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.
Leonard’s 29 leads the way
MIAMI — Tuesday night was typical of the San Antonio Spurs, who have remained an NBA staple of consistency and dominance by ignoring outside elements and sticking to their philosophy the past 15 years.
It appeared the Miami Heat were entering Game 3 of the NBA Finals with all the momentum, a healthy LeBron James and a return to their comfortable home, but the Spurs erased that with 16 minutes of brilliant basketball that essentially was the key to their victory.
San Antonio converted on a stunning 19 of its first 21 shots, built a 25-point second-quarter lead, then spent the rest of the evening successfully fighting off Miami rallies in 111-92 win at AmericanAirlines Arena. It was the first home loss for the Heat (now 8-1) in the 2014 playoffs.
The Spurs lead the best-of-seven series, two games to one, with Game 4 Thursday night in Miami.
The Spurs led, 55-30, after a Kawhi Leonard jumper with 8:09 left in the second quarter, putting on a remarkable display of ball movement and shot making. Leonard, who totaled just 18 points in the first two games, scored that by the second quarter and finished with a career-high 29.
Leonard drew raves in last year’s NBA Finals, using his brute strength to defend LeBron James, then scoring by attacking the rim or with a soft jumper. His displayed that same aggression and passion Tuesday after being beset with foul trouble in the first two contests.
“Well, we just wanted him to be who he’s been the whole year, in the regular season and in the playoffs,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “I think the foul situations the first two games, really he overreacted to them and became very cautious, and he doesn’t play like that. He’s got to be real active at both ends, and so he figured it out.”
Miami cut the deficit to 9 at the end of the third quarter but seemingly had little left for a fourth-quarter run. LeBron James scored 14 points in the first quarter but finished with 22, and Dwyane Wade added 22, but Miami’s defense was the issue.
The Heat fell apart in the searing conditions of Game 1 and allowed the Spurs to convert 14 of 16 shots in the final period. On Tuesday night, they fell behind, 41-25, after the first quarter, allowing the Spurs to make 13 of 15 shot attempts.
“Oh, they jumped on us, and they were the aggressor tonight, and they had us on our heels from the beginning,” James said. “This is something that at this point in the season shouldn’t happen, but they were more aggressive than us. I don’t think we had a lack of urgency. Just they were very aggressive and we didn’t match that. They came in with a desperation that we just didn’t match.”
San Antonio finished shooting 59.4 percent, including 9-for-20 from the 3-point line. Five Spurs scored in double figures as they methodically broke down the Miami defense with crisp passing and sparkling perimeter shooting.
Although the series was tied at 1, there was a perception the Heat had dominated the first two games and could have been ahead, 2-0, if not for James leaving Game 1 with leg cramps. But the Spurs countered a rested James with a 41-point first period and good enough execution defensively to keep their lead.
The Spurs spent the entire third quarter staving off Miami runs. The Heat used a 10-0 surge late in the period that cut a one-time 25-point lead to 7 at 81-74. And James was on the bench during that run as Wade keyed the rally with a layup and two free throws.
With memories of their Game 6 collapse of last season perhaps piercing their minds, the Spurs held on, using a Marco Belinelli 3-pointer to stop the run, then matching Heat buckets in the fourth. The Spurs finally eased matters with a 5-0 run punctuated by a Manu Ginobili breakaway dunk and a 102-84 lead with 5:11 left.
The Heat did not have enough energy to mount another run.
“When we started to get to a different gear in the third quarter, it was just tough to change the energy of the game,” Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said. “So you have to give them credit for really coming out with an aggressive mind-set on both ends.”
San Antonio opened the game with a staggering haymaker to the Heat that they never fully recovered from. Leonard turned into the offensive juggernaut of the 2013 Finals, as he scored on an array of 3-pointers and powerful drives to the basket.
He was 10-for-13 shooting with 4 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists and 2 blocked shots in 39 minutes.
“I just was in attack mode trying to be aggressive early. Just knocking down a couple shots got me going and my teammates found me. They did a good job. They just got me involved,” he said. “[Popovich] wanted us to come out just being aggressive on the road and we just wanted to win tonight and we all put a full effort in.”
