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Film/Movies

Peppy is Rockin’ The Planet

Peppy is Rockin’ The Planet
By Ramón Hernández
Singer, songwriter Emil “Peppy Castro” Thielhelm is “Rockin’ the Planet with The Greatest Story Ever Sung.”
The former Blues Magoos founding father, guitarist and vocalist, who composed the music and wrote the lyrics to every tune in this musical production, says the message in these songs – all based on the Bible – is to bring peace, love, acceptance, healing, hope and making the world a better place.
“My son, Jesse Castro, contributed to writing the music for five of the tunes; and June Rachelson-Ospa was a co-lyricist to about one-third of the songs,” Peppy said.
Giving the reader an insight on how this project came about and giving credit where it’s due, he added, “It all started four years when Steve Leber called me up at 8:30 a.m. on Christmas Day. And he’s Jewish, so I told myself, ‘this is going to be good,’ and it was.
“He woke up feeling the world was so screwed that he wanted me to write a show call ‘Rock the Bible.’ I thought it was a great idea, and I agreed. Hence, the play was conceived by Steve.”
For those not familiar with Leber, he began his career with the William Morris Agency, where he developed and handled music icons like The Rolling Stones, The Beatles’ Concert for Bangladesh, plus. And that was only the beginning for the behind-the-scenes entertainment entrepreneur who went on to guide virtually every name in baby-boomer entertainment. And at the time he called Peppy, he had just become chairman and CEO of Grandparents.com.
New York City-based Peppy was a member of the original 1968 Broadway “Hair” cast; and his songs have been recorded by Diana Ross, Cher, Kiss, plus many others. So, this world-class caliber play could have been cast and presented on Broadway. It could also have enjoyed a successful run in Los Angeles, Miami and Chicago. So, why did he choose San Antonio?
“I met Jonathan Pennington through June (Rachelson-Ospa) when he did a showcase in New York; and, it was at that time that he asked if I would consider doing a version of ‘Hair’ at the Roxie. My answer was that I would rather do something original. He agreed and here I am,” Peppy said as he pointed to the Roxie’s main entrance.
“I came here not knowing what to expect, and I found a purpose,” said the award-winning playwright and multi-instrumentalist whose office walls are lined with Gold Records.
“Making new friends since I arrived and seeing the future in the kids in the play has become a blessing in disguise.”
“That’s right,” Jonathan added as he offered his analogy of the play. “God must be a teenager because of the things kids go through. Unlike churches that preach God’s fire and brimstone, God has shown me who he is through this production, which as the movie ‘Spiderman – Homecoming,’ contains a little humor. So yes, I think God is my super hero.”
While Leber, Pennington and Emmy-nominated Peppy may be the producers you never see, the ones who are going to impress, wow and amaze you are the cast members who will act and sing their way into your senses, your feelings and into your hearts. They are the stars.
Of course, our Lord and Savior gets universal top billing and the part of God is played by Paden Mercer. Starting out with the Book of Genesis, Sebastián Ramírez and Valeria Jauregui are cast as Adam and Eve. Cain and Abel are portrayed by Allan Jaurejui and Diego Jaurejui.
Then the evil Lucifer tries to steal the scene and Eve’s innocence with an apple as Sean Salazar enters the stage as Satan. However, Salazar later redeems himself as Noah with Jazmin Chacón at his side as Naamah.
We know we are surrounded by invisible angels. However, Savannah Mercer, Ivanna Danforth, Pauline Csitkovits, Yvette Cárdenas and Cristián Plata are five rockin’ angels that you will be able to see throughout each heavenly presentation in which the music is top gun.
It is said that “sometimes, music is the only medicine the heart and soul need,” so if you are feeling blue or just have plain humdrums, make a beeline for the Roxie Theater to go get a good dose of feel good contemporary rock music with a message that may change your life.
From “Creation,” “Seven,” “Make Us Over,” “Angel,” “The Ten Commandments” to “The People’s Hero,” “Flood of Love” to “Just One Love” plus 11 more tunes, be prepared to be transported to a level of peace, joy and delight as ten good-looking, wholesome, talented Alamo City teenagers and two preadolescents, sing, dance and tug at your heart strings.
“Rockin’ the Planet” can be seen at the Roxie Theater Performance House from March 29 to April 14. Performances are: Fridays @ 8:00 p.m.., Saturdays @ 7:30 p.m., and Saturdays @ 4 p.m. The Roxie Theater is located at 7460 Callaghan Road, Suite 333, San Antonio, Texas.
In closing, Leber is also known for his precedent-setting arena tour of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s “Jesus Christ Superstar,” a project that was such a success that it became a viable industry model. Coupled with Peppy’s experience in “Hair,” don’t be surprised if “Rockin’ the Planet” does not wind up on Broadway, then taken on a national tour.
To purchase tickets and for more information, call 210-360-9180 or visit their website: www.roxietheatrecompany.com/on-stage/rockin-the-planet.
Also, be sure to read the article on Peppy Castro on page ______ in this issue to find out how he went from being one of the early pioneers of the psychedelic garage band rock era to rocking Christian music.
(Note: Jonathan Pennington is the owner and director of the Roxie Theater Performance House.)

