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Oh, the places we'll go...

Hey All, our news page was getting too cluttered with all the happy happenings we attend.  We decided to open up a separate page for festivals, groovy gatherings and other glamourous scenes.

Dig It!

 

2015

 

Düsseldorf Karneval 2016

Taking our show on the road, we make the scene in Germany to experience the sights, the arts, the Old World-meets-New World beauty and the amazing cheer of the Düsseldorf Karneval.

Click Here to say "HELAU, Düsseldorf"

 

 
 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

June 1st, 2016

Toy Fair 2015

Barbie, Lego, Attack on Titan, Funko, Walking Dead, Sailor Moon, Hot Wheels, Minions, Jurassic Park, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and so much more we had to give it its own page.

Click Here for Four Days of Fun and Games.

 

 
 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Mar. 1st, 2015

 

2013

CJ Group's 60th Anniversary Gala

Korean Film Night, Spotlight on Korean Cinema,

Museum of Modern Art, NYC

 

Hey bebes, how happy and honoured LMD was to be invited to the 60th anniversary celebration of powerhouse Korean conglomerate, CJ Group.  Of their holdings, we in the west would probably be most familiar with CJ Entertainment, which has produced and distributed films like Joint Security Area, Sympathy for Lady Vengeance, Memories of Murder, Secret Sunshine, No Regret, Snowpiercer, and tons more.  

Rarely is the East Coast treated to such a gathering of Korean luminaries from both the movie and music world as was in attendance that evening. On hand for the festivities were...

International superstar, Lee Byung-hun from I Saw the Devil, Masquerade and GI Joe

Ha Jung-woo, one of Korea’s most acclaimed actors, from The Berlin File, Nameless Gangster and My Dear Enemy. 

Lee Jin-wook, young star of the drama Nine: Nine Time Travels (Soon to be remade in the US). 

Jo Sung-Hee, director of A Werewolf Boy

Gong Hyo-jin, star of Crush and Blush

Ko Soo, star of Piano and The Front Line.

There was also some guy nobody'd really heard of called PSY.  

After mixing and mingling with the stars, everyone was invited to view Moon Byoung-gon’s Cannes Palme d’Or-winning short, Safe, and director Jo’s thesis feature, End of Animal

And because the splendour of the evening wasn’t enough, they even sent us home with a care package full of CJ-goodness, including a DVD of Kim Ji-woon’s excellent The Good, the Bad, the Weird {also starring Lee Byung-hun} and healthy yummies (incl. a lot of seaweed snacks) from their subsidiary chain, Bibigo.

 

Here’s some of the questions I got to ask the stars at the event:

LMD:  Lee Byung-hun, why are you here celebrating CJ Group’s 60th Anniversary?

Lee Byung-hun: Of course it’s important. CJ, they’ve done a lot of things for Korean Entertainment and I’d like to help as much as I can.

LMD:  Congratulations on your success. And do me a favour, work with that Kim Ji-woon guy again!

LB-h: {Laughs} Yeah!

 

 

LMD:  PSY, you’re one of the rare KPop figures who writes their own songs. Could you please tell young hopefuls that want to be part of KPop why composing is important?

PSY:  It’s all about expression, you know? If they express their own songs, they can express themselves. That’s why.

LMD:  On a fan note, I think "Bird" is one of the loveliest songs I've ever heard.

PSY: How do you know about "Bird?"

LMD:  C'mon, man, some of us know more about you than "Gangnam Style."

 

 

LMD:  Director Jo Sung-Hee, when did you know that A Werewolf Boy was going to be such a big hit?

Jo Sung-Hee:  I didn’t expect a lot in the beginning. It was my first commercial film, so I just wished I could do the next project.

LMD:  What is next for you?

JS-h:  I’m planning my next project which is a noir thriller about a private detective. I want to finish it as soon as possible.

 

Upon asking actor Ha Jung-woo about his directorial debut, Fasten Your Seatbelts, he confirmed that the main character was indeed based on fellow actor Ryo Seung-beom, but with G-Dragon’s fashion sense. Also directing gave him a new perspective on his acting and he’d definitely like to direct a film again.