Tony Parker, who scored just 2 of the team’s first 62 points, scored 6 in the final 2:24 during a 9-2 San Antonio run to end the half. San Antonio put together a stellar 24-minute stretch, shooting 75.8 percent to lead at the break, 71-50.
Leonard and Danny Green combined for 31 of those points, and nine Spurs scored in total. San Antonio ended the half on a 14-5 run, capped by a 3-pointer at the buzzer from Ginobili, who watched from 25 feet as the ball curled into the basket. It was that kind of quarter for the Spurs, who scored on a stunning 19 of 23 possessions.
The 41-point quarter for San Antonio was the first of 40 or more in the Finals since the Celtics tallied 42 in the clinching Game 6 of the 2008 Finals against the Lakers.
By : Gary Washburn
Duck Dynasty‘s Phil Robertson Says Being Gay Is Illogical: A Vagina Is More Desirable Than a Man’s Anus
by Zach Johnson
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 Walters‘ Most 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.”
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?”
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.)
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.
Story by David A. De La Rosa
Pictures by Joseph Martinez
Alamo City Comic Con 2013
The inaugural Alamo City Comic Con which ran from October 25th – 27th at the Henry B. Gonzales convention center was a big success. This event provided great family entertainment, and gave convention goers an opportunity to dress up as there favorite superhero/villain or favorite TV/film character. This was also a great place for the fan boy to go get that hard to find comic book or collectible. Artwork was being sold there at very affordable prices, from comic book legends to local artists all were represented there. Most people who attended wanted to meet a special guest celebrity to take a photo with them or get an autograph. When I attended this event I wanted to see and do all of these things.
One of the greatest things about an event such as this is that people have the opportunity and are encouraged to dress up in costume. There were hundreds of people who attended the con dressed up in costumes ranging from the absurd to the brilliant, from the homemade to the store bought. This event also shows that we are all hams at heart everyone who wore a costume without hesitation would pose for a photograph if asked nicely. In my opinion the most abundant costume worn at the show was the Harlequin. There was also a good amount of women dressed up as Poison Ivy also was a good contingent of X-men (Mystique, Beast, Storm, and Rogue) represented there. Beyond the dressed up convention goers there were a few fan clubs represented there dressed up to help recruit new members (Ghostbusters, Star Wars, Dr. Who fan clubs).
I attended this event Saturday and Sunday. I didn’t have much of an opportunity to look or shop around for comics Saturday, but I made up for that on Sunday. There were many vendors selling comics, action figures, and limited edition porcelain figurines. I bought a good amount of dollar comics that plugged many holes in my collection. While I went from vendor to vendor looking through their inventories I overheard several of them say that they were taken by surprise by the huge turnout for this convention. When I heard these statements made over and over again it made me feel the success of this event was assured.
There were many artists at the convention selling original works or prints all at very affordable prices. The week prior to the event there was a three part comic book documentary on PBS called Superheroes: A Never-Ending Battle, this program showed the evolution of comic books from the golden age to the present. One of the featured men in the documentary was the great artist Neal Adams. Mr. Adams was there at the convention signing prints and drawing sketches for a small fee. I bought a print that Mr. Adams signed that I’ll treasure forever. There were local artists represented at the convention like Mr. Eric Pinto ( www.ArtofEricPinto.com ) who was selling art prints there.
The convention also had its share of big name special guests which ranged from TV personalities from the past and present, film stars, and old school wrestlers. In my opinion the main headliners there signing autographs were TV’s Batman Adam West and Burt Ward. Also Danny Trejo Who plays the anti hero Machete in that film franchise. Lord Of The Rings fans Sean Astin (rudy) was there. Other fan favorites included current cast members of the popular TV show The Walking Dead (Lauren Cohan, Addy Miller, Kylie Szymanski, and Travis Love). Myself I’m a huge Star Wars fan so when I heard Drath Maul Mr. Ray Park, and Mr. Peter Mayhew (the Wookie himself Chewbacca). Mr. Dirk Benedict was there some of you might remember him as the original Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica. Wrestling fans got to meet such favorites, Kevin Nash, Scott Steiner, and Buff Bagwell to name a few. Famous vehicles from TV and film that convention goers could view such as the Batman Begins Tumbler, the A-Team van, the DeLorean from Back To The Future, and Ecto-1 from The Ghostbusters.