Alamo City Comic Con Halloween Edition 2017


Story by: David A. De La Rosa
Photographs by: Joseph Martinez

This past weekend I went to the Alamo City Comic Con Halloween Edition event (October 27th – 29th) at the Alamo Dome. The obvious proximity to the holiday had people attend this event dressed up as some of their favorite monsters and ghouls (i.e. Freddy Kruger, Pennywise, or garden variety zombie). Convention goers were exposed to the usual fare at such an event collectibles vendors, artists, and special celebrity guests (available for signing autographs and photo ops).
I like attending these shows for a couple of reasons; one is to see the creativity people have when it comes to making their own costumes. The second reason I like going to these events is I have an opportunity to meet some of my favorite television or film stars that are scheduled to appear at the event. This year there were actors in Q&A panels from cult classic films/television such as Nightmare Before Christmas, Nightmare On Elm Street, The Warriors, The Exorcist, The Monster Squad, and American Horror Story.
This event was held at the Alamo Dome, in the area where the field would be, there was a great amount of room for vendors which took up 2/3rds of the available space while the rest was setup as the celebrity section Alamo City Comic Con Halloween Edition 2017
. The rear corner adjoining the celebrity section was a stage and seating area for the panels. The panel area utilized one of the Alamo Dome’s jumbo-trons, so from most vantage points where ever a convention attendee was on the floor they could see and listen to each panel.
Overall I would say that this event was great family entertainment, at a reasonable price a three day pass could be bought for $50 at your local HEB supermarket. I did not see anyone walking away from this convention displeased, this event was very child friendly. I did see a few issues regarding this comic con.
First of all I think a lot of people thought that this event would have been bigger being held at the Alamo Dome as a venue. The issue here was the way that this event was marketed, because it was competing against another similar event (Rockula Horror Expo). Convention goers believed that this con was going to be on the same scale as the regular Alamo City Comic Con. To me I would have marketed this show as being a snack before dinner (i.e. the annual Alamo City Comic Con).
Another issue that may seem trivial was the restrictions regarding the kind of bags (backpacks, mesh bags, and clear bags were not allowed) convention attendees could bring. I know that these restrictions were put in place by the officials overseeing the Alamo Dome facility, and not the comic cons organizers. I think that this might have hurt the convention vendor’s bottom line; when I go to an event like this I need to take a backpack to hold all my heavy purchases. I know a lot of people posted on the comic cons Facebook page their displeasure about these baggage restrictions.
I also thought that there needed to be more comic con personnel (volunteers) present to help direct people in and outside the facility. The people that were there that did most of those duties were Alamo Dome employees. I think that the line to enter the dome could have ran more smoothly if there was some comic con personnel directing people to get into the proper line.
My final thoughts on this event are in regards to the Alamo Dome as being a great venue for any kind of convention. There were plenty of restrooms with hardly any lines, throughout the facility, as well as two major concession areas. As I’ve said before overall this was a great family event and it was held at a family friendly venue.

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2017

Story by: David A. De La Rosa

Photographs by: Joseph Martinez

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2017

 

This past weekend I attended San Antonio’s fifth installment of our local pop culture festival known as the Alamo City Comic Con (May 26th – 28th at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center). Convention goers’ have a chance to cut loose and let their inner geek out. This event allows the attendees the opportunity to dress up in costume and in makeup as their favorite superheroes or villains. It’s very common to see a whole family; mom, dad, and the kiddies dressed as their favorite hero’s.

People come to this convention for the spectacle of the event, to purchase limited edition artwork and collectibles. People go to be seen in their costumes and freely welcome people to take pictures with them if asked. There is also a contingent of professional cosplayers there who have awesome costumes and sell their pictures or offer to pose with attendees for a small fee. For me I like going to this event for a chance to meet some my favorite film and television stars. Whatever the reason people come to this event it all boils down to fun at a reasonable price.

There were many opportunities for the attendees to meet their favorite television or film stars that were scheduled for this event. Either directly by obtaining an autograph at a booth, or a free meet & greet or photo ops, also being able to ask some these celebrities in a panel setting, questions about their lives and television/film work. I attended no less than eight panels in the three day period, each one was very interesting.

The panels that I attended broke down into two groups. The first group, were panels dealing with actors connected to movies and television I grew up with from the ‘80s (i.e. The Goonies, Cheers, Star Wars, & Rocky IV). The second group of panels that I attended were concerning more current pop culture involving television/film and comics (Karl Urban, Kristin Bauer, Frank Miller, & Rob Schneider).

The first panel I attended was The Goonies panel. The panel was comprised of some of the key child actors of that film Sean Astin, Corey Feldman, & Ke Huy Quan. Seeing these actors speak about one of my favorites films growing up, made me get nostalgic for the ‘80s. They were all charming and were fully engaged with the panel audience’s questions. One question posed by the audience was why they never made a sequel; basically there wasn’t a quality script or idea that the three producers (Spielberg, Donner, and Columbus) of the film could agree on in order to make a sequel.

 

The next panel I went to was the Cheers panel. Two of the main characters of this very talented ensemble cast made it to this panel, George Wendt (Norm) and John Ratzenberger (Cliffy). Growing up, I never missed a Thursday night episode of this classic NBC sitcom. Both of these gentlemen were laid back and very charming, answering all the panel audiences’ questions. For me it was another trip down memory lane.

The main panel of this convention in my opinion was the Star Wars panel. I love anything dealing with Star Wars, and I eagerly awaited this opportunity to see these two actors. The actors that attended were Ian Mcdiarmid (the evil Emperor Palpatine) and Peter Mayhew (everyone’s favorite Wookie, Chewbacca). To begin this panel Mr. Mcdiarmid was escorted to the stage with red imperial guards on either side, with John Williams Imperial March being played in the background, a great entrance. Each gentleman gave interesting anecdotes, about their experiences working on these epic films. One funny anecdote was one in which Mr. Mayhew discussed his displeasure working in the Pacific Northwest filming forest scenes for Return of The Jedi. Mr. Mayhew was informed by the director that this was Bigfoot territory, and to not wander off, the idea being that someone might take a shot at him with his Chewbacca costume on. On a sad note, Mr. Mayhew informed the audience that Carrie Fisher was scheduled to attend this event, and she was sorely missed due to her untimely death.

A panel that I almost missed entirely was the Rob Schneider (Saturday Night Live, Duce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) panel. I really enjoy this comedian’s work, on the small/big screen. He spoke about the current political environment in this country as it pertains to stand up comedy. His speaking on this topic was very serious and thought provoking, it made me think of this man in a different light. He said the worst form of censorship was self censorship. He doesn’t believe in the way students are protesting their views in college campuses, and refuses to perform his act in any college campus, due these students’ activities.

