was with Springsteen for a few weeks. His band rocked the house again, including Pinder's "Hold That Note" trick. In fact, it was even better than when Conan was in San Francisco a couple of years ago.
I'll come back when I get a chance. I did ask for December 9th, but I'm guessing they won't choose my request this time. I could go standby, but I already asked for a ticket to Jimmy Kimmel for that date. When I found out William Shatner was coming in a couple of weeks, I had to jump at the chance. I'm already confirmed for Bonnie Hunt for the next day, followed by the Santaland Diaries.

It's also getting close to Christmas, and the major shopping places, especially the CityWalk and Hollywood and Highland have their Christmas tress ready to be lit. For me, I'll settle for the tree lighting ceremonies back home. I will say there are some incredible holiday trees near the Staples Center. If I had more time, I'd visit them, too.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Scrooge in 3-D Is Quite A Different Animal

Instead of seeing my 49ers disappoint me again, I decided to see the newest way to tell an old story...and to finally get rid of 15 dollars in Imax Cash.
In some ways, Robert Zemeckis structured his version of A Christmas Carol as a 3-D ride not unlike those you'd see at Universal Studios. I got that feeling when I saw the camera whoosh around Virtual London in 1843, and Scrooge whooshing around his past...and an unpleasant look at his future. The only different is your seat didn't move, but you felt like it was.
The real motion-capture the best way to retell a classic Christmas story? Maybe not, but you have to take steps to make it unforgettable, and measure up to previous ways to tell the story, whether it's Alistair Sim in the gold standard 1951 version, or Mr. Magoo in the '60's or George C. Scott's version on TV, or the one-man version that Patrick Stewart pulls off.

On that mission, Zemeckis pull this off in spades. If you want to see the definition of no Christmas spirit at all, it's how they desgined Mr. Scrooge. Right from the start, we see he has no heart or compassion. It does right now to the character detail: angry face, sharp nose, stooped posture. It's just incredible. I thought the design of Bob Cratchit was too Lord of the Rings-ish, but I did like how they drew Fred and Belle, Scrooge's lost love. They were also faithful to the original source, even bringing passages to life. Again, I thought it got out of hand in a couple of spots, namely the Christmas part at Fezziwig's (his wife's dancing, specifically), and how Scrooge gets chased all over London in his "future".
As for the spirits, Zemeckis reminds us about one fact about this's a ghost story. Therefore, we must have scares. The way they bring in Marley will really get you off your seat. Still, it's necessary in the major renovation of Scrooge's soul. They depict the Ghost of Christmas Past as an Irish flame, and Christmas Present as a jolly Scotsman.
There were parts of the movie that did remind me of other versions. The movie starts with the book itself, and its words, just like the 1951 version. There was also a nod to the 1970 musical, namely when Scrooge sees what could happen if he doesn't repent.

Given that, how does the star, Jim Carrey, do?
Well, it's too bad there's no Academy Award for voiceover work. The Golden Globes had its own version for Robin Williams for Aladdin, but it was probably to get him over there. After this, though, the Oscars should consider creating a new category, especially when animated films are getting more attention.
Carrey owns this movie. He is just incredible as Scrooge, Marley and the Spirits. He gives each one a unique character all there own. I was also impressed with the scene where Scrooge and Belle break up. You can see how Scrooge's voice and attitude change from the happy clerk at Fezziwig's to the hard-hearted man we know in the story. He's going to be as well-known as Sim, Magoo or Stewart every holiday season.

I saw this movie at the Esquire Imax for 15 bucks, which really isn't that bad if you compare it to a regular showing at a Cinemark or AMC movieplex. I would think it would cost at least nine bucks for the first showing, including 3-D fee, or 13 dollars for an evening showing. That's for a regular screen. If you want to see it close-up, Imax is your best bet.

I would not be surprised if this version of A Christmas Carol snags some Oscar nominations in a couple of months, or even battle Up and Coraline for Best Animated Movie. In fact, with a slew of movies this year, we may finally have five nominees in 2010.

Before the feature, they had a 3-D trailer for Avatar. It's basically the same as we've seen on TV or the internet. Somehow, I was under-whelmed by the special-effects of the trailer. It could also be due to the story: a soldier in a wheelchair uses an avatar to infiltrate the Navi so they can be "dealt with" in order to get a rare mineral. Some people have compared this to the plot in Ferngully: The Last Rainforest. They may be right, but I suspect people curious to know what the ultimate 3-D experience would be like will come see Avatar. The plot isn't going to excite them, even when the avatar-ed soldier decides not to go along with the plan after all. According to the trailer I saw, that guy will get some help.

Still, I am more inclines to see some plain 2-D movies like Precious, The Road, Up In The Air, and An Education. I'll also be looking forward to seeing the rest of Dollhouse, which seems to be the Road to Epitaph One these days.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

No Fun Without Dolls

It's been two weekends since Dollhouse closed down for November sweeps. It seems that Fox would get the same audience with fresh Dollhouse then it would with stale House and Bones reruns. Some may argue that it proves stale reruns are better than spending money on new dramas people aren't eager to see.
Of course, this would leave out one interesting fact....lack of promotion for said new drama. I still remember what ABC did to Pushing Daisies. It's easy to do when you're seeing another network do the same thing to another show.
In any case, the Friday reruns got Fox a higher audience, even more than the CW. Still, I bet the reruns got plenty of exposure thanks to Fox promotions.

Still, I am looking to an interesting start to my holiday season. I will be at the Serenity Salute, thanks to a free round trip thanks to Southwest, and a good discount staying at a Travelodge just a block away from the Marriott LAX hotel. I won't be able to squeeze in a trip to the Blank Theater to see Nick Brendon, our Xander, in a one-man holiday play. The first date I was hoping to go, the 21st, is sold out. So, I'll wait a bit longer.

What's ironic about this is that the guests are being more well-known for the shows they are doing now rather than Firefly. Morena Baccarin is now the "It" gal because she's the face of the Visitors on V 2010. Alan Tudyk is also on that show, but fans of another Whedon show are hoping he'll be back there, too. Nathan Fillion has Castle, which I am still reluctant to see just because I am still afraid it will get too Moonlighting for my tastes. Adam Baldwin will be back on Chuck, of course, and Mark Sheppard appears on lots of TV shows these days. While the classic space western is getting people to LAX in two weeks, their current jobs are also helping out with the turnout.

I am also guessing the new venue will mean a bigger room, and more people. That's why I spend the extra dough to get a reserved seat in the middle of the room. I have their autographs already, and I just want to see them in a comfortable vicinity. To see them up close and personal, there's always an extra fee.
I also hope Creation Entertainment remembers to mail my tickets to me this time. If not...again...I will have to show them my receipt.
Since I will there as a fan, not an official Whedonopolis correspondent, I will also try to get into the costume contest. I have an idea that can't possibly compete with the more expert contestants. I just hope to get in a protest for a good way.

After that, I did have plans to see a taping of Ellen Degeneres' show. That got stifled because they decided not to tape on the Monday before Thanksgiving. Thing is, I had to turn down a ticket to Conan O'Brien to see Ellen's show. I've re-applied for a ticket, but I doubt they'd give me a second chance. They might if I tried again next month. If that doesn't pan out, there is George Lopez's new show. I am sure they'll need audience members for that.
Thing is, I also found out Green Day has an outdoor concert for Carson Daly's show outside the Nokia Theater. While I REALLY like Green Day, I'll defer to the appropriate age group, namely people in the early 20's and their cool aunts and uncles who are about 15 years older.

