Not Quite Fear And Loathing At San Diego Comic Con (Part 2)
Saturday morning seemed to smack me in the face. Did I even sleep? I have no idea. Our second day of Comic Con was at hand. With a hop, skip, and a jump in the shower, we were quickly out of the door and checked out of the hotel. Ryan and I bypassed the stroll through Old Town to the train station for a more desirable drive in my car. We reached Downtown fairly quickly and soon found reasonably priced parking a mile from the Convention Center. Why a mile? The parking lots that were blocks from the Convention Center charged roughly $50. With cheaper parking found, we were on our next mission to find coffee. We achieved Comic Con entry at roughly 9:50 am and found a quick photo opportunity with Gandalf.
This was just enough time to make it to Room 25ABC for the Panel Of The Living Dead. I was ready for the zombie video game themed event. There was a sign outside of the room saying the panel had moved to a room on the other side of the building which was a walk we didn’t want to take. Already, our itinerary for the day was being left by the wayside. I decided then and there that Saturday was the day of walking the Convention floor. So much for making plans.
Lucky for me, two booths that dictate some huge obsessions for me were right next to each other: AMC’s THE WALKING DEAD and TRON LEGACY. I had recently downloaded the TRON app for the iPhone and upon checking into the TRON LEGACY booth, I received what they called a “golden ticket” which was a graphic on my phone that was to be shown to one of the booth workers at the top of each hour to receive my front of the line ticket to visit Flynn’s Arcade. Ryan and I decided the Recognizer was the meeting place and he’d be back by the top of the hour.
I had enough time before it was 11:00 so I decided my first mission was to get in line to get a picture with the dead guy on the couch at THE WALKING DEAD booth. There was no wait at all and my first mission was accomplished. I got word from one of the employees working the booth that they would be giving out WALKING DEAD posters starting at noon and I made it a point to definitely come back. Like I said, I spent way too much time at this booth.
Once finished, I loitered in the area around the light cycle. I made small talk with two actors whose job it was to stand around in these awesome glow-in-the-dark TRON outfits and take pictures with people. Tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.
A crowd of like minded TRON nerds began forming around 10:45 and I merged my way underneath the giant Recognizer as if that was the portal to some sort of salvation. The crowd got bigger and I started feeling like I was at the front of a crowded concert and remembered immediately how much I hated being stuck in crowds like that. Someone shoved into my back and I was about to rip out throats when I realized Ryan was back. When the time was finally upon us, one of the workers at the booth made a hardly heard announcement asking for people to not push and everyone will get their ticket. People pushed, big surprise. We were successful, though, and received two glow sticks. Wait, glow sticks?
With two missions accomplished, I made my way through the crowded floor to the Showtime DEXTER booth. I checked into the booth through the DEXTER Game-on app on my iPhone and unlocked a badge instructing me to head over to The Hard Rock Hotel across the street to collect my "prize". I get a prize!?! Screw exploring more of the floor, I was out the front doors and crossing the street in record time.
Sadly, once I entered the hotel, no one had any idea where the Showtime people were for me to collect my winnings. Before searching around, I hit the bathroom where I found two guys dressed in full soldier gear from the popular video game HALO. Because we were in the bathroom, I did not take a picture. It just seemed inappropriate. And then in walked Sid Haig. Again, I did not take a picture. But…I was tempted. How many times can you say you shared some urinal time with Captain Spaulding?
Back out of the loo, I found my way down a hall and walked right into the room where The Showtime people were. I felt I didn’t belong there, but I flashed my Press badge and the badge I unlocked on my iPhone and got my prize! MY PRIZE! Which a DEXTER themed Showtime swag bag.
However, on my way back into the hotel lobby, I was told if I unlocked all the badges in the DEXTER game-on app, that I’d win the Season 4 DVD and a DEXTER bobble head doll. I left there determined to unlock all the badges. I grabbed a DEXTER face slash stick on tattoo and applied it to my face. The next badge I was set to unlock required I take a picture of my face on my phone and then upload the picture to the DEXTER game-on application. The first step was finished as I had taken a variety of pictures of my face which garnered some interesting looks from people as I was once again back in the bathroom. It’s good lighting, don’t judge me.
The next step was uploading the image to the application’s database on my phone. Simple, right? Wrong. I spent 30 minutes attempting to upload my image to the system. I moved around, took different photos, uploaded in different spots of The Gaslamp District thinking that would help and nothing worked. Once again, the large amount of people accessing the WiFi was causing no connection. So instead of uploading the image, I looked at the other DEXTER related missions one must complete to unlock badges and realized there were around 40 total. This was where I threw my hands up in the air in defeat. At least I got a non-obnoxiously huge DEXTER swag bag.