Another panel that I really wanted to go to was the Rocky panel, which was comprised of Carl Weathers (Apollo Creed), and Dolph Lundgren (Drago). I am a very big fan of the Rocky movies and both these gentlemen were important to the Rocky film franchise. These two actors were very funny, charming and friendly rapport with the audience. If anyone has a chance to see these two men at a convention do it, you will leave very satisfied you did.

The Kristen Bauer was one panel, I wanted to attend. For those people who don’t know this actress she played Pam in the True Blood series and also played Maleficent on ABCs Once Upon a Time. This lady is very sweet, honest and down to earth. She is everything a Hollywood actress should be, but almost never is. I was walking by the autograph section of the convention center and a volunteer by Ms. Bauer’s booth said that a free meet and greet was fully acceptable, by Ms. Bauer. So my party and I went up to her shake her hand and say hello. Ms. Bauer couldn’t have been more gracious. If anyone has an opportunity to meet this actress please do it you won’t be disappointed.

One panel that has great significance, in the comic book world, was the Frank Miller panel. This man in the past 40 years has developed a modern adult content in comic books that has never been totally realized until now, in such titles as Daredevil, Batman, Sin City & 300. His stories are very gritty, and have a film noire visual feel to them. The panel was good but I’m not up par on his current project which is the DKIII limited series. There is one issue left to complete the story arch to be released in two weeks, he and other panel members said to read the last page, meaning something significant ends the storyline. Side note my partner covering this event witnessed a chance meeting between two comic book icons, Neal Adams and Frank Miller each one spoke to the other about their mutual admiration.

The last panel was a great one with Karl Urban. For those of you who don’t know this actor, he is currently portraying Dr. McCoy, in the new Star Trek reboot film franchise. This actor has been in many blockbusters such as Star Trek, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and The Chronicles of Riddick films. He has also had a turn portraying one of my favorite comic book characters Judge Dredd. Mr. Urban was very funny and very interesting. Anyone there in attendance could tell that he was having fun being there answering questions from the audience. This is another actor I must say if you have a chance to see in person at a convention setting make the effort to do it, he’s worth it.

My observations of this event were over all very favorable. I was glad to see the Black Friday promotion was still in effect offering a greatly reduced discount. Also those passes were mailed to the purchaser, that was a great convenience. For the most part there wasn’t any large lines to get into the convention center, people got in right way. All the panels I attended ran on time, with an exception, of a few cancellations.

I did notice that attendance for this event was down considerably. I think two factors contributed to the lower than normal turnout. The first factor was that this event was held on Memorial Day weekend. A lot of people go out of town to visit family, go to the cemetery, or cookout. The second factor that affected the attendance numbers was that on Saturday, The River City Rockfest was held. This festival had 22 bands performing which included the likes of Def Leppard, Godsmack, The Offspring, and Pap Roach. A lot of people attending that event would have normally bought passes to go to the Alamo City Comic Con. I think that in the future the comic con organizers need to schedule, taking into account conflicting concerts/events. Every year is a learning process of what works and what doesn’t work. Each year there is improvement with this event, and the organizers strive for perfection. Next year’s con will be even better learning from these issues.

 David A. De La Rosa: River City Attractions

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2016

Story by: David A. De La Rosa

Photographs by: Joseph Martinez

 

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2016

 

It seems during the fall, in recent years, there is one event that I impatiently look forward to attending, and that is the Alamo City Comic Con (Oct 28th – 30th at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center). Throughout the rest of the year I miss the spectacle, and festival like atmosphere of our local celebration of pop culture. This year’s addition, the fourth year of this pop culture festival had many highlights, but also a few disappointing aspects, which will be discussed at the end of this article.

Everything that a person has come to expect from a comicon was present at this event. Attendees are openly encouraged to dress up in costume as their favorite superhero or villainess. Anyone attending can go up to a person in their costumes to pose for pictures; these picture opportunities are hardly ever refused if asked politely. This year the most worn costume was a tossup between Dr. Who and Harley Quinn. Surprisingly not that many Deadpool’s at this year’s con.

There are also professional cosplay artists, who dress up in fine costumes, and makeup to take pictures with the convention going public for a small fee. There is also a small contingent of fan clubs represented there (ex. Star Wars, Ghostbusters) that are in full costume that raise money for charity or for their fan clubs by charging a fee posing for pictures. An example of such a fan club was the Star Wars Society of San Antonio (www.facebook.com/SWSofSA/), which raised $2257 for childhood cancer research, benefiting St. Baldrick’s Foundation and Alan’s Hero Fund. On a side note there was a good representation of the Star Wars universe at the con Mr. Billie Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) was there all three days of the convention.  

As in past comicons any attendee has an opportunity to meet with their favorite film or television stars. An attendee can purchase a VIP pass (which includes admission) to attain autographs and photo-op sessions, with their favorite celebrities. For those who cannot afford these passes they can simply stand in line and purchase an autograph. Many people go this route and some celebrities even allow attendees to take selfie pics with them.

Many people as well myself enjoy attending the Q&A panels of these celebrity special guests, which are free to every attendee. This year’s featured panels of popular television series included, Dr. Who, Gotham, Stranger Things, Daredevil. I’m glad that this year the featured panels made use of the Lila Cockrell Theatre, last year that facility was only used for the Alamo City Film Festival. I sat in on five panels all of which were very interesting (i.e. Peter Weller) and entertaining.

There were vendors there with all kinds of merchandise from all over the country selling simple inexpensive stickers to very limited edition silkscreen print posters. I also met some vendors selling high quality home crafted clothing and accessories. One such vendor was Amber Johnson who has a small home business from Tyler, Texas (www.facebook.com/galaxygear.outofthisworld). This was her and husbands first year exhibiting at this event, and they didn’t know what expect. I spoken to them on Saturday and they said they were at breakeven point and still had another day to sell their merchandise. I was glad to hear that they were having a very positive experience at this event.