Actor Lee Jin-wook claimed to have no idea that his drama Nine: Nine Time Travels was being remade in America, but he’d love to have a role in it.

 

Asking Crush and Blush actress Gong Hyo-jin about her propensity to buck the trend of most female stars by taking on characters who aren’t pretty, she replied, “I just like playing those characters.”

 

Click on the thumbnails to see exclusive piccys of the festivities:

 

Wishing CJ 60 years and more of continued success.

 

Special thanks to the dashing Mr. Goran Topolovic of the New York Asian Film Festival for kindly extending even more than his usual fabulosity.

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Nov. 7th, 2013

 

2012

K-SOOL Tasting Event at Kristalbelli,

New York, NY

 

In what's proving to be a fascinating evolution, the Korean restaurant, Kristalbelli, continues to grow from its relatively simple concept of an upscale barbecue bistro and lounge to a more complex center for promoting Korean culture. Owned by KPop superstar and entrepreneur, Jin-young Park, the very modern Kristalbelli held a fabulous night of revelry to introduce traditional Korean beverages, or K-SOOL as they’re collectively known, some of which have never been available in this country.

Joined by dignitaries from respected Korean cultural associations, JYP hosted the K-SOOL event, which combined tables featuring over two dozen different potables for guests to try (… and try, and try again), fabulous Kristalbelli appetizer fare prepared by Chef David Shim (Including those delectable Chaps! desserts by BESFREN.) and the KPop love was out in full force with DJ Saewon "Kimmy" Kim spinning the newest grooves from Seoul while a New York KPop dance team performed.  While still a baby restaurant, Kristalbelli seems to have already mastered a balance between its posher leanings and inevitable high profile and the hominess of its comfort food, warm, friendly service and the natural amicability of an event like this.

Dig some pics of first night's frivolities.

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva
June 5th, 2012

Click here to read our report on Kristalbelli's V.V.I.P. Grand Opening party from this past March.

 


 

 

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

June 5th, 2012

Girls' Generation on Live! with Kelly New York, NY

 

Hey, yeppuda namja and yoja, what a nice way to spend the crack of dawn.  We visited dear friends at ABC-TV’s Live! With Kelly, which seems to have wound back the clock with new energy since we were there a few years ago. The presence of the fabulous Korean group (and one of our Glorious Things  of 2011) , Girls’ Generation making their American morning show debut made it a celebration.  Their devoted American fans (two of whom had queued up at 9PM the night before) hooted, shouted and fanchanted their appreciation for the nine glamourous pop princesses.

Dig it!

 

The giant Girls’ Generation bus.

 

These are photos taken right before they went on.

 

 Shot during their performance of The Boys, during the commercial break and their interview and photo shoot with Kelly Ripa & Howie Mandel after. The girls showed the hosts how to do one of their famous moves which they named "The Ripa".

 

Here’s some of the SONES who packed into the Live! set and gave the girls a warm welcome that had the show’s producers absolutely gobsmacked afterwards. There’s also a shot of the gorgeous pair who spent all night waiting to come in. Some Fabulous Faerie GodDiva managed to help them be rewarded for their efforts by getting them backstage to meet their idols

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva
February 1st, 2012

 


 

 

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Feb. 1st, 2012

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Universal Studios, Orlando

Hey boys and girls, as I clear out the cobwebs of 2011, I wanted to give make sure you saw our pics of our amazing trip down to southern climes and strangely into the eternally snow-covered Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Orlando Florida. From its amazingly rendered scale representation of the swooping towers and turrets of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft And Wizardry, the Butterbeer stalls on cobblestone streets, the Moaning Myrtle recording playing in one of the ladies’ restrooms, the lovely pink gown that turned Hermione Granger into a Yule Ball butterfly on display, to the script-accurate wand choosing ceremony that occurs every twelve minutes or so in Ollivander’s shop, this is truly a Potterhead’s dream come true.

