After the screening we were sent across the street to after party at Highland Park Bowl. Highland Park Bowl is basically a bag with several bowling lanes. I loved the historic and vintage vibe. There was a small selection of pizza flavors to choose from for our free slice, and it was pretty good pizza. They also had themed cocktails the bars and our punch cards gave us two cocktails. The entire place was themed and decorated for the Hunters show including photographs on the staircase. I apologize for the blurry photos of the staircase photos. I was trying not to block the stairs as they led to the busy restrooms.
There was also a sword swallower performer in a side room where another bar was located and a cotton candy maker. Across the hallway there was a photo booth area where we were given mustache disguises. The photo booth took a photo and a gif, which were emailed separately. I received the emails within 10 minutes of taking the photos. We stopped by the “merchandise” booth located near the entrance/exit of the bowling alley and collected our free “bowling” sock, which was part of our punch card. The lady working the booth asked us if would like a t-shirt, too, and gave us each one. It’s the same shirt all of the bar/bowling alley staff was wearing and wasn’t part of the punch card freebies.
Amazon Prime held a bunch of free screenings with after parties in historic Highland Park Thursday, February 20 – Saturday, February 22, 2020. Due to other plans I wasn’t able to secure a ticket until they extended the events to Sunday, February 23rd. Our tickets were for the first screening and after party (no bowling) of the day. The screening was held at the Highland Theatre.
We arrived much earlier than we expected and found parking right away. There were vintage New York taxis and other cars parked directly in front of both the theater and bowling alley. We got in line an hour before show time and there had lots of people/staff dressed in 1970s attire. These people were super fun and got the fans ready for a great time.
Tickets were scanned and we were given yellow wristbands. Then canvas tote bags were handed out with a circular punch card, which would give us free swag such as popcorn, drink and candy for the movie. Security came by to check IDs to give plain white wristbands to everyone 21 year sold and over. Once inside the theater we used our punch card to get a Hunters comic book, popcorn, soda and candy. They had a small selection of candy, even candy cigarettes!! The on screen advertisements before the movie started were themed to the show, and you will recognize a few of the businesses in the very first episode.
I enjoyed the first episode screened at the event, but I’m not as thrilled with the next two episodes I viewed at home. The “visions” Jonah has are a little too much and unnecessary. Hunters is available on Amazon Prime video.
Outside San Diego Comic-Con: The Orville Experience
by Veronica Nunez, August 7, 2019
We had planned on spending all of Saturday during SDCC inside the convention center seeing various panels, but there had been an announcement on Twitter from Orville producer Tom Constantino (@TomConstantino) on Friday about some “surprises or special guests” at The Orville Experience after 5pm on Saturday. We guessed that the some cast members would likely be making an appearance due to their panel and signing all ending before 5pm that day.
We had planned on seeing The Orville Experience anyway, but we changed our panel plans for Saturday afternoon/evening to make sure we got to the offsite in time. We left the convention center immediately after The Orville panel, grabbed sandwiches to eat in line, and arrived outside the offsite around 4pm. There was a very small line, and they let in groups of 10 or so people in at a time.
It was lovely to be in a well air-conditioned room, and the space was much larger than I was expecting. There were so many costumes on display as well as storyboards and concept art. There was also a video of the animation process for sequences. The detailing on the costumes are absolutely incredible as is the detailing on the model of The Orville ship. The ship model looked to be about 2 feet long and was beautifully displayed.
As it got closer to 5pm, you could see that no one was leaving the building and they had stopped letting people in. Photographers were let in and set up around the group of costumes set up below “The Orville Experience” signage. I placed myself directly behind the gun prop display, but lost my space when I stepped back to get one of the “The World of The Orville” books. The cast arrived to take some photos, and Seth MacFarlane did an interview or two.
It was very crowded at this time, and I was getting a bit warm in the crowd. I took a few more photos of some of the displays, but I still wasn’t able to get to see everything there. There was also a GIF/photo op by the exit, but I slightly regret not staying to do it.