I enjoy experiencing all the aspects of attending one of these large pop culture events. I think that most attendees love watching people wearing weird homemade costumes, shopping for obscure collectible merchandise, or viewing limited edition artwork. As for myself I like attending the Q&A panels of the celebrity special guests. I like to get to know a little more about these people. Anyone attending these panels has an opportunity to ask these special guests, about their life and their work on TV and film. I went to five panels The Karate Kid, Stranger Things, Dr. Who, Daredevil/Punisher, and Peter Weller (Robocop).

I really enjoyed all of the panels, but the two that stuck out to me the most were the ones dealing with films that impacted me in my youth (The Karate Kid, and Robocop). The other panels were very informative, and entertaining. Millie Bobby Brown was one the stars of the hit Netflix series Stranger Things. Her personality was very engaging and sweet, I knew of this series before hand, after the panel I wanted to binge watch the show.

The Dr. Who panel with Billie Piper was a no brainer for me I loved the character she portrayed on the show as well as other shows she’s been in (Penny Dreadful). She was very lovely and her accent was to die for. The panel for the Netflix hit series Daredevil (Charlie Cox/Daredevil, Jon Bernthal/The Punisher, & Elden Henson/Foggy Nelson) was great and insightful as each actor spoke about trying to be true to the comic book characters. This panel in my opinion had the most fun interacting with the panel audience. I also wanted to binge watch this Netflix series, in large part because of these actors, and this panel experience.

I went to The Karate Kid panel on Friday; it was the first panel I attended of this year’s comic con. I was in luck because it was late in the afternoon, and it took place in a large conference room, not many people attended. The panel guests were Ralph Macchio/the karate kid and William Zabka/the villain. Both of these actors couldn’t have been more charming and answered all questions put them about this film or other projects they had worked on. The limited martial arts training both actors received for this film was interesting, hardly any at all. The audience asked Mr. Macchio about working with the late great Pat Morita. He had nothing but praise for Mr. Morita’s professionalism and guidance making this film.

This panel was very enlightening and entertaining. As a side note late Sunday, the last day of the con my cousin and I went up to Mr. Macchio’s booth. He couldn’t have been a nicer gentleman; quite a few people went up to speak to him. A few took selfies with him with no money changing hands, a class act. He made our day just talking to us exchanging pleasantries.

The last panel I attended was the Peter Weller/Robocop panel. I got there to be early for a children’s costume contest. I sat there halfway through the panel; Mr. Weller blew me away, with the board variety of topics the audience and he touched on. He spoke about his ties with San Antonio; he attended high school (Alamo Heights High School) here. He spoke about politics, books, films, art, and his work in front of and behind the camera. This gentleman was very candid speaking out about his drug problems and failed relationship; Mr. Weller came off very genuine. This whole panel was a highly intellectual discussion on many subjects, after all this man does have a PhD. In Italian Renaissance Art History, he kept everyone in the audience thinking about topics that were being discussed. I would love to sit in on one of this gentleman’s lectures on art; I think it would be fascinating.  Last year Edward James Olmos’ panel blew me away, this year it was Peter Weller.

My observations on this event were very favorable for the most part, this event is a premier pop culture convention, but I did see some problems. These problems had to do mostly with logistics in grouping people in lines. The first of these lines was the one to get into the convention center which was long and time consuming. A few family members that attended this event on Saturday, said they got there early in line and waited for almost an hour and half outside to receive their passes. I know that the entrance was in the new expansion area of the convention center, I think that some rope lines would have helped be more orderly and make the line flow quickly.

I saw that there was a line problem for the photo op area, it seemed very disorganized. More than a few people complained about this issue and have posted their displeasure on the Alamo City Comic Con Facebook page. I think there needed to be more convention space allocated to alleviate this problem. I also spoke to a few people that had issues with lining up for the panels that utilized the Lila Cockrell Theatre; they observed it was very disorganized with people trying to cut into various lines. Again more convention space and rope lines probably would have done the trick to fix this problem.

Another issue that I saw was that it seemed like the convention space used for this event was a third the size of past conventions. On the heaviest day of Saturday the foot traffic going thru the convention space made me feel like I was being herded like cattle. I haven’t had that herd sensation since the first comic con. Again I think this event needed to utilize to two largest exposition halls like in the past. I understand the reasoning behind using the space available. I believe that major remodeling/construction work on the convention center as well as another convention already using those exposition halls, had everything to do with the space limitations.

Another issue I saw was one of limited resources. If you have less convention area then the price to exhibit there goes up, a simple economic principle of supply and demand. I noticed right away that this year’s convention had very few artists. I asked an artist exhibiting there what he thought about the small turnout of artists selling their art at the show. The artist said that the cost to exhibit there had grown substantially since the con started three years prior. I asked that artist if he thought that the increased cost had frozen out a lot of local artists, and that individual believed that was the case. I like art and I think that we need to support our local artists, there needs to be some sort of freeze on the cost to exhibit at the convention, to bring back these artists.

There were a lot of positives with this year’s convention it wasn’t all gloom and doom. This convention had its own free app that gave everyone with a smart phone, the ability to know the panel schedules or any changes. That was great for convention goers to keep track of time for each panel.

Another bright spot was the periodic deals given on admission passes. My cousin got in on one of these deals, it was last year’s Black Friday Sale for a three day pass for $50 (normal price $85). Throughout the year the Alamo City Comic Con, does a good thing in offering special promotions and contests to give out discount passes.

Another positive was the convention preview. My cousin was entitled to pick up her pass at the convention center and go thru the convention preview the Thursday before the convention started. I had never gone to that event before, but it was cool. I would say about 90% of the vendors and artists exhibiting there had their booths set up ready to sell their merchandise, for a few hours for attendees with VIP and three day passes. If anyone purchases a three day pass or VIP pass go to the preview you won’t be disappointed, there is no hassle or crowds, you can look at clothes, comic books, and artwork in peace.