Some views inside Hogwarts where the hours-long queue for the Harry Potter and the Forbidden journey ride which is the best attraction in the Islands of Adventure park. You’ll see Dumbledore’s study, the Pensieve, The Sword of Gryffindor, all of Gilderoy Lockhart’s volumes, the Sorting Hat and the Hogwarts house points hourglasses.
 

 

Ladies and gentlemen, Hogsmeade, home the Butterbeer cart. There is never less than a 20-minute wait for the Hogsmeade specialty (Where you can also purchase Pumpkin Juice). I once saw a tiny woman polish off four of these in a row. Get it in the take-home collector’s mug.

 

Little did the weekend's visitors know that beyond the gate below they might find some familiar faces, like this pair of twins just sitting around for a chat.


Here are some of the shops - and crowds – from the Hogsmeade /Diagon Alley section, where you’ll die of sugar overload in Honeyduke’s, or from laughter at Zonk’s joke Shop, which may spoil your fish and chips meal from the Three Broomsticks restaurant next door. Ollivander’s is here. The fun Dueling Dragons coaster is tucked away on a road decorated with Tri-Wizard Tournament banners and the Hogwarts Express leads you out back into the boring Muggle world.

Little Potter fans waiting for the stars on the Hogsmeade red carpet


The entire park is a faithful reproduction that includes real props from the films so breathtaking that it’s way too small for the area it’s given. An entire park of nothing but Harry Potter would be wholly appropriate and packed every day if maintained with the care this small outlet is. Still for this small, concentrated version, if I could only find that invisibility cloak I would never leave.
 


~ The Lady Miz Diva
January 10th, 2012


 

 
 
 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Jan. 10th, 2012

 

 
After a year’s hiatus, the New York Comic Con returns bigger and bizarre-er than ever, this time armed with the New York Anime Fest as a wingman. Check out our pics of the illustrious guests - A.K.A. Bruce Campbell - and all the beautiful ones letting their geek flag fly.
 

Gumby boogies down to Smooth Criminal

SPIIIIIIKE!!!!

Katey Sackhoff - the only person at Comic Con to escape Jack Bauer.

BRUUUUUCCCCE!!!!! in a freaking tux!

Diana, I presume? Ladies & Gentlemen, Miss Jane Badler

Baby V, Laura Vandervoort

What a pretty reptile. V's Morena Baccarin

Laura Vandervoort 2X

V Lizar--er, Ladies

ADEBISIIIIIII!!! And Mr. Eko, too! I tell ya, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje can do it all.

The Thing's Joel Edgerton and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

The Thing boys

More boys from The Thing

The man who would be Bird, Sesame Street's Mr. Caroll Spinney

Strange, he doesn't look Grouchy. Sesame Street's Mr. Caroll Spinney

AAAHHHH, Pedobear!!!

Tokidoki's Fabulous Simone Legno

NYCC did its best to make sure the ladies at the con felt as secure as possible in every part of the hall.

No Gnus is indeed Good Gnus - creator of LMD's words to live by, Jm Martin.

Robot Chicken's Seth Green and Matthew Senreich

Creator of very cool things, Todd MacFarlane.

My, what terribly attractive Japanese men. Vamps' Hyde & KAZ

Yet more Vamps

Vampish

More Vamps again

Vamps' Hyde is very tired

Bye Bye Vamps!

Weiland-Yutani, the mark of quality.

Shh, Diva's sleeping in there

I'll buy that for a dollar!

This guy's just looking for the air conditioning

 

 
 
 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Oct 10th, 2010

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Dec. 2nd, 2009

 

New York Anime Festival 2009/ Far East to East Showcase/ AKB48

Hey kids, this was the final year that the NY Anime Festival was going to stand on its own.  Starting next year, comic book geeks and otaku will share the Javits Center for their annual jamboree.  I felt duty bound to watch the cosplayers, maids and lovers of Japanese culture roam unfettered in their undiluted element through the convention halls one last time.