The Orville Experience was set up by some of the production department with about 2 months’ time to work on it. Not having experience in displays showed in that the font size on information placards was too small to read from behind the ropes. Costumes were displayed along walls along with storyboards and concept art, and they had rope barriers set up to keep visitors from getting too close to the costumed mannequins, which I completely understand, but the small font on the information placards made them very difficult to read. Also, there were a lot of shadows created on some of the art and their placards from the costumes.
Less than a week before San Diego Comic-Con, I decided to make a Stranger Things inspired skirt. It had been on my mind since last October when I attended my “niece’s” Stranger Things themed birthday party. I ordered a vintage floral bedsheet off of Ebay which was brand new in its original packaging. Unfortunately, due to the packaging I didn’t see that the floral pattern was only along the top edge and not throughout the sheet. I quickly found 2 more bedsheets, 1 twin size and 1 full size, on Ebay and placed the orders crossing my fingers at least one would arrive in time.
Bedsheets can be great for making skirts and dresses from, especially in this case since I want a vintage style/color/pattern. I also didn’t have much time before we left for San Diego, and I would be hand-sewing the skirt because I don’t know how to use a sewing machine. The two sheets arrived a day apart, and though the full size would have been easier to work with cutting wise, the twin size had a better pattern and coloring. The twin sheet I used was by Room Concepts in the Michele pattern, and it was a “flannelette” 50/50 cotton-polyester blend. I had four days until we left for San Diego.
I washed both sheets in hot water to remove any sizing and smells they may have from their age, and dried them on high heat as well. I used a skirt I have to make a rough pattern (I have a pattern packed away somewhere from when I made my Star Wars skirt, but I couldn’t find it) on some butcher paper we have. I also traced a rough oval using my hand for sizing reference to add pockets to my skirt. I used this pattern to cut the fabric. After the fabric was cut, I tea-stained the cut pieces to get the colors a bit older looking and a bit darker. The sheet had a cream color background, but I wanted it to be a bit more brownish.
I washed the pieces again after tea-staining, and there was an unfortunate amount of fraying along most of the edges, but I cut larger than normal edges in case this happened. The tea-staining made the fabric more wrinkled than before so I had to iron the pieces prior to painting the alphabet onto the back and front pieces. I used the Soft fabric paint by Tulip in Ebony and a natural bristle ¾” paint brush I had on hand to paint the letters. I started with the back section of the skirt in case I screwed it up. This was done at midnight on the Saturday night before San Diego Comic-Con because we had been at a friend’s birthday party all afternoon/night. I got up early on Sunday morning to paint the front section of the skirt since the back side was now dry. We don’t have a lot of space for me to lay both sides to dry where my cat, Nick Furry, can’t get his hair all over it. I let the paint air dry on its own for about 2 hours, then I used a hair dryer to get the spots which were taking longer to dry due to thicker layers of paint.
While the front side paint was drying I temporarily altered a full-length white petticoat/crinoline I had on hand. I do have a shorter one, but it’s a dark-ish blue, and I felt that it was too dark to wear under the sheet fabric. Tea-staining does help with the transparency issue most sheets have, though the flannelette is thicker than most sheets. I used a lot of safety pins to pull up the outer layer of the petticoat to the waist, then I “hemmed” the underskirt/lining with safety pins from the bottom. Pinning from the bottom helped give some extra poof, too.
Since I had been thinking about making this skirt since October, I had purchased two small battery operated Christmas lights from Michaels during Christmas time. They’re the LED and the perfect classic shape, but I wished they had a blinking option. Sunday, Monday (after work), and Tuesday morning I sewed all of the pieces together, but I hadn’t given enough space to slide the 1” wide elastic for the waist (due to my painting the letters too high), so I had to use some thinner elastic which isn’t as strong. Like I mentioned before, I don’t know how to sew and an elastic waistband is all I can really do. The flannelette fabric is also stretchy, and I have no experience working with stretchy fabric
We were leaving for San Diego at 11am on Tuesday so it was crunch time. I tried on the petticoat and skirt to see if I needed to make further adjustments to the petticoat. It did need another 2 inches shortened on the interior lining, but the skirt was ready to have the lights pinned to it. I wanted to have one battery pack in each pocket, so I put the battery pack inside the pocket and safety-pinned the lights going from the battery to the end of the light strand. I pinned from the under the skirt putting the pin through the two cords which made up the light strand. I need to get a third strand or maybe one much longer strand of lights to make the skirt better.