One great thing for this convention was the return of the Lila Cockrell Theatre. Last year this venue was only used by the Alamo City Film Festival. People enjoy the theatre to be used for premium Q&A panels, using a large conference room didn’t do justice to someone of the stature of Stan Lee. Last year I wrote about the fact that maybe the film festival could be an all week event, and leave the theatre to be used for the premium Q&A panels on the weekend. Well the film festival did move to start earlier in the week to leave the theatre for the panels.

This convention is now a premier cultural event in this country. The people that run this event know when they make a mistake because they hear about it from attendees on their Facebook page. The organizers take the criticism, and always adopt, adapt, and improve. All the problems in past conventions were always addressed, and improved upon in the next convention. I know that this self examination is a positive trait, and will keep this event’s quality high and make people want to come back to this pop culture convention for years to come.

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2015

 

Story by: David A. De La Rosa

Photographs by: Joseph Martinez & Ramon Hernandez
October-2015-COLOR-Page4

Alamo City Comic Con Experience 2015

 

I have for a full year been greatly anticipating the third installment of the Alamo City Comic Con. I’ve missed the excitement, and festival like atmosphere of this event. I was very pleased with the event as a whole, and everyone who attended I’m sure were not disappointed.

For those people who have never attended a comicon, let me reiterate for past articles I’ve written on this topic. This is an event where people are encouraged to dress up in costume as their favorite superhero or villain. For the record my observations for this year’s most worn costume was a tossup between Deadpool and Harley Quinn.

There were many celebrities that attended this event for autograph and photo-op sessions. Any comic con attendee can meet with some of their favorite TV, and film stars with certain VIP passes. Fans can go into an auditorium for a Q&A panel (i.e. Stan Lee, The Walking Dead, Sons of Anarchy, etc.), and speak with some of their favorite film or television personalities. I myself sat in on no less than six panels all of which were very informative and entertaining.

There are vendors there selling merchandise that run the gambit between inexpensive pin back buttons to high end statues of superheroes. I personally get a kick out people buying awesome looking replica light sabers. There were also many published artists selling signed prints of their artwork.

This year I was glad to see that there was a children’s area sponsored by local educational institutions (i.e. The San Antonio Public Library, The San Antonio Zoo, and The Witte Museum). Last year some of these groups were in attendance, but they didn’t have the interactive children’s activities they had for the con this year. Along with the interactive activities there were huge moon bounces, for the kids to play in; this was a great rest area. We all know sometimes the little ones get disinterested, and parents need to rest their feet.

This year had live wrestling courtesy of River City Wrestling, (an organization with no affiliation with our website), and matches were performed periodically throughout the three days of the con (https://www.facebook.com/rcwforever). I enjoyed the matches that I saw, and it reminded me of when I was a kid and went to see wrestling at the Freemen Coliseum. I hope next year’s con will have more RCW.

 

I enjoy many aspects of this comic con people watching, shopping for merchandise, viewing artwork. The one thing I love above all of these aspects of this show is attending Q&A panels. The panels are great for people who can afford a ticket to the con, but cannot afford a VIP pass this is their opportunity to get access to their favorite stars. As I stated before I attended no less than six panels, all were entertaining and gave me new insights on the celebrities being paneled. The one Q&A session that stood out, was the one that I half heartedly attended.

The Edward James Olmos panel blew me away, and a more in depth separate article will be posted on our website about this panel experience. Mr. Olmos was a very charismatic, animated, intelligent man; he answered every question eloquently and fully. He spoke to the panel audience about politics, his Latino experience in Hollywood, and his film career. I have been a fan of his for years, and I have much respect for him because of his leading role in the Battlestar Galactica reboot. I never expected such an authentic discussion, and that was the only reason I didn’t pay much attention too attending that panel. A little advice to the organizers of the Alamo City Comic Con who might read this piece, please invite Mr. Olmos back for next year’s con, he was awesome.

I can see that this event has grown in scope and popularity as a premier comic con destination since its inception. I like some of the changes that have been implemented in this con. There was a major improvement with announcing scheduled events and changes with a free downloadable AP. The layout of exhibition halls were more spread out with regards to the artist tables any observer can see foot traffic moved more steadily than in the past conventions. I thought this made the attendance seem smaller in number as compared to last year but that was only my perception, because of the lack of crowd clutter. To my knowledge attendance records have not been released yet.

I did have one major criticism with regards to the major Q&A panels, and that was the location. In the past two comic cons the major panels were held in the rather large Lila Cockrell Theatre stage. The major panels this year were held in ballroom B, which according to a comic con official had a seating capacity of 1,250 seats. I believe individuals like Stan Lee an American icon deserves the large stage. That same large stage is better suited to accommodate a large ensemble cast of some of our favorite television shows.

I know the reason for this switch was made to accommodate screening films for the Alamo City Film Festival which was running concurrently with the comic con. My humble suggestion is that maybe the film festival could run films everyday all week long, and the weekend the theatre stage can be used for the comic cons major panels. I think that expanding the film festival to run all week long could attract more films and stars to the comic con, as well as utilize the theatre stage for the con.

 

I enjoyed attending this convention and I look forward to the continual grown of this event. I think that we have much to be proud of here in San Antonio, and this event reflects well on all of us. All the visitors form different parts of country if not the world have gained a better appreciation of what San Antonio is all about, because of an event like our Alamo City Comic Con.

Beyond The Canvas

Beyond The Canvas

We from River City Attractions wish to Congratulations the winners!!

First Place went to Olesya Korsakoff  & Kyle Otto as Mr Freeze.

Second Place went to Jason Lozano & Neal Henderson as The Red Lantern Atrocitus

Third Place went to Jsn Art & Belinda Lopes as Female Robocop!!!