I would consider this my last L-A visit for 2009....if not for Southwest deciding to sell $25 plane tickets to L-A. Since I am bored taking replacement holidays without a place to go, I had to go for this. Thus, I'll take a quick mid-week break early next month. I might go to Conan this time, and Bonnie Hunt (still missing from Sacramento TV). We'll see.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Don't Be Fooled! Christmas Time Is Here

When I was trying to put together a costume for the Serenity Salute in Los Angeles in three weeks, I found two interesting things at Sears in Sacramento.
First< i found a nice tan pair of Dickies Jeans for 25 dollars. Along with a Hawaiian shirt and a Dollhouse t-shirt, plus a Jayne knit cap, I can be Jayne Wash for the costume contest. Granted, I'll wind up dead last compared to people bringing a Kaylee Pink Dress from "Shindig" or even more elaborate stuff. But I would at least be interesting.

The other thing I found was....Christmas decorations in the hardware section. It already had an outdoor diplay that reminded me of the one I saw at a shopping center in Cabo two years ago. Well, Christmas is two months away, and I am sure that stores in Canada, from HBC to Canadian Tire, are already in the first stages of the holiday season. Of course, the season will get into full gear in just a few weeks. Here in the U-S, it starts after Thanksgiving. In Canada, it starts after the Grey Cup.
It's the same story at my neighborhood shopping center. Suncoast Video is selling an artificial tree that looks just like the weak real tree in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The ironic thing is that it's supposed to represent the fading traditional Christmas spirit compared to a sea of artificial trees. Now, you can get a replica of that tree. It's almost cooler than getting an action figure of Rudolph or Herbie.
A few doors down, the traditional calendar store is open. New Calendars are always a nice last-second gift. Of course, there were a couple of Buffy calendars, but only one Dr. Horrible calendar. That was a sign they were selling out fast. Meanwhile, calendars for Lost, Twilight and Gossip Girl are still plentiful.

I say some parents should just admit defeat, and tell their kids to dress like Santa or elves. That way, it proves you've got a jump on the upcoming holiday season.
As for me, I wish I could dress up like an Active with a Dollhouse protest t-shirt, but I don't think too many people would get it. Besides, walking barefoot doesn't work. I do have some nice sandals, though.
I could get away with dressing like Simon Tam, except I am bald. Next year, I should put together a Niska costume, and develop a Czech accent.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

At the Movies 2, part 2

The Crest Theater in Sacramento celebrated its 60th anniversary by showing the movie it had in its first day, That Midnight Kiss. It was in classic Technicolor, and some of the older customers went wild for the singing star in that movie, Mario Lanza. It also showed me that opera stars actually invented wrecking hotel rooms. I bet maybe Axl Rose accidentally got tips from this movie.

The big news was that the theater showed off its renovated marquee, and it's the flashiest sign this side of California. Take a look....

Crest Marquee at night

up close...

Crest Marqure at night up close

and the view from below...

Crest Marquee 2

WHo needs multi-plexes when you have this?

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

At the Movies 2, part 1

Before he became famous by changing TV with the help of a teenage vampire slayer, Joss Whedon was one of those who wrote the Oscar-nominated script for Toy Story, which is the start of Pixar's animation dynasty. It's one of the few things I haven't seen that has a Joss connection, A couple of the others are Alien Resurrection and Titan A.E.. But they aren't in 3D.

I checked out Toy Story 1 and 2 in 3D, and it was wonderful. The ticket price was right, just 8.50, and so was the experience. While it's great to see two monvies that made history by making CGI movies viable, what counts is a good story. Both movies have that story: the first one being a toy concerned about being replaced in a boy's heart, and the other looking at how long a toy can be loved by someone. The latter theme will be looked at again when we see Toy Story 3 on my 51st birthday.

Still, I had to guess which part of the first Toy Story movie were written by Joss. I bet it was the scenes where Woody meets the toys that evil Sid took apart and reassembled in horrible ways. Such a sight is freaky, even when you discover their hearts are still good although their bodies are mutated big time. The second movie was also great, since it invented the first gag reel for an animated movie. If you can see these two movies in 3D, do it!! It is worth it and more. You may even recognize some scenes that will be used again. If you look hard at Woody's scenes with Jessie, you may say, "didn't I see this in Bolt?"

The second half will come later, when I attend a special birthday for a well-known movie house in Sacramento.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

At The Movies

In the past week, I got a chance to see what may be the fall's biggest comedy abut roller derby in a special preview, and Michael Moore's latest compelling comment on America for free.
Both were time well-spent, and are headed to a theater near you, like tomorrow.

If you've watched TV or read the paper regularly, you noticed that there was a Saturday preview of Whip It, and some incentive to spend ten bucks on it...a free T-shirt. That, and Ellen Page, convinced me to come.
It's an odd-ball coming of age story with Page as Bliss, a girl who's unhappy with small-time life in Bodeen, Texas. Thanks to roller derby, of all things, she gains new confidence, but there are still bumps to be dealt with and lessons to be learned.
This is also the first film Drew Barrymore has directed, and she does a great job with this story. She makes sure that the story is real, and that the actors are really out there skating and bumping into each other. You also see the gals with nicknames like Smashley Simpson and Iron maven are still real women.
Take a look at Kristen Wiig as "Maggie Mayhem", You'll see she still have a life beyond the roller rink.
I also liked Bliss' relationship with her friend Pash, played by Alia Shawkat, aka Maeby from Arrested Development. Get past the fact that she has grown after that show left Fox, and you'll like her, too. It's going to get stiff competition from The Invention of Lying and Zombieland (which explains the Saturday preview), but you should check out Whip It.

A couple of days later, I got a free ticket to a preview for Capitalism: A Love Story, Michael Moore's commentary on the current economic crisis. While Fox News is sure to use this movie as evidence that Moore is a traitor, but not bother to see it, Moore is even-handed is explaining how the stock market and major financial institutions crashed. He's not exactly calling for a Soviet-style economy or socialism, but what we have now but with more consideration for all working classes. Some right-wingers will go nuts because the movie has priests saying capitalism is a sin, even if there's evidence that might prove that point. There is also the "publicity stunt" of calling the AIG building a crime scene, but he would like to see the America he remembers as a kid to come back, rather than what we have now. It may not pull in as much cash as the other movies that will start this weekend, but it hopes to make its mark on trying to help this country out.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Back in Sacramento

It was a great five days of fun, that I wish was a bit longer. Apparently they have some cool events happening next weekend, like a soap box derby for grownups in downtown Los Angeles. Oh well, there's still fun when Firefly alumni visit SoCal just before Thanksgiving...and I have to use up my free ticket voucher from Southwest sometime.
My pictures from the Emmy bleachers were better than I thought, but would have been perfect with an ideal picture from Christina Hendricks. I also wish I had snagged a seat filler gig, but I will try for that next year. You can see my Emmy photo album here.

As for other photos, here's that Fox promo ambulance letting people know about House...

Full House Ambulance

Then there is this, the premiere of a romcom with Kristen Bell called When In Rome. Apparently she plays a girl who steals some coins from a "fountain of love", and suddenly three guys are trying to woo her...and yet Lee Pace is in the movie as the guy she doesn't want. Yes, I know...
The issue isn't the movie, but how it's being premiered...

The most depressing premiere ever

This is at a vacant theater at Melrose that's being rented out for one night, and the name of the movie is taped on a blank marquee. Now, I also hear they aren't giving this movie a wide release until January, but this should have been done better, like a silk-screened sign. Not only that, it was supposed to be shown last month. I guess The Ugly Truth and All About Steve scared them off.

