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Monday, July 24, 2006

San Diego Comic Con 2006

I finally went to my first con this weekend. Followed up by a trip to Losa Angeles to hear Kevin Smith's Q&A after a viewing of "Clerks II" at the Arclight in Hollywood.

I will try to recap as much as possible, but I am exhausted...

We took the trolley downtown- we weren't willing to pay $25 for parking (when $10 would give us our tickets on the trolley) and I wasn't game for the traffic nightmare. We got downtown in 30 minutes, and despite earlier predictions aced right in the front door pretty fast.

We hit the exhibit floor, but there was way more to see than I had time to see. We planned on returning later to the exhibit floor, but due to circumstances beyond my control, we never got the chance. Therefore, I highly recommend going more than one day- one day is just not enough time! Next year, I am going to buy my four day pass.

Still, the exhibit floor was awesome. We headed right over to The View Askew booth, where I picked up a t-shirt and the exclusive comic-con "Tales From Clerks II" comic book.

Next, we hit "The Simpsons" booth. That was pretty cool, we picked up a few comics there.

Then we hit Nickelodeon and the Cartoon Network Studios booths, picking up some freebies for my daughter.

We managed to hit Sony, Lionsgate, IFC, Sci-Fi Channel, Mattel, Hasbro, Warner Brothers, Universal, and saw a lot of promotion for upcoming movies. We saw Henry Rollins while we were walking around. We probably only saw about 15-20% of the exhibit floor though.

We went to get in line for Matt Groening ("The Simpsons"). I waited in line an hour and while the line moved (the show began at noon), by 12:20 I bolted from the line to go get in line for Kevin Smith in the main hall (Hall H). At 12:30, my husband called to say he got in. I was bummed.

But, I got in Hall H in record time and got a seat to see Rosario Dawson, Quentin Tarantino, and Robert Rodriguez. In the meantime, my husband tried to procure a lottery ticket to get in line to meet Matt Groening, and was not able to get one. He also tried to get a t-shirt, and they ran out. He tried meeting John Kricfalusi (Ren and Stimpy) and the line got cut off right in front of him. He was very frustrated and disappointed.

I, too, ended up frustrated and disappointed, but that quickly dissapated. After Quentin's panel, Kevin Smith did not show up. He was stuck in traffic (the same traffic I would sit in the next day). I waited his entire hour and a half panel just in case he showed up. He didn't, and they rescheduled him for 5 and a half hours later. The last 15 minutes of his panel Rosario Dawson came out to entertain us, and boy, did I fall in love with her! She was so sweet and endearing, she also sang to us! She called Kevin on her cell phone and let us chat with him for a moment that way.

Afterwards I don't even remember what the panel was, I was so tired by that point. My husband came to join me, and we decided that given the big names coming later in the day, we better not leave Hall H for fear of losing our seats.

I did wait 45 minutes in the special "Hall H" line for a crappy hot dog, but at least I got food. They were running out of everything, seeming completely unprepared for what they knew was going to be a large crowd. Hall H holds 6,500 people, and it was full just about the rest of the night. That line made me miss part of the "Narnia" panel, but I did get to see the Pirates of the Caribbean 2 panel. They showed the CGI effects of Davey Jones, AND they showed us a special clip from POTC 3! Looks awesome, and I loved seeing the unfinished shots.

Afterwards was the "Sony Presents" section. The first part was "Ghost Rider" the new movie with Nicolas Cage and Eva Mendes. They were both so cute and looked so Hollywood. Nicolas Cage was a total crack-up, really enjoyed him. The movie looks scary but cool.

Then came Sam Raimi (director of Spiderman 1, 2, and 3 and the Evil Dead movies) presenting clips from Spiderman 3. Well, he did one better than that- he brought along Kirsten Dunst, Bryce Dallas Howard, Thomas Hayden Church, Topher Grace, and Tobey Maguire! It was so amazing, I screamed myself hoarse. I had no idea they were going to be there, and I just love all of them. It was very cool. The Spiderman 3 clips were incredible- it really does look like the best one yet. Venom (played by Topher Grace) looks just fantastic, I was so impressed! The hall went crazy for this panel, seriously.