All the competing artists and models in our opinion need to be congratulated as well.   Like going to an ice-cream parlor that has over 57Flavors what to choose… What to choose….Hummm.     It’s the same thing here at “BTC” 7th annual event. Everybody had their favorite. Seeing the models on the cat walk was wonderful and I enjoyed it immensely. One thing that caught me off guard was the time and effort the models and artists put in to get ready to compete.    It’s in the detail. Look at some of the pictures we put on line and you will see. From head to toe, it looks like a lot of work to me.   Shading is something I place close attention to. It gives depth where there is none. The overall effect was magical.

Before the competition began. It was all business. The paint was flowing. Still, everybody was polite. I ask a few questions on hair and wigs“How do you keep the paint from smearing  (use hair spray to set it)

It was a friends and family’s having a good time all around. Food trucks and venders selling their wares. A great San Antonio Night.

Anthony the poet” was at the mic introducing the models and the Artists. I got a kick how the models transform when all eye’s and lights are on them. At that point, the villains or super heroes came out. After the last model walked the stage. It was time for them to relax together in all there painted glory.

Just a reminder on Sunday the 26th it’s the ZOMBI WALK down town. BTC will be there with a booth. http://www.sanantoniozombiewalk.com/

I’ve been told it’s going to be BIG BIG BIG. Guinness book of world records is sending people to confirm if it is going to be the largest gathering of zombies.

Filming of the upcoming new movie called “ZOMBI REIGN” is schedule to be there as well. (A story and information on the Zombie Reign will be posted on this web site shortly)

Thank you having a great event here in San Antonio.

Story and Pictures by Joseph Martinez

River City Attractions ,

We want to send out a very special Thank you to Ariel Valdez,

Who look great as KAMEN RIDER GAIM and for giving us the heads up on the event.

Find out more information on BTC At

http://beyondthecanvas.org/

https://www.facebook.com/beyondthecanvassa

 

Mr. Lou Ferrigno (AKA The Hulk)

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Lou Ferrigno San Antonio Wizard World 2014

 

Lou Ferrigno San Antonio Wizard World 2014

With a gentle yet firm hand shake Mr. Lou Ferrigno (AKA The Hulk) greeted me at the San Antonio Wizard World comic con.

I had a wonderful chat with him that I want to share with our readers.

I Asked,I saw you doing a part on one of those Star Trek fanfare movies, Do you think you’ll be doing anything more for them in the future.

Lou: well, I did do a second episode for Star Trek continues. I may do it again in the future. I did the episode because I loved the character of Gorhand.

 Is that’s why you did it, you’re really into it?

Lou: I wanted to show another side of myself as an actor.

 Yeah that’s great! I really loved It; I liked the effects, Heck I liked how you did it all

 Lou,..Just a little back background. You probably been asked this a million times but, how long did it take you to put the Hulk outfit on?

Lou: about three or four hours

 I assume you hated it.

Lou: oh yeah 16 hours a day sometimes

 ah that’s just terrible.

 I saw you doing a comedy, Misery Brothers do you think you’ll be doing anything else like that or do you tend to shy away from that.

Lou: no I’d like to do more comedies. But, I do have a movie coming out called Scorpion King 4 I’d love to do comedy. I wouldn’t mind doing more because I’d like to do another TV series or another sitcom again

Oh yeah on the Scorpion King 4 isn’t in post-production, when do you think it’s coming out

Lou Scorpion King 4, it should be out next month.

 Lou, I like to touch on your family, As far as your kids are they into the acting bug.

Lou: Yeah my son is Lou Ferrigno Jr. he’s got a reoccurring role on Teen Wolf

 And what about the bodybuilding aspect did they get the bug from you?

Lou: yes’ all they are all personal trainers

  Oh cool… I know that your diet is much attuned to your bodybuilding condition but, have you tried any of the local Mexican cuisine here in San Antonio?

Lou: I have Mexican food maybe once a month. I like Mexican food.

Oh yeah it’s great; any messages you want me to give to your fans

Lou: yes be good to yourself and be nice

 That’s a Wonderful sentiment Mr. Ferrigno. And  thank you  for letting me hangout with you.

With that; Lou took a classic pose for the camera.

 

Joseph Martinez: River City Attractions

Wizard World Comic Con Experience 2014

The Wizard World Comic Con Experience 2014

Story by: David A. De La Rosa

Photographs by: Joseph Martinez

  The Wizard World San Antonio Comic Con 2014 was a fun filled event to attend for anyone who’s into comics or pop culture in general. It’s the kind of event to let ones inner geek out to put on the old superhero costume and for one day or possibly three to pretend they are their favorite crime fighter.

For those of you who are not familiar with the Wizard World Comic Cons they are a series of comic con events scheduled throughout the country some of these cities include Chicago, Portland, and New Orleans to name a few (www.wizardworld.com ).

 This was the first Wizard World Comic Con in San Antonio, held at the Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center; for a few years now the closest scheduled event was in Austin. I must say I was wowed by the kind of special guest celebrities that Austin’s con has attained in the past so I was looking forward to this event. As with all comic cons there are many things that attract convention goers which include special guest celebrities, comic book artists, comic/pop culture merchandise, and family fun.

 I love the fact that at events like this you can meet some of your favorite television and film stars, and attain autographs or photo ops with them. I enjoyed the celebrity panels I attend, and found them to be very entertaining. This comic con also had some great artists in attendance that sold and signed prints of their work. The merchandise was great which not only catered to the geek, but also the average person. As far as the family fun it was everywhere people dressed up and were taking pictures with their favorite superhero or villain all for the asking. Everyone in costume was so happy to pose for pictures

. The special guest celebrity line up was pretty impressive it included William Shatner, Michael Rooker, Lou Ferrigno, Cassandra Peterson, and James Marsters, just to name a few . The comic con had all its bases covered regarding attracting fans to this event simply by having these science fiction and horror film/television icons in attendance. Every one of these celebs had a booth where a fan could attain an autograph or photo op. Some of these celebs had special VIP passes and a special section in the convention hall was set aside for photo ops. Scheduled throughout the three days of this con there were Q&A panels with these celebs of which I attended three.