So, my future travel plans include a Firefly weekend, where I will stay in a Travelodge just a few blocks away from the con (shades of the Wolfram and Hart Revue). After that, it depends on whether the Oscars pity me and let me on that bleacher, too, next March.
Hmmm...700 seats, 145,911,256 entries.
Well, maybe I'll get a better TV by then.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Still in SoCal, part 3

It's Saturday morning, and I have to move to another hotel, because it was planned that way.
Let's just say, it was a way for me to cut costs on my hotel bill. This won't be so bad. If the other hotel says I can drop off my luggage in the room I will be at, and I go on my merry way, that will work.

Friday was interesting. After Conan O'Brien's staff never got back to me about last night's taping, I caught the first taping of the new Catch 21 shows. Actually, it was very entertaining. Two of the shows were celebrity versions, an I'll just say cards were dealt and money was made. You'll know more once the new season starts in a few weeks. At least they got Applebee's as a sponsor, and weren't forced to put the logo on the cards or power chips.
Also, I came across an odd ambulance at Hollywood and Highland. You'll see that later.

Friday night, I found a great $10 bargain.."Hammer Don't Hurt 'em improv, which inlcudes half of the Guild. The half with Jeff, Sandeep and Felicia, that is.
This was the first improv show I've seen since The Groundlings five years ago, when I think I may have seen Kristen Wiig there. The Hammer group, though, was more free-wheeling. In about an hour, they riffed on the Great Gatsby, heathens, books, dragons, cream, home-schooling and certain male body parts. They also broadcast this show on the internet, but I don't know if they've decided to save this to allow people to see it later. There is a site on the US Stream website, at If they add Friday's show, they should put an "explicit!" warning on it. It should also have a "damn funny!" warning, too. It also shows Sandeep's a pretty good MC.

So, today is a lot of rambling, swag buying and a visit to Pink's

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My time in Los Angeles, part 2

Bonnie Hunt's show is as funny and engaging as ever.
Poor, poor KCRA. What has it done?

The taping for 9/18 was a bit different than the usual routine, For one thing, the main guest, Dennis Quaid, wasn't there. Since he had to be in New York for two other shows, they did it last week. However, Bonnie decided to let the crowd see the interview before resuming with her own taping. The night before, Jimmy Kimmel ended his taping early because the musical guest, Pink had already done her concert a couple of days before. If only he had let us stay so we could see that, even if it's on tape.

The first "Mail From You Guys" segment didn't talk abut Sacramento, but that may happen someday. A lot of Catholic jokes were told, including one that I am convinced will never be shown. The other guests, Miranda Cosgove and Jeff from Big Brother 11, were good, too. Even got a new pair of Sketchers sneakers out of the deal. They'll mail a voucher for them, and hopefully remember my address. I'm still waiting for that book Carl Reiner promised to the audience way back in April. I am hoping his people hasn't lost the list. Just saying.

One thing that did disappoint me is that Bonnie's band has been cut to just Nick and his magic keyboard. He's still part of the show, but I preferred a full band. Hopefully after Bonnie reduces a few other politicians to frightened Jello, she'll get better ratings and have a full band again.

So, it's great to see Bonnie again, but I'd prefer to see her on my TV, instead of flying down to Culver City every week. I will go back, but I'd rather see the other guys first.

Like Conan and his new system of choosing potential audience members out of a hat. Despite the fact that I asked for a ticket in July, they never responded to me if I got a ticket to the taping on 9/18. I will try again, but it will be a while. Next up for me is Ellen Degeneres, because I can't believe she's sold out until Thanksgiving.

The upside is that I get to go to a game show taping, the first time in years. This time, it's Catch 21, and I'm at the first taping block. I'm not sure how many shows they're taping, but I suspect it may be a week's worth. If I somehow wind up competing, and even getting some bucks or swag, I'll be sure to thank Conan's lousy method of ticket distribution. Then, I'll go to an improv show called "Hammertime" because it includes two members of The Guild, or maybe three if I'm very lucky (and I mean Codex).

Saturday is free, and that means shopping and one visit to Pinks. Sunday is one word...Emmys

My Time in L-A,part one

Some snarky guys think her interview with Rolling Stone was dumb.
Well, when you're looking at this...

That's one sexy demon

and this...

Well, gotta run....

No one is noticing what Megan Fox says...except when she talks about how high school wasn't so great for her, and how cliques suck. That's cool.

These aren't as sharp as the professional shots, but considering I was about 50 feet away, and had to fight for space with 200 other people with cameras for this event Wednesday at Hollywood and Highland, this isn't so bad. Neither are these shots with Diablo Cody (who should renounce blonde-ness in my view) and Amanda Seyfried

Diablo Cody a blonde?

Lily Kane lives!

As for actually going to see Jennifer's Body, I might eventually, even if Rotten Tomatoes isn't giving it the praise it should get.
Oh, wait, this is a horror movie. Blood always offsets what the critics think. To be honest, I'm more interested in Whip It with Drew Barrymore and Ellen Page...and not because I met some Hurl Scouts at Comic-Con, either.

Anywho, today is Bonnie day, as I see her show for the last time in 2009, and maybe for keeps unless some Sacramento station decides to take her back. KCRA has tossed her aside for keeps, but it should have sent her to My58 quickly. We don't need two hours of Maury and Springer a day...or one hour, for that matter.
It's also the first "Mail from you guys" segment for the new season. I would be surprised if she didn't mention the pile of mail she's gotten from Sacramento fans. I'll let them know I live there, and am prepared to apologize on behalf of the city.
I am also worried I won't get to see Conan despite asking for a ticket to tomorrow's show two months ago. They prefer giving out tickets in a drawing rather than people who ask early. Well, if they let me know I can't see Courtney Cox in person, I still have this, which would also be considered the ideal solution to the housing slump.

Sure cure for the housing slump

Eat your heart out, Edie Britt

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where did Bonnie go?

Today is the first day The Bonnie Hunt Show has been off Sacramento TV. Her show lost the annual game of musical chairs that daytime talk shows play when there's a new show.

In this case, Dr. Oz is the new hot show, because he's the second spinoff from Oprah Winfrey's show. He's been taking Bonnie's time slots in several cities, including Sacramento. In nearly every case, she has found a new home.
Guess where she hasn't?

If KCRA had hoped that no one would notice Bonnie is off the air, it was sadly mistaken. A lot of Sacramento fans went to the show's website to complain. A few others did do on the fan page. I knew about this about two weeks before anyone else only because I saw an ad for Dr. Oz, and what time it would be on. That's how I sent an e-mail to the station, asking if, at the very least, they'd ship Bonnie off to KQCA, My58. Well, they didn't. My58 is very happy showing two episodes each of Maury Povich and Jerry Springer...and repeats of Oprah and Dr. Oz after KCRA shows them. Thus, no room for Bonnie. Too bad.

Now, I am going to see a Bonnie Hunt taping next week, and I'll tell the warm-up guy where I live. I fully expect scorn and dirty looks from the guy. Hey, you have to blame someone.

I notice a few other people wondering where Bonnie went, not realizing she went to another station. You'd think the stations who will get Bonnie would promote it, even she's on the other station. Well, things should settle down by the end of the month, and things should be fine....almost everywhere.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Can Twitter Make Me A Star?

Probably not, but still....

it's been a few months since I joined the Twitter Nation, making pithy one-lines to people famous and unknown alike. Robin Sachs, aka Ethan Rayne, actually tweeted me back. So did Amber Benson, although I can't tweet her back. I'd like to thank her for the praise.
Ditto Miracle Laurie, who tweeted me when I asked if her ukulele band's list of cover songs included disco. Let's say it wouldn't be out of the question.

