If you've never been to a Comic-Con (what are you waiting for?) essentially it's a market & trade show - at it's base, it's just one big store. All the vendors gathered together in one convenient place. To get the fans to come shop, the convention books stars (past & present) for Q&A's, autograph sessions & photo ops.
But it's the people that attend that make it so much more.
The fans of everything that make up this culture are so dedicated that they dress up in amazing cosplay some have prepared all year long to show off t's just SO MUCH FUN.
Dallas Fan Days Expo - April 6th-8th - Dallas Convention Center - Dallas, TX
This is the big one & every year their is the lead theme & this year it was Back to the Future, that's also to say that this has to be the most stacked lineup of talent in all the years we've been covering this special event.
Back to the Future
They did suffer a pretty major setback as this whole thing has been centered around a Back to the Future cast reunion which is extremely rare unto itself. It proved that as much as for the 5 main cast members that were announced including Marty McFly himself, Michael J Fox, by showtime it had dwindled down to just two: Christoper Lloyd & Tom Wilson (Doc & Biff respectively).
That's not to say that all way lost as their contrast in personalities made for such a fun & candid conversation. You never know what some of these people are like in person, so it came as a wonderful surprise that Wilson is an animated dervish of performance art, anchored by Lloyd's perpetually seemingly stoned low key persona. He was definitely more Taxi than BTTF here.
Afterwards ??? brought out this magnificent cake for everyone to not only behold but to taste (& it was as yummy and it was majestic).
Even the other guests were getting into the Back to the Future spirit has a revolving cast known as Twisted Toonz, made up of voice actors of some of your favorite pop culture programs come together to do a script reading in voices they are assigned on the spot improv style (just to further drive home how talented these people are). Normally this type of appropriated humor isn't for me & I was already dealing with that I had misread it as I thought it was gonna be the actual cast members from BTTF doing the reading, meaning we were gonna see Doc Brown be Doc Brown LIVE, but I'm glad I stayed as this was very fun & at time super hilarious.
2001: A Space Odyessy 50 Year Cast Reunion
It's cliche to say that Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyseey is one of the greatest films ever or even THE best or your favorite but literally for me all those things are true & without sounding morbid, given how much time has passed I never gave it a thought that the two main cast members were still in con-appearance capacity. They truly are infinite.
At both 81 years young Keir Dullea & Gary Lockwood (David Bowman & Frank Poole respectively) gave several fasincating Q&A's over the weekend, revealing so much minutia about the film & the legacy of Kubrick that your yearn for.
Including a very rare & private screening of it's sequel 2010: The Year We Make Contact (that Dullea also appears in)
I had never seen the 1984 sequel in the theater & only had seen once before when I was in my teens so this was a real treat.
Much thanks to Keiran from Alamo Drafthouse for having us & to my girl Jocelyn for driving in a hail storm (even after her side window exploded) to make the film with me. Our love is truly infinite.
And if those heavy hitters over the weekend we saw (very different) panels from the likes of heavy hitters as Jeff Goldblum, Chuck Norris & many more.
If I had any exceptions it would be two things: People waited in line for hours to see Goldblum talk for exactly 12 mins whereas comparitively these things go an average of 30-45 mins.
The second would be everything surrounding Chuck Norris is still weird, indulgent with completely zero self-awareness.
His wife was insufferable as best: I forgive him reading his pre-approved statements from a sheet of paper as at his age & health & the miles he's put in, he's allowed. However for his attention starved trophy wife to seize the opportunity to place the spotlight on her & her cattle baron ladies-who-lunch charity culture & signature water was difficult to digest.
Not to mention this 78 year old former martial arts star, still thinks he needs military level security detail as a trigger itching handler really thought it was still 1987 (just like his wife).
Next was a great delight in a few of the cast members of Stranger Things, which is a show I personally adore & have seen both seasons. of.
Note of contrast: The three cast members Blah & Blah & new last season Sadie Sink were refreshingly just kids, they are all around the 13-14 year old age & looked & acted every bit of it, again just kids being kids. Compare that to when I interviewed Millie Bobby Brown who plays Eleven in 2016 when she was at this same event in it's smaller sister capacity of Dallas Fan Days. Since she doesn't speak much on the show I didn't know she was British, secondly her character (at least in the first three episodes) rarely if at all speaks. Lastly, she was only 12 years old
However, this pre-teen had more poise, grace and weapons grade wit & animated with a worldliness that I and the collective 3,000 or so in attendance will never know in our combined adult lives. How does that happen? She was funny, staggeringly smart, she rapped, had impeccable timing with humor and the perfect charm. I'm totally signing up for finishing school as I write this.
To add to this already stacked lineup Heavyweights Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian), Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) and Joonas Suotamo (the “new” Chewbacca for these sequel movies) rounded out the guest list of this must-attend event.
Billie Dee Williams
Who is also 81 years young (& on this day was his birthday) was still smooth - Slower & much less bass in his voice, he was still cool & very funny.
Replacing longtime Chewbacca actor Peter Mayhew comes Joonas Suatomo who was super friendly & engaging.
Daniels who plays C-3P0 closed the weekends festivities with his unique brand of Q&A that he basically turns into street theater.
I saw him do this once before (at the same event with Millie Bobby Brown, see above) & it was one of the most enjoyable & unforgettable moments at any con I've ever covered. He forgoes a moderator or the normal (& often boorish) line of questionaires and just takes over & bounds about with an animation & agility of someone a third his age and he picks people to ask questions & the whole thing feels very improvised & special. This time around didn't quite hit the mark the last time he was here & it was a bit too mean-spirited at times but unforgettable just the same.
This year's Artist Alley was super impressive, we visited the Rogues Apparel booth for their stunning prints from artist Chad Howell on some very comfy shirts. I'm not sure I've ever seen them have tattoo artist doing their thing before but their were several top talents inking fans & the whole thing had a GI Joe motif so naturally it immediately got my attention.
...and of course their would be no Fan Expo without exactly that - The Fans who most dressed up in awesome cosplay.
Cassidy (right as Kim Possible)
Michael Ho (left as Storm Shadow)
Ashley Mayumi (left as Little Mermaid)
I kept running into this awesome & talented couple that slayed with something new all three days, check out their page, both very friendly & cosplay is next level business.
Great to see Mira Shiver & the Cosplay Deviants crew back at Fan Expo Dallas. As a longtime supporter of liberated artists with a punk rock DIY work ethic such as Suicide Girls etc I love the work CDs are doing. A fan sourced outlet doing amazing things from skateboards to coffee table books. They even have their own board game!
Ireland Reid (left)
As witnessed, the Harley Quinn character was still easily the most popular cosplay among the masses to portray & all of her many incarnations & we had the pleasure of meeting & shooting what we thought were the two best we saw all weekend.
Hands down one of the best cosplayers we saw all weekend was Emily Herondale positively KILLING as Jade from Mortal Kombat.
So character acurate & sold it so fiercely that if they make a new MK movie, the role should go to Emily.
& the Girls of Silver Dollar City (right)
Leya Renee (as tinkerbell)
Alan Nakin (as Batgirl, left)
Always great to see my friend Joanie Brosas - This girl is a true nerd who also just happens to be impossibly attractive. Her social media is a delight of engaging inquiries, inspired photos & body/image positive messages that promote acceptance of all. Seriously, no one is doing cosplay this legit, this hot, with such a fun, positive attitude. Check out her appearance on our TrickyKid TV program https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U8xOeCO8CX4&t=628s