On my way back through the Convention floor, I snapped a quick pic of this Death Trooper.
It was almost 11:45 and I quickly made my way back to THE WALKING DEAD booth in The Convention Center as they were about to hand out posters. I was set to get anything and everything WALKING DEAD related. Once there, I was hypnotized yet again by the trailer for the show which was premiered at Comic Con at THE WALKING DEAD panel the day before.
My "Press Assistant" Ryan found me and after the clock struck Noon, we formulated a plan for the next two hours. The first part of this plan involved a suggestion I had received by an old friend I randomly ran into the day before. My friend Michelle who I had taken acting class with in 2005 is now working as a host for www.gamerlive.tv.
Upon running into her, she suggested I head over to The Omni Hotel where on the 6th floor, Wired Magazine had set up a Press Lounge called "The Wired Cafe". She said in this mini oasis, a bar was set up to look like Merlotte’s from TRUE BLOOD and Ana Paquin was spotted hanging out there. With those words still fresh in my head, I polished off my Press badge and we headed over to The Omni Hotel.
In the elevator, on our way up to the 6th floor, I said to Ryan, "If they ask, you’re my assistant." He smiled and waved his digital camera authoritatively in front of his face. Alright then.
We exited the elevator and found a Press check-in table set up in the hallway. ‘Alright, here goes nothing’, I thought. An official looking woman asked my name and the outlet I worked for. Easy enough, "Aaron Pruner and I’m with Icons Of Fright." She looked at me and then at Ryan who still had his camera out in front of his face. He looked at her and then at the camera, " It’s easier to upload to the internet with." There was a pause and I seriously thought we just blew our cover. Surprisingly, she then wrote my name down in a binder and handed us both Press Access badges into The Wired Cafe.Hell yes! We were in!
The Wired Cafe was set up on an outdoor deck. There were three different bars, some booths giving away free swag advertising different merchants at the Convention, a table in the middle set up with appetizers, and a live DJ. My first stop was the small bar set up like Merlotte’s. They had bottles of Tru Blood on the counter and were serving vampire themed blood margaritas.
It happened quickly, but the realization that I was surrounded by open bars led to a lot of drinking in a short amount of time. We made it a plan to ma
ke up for the lack of alcohol consumed on the aircraft carrier the night before. I downed the blood margarita at Merlotte’s and then moved onto the Patron themed bar across the patio.
There was a small line and it turned out this bar was a do-it-yourself deal. I made my way to the front finally and one of three pretty ladies walked me through juicing a fruit of my choice and then making a rather strong Patron margarita. I also got a complimentary stainless steel lemon juicer. Jealous yet?
We grabbed a table and drank our drinks pretty quickly, in the process grabbing three more blood margaritas from the waitress walking by and 3 watermelon flavored Patron popsicles. It was around this point I got officially drunk. I obnoxiously handed out my business cards to random people and then raided the appetizer table.
Officially drunk and realizing I forgot to apply sunscreen, we moved inside directly to another bar. A beer each, Ryan made his way to the Space Paranoids arcade cabinet they had set up in the couch area and I got distracted by a 3D computer setup near the restroom. If you ever decide to get a 3D computer, I highly recommend wearing those glasses when drunk. Interesting, to say the least.
I was going to grab Ryan and head over to Flynn’s Arcade since I was running out of time when I saw James Frain better known as Franklin Mott from TRUE BLOOD out of the corner of my eye. He was out on The Wired Cafe patio being interviews by Access Hollywood and I started snapping pics like any true member of The Press would. This was me, deep undercover.
With pictures taken, we got another beer each and then exited The Wired Cafe feeling somewhat redeemed and very drunk. From The Omni Hotel, we marched down the street to Flynn’s Arcade with glow sticks in hand. It was roughly 1:00 pm and I had one hour before my next assignment.
We didn’t wait long and were soon inside of Flynn’s Arcade.
I was in TRON nerd heaven. I couldn’t take it all in, however, because all that alcohol went right through me and I needed a bathroom, stat! I quickly found the bathroom through the back door but on my way out, four different employees told me I had to leave with the rest of the tour out the back even though I had not experienced the arcade yet. Thankfully, one of the employees was in the bathroom when I was and he took me on a mini behind the scenes route back to the front arcade area.
The clock told me I had little time to look around so I grabbed Ryan and we headed through the back door. The hallway bent left and we were soon walking into a bright blue light. We caught up with a group of people ahead of us. The hallway led to a room set up to look like Kevin Flynn’s lab.