However, I have achieved a slice of fame thanks to two recent contests. One came from the Twitter feed from Inglorious Basterds. It asked to compete the phrase "I'm a basterd because...". Well, I remembered my blog that talked about being the first Americans to see the movie, thanks to Comic-Con. I said that "Christoph Waltz ain't a dance." Come to think of it, I should make it into a t-shirt around Oscar season. That should be worth a few hundred votes, while seeing the movie will produce a few thousand. Anyway, I was one of 50 people who got a modest prize pack of a t-shirt and soundtrack CD. The real fame came from actually having my entry featured in the winners list. It's still on the movie's Facebook page.

The other contest came from a site called Coin That Phrase. It asks people to come up with new catch phrases that may fit whatever situation comes to mind. I once described the Los Angeles wildfires this way. It cost only three bucks, too. I may try that for Dollhouse t-shirts.

Then they had one on catch phrases for the Emmys later this month. I came up with two: "Emmy for Best Alliteration, Don Draper and Liz Lemon (tie)". I though that would work since Tina Fey and Jon Hamm did appear on 30 Rock.
Instead this one did: "Emmy-thing is possible, if you believe" I'm hoping the TV Academy may buy it from me, but only if the attendees think it's cool. Otherwise, the fact that I am part of this year's Emmy gift bag is a little piece of fame that I hope to promote somehow.

Despite this, it hasn't led to a massive number of people wanting to follow me on Twitter. If I wanted that, and didn't care who followed me, I'd beg every spambot to target me.

Still, it may be possible to be a celebrity blogger, such as Perez Hilton, but it's clear you can't be a celebrity Tweeter. Conan O'Brien has made sure of that.
But so what? It's fun to do, and so is the blogging.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Can the Emmys Be Saved From Bad Ratings?

TV's biggest prize will be on the minds of a lot of people in Hollywood, or anyone who likes TV.
Emmy season gets underway this weekend with the Daytime Emmys. The Creative Arts version takes place on September 13th, and the Primetime Emmys on the 20th. Even though the show brings out the most popular actors on TV, it hasn't translated into big ratings.

The Daytime Emmys was close to not being televised at all until the CW agreed to broadcast it. It's hoping to get a female audience in order to promote its new season. The Creative Arts Emmys, shown on E!, doesn't have to worry about ratings. It's just happy that people behind the scenes get a chance to shine, even if it's on a niche channel.

The Primetime Emmys, however, has been losing viewers in recent years. It's hoped Neil Patrick Harris can bring the magic he had for the Tonys last June to boost the show when it airs on CBS. Last year, the show drew 12 million viewers, an all-time low. There's been a lot of theories about what it's been happening.

One theory is that the show rewards the best TV shows, but not the most popular ones.
That may sound strange. Good TV shows already pull in a big audience, right?
That may be true in the 1990's, but not in today's TV landscape of cable channels producing more creative shows than the Big Four, who rely on spinoffs, reality shows and singing contests. The Academy decided to expand the number of nominees in major categories, hoping to reward popular shows. However, that hasn't stopped cable from dominating some categories, or staying competitive with the networks in others.

In Best Drama, five of the seven nominees are from cable, including Damages, Dexter and Mad Men. House and Lost are both top 20 shows, and made the list. However, more popular shows like CSI, The Mentalist, and Grey's Anatomy did not.

The race for Best Comedy is more even, with four of the shows from the Big Four. However, only The Office is a top 20 show. Two and a Half Men didn't make the final cut, although it has in past years. The Big Bang Theory has a Best Actor nominee in Jim Parsons, but hasn't been considered Best Comedy.

It even affects American Idol, the biggest show on TV. It has eight nominations this year, but has never beaten the perennial winner for Best Reality Show, The Amazing Race. Dancing With the Stars hasn't had much luck, either.

Another possibility is that Emmy voters keep nominating the same people. The nominees in the major acting categories are about the same as last year. If there are changes, it's due to adding an extra nominee. That's why Elizabeth Moss is up for Best Actress in a Drama, or Sarah Silverman and Toni Collette are in the race for Best Actress in a Comedy. Simon Baker may be happy to be up for Best Actor in a Drama only because the field is six nominees instead of five.

Still, is there one guaranteed formula that can turn the Emmys into a ratings success just like an American Idol, or even America's Got Talent? On the other hand, is it really necessary? The Emmys honor the best in TV, and normally shouldn't have to justify broadcasting it on any of the four major networks with big ratings. Does it make sense to cancel the show, or at least move it to cable, because not enough people are watching?

Five years ago, this question would be too off-the-wall to be even asked. But now, with concerns about ratings, production costs, and the economy, it may have to be asked. The fact that the Daytime Emmys have found their way to the CW, a net-let according to some, may be a hint of the future. Could it mean the 2011 Primetime Emmys will be shown on MyNetwork TV, or Bravo or TNT?

Or maybe someone like Neil Patrick Harris can give the Emmys the ratings boost it needs to be popular again. At the very least, it would postpone the answering of some hard questions for another year or two.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Of Taylor Swift and District 9

Joss Whedon and fans of the Guild's new video, "Do You Wanna Date My Avatar", are excited that they have conquered the "Swiftbot" to be the number one video at iTunes USA. As of this updated blog, it's still number one. The mp3 is only at Amazon, but should be at iTunes as well, ready to reconquer the site.

Oh, when I mean "Swiftbot", I mean Taylor Swift's latest song, "You Belong With Me." The video is basically an ABC Family movie compressed into four minutes.
When you think about it, how does that compare to a group of RPG players singing a dance tune that blows anything Lady Gaga has done out of the planet? I just hope ABC Family doesn't turn "You Belong With Me" into a two-hour movie. It's been done before...a LOT! If, however, you don't put ugly glasses on Taylor, and she's just thinks she can't compete with the Gossip Girl cliques until she slowly realizes she can by being, well, better than them, that would be an improvement. Still, if she wants to tackle a TV-movie, she should start at Lifetime.

Now, I tweeted about District 9 yesterday, after some fellow Twitterers raved on how cool this movie is. From what I knew, it was about how people in Johannesburg deal with aliens that have been stranded here for more than 20 years. I also thought it would be a metaphor for how we deal with immigrants. The aliens in this movie have their own derogatory nickname...prawns. They are seen as parasites, with no role in society. However, it may have something to do with the fact Earthlings can't use the aliens' technology because they lack a certain fluid.

Well, it is that...and more. The key to the story is a man named Wilkus, who's been chosen by his company, MNU, to evict the aliens and send them to a new camp on the outskirts of town. When we see him, he acts like a guy who's just an average guy, happy to get this chance. He has his problems with the aliens, but does the job as best he can. When he comes across a silver cylinder, his life will never be the same. One thing is for sure, he sees the aliens in a different light, because he has no choice. Sharlto Copley, who's actually a movie producer, does a great job portraying a man trying to survive as he's caught in the middle between the aliens and his own kind.

Already, there has been speculation for a sequel, maybe called District 10. If you see the movie, you'll see how a sequel has to be inevitable. Director Neill Blomkamp says he's like to go back to the District 9 world for a sequel, but nothing has been discussed yet. Again, when you see the movie, it could be the start of something big. Let's just hope we get another good story, because that's always more important than 60-foot Optimus Primes.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

What if Buffy Was a Midnight Movie?

It was 17 years ago this weekend that curious movie-goers saw an odd summer horror movie about a cheerleader chosen to fight vampires. Dumb, huh?

