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Dec 072016
 

I will admit that it has been a few years since I last attended this convention. This year it was very special because my sister and I got to meet one of our all-time favorite performers, Weird Al Yankovic.

weird-al-yankovic

It was a real honor and was really excited, since Weird Al was a huge favorite of mine since childhood. I have been to several of his concerts over time, but never would’ve imagined that I would actually meet him face to face. It felt like going to a convention for the first time. Of all the celebrities I have met at these events over the years, that’s saying a lot.

Along side of getting a photo, I got Weird Al’s autograph on a small movie poster from the 1989 film UHF. It was also autographed by Jay Levey, the director. He also co-wrote the screenplay with Weird Al.

Even though a few scheduled celebrities could not make it due to the hurricane delaying Spooky Empire, many of them did like Butch Patrick. Yes, TV’s Eddie Munster returned this year and his Q&A panel was interesting. He talked about his time on The Munsters as well as his thoughts on the comparisons with related Munsters remakes like The Munsters Today (1987-1991) and the made for TV movie Mockingbird Lane (2012). Let’s just say that there’s no substitute for the real thing.

Overall, I had a wonderful time. One last note: I couldn’t help but notice that among the most popular celebrities to attend Spooky Empire were cast members from the new Netflix original series Stranger Things. It was mostly the kids who attended. What could’ve made that better, in my opinion, was if Winona Ryder had been there. Now that would have been interesting. Maybe she’ll come next year?

Mar 092016
 

I recently attended another great convention this past weekend. Omni Expo added some really cool displays from movies and TV shows.

First there were exact replicas of movie props from Jurassic Park like the truck and supplies, including a cosplayer of John Hammond.

Remember the shaving cream bottle containing the Dino DNA?

Then there was the car from Supernatural. The trunk contained the hunting gear, fake IDs, log book, and even the little army soldier in the ashtray. It just blew my mind how much attention to detail was put into this.

I also had the opportunity to meet actor Kevin Duhaney, who was Ethan the Blue Ranger from Power Rangers Dino Thunder.

And let’s not forget the cosplay with characters from Jurassic World, Star Wars, Mortal Kombat, and Legend of Zelda.

Although I didn’t attend any Q&A panels, I had a great time. What will they come up with at Omni Expo next year?

Feb 032016
 

Following the success of Avatar: The Last Airbender is the follow-up series The Legend of Korra – Book One: Air. This takes place 70 years after Aang and his friends defeated Fire Lord Ozai and restored peace to the four nations.

After Aang passed on, a new Avatar was born. She is a water bender named Korra that’s headstrong and eager to face any enemy that comes her way. You’ve got to admire her bravery and skill, and you certainly don’t want to mess with Naga, her pet polar bear dog.

In Avatar: The Last Airbender each season was focused on Aang mastering each of the other elements. This time, Korra has already mastered water, earth, and fire. In the first season, she struggles with air bending. Now you’d think that fire would be Korra’s biggest struggle because it’s the opposite of her element, like when Aang struggled with earth bending. It turns out that air bending requires patience in a spiritual manner, which is not one of Korra’s strong points.

Of course, Korra is not alone. She gains allies that eventually become the new Team Avatar. Let’s start with Tenzin. This wise air bending master is Aang and Katara’s son and one of the highest councilmen. He’s very serious most of the time, which is why it’s so funny when his temper goes off, stepping out of character.

Here’s a cool cosplay of Tenzin at CollectiveCon 2015.

Tenzin also has a family, which includes his wife Pema and their three children; the calm and collective Jenora, the fast talking Ikki, and their hyperactive brother Meelo. These kids are close with Korra, but can be a handful at times.

Then there’s Mako the fire bender and Bolin the earth bender. These brothers are a pro bending team called the Fire Ferrets. When Korra joins the team, she progresses as the Avatar. However, their friendship goes further than just being teammates.

Another important ally is Asami. She’s a non-bender that’s very inventive. Her relationship with Korra was rocky at first, mostly because both girls had feelings for Mako, but eventually they become friends.

Don’t worry. Some of the characters from the original series are still around like Katara, who is now a master healer.

If you thought Fire Lord Ozai was a dangerous foe, there are new villains that are even more intense like Amon. He is a masked man that has the power to take away bending powers. Amon believes this will make the world more peaceful, but there’s an even bigger mystery behind this guy.

I met Steve Blum, the voice of Amon, at CollectiveCon 2015.

This was certainly an interesting series so far, but Korra’s adventures are only beginning. Check my blog for Part 2 to find out more.

Nov 182015
 

It was so awesome to attend Rangerstop last weekend. Many of the same Power Ranger actors from last year were there along with some new ones from the original series.

Among the new ones was David Fielding who played Zordon. He’s the wise mentor that’s all knowing and is the provider of the morphers and zords. The rangers would be lost without Zordon.

Another Power Rangers actor I met was Melody Perkins. She was Astronoma the main villain on Power Rangers in Space, who was actually a brainwashed alien girl named Karone.

Melody was so sweet. When I was getting her autograph I thought of the battle scene in Countdown to Destruction, Part 2 between Astronoma and Andros the Red Ranger and asked her if she did all of her own stunts since it was the kind of fight scene that the stunt people normally do. She said she did and coincidentally she had recently watched that episode, remembering all the sparks flying as well as the turnout before Karone became good again and eventually becoming the new Pink Ranger on Power Rangers Lost Galaxy.

Much of the cosplay was very authentic, like this one of Zordon with a miniature command center.

Now here’s something interesting. Five years ago at Anime Festival Orlando 2010 David Yost, who was Billy the Blue Ranger, had a Q&A panel and was giving away prizes for whoever had the best questions. At that panel I won a rare photo of David wearing the Rita Repulsa wig, but didn’t get the chance for him to autograph it because the line was already full long before the panel was over.

Since David Yost was at Rangerstop, I brought it over to have it autographed. He remembered that panel and noticed that the photo was still in good shape. That was because I had it framed. Now it’s going back on the wall for sure.

I even got a photo with Alycia Purrot who was Sydney the Pink Ranger from Power Rangers SPD. This version was celebrating its tenth anniversary with a cast reunion.

I had a wonderful time at this convention, which also included a hilarious Q&A panel with the stars of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and Power Rangers Zeo. I’m sure that Rangerstop can only get better each year.

Dec 192014
 

Christmas is almost here and just last weekend I attended Holiday Matsuri. It’s been a while since the last time I went and for the first time I didn’t get any autographs. That’s okay because there were some great events to see. Here are some of the highlights.

There was Geekapella, a singing group with very tight harmony. They sang about video games, Star Wars, and Harry Potter. There was even a song that was a cross between Batman and Fallout Boy called Fallout Bat. That’s pretty clever.

Another major highlight was a Q&A panel with George Lowe. He was funnier than ever as he talked about his time on Space Ghost: Coast to Coast along with other shows and disclaimers.

Sailor Scouts_resized

And of course, there was plenty of cosplay from Sailor Scouts to Disney princesses.

I certainly had a good time at this Anime convention. It was a great way to start the holiday season. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!