One was with Captain Kirk himself William Shatner. It was very informative he spoke about his life and some aspects of his early television career regarding the Twilight Zone episodes he did. Mr. Shatner was a very delightful gentleman. I attended the panel for James Marsters for those of you who don’t know he played Spike the evil vampire on the TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Now I didn’t know this, he is an American actor everything I’ve seen him in he always has a British accent, so I thought he was British. His panel was very informative about his past, present, and future projects. One panel attendee asked him a question regarding his onscreen kiss with John Barrowman who was also in attendance at this con. It was interesting to know that his wife directed the kissing scene on that episode of Torchwood.

I went kind of early to get good seating for a panel and caught the tail end of Dean Cain’s Q&A session. For people who don’t know Dean played Superman on the television series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. He was very open and the crowd liked his down to earth manner. One attendee asked him what his most embarrassing moment on television was.  Dean replied that he felt he was in good physical shape being an ex professional football player so when he had break through a wall that had been weakened and prepared for a scene, he felt confident he could do it. Sometimes he couldn’t break through the wall to the laughter and amusement of the production crew.

The most memorable panel I went to was of Cassandra Peterson who hosted Horror films late at night in the early 80’s as the sexy wise cracking Elvira. She spoke about her friendships she formed years ago as a member of the Groundlings comedy group that included the late great Phil Hartman, and Paul Rubens (Pee Wee Herman). She talked about her experiences in Las Vegas as a young showgirl meeting the king himself Elvis. She spoke about how Elvis told her to leave Vegas in order reach her full potential as an entertainer. She was lovely and charming if anyone has the opportunity to meet her at a con go see her you won’t be disappointed. The comic book artists were well represented at the con, the legendary Neal Adams (Batman, Green Lantern, and Green Arrow) was there at a booth selling his prints at very affordable prices. I saw Greg Horn there and I bought a few prints from him because I’m big fan of his comic book cover artwork ( FYI if you have any of his comic books he will sign them for free as long as they are not special edition comics).

While looking at the different artist booths I ran into Adam Simon who spoke about his independent sci fi film Synapse. Adam wrote the screenplay and is also acting in the film; the premise is very interesting for more info on this film go to www.synapsethefilm.com. The merchandise at the con encompassed many interests to the geek and non geek alike. There was everything from comics to light sabers at the con. When I attend a con I look forward to finding comics for my collection, and action figures that won’t break my bank, that was all there. Sometimes when I go to a con something completely new to me fascinates me; this time it was the LED sound activated t-shirts I thought they were really cool and affordable.

The family could all come down and have fun at an event like this meeting other convention goers dressed up as superheroes who are happy to pose for photos. I saw whole families coming to this event dressed up each one a member of a superhero team like The Guardians of the Galaxy. I get a kick out of seeing peoples ingenuity when it comes making their own costumes. Oh by the way the most prevalent costume in attendance was Deadpool. The costume role-play was awesome but there was also videogame role-playing with huge simulator pods so you can pilot your own giant robot mecha (provided by Mechcorps) which was cool. To me it’s these things that make going to an event like this great fun.

Overview ,I enjoyed this event and I thought it was a moderate success. First off the staff running this event are all top notch and very professional. I think the way they handled the crowd of attendees was very organized as far as lining up for admission and to pick up VIP passes. The layout in the convention area was great there wasn’t any overcrowding at any one part of the space so the foot traffic kept on moving. The autograph booths were very good with respect to how they were dispersed throughout the convention area, and the lines they had at each booth was pretty clever. I liked the way the photo op area was set up; it was very organized and could handle hundreds of people at a time very easily. There was an area at the snack bar set up which I’m sure the mommies appreciated so they can sit down to rest to have a soda or a hot dog. I very much approved of the way they set up and utilized the media rooms for the Q&A panels there was plenty of seating.

I think the Frankly Chat app was a cool innovation being used in the panels. The Frankly Chat app is something that can be downloaded to your smartphone that enables you to pose questions to your favorite celebrities without having to be there. The reason I thought this event was a moderate success is that I had an expectation there would be more people in attendance. I spoke to a vendor who said that he attended the San Japan convention a few weeks earlier at the same venue, and the crowds there were comparable to this event. For those of you who do not know San Japan is a convention that celebrates all things Japanese and Japanese animation. It is a smaller niche subculture compared to the traditional comic con culture, and they achieved comparable attendance for that event. The same vendor stated that Wizard World needed to find a way to attract local vendors to this event.

I thought that maybe price point for the tickets might be a factor for the lack of attendance. Realistically I think that this town could support a convention like this even with the price of the tickets being what they are. I believe these points are valid, but I think the people at Wizard World shouldn’t have scheduled their convention roughly a little over a month before its convention competitor Alamo City Comic Con. I think that when they schedule their next convention they should have it 4 to 6 months apart from the Alamo City Comic Con. Scheduling with this in mind I think would insure a better turn out as well as bring in more local vendors to this event. I would love to see this event succeed in our city. I have one suggestion to Wizard World why not try to have this event during Fiesta, combining this event with an already established week long party sounds pretty good to me.

Thank you Wizard World for coming to San Antonio.

River City Attractions.