This year, music was a lot of my focus, and I had the opportunity to attend the Far East to East Showcase, featuring the amazing Echostream.   

 

I also had the surreal experience of attending the New York debut of AKB48, a Tokyo-based group of 48 girls who sing and dance to Akihabara pop songs.  I’ve never seen so many men outnumber the women at a concert that was anything other than heavy metal, but the Y-chromosomes sang every single word and mimed every single move of the often briefly-clad coterie of teens and tweens.  Despite the charm of the adorable AKB48 - all of them genuinely seemed thrilled to play in front of the New York audience - I wavered between amusement and a general feeling of ickyness. 

 

(Special thanks for Hayden of SuperGlorious and Taeko from New York-Tokyo for their concert help.)

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Sept. 27th, 2009

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Press Event

The good folks at Ubisoft got together to throw a delicious little shindig to celebrate their forthcoming game based on the Sony Pictures release, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.  Not only did I happily humiliate myself with my pathetic skills on both the game's Wii and Xbox platforms, I also got a cool custom t-shirt by Old School hand-crafted clothing, and I’m only now coming off the sugar rush from the abundance of sweets provided to keep us playing for hours.  And yes, meatballs were served! 

We also had the pleasure of meeting the creator of the original story: Judi Barrett was on hand to grace us with signed copies of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and catch an early sneak peek at clips from the movie. 

Yum!

Looks like Neil Gaiman, dunne?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs author, Judi Barrett

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

June 18th, 2009 

 

The Taking of Pelham 123 Subway Experience

What more apropos event could there be for a movie about the hijacking of a New York City subway train than a crazy trip through the NYC transit system.  The good folks at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority hosted yours truly through one of the most unique travel experiences I’ve ever had.  As a fan of both Old Timey New York and 126-year-old dust, I was in my element for a most unusual train ride that took me through the first subway station ever opened in New York City {in 1904}.  Then, it was onward through the secret passageways deep beneath the Brooklyn Bridge station avoiding mattresses and derelict shopping carts into the bridge’s mysterious vaults which were once warehouses for the wealthy.

Click on the thumbnails and Come on Ride the Train.

 

Inside City Hall subway station: 

Our Chariot

Opened in 1904

The fabulous Alberteen Anderson

Fabulous the sequel: Ruthie Jones

 

Under the Brooklyn Bridge subway station and inside the vaults.

On our way to 1883

Beyond this door lies a parallel universe - right by J&R Music World! The innocuous entrance to the mysterious Wine Cellar

Original Brooklyn Bridge mosaic art - 1904

Turn of the Century elevator shaft; this will still arrive before the one on Lexington and 61st St.

Strangely lovely in the middle of all the century-old filth and darkness.

Aha, Wine Cellar...

Wine Cellar from the far end.

Wine Cellar from the far end #2

Shafted

Tony Annarumma lights our way

It was so sad to visit the Virgin Megastore the day after it closed.

Eek.

Julian Schnabel wishes he'd thought of this colour scheme

Don't go down there - It's dark!

Brig #1

Creeping away from a much creepier version of the Flatiron building.

No Exit!

How you know it's the NYC transit system; no trains in the station.

So, that's a catacomb.

If jails still looked like this we'd have no crime rate at all.

Yeah, you knew this had to end up with LMD in the pokey.

 

Deepest thanks to the good folks at Sony; Merisa Levine, Sabrina Laufer and Christina Zisa for conjuring this amazing day.

Thanks to the good folk of the MTA Film for their kind accommodation and a once in a lifetime history lesson: Alberteen Anderson, Ruthie Jones, Frank Klimasz, Tony Annarumma, Ruben Rodriguez and Vinnie Richtblau.

 

The Taking of Pelham 123 opens in theatres on June 12th, 2009

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

June 4th, 2009 

 

The finest foliage for five boroughs was on display in Brooklyn and even a steady torrent couldn’t keep the crowds away.  Never mind the weather when the cherry blossoms are in their brief, beautiful bloom.  Even doused in mud, Sakura Matsuri 2009 at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was a Glorious Thing.  The classical arts under the main tent, the koto playing, the traditional nihon buyo dancing, and the graceful, yet funky way of the modern samurai were all here to be enjoyed.  So were the two-for-one bento boxes.  I swear the sake played no part in why this year’s photos even better than last years.