Of course, that idea got better once the guy who came up with the idea got a chance to get it right on TV...and more.

It does bring up an interesting question...what if the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer with Kristy Swanson, Donald Sutherland and a pre-Boys Don't Cry Hillary Swank was shown as a midnight movie? I've thought about that a few times, and the real Buffy's reaction if she happened to be in the audience along with a dozen vampires wanting a good laugh and not finding it.

If this happened after she ran away from home in the summer of 1998, she would have been too depressed to leave the theater. She'd take it as a sign that a girl like her could never be a Slayer, or a heroine. Of course, this would take place about two days before the events from "Anne."
If it happened now, she'd heckle the result into oblivion, get the crowd to help her, mow down any Hellspawn in the audience, then send a polite yet firm blog to Fran Rubel Kuzui saying that she shouldn't even think of remaking the movie without Joss, or the Slayerettes, on board.

That being said...

Proof I'm not kidding

This happened at the Crest theatre in downtown Saturday night, as part of the Trash Film Orgy Festival. Their philosophy is that the movie is actually secondary to the games and antics they can do at night. For one thing, you can get drunk beforehand because they're at least four bars within walking distance. There's also one inside the theater. This guarantees constant heckling, but nowhere close to the quality commentary from MST3K. Buffy could do that if she were there.

So, they decided on a theme: the Vampire Prom, or what Sunnyvale High would have if Mayor Wilkins won.

A warning in more ways than one

Now, this could mean Hell on Earth, or what the grads will experience once they try to get a job.
But there were lots of undead teens living it up...

Uh, that's a really gross hickey

Sunnydale High Prom, worst case scenario

Thankfully, someone decided to dress up as Buffy...

OK, now we're talking

As I said, the movie is secondary to the evening itself. The print was really worn out, especially at the beginning, and the sound, and the obnoxious audience, were both too loud to understand everything. In other words, it's the old-fashioned film-going experience before Cinemark and AMC took over.
Still, after seeing this movie on TV and DVD, I wanted to know what it would be like on the big screen. I was wondering what people thought of this film when it first came out. I don't know if we'd have drunken hecklers, but maybe a few people would wonder what would happen if you turned the movie into a TV show, and did it right. It took just one WB executive to do that.

There was an intermission, where we had an interesting pageant for Vampire Prom Queen.

Choosing the Vampire Prom Queen

The gal in red was the winner. There was no "Class Protector" award, although the MC, who I think is the Blood Bunny (look out, Anya), tossed holy water at the terrible vampire comic.

The Trash Film Orgy has two more movies this month, and will have a horror festival in October. This has my interest because it includes Repo the Genetic Opera. It will have the composer, Terrance Zdunich, and some cast members. So, I might be coming down, and not dressed as a Watcher wearing a cross, a Mutant Enemy t-shirt and the Gem of Amara.
OK, maybe the t-shirt. Grr Arrgh!
In fact, I just found out it's on the Saturday before Halloween, and I have bought my tickets.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Comic-Con: Warehouse 13, or the Treasure of South Dakota

Imagine a warehouse in a remote part of America, which contains very special artifacts that can cause major damage if used in the wrong hands.
Now imagine two federal agents who suddenly find themselves working there, and being tasked with finding other powerful artifacts.

Three from Warehouse 13

That's the premise of Warehouse 13, a new show that may be Syfy's next big thing. Former Buffy writer and producer Jane Espenson is credited with creating the show with Brent Mote, and also writing the pilot with Davis Simkins. Simkins and co-executive producer Jack Kenny were there at Comic-Con to talk about the show. They both said they go through a lot of research coming up with incredible artifacts, whether it's a 45 RPM record that plays a song so soothing it's used to rob banks, or a special compass from the 16th century that could case someone to teleport.
"We approached each story," he said, "from a more personal aspect in terms of what would be a character be experiencing or going through.". In the latest episode, "Claudia", the artifact, a 16th century compass, figure in a teenager's desperate attempt to save her brother from a terrible accident that put him stuck between dimensions for 12 years.

Unlike most sci-fi shows, W13 also presents characters who are more than meets the eye. At first glace, Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) may look like a Secret Service agent who doesn't take life seriously. In fact, McClintock says he doesn't take life too seriously, either. However, we find out Eddie is special because he can feel "vibes" that warn him when something's wrong. When he was a kid, he felt a vibe before his dad, a fireman, died. "It's what caused him to grow up to be someone," he says "who metaphorically keeps trying to save his father by saving the world."

His partner, Myka Bering (Joanna Kelly) is a by-the-book agent who often clashes with Eddie's laid-back style. "She's very structured," Joanna explains, "This girl likes things done a certain way, likes rules, likes regulations, makes her feel in control." However, we also learn she lost someone she loved in an unnamed event in Denver. The pain is still there, which is why she prefers to stay in control. Once she gets more involved with W13, she learns how to work with Pete. It's not long before she breaks a rule or two if it gets the job done.

McClintock admitted he was worried when it looked like someone else would becmoe Pete on the show, but Kelly calmed him down just before they auditioned together. Their read-through, which even included a couple of flubs, convinced the producers to hire them as the leads.

The leads are impressed with how much SyFy is backing the show, and so is Saul Rubineck, who plays curator Artie Neilsen. "Syfy doesn't have six or seven shows to take our place," Rubinek says. "If we were on a network, we dip in the ratings, GONE!
We're not like that. They're invested in the show, we know that"

Rubinek also revealed W13 has a history that extends back thousands of years, and that Artie may have a few secrets of his own. He's also pleased with the newest cast member, Allison Scagliotti. She's none other than Claudia, the girl who begs Artie to save her brother. She turns out to be a scientific whiz kid that will be a big benefit to W13.
She admitted she was pretty impressed with Rubinek after meeting him. "I learned from him every day," she says, "even still now the show has wrapped and we're still bouncing ideas off each other." She's also impressed with the set, and Artie's office, which she says could have been designed by Jules Verne. But she is also proud that the show's fantasy elements are still down to earth "(W)hat makes us different," she says, "is that we've blended these action and fantasy elements with real people and real places and artifacts that could have been in your attic."

Mark Stern, the head of Sci-Fi, was also there. Kenny used this chance to ask if the show would get a second season, and asked the crowd to help. Stern said that he loves the show, and the cast is amazing. he also said it's the public's decision on whether a second season is coming. Judging from the latest ratings, they'll also be around for some time to come. He also said that next year, the panel should be at Ballroom 20.

The show will also have one other Whedon alumnus: Mark Sheppard will be on the show as a member of the organization that runs the warehouse. We'll also meet an adversary who thinks there shouldn't be a warehouse at all.

Warehouse 13 airs Tuesday nights on SyFy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Comic-Con: Lucky Inglorious Basterds

I would say this year's Comic-Con was mixed. It would have been just about wonderful if my laptop hadn't died just after I entered my hotel room, and Fox (yes, I'm saying this) had a more efficient autograph session plan that didn't exclude those who thought they'd be included.

However, thanks to Twitter, and a bold move, I can declare myself a Lucky Inglorious Basterd, along with about 200 others.

I found out through a Twitter post that the producers of the movie will give out movie passes to the first 200 people outside of a tea and coffee shop on 6th Avenue at 8 AM. Now, I figure there may be a lot of people camping out overnight, just like Twilight fans. I decide to get up at 6 AM that day. Either there will be 450 people waiting to get a movie pass, or there won't be. Either way, I'd get a good picture.
This is what I found...