Homeward Bound “a true story”

Homeward Bound     “a true story”

A little over two months ago my neighbor Elaine who likes to feed the homeless animal’s, mainly cats mentioned to us that someone was not only eating all of the cat food that she normally puts out in her front yard but also taking away the bowls!  We all came to the conclusion that it was probably a loose dog that has been wandering around the area recently. My wife Yvonne then noticed that dog at our back fence once it was feeding time for our dogs, so she decided to start going around our house to see if she could start feeding him also.  As she called out for him  he would come running around to the front of the house with hesitation.  He would wait for the food tray to be placed on the ground and he cautiously would start eating.  She tried to get closer to him and he would retreat, he had  a collar with tags and we hoped it had the  owners phone number. Tried to get close enough to read them but to no avail, this routine continued for weeks. Two weeks ago we formally met our neighbor Angela from the end of our cul-de-sac and the subject of this lost dog came up and as it turns out , Angela had been feeding him breakfast every morning before she headed off to work.  Our homes back up to an area of beautiful woods and trees and that is where “Rudy” alias, would go back to after his meals and running around this was  his home and shelter.  We would worry about him on those super cold nights but thanks to caring neighbors he did not lack food or water.   On Tuesday, Christmas Eve as Yvonne was handing out her homemade Christmas Cheesecakes to our neighbors we came across Angela’s neighbor Ernest and his family. He too was familiar with Rudy and said whenever he was griiling  steaks he would share with Rudy!  Wow did we feel cheap. Moments later Rudy came out to play, Yvonne would lay on the ground to make Rudy feel more comfortable and as I watched Yvonne get a hold of him and was able to release his collar and YES there was a phone number. As Rudy ran back to the woods Yvonne made the phone call and left a message. A man called back after about an hour and said he would call back when he was done with his deliveries as he was working for UPS.    Later around 6:15 that evening “Jeremy”s wife called and asked for our address as they were both on the way to pick up Rudy!   Yea, when they arrived Rudy was no where to be found so  “our adopted son” who thinks he’s a UPS driver with all the miles he racks up, went into the woods to attempt to flush out Rudy and lo and behold Rudy came out. I think all the animals RUN for their life when they hear or see him. When the owners called out to Huckleberry aka as Rudy he was still in a resistance mode.” Come to mama Huckleberry”  and the dog would sit and listen, get up nervously , sit and stare.  After 20 minutes Yvonne ran to the front yard and the dog pursued her it took another 10 minutes to get close to him so we bribed him with ham and Carrie’s fresh chili…… What happened next would have been a winner for America’s funniest video’s as Yvonne was on the ground wrestling Huckleberry as she tried to capture Rudy,  along with our son and the dogs owner.  SUCCESS came when Josue wrapped his arms around him and carried Huckleberry to the car.   Once in, the dog gave a big lick to his owner on the cheek…… Huckleberry was rescued again, he knew he was HOME.…

After a brief conversation we found out Jeremy’s wife had tripped over Huckleberry on the stairs and broke both her legs 6 months ago. With mounting medical bills and unable to care for him they gave Huckleberry to Jeremy’s best friend who lives about 4 blocks from here.  It broke her heart to give him up .   They checked up on the dog and no response from the friend until last month they finally asked  if he still had Huckleberry he said “ well yes and no “ and that was that.

Jeremy and his wife had rescued Huckleberry as an abandoned puppy.

That evening Jeremy’s wife sent Yvonne  some photo’s.  On Christmas eve  after 6 months of being lost,  Huckleberry is home safe and sound .

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                                                    Huckleberry as a puppy

Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson Says Being Gay Is Illogical

 

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Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson Says Being Gay Is Illogical: A Vagina Is More Desirable Than a Man’s Anus

by Zach Johnson

Duck DynastyGQ

As a straight man, Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson doesn’t understand what it means to be gay.

In the January 2014 issue of GQ, the A&E reality star shares his views on homosexuality and opens up about his conservative, Louisiana-based family, and their strong Christian faith.

“We’re Bible-thumpers who just happened to end up on television,” he says of his family’s meteoric rise to fame, which has landed them multiple tabloid covers and a spot on Barbara WaltersMost Fascinating People of 2013 list. “You put in your article that the Robertson family really believes strongly that if the human race loved each other and they loved God, we would just be better off. We ought to just be repentant, turn to God, and let’s get on with it, and everything will turn around.”

One thing isn’t likely to turn around, however, is the duck hunter’s views on modern immorality. “Everything is blurred on what’s right and what’s wrong,” Phil says. “Sin becomes fine.”

“Start with homosexual behavior and just morph out from there. Bestiality, sleeping around with this woman and that woman and that woman and those men,” he tells the magazine. Paraphrasing Corinthians, he says, “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers—they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”

Phil continues, “It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

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Jep Robertson doesn’t explicitly tell GQ that he agrees with his father’s sentiments, but it seems likely that he does. “We’re not quite as outspoken as my dad, but I’m definitely in line,” he says of his backwater family. “If somebody asks, I tell ’em what the Bible says.”

Phil, 67, later says that he’s not too concerned with how other people are living.

“We never, ever judge someone on who’s going to heaven, hell. That’s the Almighty’s job. We just love ’em, give ’em the good news about Jesus—whether they’re homosexuals, drunks, terrorists. We let God sort ’em out later, you see what I’m saying?”

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Phil also predicts Duck Dynasty will be off the air in three to five years. He’s grateful to have been able to share his family’s views with more than 14 million viewers each week.

“For the sake of the Gospel, it was worth it,” he says of doing the reality show. “All you have to do is look at any society where there is no Jesus. I’ll give you four: Nazis, no Jesus. Look at their record. Uh, Shintos? They started this thing in Pearl Harbor. Any Jesus among them? None. Communists? None. Islamists? Zero. That’s 80 years of ideologies that have popped up where no Jesus was allowed among those four groups. Just look at the records as far as murder goes among those four groups.”

(As GQ notes, Phil ignores centuries of war, bloodshed and human enslavement committed in the name of Christ.)

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Phil—who says he misses the “old days”—believes all sinners are capable of finding salvation.

“If you simply put your faith in Jesus coming down in flesh, through a human being, God becoming flesh living on the earth, dying on the cross for the sins of the world, being buried, and being raised from the dead—yours and mine and everybody else’s problems will be solved,” he says.

ENEWS