 Kampai, babies!

 

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With all appreciation to Kate Blumm and the wonderful staff at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden who treated us with such care.

Please click the BBG logo to visit the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's website for plenty of bloomin' gorgeousness all year round.

Arigato, Gozai-mas, BBG.

 

Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

May 3rd, 2009 

 

Japan Society Cosplay Party - 2009

Hey Dolls, Come check on the gorgeousness and creativity of the fabulous 1st ever Japan Society Cosplay Party.  I hope this’ll become a yearly event where boys and girls of all ages can get together and bask in their anime gloriousness.

 

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Enjoy,

 L.M.D.

Mar. 31st, 2009 

 
New York Comic Con
2009

 

Well kids, one of the most highly-anticipated fan events of the year has come and gone and despite an overwhelming mass of humanity packed into a segment of the Javits Center and occasional inspired visits from some small screen glitterati, the overall result was an underwhelmed meh.

Falling short of the expectation and star power of 2008’s con, this year’s festivities were less interesting and far less organised.  Convention-goers were trapped in a mass of overwrought geekdom with too few outlets in which to let their freak flags fly.

I think most of the issue came from a concerted effort to make it a true COMIC CON! - with pulp authors, inkers and artists taking centre stage.  Somewhere along the line, the organisers must’ve realised that this wasn’t bringing in the cabbage they hoped and slowly some TV shows eked in, amping up the excitement to an expectant whimper.  At last, Disney, Warner Brothers and the Japanese film phenom Takashi Miike were corralled and there was finally some actual buzz.

All this is ironic, as it’s possible the initial idea may have been to exclude TV and film media to keep the New York con from the complaints of the bigger San Diego affair becoming mere promotion for the Hollywood machine.  Sadly, New York is not nearly as well-known and needs that Hollywood kiss and movie star glamour to grow.  Also, there was a noticeable segregation of Asian input, perhaps mollifying the grumbles of older generation traditional comic con attendees freaked out by the sight of shrieking Narutards and jiggying Haruhi Suzumiya clones.

Here are some bits and pieces:

The Good:

All things UP:  Disney brought out their Pixar summer jewel with an appearance by director Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera.  They also unspooled 41 minutes and 16 seconds of heart tugging and joyous footage, which made me froth at the fang for May to get here quicker.  Really, this could be Up there with A Bug’s Life & Monsters Inc. on the LMD Pixar charts.

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PACEY!:  I mean, Mighty Ducks star Joshua Jackson and the cast of TV buzzpot Fringe all lingering about the con, being cool and fabulous.

.

I met the Master of the Whedonverse:  Yes, chilluns, I finally have shared the same air as the King of Cult Television, Convention God Joss Whedon.  Having been a huge fan of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer (- before Dawn came and messed everything up), owing him for the world’s introduction to Nathan Fillion and being on happy tenterhooks for his new series Dollhouse, this was a big deal.  Side story; on the last day of the con, I finally was able to make it through the dealers room and as I was perusing some goodies, someone tapped me on the shoulder; “Excuse me, could you take a picture of me and my friend?” I turn around to take the proffered camera and see the asker putting him arm around his “friend” who was … wait for itJoss Whedon!  Having remembered me from our interview earlier, we walked together through the con for a bit before he got swamped by disciples falling to kiss the soles of his Keds and I booked it for high ground.  Sorry, Joss.

Dave Gibbons at the Watchmen Q&A:  I mention him specifically because it was a damned shame Warner Brothers hadn’t bothered to bring on of the 50-odd actors playing main roles in the film. I said it last year, bring your A game, people.  Luckily, the author was erudite, funny and put to rest for all time the lingering question of ‘Is Alan Moore batshit crazy?’

.