I received a lot of compliments on my skirt when I wore it on the first day, Thursday, of Comic Con even though I only had the lights one when I was on the exhibition floor or when I was volunteering in the Hall H line later that evening. You couldn’t see the lights in the bright sunlight, but they still had a great effect. Some of the nice comments I didn’t even hear as people would say something to their friends as I passed by them on the Exhibition floor, but my boyfriend was walking behind me and he heard them. So the moral of the story is to not let your inexperience keep you from trying something.
A group of us managed to get tickets for the Starcourt Mall pop-up to celebrate the release of season 3 of Stranger Things in Los Angeles this past weekend. The pop-up was only open Friday, July 5 through Sunday, July 7, 2019. The free tickets were for time slots spaced 30 minutes apart. There was no description of what this pop-up was about except a mention of it being an immersive experience and photo-ops.
Starcourt Mall exterior 1
Starcourt Mall exterior 2
Themed wall signs
Flash studio ad featuring Eleven and Max
Free Scoops Ahoy ice cream
Free water and New Coke
Scoops Ahoy Boat
Me with the Scoops Ahoy Boat
We had a total of 8 people, but we split up our for the photo ops. We arrived 15 minutes before our appointment time, which is what was recommended by organizers. Once checked-in and wristbanded, we could get a free scoop of the new Stranger Things themed flavor U.S.S. Butterscotch ice cream (by Baskin Robbins) from the Scoops Ahoy “boat.” They also had free bottles of water and a large character wall for photos. There were restrooms behind the character wall.
Then we got into another line where we could get a free can of New Coke from a vending machine. There was also a pressed penny machine where each person could get a free pressed penny (pennies provided) of a Stranger Things image of their choice. In total, we waited approximately an hour and a half before getting inside the “mall.” There was a DJ playing 80s music while we waited in line, and we were in the shade provided by the building so the wait wasn’t as bad as it could have been.
They took us in small groups inside the mall, and our group was eight people so there were only a couple of others taken inside with us. Once inside the building, you see a central court complete with planter in the center of the room and store facades. The first actual room you go to is the Flash Studio where they had various 80s era shirts, jackets, and accessories to get you glammed up for a Polaroid photo. You could also take or have the staff take photos on your phone/camera. The next room couldn’t take all of us so the others went into the Hawkins Community Pool and our personal group stayed in Flash Studio and took more photos on our phones.
Once we got into the pool, we played with beach balls and Hawkins swim tubes and took lots of pictures. There were two “lifegaurds” in the pool to make sure we obeyed the pool rules posted on the wall, and they posed for pictures, too.
From the pool, we go into Eleven’s bedroom complete with replica props from season three. We were only allowed to spin the bottle, play with the CB radio, and sit in the chair at the desk. This room is small, and we took our own photos before we taken in our “photo group” into next room.
It was a black room with a bathtub in the center. I climbed inside the tub for the photo and wore a blindfold. They took a photo and GIF length video and both were emailed a few minutes later to the address I provided.
The next room was the Russian laboratory, and there was one man inside yelling at us in Russian when we touched the controls on the consoles (which our guide, Andy, told us to do), and Andy played along, too, ordering a pizza from the phone on one of the consoles. Two more “Russian” looking (if you’ve seen season 3, you’ll know what I mean) men walk into the room from another door and lead us to another room. We’re now on a “hill” for a photo-op. I got really excited to see the Mongoose bike photo prop I got to stand with. There were a few photos taken of each photo group. We had two in our photo group so we were given two printed copies, and we provided an email address where they would send all four photos to us. Once you leave this room, we are back in the central courtyard area where we had entered the building. I took more photos of the street-facing side of the building while we waited outside for the rest of our group.