Waiting to see some Inglorious guys

Thanks to my increased amount of patience due to waiting in line much more often than a person should, I figured I had a chance. I could also knock off a few podcasts to pass the time.
At 8 AM, they passed out the movie passes, but these weren't your average passes...

Now that's one know

They were dog tags. Clever.
When 8 PM rolled around, I got a nice seat at the Gaslamp Cinema. It was the same place where they showed Hamlet II the year before. There was some speculation on who would be there. Some of us did see Dominic Monaghan, aka Charlie from Lost, in the audience.
The screening was introduced by Eli Roth, director of the Hostel movies. He got the crowd excited for the first U-S showing of Quentin Tarantino's latest film.

It's a war movie, and a tale of revenge. It's a portrait of the most seductive form of evil, and the most direct form of vengeance. It's five cinematic time bombs that converge into one unforgettable climax.

Now, what I just said may sound pompous and exaggerated, but this isn't...
there are two words that will convince you to lay down your ten bucks for this movie.
Christoph Waltz!
OK, is that a new dance?

Nope. He's had a lot of experience on TV in Europe. He lives in London, and is very popular.

He also owns this movie as one of the most charming and soulless people you ever want to meet...Colonel Hans Landa, hunter of Jews. Right off the bat, he calmly convinces a French farmer who was hiding Jews in his basement to expose them. One gets away, a girl named Shoshanna. She won't forget this day, or the man who did this.
They cross paths again when she's invited to lunch by Zoller, a German war hero, and Landa just happens to be there. He oozes menace, even they he's just eating strudel with her. You won't forget this man.
However, for the American market, you need a big star. Brad Pitt is that man. He's Lt. Aldo Raine, leader of the Basterds, Jewish soldiers who can be ruthless, too. They think nothing of literally scalping Nazi prisoners. Roth is there as Donnie Donowitz, known as the Bear Jew because he clobbers Nazis with a baseball bat. Pitt has a presence in this movie, but it's nothing compared to Waltz's performance.

But what of Shoshanna? Melanie Laurant plays her role beautifully as a woman who tries to forget her past, until it returns to menace her. When the premiere of a propaganda's movie starring Zoller is scheduled for her movie house, she decides to make it an event the Nazis won't forget. The fact that Hitler will also be there makes her more determined.
Raine's group also plan to be there, to take out Hitler and the top Nazi bigwigs. This leads to a climax with blood and fire.

The crowd was very happy with the film. Half gave it a standing ovation. Afterwards, Roth showed his appreciation by signing autographs, even on the dog tags.

Eli Roth signs a dog tag

The movie is premiering all over Europe, and will come here officially in a couple of weeks. I suggest if you want a war picture that's really different, this is it.

Comic-Con: What Price Employment?

Michael Westen is a spy without a job.
Naturally, he wants to get back in the game.
His girlfriend doesn't want him to, because she thinks it will make things worse.
This, in a nutshell, is the rest of the summer season of Burn Notice, USA's spy show that has gotten a big following. It's so big, it took a spot at Comic-Con in 2009.

Jeffrey Donovan and Gabrielle Anwar weren't able to make it, but creator Matt Nix and writer Joseph Barrios Jr. were there along with Bruce Campbell (Sam), Seth Peteson (Nate Westen), Ben Shenkmen (Stickler) and Michael Sharks (Victor, a villain who is dead but still popular). Here, there's Michael with Matt and Joseph...

Michael Shanks Meets His Maker

During August, Nix says the main plot of the show will be one question: what price employment? Michael is relying on Stickler, a shady kind of guy,to get him back in the CIA. He has to do jobs for Stickler to show he'll do anything. Being a cloak-and-dagger MacGuyer just isn't enough, although Sam and Fiona say it should.
"She really objects to what Michael is doing, and she wants to support him," Nix says, but eventually there will be strains, even enough for her to go back to Ireland. It may get more complicated, though. "I think we will see both of them doing things," Barrios says, "we wouldn't have probably expected them to do in the context of their relationship."

Nix also praised Sharon Gless, who plays Michael's mom, Madeline. Now that she knows what's the deal with Michael, she sometimes gets involved in his missions, and holds her own. Then again, she was Christine Cagney back in the '80s. That's still there.

As for any chance Shanks may be back as Victor, Nix says that may not be likely. "My wife has this thing," he said. "She made me this promise if you kill somebody, they gotta be dead." Still, there's the chance of a twin bother, flashback maybe.
But Shanks understands this. "This is not a genre show specifically. This is an action show, " he said. "The elements will have to be sort of plausible and believable. It would be stretching credibility to really pull something out of your hat." However, Shanks may make an appearance or two in Stargate Universe soon.

Seth then mentioned that his character, Mike's brother, will have a wife, and be gambling again, which means trouble. He also mentions he's not always in the center of the action. "They keep me shielded away from all the cool stuff," he said,
"and they keep me in the kitchen or the living room." Seth also noticed that he and Jeffrey have a good relationship when they play brothers. "I have a lot of fun playing off of him, and he's so creative and funny," he said. "I really look forward to those scenes, and not to mention when I see stuff blown up."
He did say he was looking forward to walking around Comic-Con, especially the exhibit hall. Shanks, however, admits Comic-Con isn't what it used to be. He had been there for some time, and admits the most difficult time isn't fans coming up to him, but it's becoming so crowded. "It took me 20 minutes, " he said, "to walk the length of this room, and I can't do it anymore." He may speak for a lot of Comic-Con veterans.

But the real star of the panel is this man...

Here's Bruce

They call him Bruce Campbell, whose career is more durable than most A-listers, past and present. He's Sam Axe, ex-Navy Seal and current raconteur. He likes this show because it's not so serious like other drama or spy shows. "I know ex-CIA guys and special ops," he says. "These guys sit around, crack jokes and drink beer." Of course, so does Sam.
"You don't watch a show to watch some bitter weird, twisted, sad, dark ending. That's not us." He says they are heroes who will always get the bad guys.

As for the future, Sam will mention a Miss Reynolds as his current girlfriend, but it's not certain if we'll meet her. We will hear Campbell in a new CGI movie, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs this fall.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

That's One Small Step For Fans, One Giant Leap for Fankind

Was it just five years ago that I started ging to Comic-Con because Sarah Michelle Gellar was there at last? Back in the days where there was actually breathing room?

Indeed, but now I am going back to Comic-Con once again, but for the second time as a member of the press. Granted, last year, I had to use someone else's pass to talk to the cast of Kings, but at least I got a picture of Paris Hilton and didn't have to stalk anyone.

This year, two items will be waiting for me: the Comic-Con book at a modest discount, and the Dollhouse Special Edition DVD with a special letter from The Talented Mr. Whedon. As usual, his influence is everywhere, through those who have worked for him and those who work for him now. There's even a panel on how Bram Stoker, who created Dracula, may have been the Joss Whedon of his day. Well, that may be stretching it a bit. After all, did Stoker write any musicals about mad scientists?

It's also going to be interesting because Comic-Con is about to hit 40, one day after the 40th anniversary of the Moon landing. That explains the title of this post. Back then, the first event was well after Apollo 11 ended. Even in the early days, it got good guests including Ray Bradbury and Jack Kirby. Now, it's Cannes for genre fans from Whedonistas to Twilighters, Star Wars fans and Trekkies to, of course, comic book fans. It's gotten so big that the Hilton across the street is hosting some panels, including one for Weeds, surprisingly enough. If Mary-Louise Parker was a confirmed guest, a lot of guys would pack the place...especially if they've seen many of her sultry body parts.