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Best Video Game presentation - Wolverine:  I’m still back on my Atari 2600, but I think I might have to seriously upgrade after getting a look at Captain Adamantium literally rip people in half with those famous three prong claws in full blooming colour.  After the demo, we were given foam finger versions of our own to snarl around and call people “bub” with.  Those foam fingers came in second for the award for…

Best Swag - Sherrilyn Kenyon’s multimedia giveaway:  The supernatural novelist handed out some handy, durable bags emblazoned with her upcoming Dark Hunters manga art on them.  There were copies of a few of her latest paperbacks which she was happy to sign for free all weekend.  And she had fortune cookies!  I’m not sure how this fits into her mythology, but I was starving and food at the con is mad expensive, so she wins!  I will add Kenyon had a fantastic looking booth with life sized cutouts of her manga characters all around.  This is how an author gets noticed at a con.  Off as I am at the mo’ on urban Fantasy, seeing the manga characters made we want to see the book.

The guy who had the stones to ask the Friday the 13th movie panel, “Why do we even need this film?”:  Ah, the heedless bravery of a comic convention-goer.  Amid cheers and hisses and the barely-contained outrage of the producers, this young man asked what had been on everyone’s mind during the self-congratulatory panel for the remake.

 

The Bad:

Well, I can’t complain about Star Wars this year as I legged it out of the panel before they could start along with about 2/3’s of the audience, many of whom turned up in the massive queue for the Robot Chicken panel.  For all I know, the Star Wars panel this year was the greatest thing any convention has ever seen… yeah!

 

Overall organisation and how bloody packed the con was:  Okay, NYCC folks, learn the grid, love it, embrace it.  From the moment I opened up the programme, I knew I was in trouble; there was no straight schedule grid.  In other words, Friday 11AM-11:30AM - these events are taking place in these rooms.  Very simple, ne? Instead, there was an incomplete listing of panels title by title without much sense of order.  Simplify, folks, simplify.  When you walk straight down the middle of the dealer’s room aisles and can’t move about or see any of the booths for the crowds of people around you, that’s too many people.

At least this year they remembered to make up potty passes for folks settled in the IGN theatre.  I’m taking partial credit for that improvement.

 

The Rant:

Nikkatsu & Johnny’s Entertainment:  Let me be Swarovski clear, Grady Hendrix is a sartorially exemplary cherubic god among men, seriously.  After all he’s had to contend with during Comic Con, I’m sending his name into the Vatican.  Subway Cinema pulled a wondrous coup by bringing the premiere of Yatterman, a live action version of a 1970’s Tatsunoko, anime to New York for its premiere.  Even more, he managed to scoop director Takashi Miike himself and the star of the film, Japanese pop star, Sho Sakurai, in the offing.  Sadly, along with the film and the pop tart, came a load of baggage which is the focus of this kvetch.  Even if I’m not fanatical over every film in Takashi Miike’s extensive canon, damme if Audition isn’t one of the creepiest movies ever made; so I was excited for the world premiere of the innovative director’s latest (- Click here for our review!).  However, the quicker Japanese film companies and management teams learn that the silly, prohibitive rules that bar press and fans from interacting with, and heaven forbid, giving free publicity to their client/projects in Japan do not wash so well in the US, the happier we’ll all be.  There was the arrogance of the lauded Comic Con “personal appearance” of Yatterman star, Jpop “sensation” Sho Sakurai to his international fans - which consisted of the fetching Japanese androgyne standing in an overhead office window, waving and pointing to about 70 little girls down on the convention floor (- while about 150 con-goers watched them scream) for a whopping minute and a half; no autographs, no handshakes, nothin’ - “for security reasons”.  Um, Madonna still does record signings, the Jonas Brothers and Miley flipping Cyrus do autograph signings – nobody dies during those.  Apparently, this sort of fanblock happens all the time in the East in accordance with freakishly strict, hands-off regimentation by young Master Sakurai’s personal management, an outfit called Johnny’s Entertainment.  Then there’s the refusal of film company, Nikkatsu, to entertain interview requests (- even for Miike, who’s perfectly press-friendly) from anyone who wasn’t selected print (re: Japanese), or television (re: NHK, TV Tokyo).  I’m sure it was thanks to the entreaties from the wonderful Mr. Hendrix that the excluded reporters who wished to speak with Miike were allowed a brief press conference where we were practically threatened with confiscation of our first born kittens and best-loved hair products if we dared to snap any pictures of the Golden Pop Idol.  Pay no mind to the 30 Japanese photographers and film crews present all around us capturing every moment of Western attention.  They brought over their own press; who needed us?  The entire thing felt like a manipulative game Nikkatsu & Johnny’s were playing, using the US fans and press as a prop to show off back home in Japan.  Normally, I don’t go spleeny over the business side of things, but as we on the site are interested in featuring more on Japanese pop culture, including filmmakers and music acts, this is not encouraging.