They followed that up with a 45 minute Question and Answer session with Kevin Smith, who brought along Jason Mewes. His original panel was supposed to be an hour and a half, so I was disappointed it got cut down so much. But never fear- I got to see Kevin again the next day!

By the time we got out of there, it was 7:30 and the exhibit hall was closed. Looking at the schedule, we missed a TON of stuff- but what can you do? You can't be in two places at once. Seriously, I need to go every single day next year, so I can catch more stuff, although I can't imagine the energy you would need to do that. I was exhausted after one day!

Oh, almost forgot to mention the costumes. Some were pretty amazing, but you have to realize- San Diego had record breaking triple digit heat (my house was 111 on Saturday- no joke). Can you imagine walking around downtown in that heat in full costume and make-up??

So, Sunday, I had procured weeks ago tickets to a Kevin Smith Q&A for a smaller crowd- a movie theater, post-viewing of Clerks II.

The traffic that screwed up Kevin's panel on Saturday we had the pleasure of enjoying on Sunday. We had Los Angeles type traffic in San Diego (horrendous!) took us from 1:20 pm until 3pm to get to San Onofre. After that? We got to the Jay and Silent Bob Secret Stash (comic books and memorabilia store) at 4:15! It's located next to UCLA so parking was nightmarish, but I can only imagine what it is like when school is in session.

J&SBSS is an homage to the View Askew movies. They had several movie props there, including the wings Ben Affleck wore in "Dogma" and the Mooby with the computer from Clerks II. They had a slew of "Inaction" figures from the movies, several were even autographed by Kevin Smith. They did have memorabilia from other movies too, notably a section of "Sin City".

I loved the store, although they were out of some of what I wanted. I found a talking Simpsons Magic 8 Ball (that now that we're home doesn't work- it's supposed to "talk" instead of having a floating indicator like the classic) and a Chasing Amy t-shirt for Shawn, and I got a Clerks 2 t-shirt and Chasing Amy DVD for myself. I came home and placed a big on-line order to catch all the items I missed. I'm sure they've been quite busy because of the recent publicity (from the opening of Clerks II).

Just in case I had the chance, I put the DVD in my purse afterwards, butI was unable to procure Kevin's autograph- this weekend, with the movie premiering, he's just too busy. Next time, I hope.

After that we drove over to the Arclight in Hollywood and had dinner at the Arclight Cafe. Very nice, good food, and not as expensive as I thought it would be. I had the sweet corn tamale and grilled skirt steak. Yum! Fancy. The restaurant was full when we left, and they also had a nice gift shop. An incredible place to see a flick, for sure.

The arclight was cool, neat to see where the hollywood premieres are. Plus, we drove down Sunset Blvd and saw Hollywood High School and the Laugh Factory and the House of Blues. They all looked much smaller than I imagined, I'm sure none of those places hold very many people! The Arclight is a few blocks from the Pantages theater which is always showing the broadway style shows. We did see them filming a movie on Sunset Blvd but of course did not get a glance "behind the curtain". It's amazing how people in Hollywood don't even blink when they see a movie filming. Me? Total fangirl.

I wish we had had more time to explore the area, but alas, we didn't.

The arclight dome is where the premieres are, we weren't able to be in there even though the official red carpet premiere of Clerks 2 was shown in there. Regardless, our theater was very plush. I wish all movie theaters were like this. Nice bathrooms, they keep them clean; big comfy seats with stadium seating; and reserved seats! Awesome. We were in row O exact center.

The movie was incredible, really enjoyed it. Laughed a lot and even teared up at the end. I will most likely be going to see it again, when Kevin's iPod commentary comes out (genius marketing, I tell you!) The 10,000 MySpace names went by way too fast for me to see my name. And yes, there is a donkey show ("inter-species erotica") and had moments where I had to look away. Hysterically funny though.

Kevin came out after the credits stopped rolling, looking so tired. His first few questions he seemed kind of out of it, but the whole time I was trying to get a decent picture (don't think I did, way too dark in there- he just stood in the front of the theater and chatted with us). Then, he really livened up. Gave a great show. I got to ask him a question, and had a little mini-conversation with him from across the theater. That made the whole thing definitely worthwhile for me :-) Really awesome.

An amazing weekend. I'm so starstruck. It was really fun for me, but I am completely exhausted today. Can't wait for next year!


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