As usual, the schedule makers have made sure that all attendees will have to give up at least one panel they planned to see. For example, to see the massive Disney 3-D presentation, they'd have to give up seeing a table-read for the never-made episode from The Middleman, a show that deserves to be on ABC Family about 231,450,099 times more than Secret Life of the American Teenager and Make It or Break It combined. Lord knows SyFy (the New Coke of Cable TV) doesn't have the sense to produce that show if it threw away Doctor Who. Or, if they want to see the cast of Chuck, they'd have to skip seeing Juliet Landau talk about the return of Drusilla in the Angel comic book. For certain fans, that's not too difficult.

But consider this choice: the annual Masquerade against a screening of the director's cut of Watchmen with Zach Snyder AND screenings of Torchwood and Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead. You can do without the third option if you remember to tape the shows on the DVR, but the other choices....yeesh. It's always a headache for attendees who like everything. Well, that's why we have Hulu and YouTube, where we can see the panels thanks to fans who feel our pain.

Well, my wishes have influenced my schedule, along with what assignments I get from Whedonopolis. I hope I can get the best of both worlds again.

I am disappointed we won't get a preview of Inglorious Basterds, Quentin Tarantino's new movie with Brad Pitt. It sounds like a natural, since Quentin is always popular. Still, there's always a chance of sneak preview. I got lucky last year with Hamlet II, and if someone decides that Comic-Con is the perfect time to preview The Box with Cameron Diaz, or Jennifer's Body with Megan Fox, then we are really lucky. We shall see.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

OK, it's been too long

Things have been slow in June. People are busy awaiting what happens in July, especially Comic-Con (two and a half weeks away!!). What's been happening in my life in mostly in my other blog, The Notorious IG.

Enough of this, though. Yahoo has finally announced that it's getting rid of the Geocities web sites in late October. Naturally, they offered me my own AT&T website for seven bucks a month until June 2014. That's two dollars more than what I pay now. Not too bad. So, to take advantage of that offer, I upgraded last week.

While all my pictures and files make the transition, the webpages themselves did not. I spend the last three days rebuilding all of my web pages. I finished late last night, but I did it. It's a little different from the old site, mainly because I decided to get rid of a few pages. I got rid of my old trophy page that shows all the awards I got in my early days of having a website. I got rid of pages devoted to the Buffy-Angel love story, and Spike and Angel. I did, however, keep pages that looked back at the WB staking Angel before its time, the Bronze, and the original Buffy movie (soon to be shown on the big screen in Sacramento). I did some slight upgrades to some of the pages, including one from the Browncoat Cruise.

I also noticed there were some "orphan pictures". I will move them to a scrapbook page. A couple are from the first con I visited where I actually talked to cast members, including a funny Mark Lutz (Groo, that is) and Amber Benson (wow!).

As you notice, there aren't any pages for Comic-Con...yet. I have two blank pages ready to go.

I have had a web page since the start of season five, way back in 2000. Since then, trying to make a mark in the internet has changed big time. Back then, I had Homestead as a free site, complete with marquee. I switched to Yahoo less than two years later, and that lasted a long time. Now, with Yahoo Geocities about to expire, I have moved to AT&T Web Hosting. Through all that time, I had that website to express my thoughts about the Whedonverse.

Now, I have my choice between Facebook, MySpace and Blogger to express myself. The webpages I would make for my Geocities site in 2000 are now the blog entries of today, complete with pictures. Still, I have an obligation to keep my website going because it has pieces of very personal history. Is a MySpace entry the best place to put a memorial to the first great internet watering hole? Is a Blogger post the ideal place to show how people were upset with Angel getting kicked off the WB, or put links to other sites? I think not. Sometimes a website is the best place to keep your memories. It's a very special attic, because that sounds better than "storage space".

Anyway, I'll announce the Grand Opening of the new Impaler General's Home Page tomorrow morning, usually after my attempt to get that Dollhouse Special Edition DVD.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Week of Death

People die every day. That's always certain.
Still, who would have thought that in just eight days, we'd lose three American icons, and a wrestler that true fans would recognize?

We'll start with Michael Jackson. When I had heard he was in the hospital due to cardiac arrest, I couldn't believe it. I thought it was another internet rumor. When TMZ said he was dead, two hours before everyone else, I could not believe it. Why should we believe some internet site that's slightly less reputable than the National Enquirer?
Eventually, we had to face it: a man who has been a legend way too soon, whose image was tarnished although his talent was unquestionable, was dead. At age! Of a heart attack possibly caused by a deadly cocktail of painkillers.

Now, that hasn't been confirmed officially. That will take another month or so. But it seems Jackson wanted a Fountain of Youth to recapture his glory days of the 70s and 80s, where he was the King of Pop...before too much plastic surgery, before Bubbles, before the accusations.

He wanted to show the so-called pretenders, from Justin Timberlake and Prince to Kanye West, that only Michael Jackson was, and is, the King of Pop. He hoped 50 shows in London would prove that, once and for all.
Now, it looks like his last grasp at the past fell short, very short. If he was allowed to age gracefully, or normally, he'd still have his throne, and would have been happy to help make the thrones of Kanye and Timberlake. Most importantly, we would still have Michael Jackson with us, as a living legend along with Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson and Aretha Franklin.

Some are comparing this to the loss of Elvis Presley nearly 32 years ago. I remember I was at my summer job in San Jose when I heard the news. That was a couple of years before the 24/7 news cycle would even be born. Back then, we'd get a few minutes of national news, and maybe an hour-long tribute while radio would play Elvis as long as we were in mourning.

Compare it to now: at least three channels putting the world on hold to cover all angles of Jackson's death while at least three music channels play his videos, or anything related to him.

One thing is for sure...his death has done wonders for his CD sales. It's one of the unwanted benefits of death for a pop star. Suddenly, everyone wants to buy your records. It's a way to own a piece of the idol forever. It happened when Elvis died, John Lennon, Kurt Cobain, and many other musicians who died too soon.
On the other hand, there were many reports of people paying tribute to Jackson with vigils, makeshift memorials or just his music being played for all to hear. I don't think anything like that happened when Elvis died. I think we can thank Twitter and Facebook for that. There was a really big vigil for Jackson at Land Park in Sacramento last night.
We'll continue to think about Michael Jackson for weeks to come, and try to get a little piece of him before he fades away. It may be a download for out iPods, or taking another look at his videos on the internet when MTV goes back to showing The Real World much more often than "Billie Jean".

Now, we should also remember who else we lost in less than a week. We lost Farrah Fawcett to cancer at 62. Was it that long ago her smiling face and incredible hair were part of our walls? She wanted to be more than that. She wanted to prove to be more than teeth and a haircut. She wound up as a good actress, with some memorable roles. Some of us also remember her posing nude in Playboy, or acting goofy with David Letterman. For most of us, we'll remember Farrah Fawcett as one of the real Charlie's Angels. Now, she's an Angel in another sense.

Before that, we saw Ed McMahon head for that Tonight Show in the sky. Conan and Fallon did good jobs on their shows honoring the man who was the ultimate sidekick that soon got a chance at being a star (or at least making them on Star Search). It's funny that while NBC had one-hour specials on Farrah and Michael, they didn't didn't do that for Ed McMahon. He had been part of NBC for more than 30 years, even as a game show host. They could have given Ed an hour on primetime. Maybe he didn't have great hair, or could moonwalk, but Ed McMahon did something just as important. He helped make Johnny Carson a TV icon.

So, that leaves Mitsuharu Misawa, a Japanese wrestler who was a big star in the 1990's and later a wrestling promoter. He started as a masked wrestler, but once he unmasked himself, he became a star. Some of his matches are available on YouTube, and they hold up against any matches from the WWE elite. He may not be as well known as Triple H or John Cena, but Misawa was someone who put on a good show every night. Just like Michael Jackson.