At great risk to my precious Manic Panic, Illicit Photography follows:

 

The Weird:

The Surrogates panel:  A trailer for the new Bruce Willis clone-related actioner (Clones are big this year – George Lucas, so ahead of the curve), without much bite or substance ended with about 100 models pouring forth from behind the stage in untouchable perfection that no average comic con-goer could even dream of attaining, handing out business cards emblazoned with the film’s official site. Well, all right.

The Terminator Salvation panel:  Director McG must’ve stomped the stuffing out of the competition as a kid running for class president.  He’s like a whole cheerleading squad rolled into one person.  Dropping famous names like sweets to the starving con masses; pulling a Christian Bale burnout on an unsuspecting journalist.  Dragging three Terminator fans onto the panel stage to “help him with the questions” then never referring to them again.  Promising that he would go with the audience’s notes back to the editing room and employ their feedback; the blatant neediness and badgering for approval was disturbing.  He endlessly praised Bale until I wondered if he was getting paid per compliment.  McG called Bale’s house, ambushing Mrs. Bale (Mr. Bale was smart enough not to be at home – perhaps off to an anger management class?), haranguing the crowd to scream their support for the Terminator film over his crackberry speakerphone for Mrs. Bale’s bemusement.  It did not make up for the utter confusion of the clip he brought; granted it’s a mishmash of unfinished footage, but I could not make heads or tails, nor could I determine that there was all that much Bale in the footage.  There was a Bale lookalike (Sam Worthington, apparently) who I kept mixing up, so it took a lot of hot air out of McG’s Bale-stroking when we couldn’t even make out his star.  Just odd …

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Overall, the whole thing was a large step down from last year’s New York Comic Con; with the tumult created by the exclusive footage of The Dark Knight and the involvement of true legends of the geekosphere (- Stan Lee! Neil Gaiman!) as well as Hollywood bigwigs.  I actually missed Eva Mendes and Frank Miller vamping it up for the cameras for The Spirit and Lou Ferrigno intimidating a voice-over job as The Hulk out of Tim Roth and director Louis Letterier.  All who attended last year waxed melancholy for the Hellboy 2 panel which included the entire cast surrounded by actors in the film’s phantasmagoric monster costumes and director Guillermo Del Toro himself handing out special comic con-edition Hellboy 2 posters. 

Perhaps it’s the fragile economy that had Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox and others opting out of showing their wares, but their lack of attendance was certainly noted by the wide expanse of crossover media coverage this year and surely they must know that Comic Con buzz is priceless.

As for the con itself, I think they rested upon last year’s laurels too much and didn’t give the forethought to comfort and interest of the average conventioneer, for whom the con is a yearly spark of colour and fun.  This year was a lot less spark, very little colour and not enough room to have much fun.  

 

~ The Lady Miz Diva

Feb. 10th 2009

 

Coming soon: Some Comic Con discoveries for our Stuf section and transcriptions from our face time with Joss Whedon, Takashi Miike, Pixar’s Peter Docter & Jonas Rivera, Joshua Jackson & Jeremy Renner of The Hurt Locker & The Unusuals.

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