This was a great immersive experience which lasted about 45 minutes, and I wasn’t too annoyed with the hour and a half wait. They did allowed a few people in via standby, but I heard those lines were over two hours. This is something I hope would be at San Diego Comic Con next week, but it would also really need to have reserved appointment times.
On Friday, May 17, 2019 Cinespia hosted a free screening of the first episode of the new Amazon Prime Video / BBC2 show, Good Omens. Good Omens is based on the book of similar name (Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Anges Nutter, Witch) collaboratively written by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The television show stars David Tennant and Michael Sheen and is written by Neil Gaiman. Miranda Richardson, John Hamm, and Frances McDormand help round out the series cast. The series is six episodes and were released on Amazon Prime on May 31, 2019 in the United States, but it is being broadcast weekly in the UK on BBC Two later this year. There isn’t an official date for BBC Two, but it’s been said that Neil Gaiman has said Good Omens will begin broadcasting on BBC Two in November or December 2019.
As mentioned above, we attended a free screening of the pilot episode hosted by Cinespia at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I hadn’t been to a Cinespia screening prior to Good Omens, but absolutely look forward to attending another screening this summer, scheduled permitting. Cinespia usually hosts screenings of movies during the summer. The films are projected onto the side of the mausoleum, and there is usually a DJ playing music before the film and a photobooth or two. Bring a low chair and blankets, pack a picnic or you usually can buy food and drinks there, and watch a movie under the celestial stars near dearly departed Hollywood stars. Check out Cinsepia.org for more information and this year’s scheduled films.
Because the Good Omens screening was free, it was especially crowded, but we were also given free concessions, and there were plenty of photo booths and photo ops around the area. There was a large section at the front and center of the mausoleum reserved for VIP, and there were security there. I recognized the security staff from red carpet events around Los Angeles, so I knew this was a section for invited celebrity guests. I did manage to spot Josh Groban arriving to that area. They had seats and blankets along with large baskets of goodies supplied. They also had a dedicated bar in their section. Neil Gaiman came and gave an introduction to the show prior to the screening. I was a bit surprised they only showed the first episode as screenings for television series usually consist of two episodes, but with only 6 episodes for the series I can understand why we only got to see the pilot.
Card for free concessions
I enjoyed the episode, but I won’t go into detail since it hasn’t aired in the UK, yet. I haven’t watched the rest of the series, yet, either. It was really funny, and I love the friendship between the demon Crowley (portrayed by David Tennant) and the angel Aziraphale (portrayed by Michael Sheen). (Note: There was a full moon the night of the screening.)
Entertainment Weekly’’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself. More on EW PopFest here.
The Supernatural Panel was held on Saturday, and though I’ve only watched a few episodes of Supernatural my youngest niece is a huge fan so I went to the panel to take pictures for her and make her jealous. She was away at school at the time so she couldn’t go. I texted her a few photos I took on my phone, and I mailed her all of the photos from my camera on a flash drive.
I’ll probably get around to watching Supernatural after the series completes its run in 2020. I thoroughly enjoyed the Supernatural panel at EW PopFest, because Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki are hilarious together. At one point Jared goes to do a mic drop, and Jensen gives him shit because microphones are expensive. Jared had tried to catch the microphone with his foot and it hurt his foot. The whole panel consisted of them teasing each other, and it was great. They clearly have a lot of fun together and we got to laugh along with them.
Entertainment Weekly hosted their own pop culture convention in Downtown Los Angeles the same weekend, and only a few blocks from where Stan Lee’s Comikaze was happening at the Los Angeles Convention Center.
EW’s PopFest was held at The Reef and the parking lot is where most of the events were happening. The main stage was located outside as well as various activations and food trucks. There were some panels held inside The Reef building itself.
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Panel
Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Panel
On the Friday before PopFest officially began, they held an early screening of Doctor Strange at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood for the first 250 or so VIP weekend badge purchasers. There was a Q&A with Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson.