The difference is that Misawa was still plugging away, maybe a little longer than he should have. He was in a tag team match when he took a suplex on his back. It's something he'd done hundreds of times before. It's the life of the wrestler. He was in his mid-40s, but still able to do what he did best. It was just one suplex too many, and it wound up killing him. It was just one of those things.
Sure, maybe just shy at 47 he'd would have to take some painkillers after a match because he wasn't as young as he used to be. Still, he was able. It was the suplex that killed him, fatally injuring his spine. It was just one of those things.

It's a much different ending that what happened to Michael Jackson, who thought a dangerous Fountain of Youth would make him King again, like he was in his younger days.

In the end, we should remember these people for what made them special, and why we admired them. Maybe their lives weren't perfect, but they were still special to us.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Christmas in July? Not This Year

Fans of Disney animation are mostly interested in the latest Pixar entry, Up, and the next Toy Story movie coming in about a year from now. People seeing Up are already getting a look at both.

However, Disney wants people to start thinking about next Christmas, when they're about to present its first Motion Capture animated feature, A Christmas Carol. What better way to do that...than with an old-fashioned train tour?
OK, how does that compare to the usual way, like the internet or even certain sci-fi conventions? It would be cheaper to just go to Comic-Con, and tell people about A Christmas Carol. You just won't be able to get as many people, especially if you're competing against Lost, Transformers, and the latest comic book craze.

No, to get people to embrace Motion Capture movies, and the fact they are becoming much-more lifelike than The Polar Express, you need...

Christmas Carol Caboose

...and some sponsors, like Hewlett-Packard, who helped put the movie together, and Amtrak, for the train.
They started this during Memorial Day Weekend, and will continue it to November first. It's quite an exhibit. Here's a sample of what families saw when the tour reached Old Sacramento...

Yes, Scrooge was as tiny as Tim

Yes, even animated movies need costumes

Some Dickens memorabilia, too

Two faces of Dickens

Scrooge and Marley model

Motion Capture Center

Visit this link to see the rest of the photos I took. Nowhere else will you see a Victorian Christmas Choir with kazoos.

The real test, of course, is the film itself. They provided a couple of scenes, including the classic scene where Scrooge sees Marley's ghost. The 3-D effect is outstanding, and seeing Jim Carrey bring Scrooge to life is just great. He's always been a great mimic (you should see his Jimmy Stewart from the early '80s). Also, there's not much concern about recreating flesh-and-blood people, as there was in Beowulf or Polar Express. It's retelling one of the great stories of our time, but in a brand new way. We all have out own favorite versions of A Christmas Carol, whether it has Alistair Sim, Blackadder or Mr. Magoo as Scrooge. Seeing Motion Capture Scrooge up close as the picture of Victorian selfishness, complete with "bah,humbug" in 3-D, gives you a special holiday feeling. As with the two previous Motion Capture pictures, Robert Zemeckis directed this movie. It's not that surprising, since he's the man who directed Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Disney is smart to spend the cash for a nationwide tour. It keeps this movie in the minds of movie fans, even though it will be competing with summer blockbusters. In the long run, this tour will reach thousands more than one quick panel in San Diego.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Big Saturday Night Stars Awfully Small

This is how small: GSN calls me three times for a chance to get on the show as a contestant.
I miss all three times, but they did call me that often. I never get that lucky on the regular GSN Live show.

So, how was GSN's attempt to be as big on Saturdays as they are during weekdays?
Not good, actually. Getting Ross the ex-intern from Jay Leno and Keegan Michael Key from Mad TV aren't my choices as budding game show hosts. They have a good bench in Debra Skelton, Julie Brown and Fred Roggin. They have a couple of other people whose name I can't remember, but are entertaining. Use them!
Also, why do you need comedy sketches on a game show? They should tell Keegan this isn't Mad TV anymore.
Now, for the two game shows...

Someone told me that 20Q would have worked better if they condensed it to 30 minutes. This would be done easily if they chose three contestants, and one wins the chance to go against the computer for 10 grand. The computer should also sound more like a Transformer.
As for Money List, this was slow, but apparently they will pick up the pace in future shows.

One other complaint...the theme songs for both shows sound too much like the theme for Deal or No Deal. That also goes for Million Dollar Password. Compare that to the shows you see at GSN. The sets are basic, and the theme songs aren't loud enough to almost be part of an action movie soundtrack.

I know this is the first week, and GSN Live had its own period of adjustment before it clicked on all cylinders. I just think the BSN guys should start with the GSN Live pattern, then tweak it enough so the format can work on its own.

I also suggest that people have a chance to get prizes by just logging in, in case they can't get on the air. Or, more phone games, even for smaller prizes.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

More powerful than a recession

The speculation has started on which shows will be part of Comic-Con next month.
One thing is for sure...the only place left to get tickets is eBay.
I just found out all, and I mean ALL, tickets have sold out, from one-day to four day passes. Even Sunday tickets are gone.
Thus, one absolute truth is proven again: the last thing you do at Comic-Con is buy tickets for next year.

That's what I did, and I am guessing others have done that, too, just ahead of the sudden recession. You'd think with airlines and hotels suffering from the recession, the show wouldn't sell out. Despite auto layoffs and high unemployment, the event sold out faster than ever. Must be the fact that it's the 40th anniversary of Comic-Con, and people are expecting the biggest event ever.

Well, we can expect, at the very least, Dollhouse, Joss Whedon and even Felicia Day to make appearances, along with the cats of new sci-fi shows like V, Vampire Diaries(ugh!) and Flash Forward. Panels about Avatar,(maybe, but expected since it's the big Christmas movie)Last Airbender, Iron Man 2 and Harry Potter are also sure things. Maybe something about Toy Story 3-D, with a guest appearance by one of the writers who has gone on to an (ahem) adequate career. There are also rumours that one show may not be there. That might be Heroes, because NBC's saving its cash for Leno. Maybe it could be Doctor Who, to build anticipation for the 11th Doctor...and also its filming schedule may prevent it from getting people there, like John Barrowman. The flood of info should start four weeks from now.

In any case, I am already set, ticket, hotel room and all, done a year ahead of time...and it looks like I will have to do that again to keep reporting for Whedonopolis. At least with Wondercon, it's not so frantic.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

MMA visits my neighborhood

It's not every day that a prelude to an important sporting event comes to my neighborhood.
The WEC, or World Extreme Cagefighting, decided to have its weigh-in ceremony for its big card Sunday at Acro featuring Urijah Faber and Lightweight champ Mike Brown. The two fighters, along with a few others had a weigh-in ceremony at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium. I was curious about how these things work, and how well the city had renovated the place.

Here's a look at the stage...

full view of Sac Memorial

About a thousand people showed up, since it was free. They saw some matches from Versus' coverage of WEC, including the match where Brown defeated then-champ Faber. Naturally, the fans were pro-Faber.
Speaking of which, here he is, stripping for the weigh-in, and looking savage.

Savage CA Kid

And here is Brown, who has made quick work of his previous opponents...

Basic Brown

Now here's Faber and Brown, posing for what they'll do soon enough...

Just getting ready

However, if you have these two girls on a stage, who needs a fight?

Fight, what fight?

Supporters of Faber were also busy turning a dollar, selling a bunch of "Alpha Male/California Male" t-shirts outside the auditorium. While I am more of a pro wrestling fan, as long as it's from the '80s, I will see if Faber can get his belt back. After all, he's a local guy.