We finally got the go ahead to enter the big room ahead where the TRON LEGACY trailer was playing on the far wall. Finally, we were in the deep bowels of the arcade. In different corners of this room were different TRON inspired gadgets as well as toys and display statues. I was lucky enough to grab this video
After walking around for a few minutes, I grabbed a few TRON inspired drink coasters from the bar and split ways once again with Ryan. We agreed on a meeting spot later on and I headed out the back exit. On my way back to The Convention Center, I made friends with a Fireman who was working the Convention doing crowd control. I quickly found out making friends with this guy had its perks because he led me on a short cut, bypassing the crowd entirely. I was back in the Con with time to spare.
The next event on the agenda was the ELVIRA MISTRESS OF THE DARK press conference which started roughly at 3pm. The room, sadly, was not packed but they were competing against the FRINGE panel which was happening at the same time.
As you all may or may not have heard, ELVIRA is making her return to network television in September. Honestly, I think it’s about damn time. Horror films went through a weird phase this past decade where people somehow lost sight of what made the genre fun. Here’s hoping Elvira’s return will mark a shift in the genre and make it fun and sexy again.
A few of the moments that stood out was when someone asked if she’d feature 3-D movies on her new show. Her response, "Only 2 D’s." and then jiggled her chest. Another moment that stood out was when a member of the Press asked how she felt about the TWILIGHT movies. She laughed and paused, trying to figure out something to say, muttered something about vampires glittering and then finally shouted, "I fucking hate TWILIGHT!" Sadly, since she did not have a microphone, I didn’t get the sound from the event. However, you’ll find the list of movies she’ll feature on her show below.
Once she was finished answeri
ng questions, she received a huge round of applause. It was at that point roughly 4pm and I had some time to kill. It was time to walk the Convention Floor. I met up with Ryan who had kept the up the drinking at The XBOX 360 Lounge located in The Hard Rock Hotel. After some small talk, we began our walk and grabbed pictures of anything and everything that screamed worthy of our scrutiny.
Clone Troopers with some kid
I got nothing.
Cylons taking a Daft Punk pose
This SILENT HILL nurse came at me with a plastic knife.
Did you know Captain America and Davey Jones were friends?
The NavEE look so much taller on the big screen.
No idea what this is but I feel like I need to be its friend
I had received word there was a DEXTER themed attraction in The Gaslamp District called "Dexter’s Kill Room" that I needed to check out. So I went looking for the location and in the process caught a glimpse of Lou Ferrigno checking into a hotel. Ah, the random people you see walking the streets of San Diego during Comic Con.
I finally found the location and joined the small line outside. Soon, my group was guided up a flight of steps and then held for what seemed like 20 minutes in a tiny hallway that lacked any sort of ventilation or air conditioning. This was already unpleasant and I was in close proximity to strangers who were pressing all of my ‘you’re annoying me’ buttons. This had better be good!
They finally let us into this room which was set up as a crime scene that had a bloody chair in the middle, surrounded by yellow do-not-cross tape. There were mirrors also surrounding the chair which had red bloody letters written on them. These were all clues, they told us, and handed us all pens and pads of paper so we can decipher them.
It looked cool but sadly, I had already mentally checked out. The people in this room were kind of lame. It didn’t take long to figure out the answer to the clues and what we ended up getting were little business cards advertising a new DEXTER themed Alternative Reality Game called Serial Huntress. I don’t know how close this game is tied into the DEXTER TV show, so if you have a chance, click the link and find out for yourself. When we exited the building, I headed back to Flynn’s Arcade to meet up with Ryan. The day was almost over.
We grabbed a quick bite and then started our long walk back to the car. Originally, the plan was to stay for the big three hour Costume Masquerade/Dance that happens every year. However, by this point in our weekend, we had no patience for such shenanigans.
On the way, we found the big SyFy Comic Con party and while we were both exhausted, we decided to try the power of the Press badge one last time. We got past the first security person but as we arrived at the Press check-in person, we received a knowing smile followed by these words, "Nice try." Damn right, it was a nice try! We weren’t even trying! It would have been cool getting into another party but we were not at all disappointed.
With a quick stop at the market for energy drinks, we finally made it to the car and soon were on our way back to Los Angeles. With a bit under a year until the next Comic Con, the gears in my head (because I don’t have a human brain) were already turning. This trip was the equivalent of me getting back on the Comic Con horse. Next year, however, I will dig in my heels and ride said horse at full speed through all kind of doors into all kinds of parties.
You hear me, Comic Con? I’m coming to San Diego on a horse in 2011! Ok, maybe not. But it was an interesting visual.