El Capitan Marquee for Doctor Strange screening
Doctor Strange director Scott Derrickson
Some of the panels at the main stage included Supernatural, Arrow, The Flash, and Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them. The only panel I saw inside The Reef was for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life, but I also went to the preview screening of the pilot episode of Good Behavior (at which they had t-shirts on the chairs for the attendees.) They also had author signings where I had my 20th Anniversary edition of Outlander signed by Diana Gabaldon.
Some of the outdoor activations included photo ops for M&Ms and for Ash vs. The Evil Dead. The Ash vs. the Evil Dead activation also gave away foam chainsaw “hands” and t-shirts. There was also an activation to compete in Survivor skills. They had trivia, too, where you could win prizes and a Lip Sync Battle stage. There was a beer garden near the main stage, but I’m not much of a drinker and I hate beer so it wasn’t something I was interested in.
Lip Sync Battle Activation
Survivor activity course
It did rain a little bit throughout the weekend, so that was a bit of a downer for the outdoor events, but it was light and sporadic so everyone was able to have fun. The event seemed pretty well run given that it was the first event of this size Entertainment Weekly held. They had a smaller activation called ConX during Comic Con 2016, which I had visited but hadn’t seen any of the panels or live music performances. I think the event would have had more success had it not been held the same weekend as Stan Lee’s Comikaze (now Los Angeles Comic Con).
On Saturday of WonderCon 2019 we were treated to a screening of the full first episode of the new AMC show NOS4A2 which is based on the novel by the same name written by Joe Hill. I hadn’t heard of the book prior to the WonderCon panel, but I had heard of Joe Hill as he’s no stranger to the world of comics and comic cons. Joe Hill also wrote an Eisner winning comic series for IDW Publishing called Locke & Key. Locke & Key is currently being adapted as a series by Netflix.
I watched the episode with only a vague idea about the show’s premise based off of the title, and I’m not going to recap the episode here. Here’s a trailer for you to give you an idea of what the show is about.
I thoroughly enjoyed the episode, and it introduces the story and characters quite well while leaving a lot to be discovered. Zachary Quinto is unrecognizable when we first see him as Charlie Manx. The panel with the cast creators followed the screening. There wasn’t much information given except to say that Ólafur Darri Ólafsson’s character, Bing, plays an important role.
After WonderCon I bought a copy of the NOS4A2 book to read before the show premieres on AMC on June 2. I read the book in about one week, and fans of the novel will immediately notice a huge change in the show. The age of Victoria, our protagonist, was changed from a child in the book to a teenager in the show. Ignoring logistical reasons for the change, I feel the change allows for the show to be more accurate in other ways. Reading about an 8 year old child experiencing these somewhat dark events is easier to stomach for most audiences, but seeing an 8 year old in these situations would keep many people from watching. The book also makes a few time jumps of a few years each, and time jumps in television and film usually feels clunky or just plain lazy.
The book is great, and I hope that the series continues the quality of storytelling seen in the first episode. Will we be seeing you in Christmasland on June 2nd?
On November 19 and 20, 2016 Netflix hosted a free fan event for their “revival” of Gilmore Girls on the University of California Los Angeles campus. I got there 2 hours early, but I still stood in a line which lasted over an hour.
You were checked in while in line which included being given a wristband and a map of the various activations. My first stop was to take a photo in front of the gazebo, then I went to get some free coffee at Luke’s. My next stop was Taylor’s Olde Fashioned Soda Shoppe where we were given backs of saltwater taffy and small candy stick pieces.
There was also “Kirk’s Button Emporium” where you could select a button of your choice, and this great sign was posted asking patrons to only take one button.
There were some black umbrellas hanging from a few trees for photo ops and they had umbrellas available for the fans to use because of the rain. Each umbrella had “In Omhia Paratus” printed on one side so there were plenty of people taking fun photos.
There was a photo booth inside the Stars Hollow Gazette, and a large tent held “Kim’s Antiques” which contained various “antique” furniture as well as props from the original Gilmore Girls series.
It lightly rained sporadically throughout the day, but the event was a lot of fun and completely worth waiting in lines in the rain.