There was a costume contest that had everybody clapping. It was great fun watching the people in the audience reaction to the costumes as they walked in front of the stage. Smiles and chuckling was in abundance.
The inaugural Alamo City Comic Con was in my opinion a great success. It had everything you would come to expect from a premier convention. The reasonable admission prices and VIP passes are posted on www.alamocitycomiccon.com the event has come and gone but you can gauge how the prices will be for next year’s convention. This cultural event and its scope has been what South Central Texas has been lacking. The potential for this event to grow in the coming years and become a major tourist draw has to make local businesses in the area very happy. I have read from the Alamo City Comic Con Facebook page that next year’s con will have more space, and with that I hope more vendors with more special guests. I’ll return next year hoping the organizers of this event can top this one.
Story David A. De La Rosa
River City Attraction
Story by David A. De La Rosa
Photos by: Joseph Martinez
Alamo City Comic Con: Special Guest Danny Trejo
The inaugural Alamo City Comic Con has come and went; it was set up as a premier comic book convention. The four things people look forward to in a typical convention are comic book collectibles, artwork, dressing up in costume, and meeting celebrities. The Alamo City Comic Con did not disappoint in any of those aforementioned items.
Myself I wanted to see the actor Danny Trejo; for those of you who don’t know who he is let me tell you. Danny has had a long career as a character actor playing bad guys in both TV and film, and lately has attained cult hero status as the Machete in that film franchise. There were several ways to see and meet this celebrity either with a VIP pass, organized autograph signing, Q&A panel, or a lucky sighting in the halls. I went to see him at the Q&A panel which was free for convention goers, in the Lila Cockerell Theathre. The Lower level of theatre was almost filled to capacity with the two main isles set up with microphones for the audience to lineup and ask Mr. Trejo questions.
The Q&A session lasted 45 minutes to an hour in which the audience asked Mr. Trejo questions about his life, career, or just wanted to state their admiration for Mr. Trejo’s work. As for Mr. Trejo he could not have been cooler he answered every question fully with down to earth wit and humor. I liked that about Mr. Trejo because you could tell he was happy to be there with his fans. I’ve been to other conventions in which the celebrity guests (not mentioning any names) really made you feel that they didn’t want to be there, with their tone answering questions, or demeanor.
Here are a few questions asked of Mr. Trejo and his responses.
Q: Did you have any beef with any characters on the set?
A: Oh no god no I had a sword fight with uh Mel Gibson, and so when Robert yelled action I threw my sword down and Robert said what’s wrong. I said I’m not fighting William Wallace are you crazy he freed Scotland.
Q: Do you have a preference to play the bad guy?
A: Gimme what you got I don’t care man you got a good script I’ll be a good guy, you got a good script I’ll be a tree. It’s like a lot of people take this acting like really really serious you know but it’s I’m blessed it’s a great job but it’s still a job. You know I’m like a house painter and a house painter doesn’t really care what house he paints just as long as he gets paid. You know what I mean so somebody offers me a job it goes through my agent we get 20 scripts a week so they read’em and they see what fits me you know what is mean in a sense so ok let’s do this one. I’d do them all if I could.
Q: How old were you when you got your tattoo on your chest, that Charra?
A: God I got that, I’d hate to say it I got that in 1965. And uh and I was in prison and that was with a needle and thread. And me and a guy named Harry “Super Jew” Ross we did the outline in San Quentin and then I got kicked out of San Quentin. They sent me to Folsom, and Harry said don’t let anybody touch it, it’s my first tattoo. So he said I’ll be in Folsom, so in about 5 months later he showed up in Folsom and he did a little more and then I got sent to Soledad and uh and he was almost done he said let me finish it so then 8 months later he showed up in Soledad he finished it so it was about I don’t know 2 years and uh 3 penitentiaries. I got to tell you this was his first tattoo so he hated it because he became a real good shader and fine line and some of you tattoo artists will know what I’m talking about. He became a great tattoo artist so he hated this tattoo cause it made him so famous. Don’t show it to anybody. Shut up! (Danny lifted his shirt and exposed his tattoo to great applause) Harry just passed away but his legacy is he put the tattoo on Danny Trejo.
The whole panel session was great and before people entered the theatre everyone received a ticket. At the end of the Q&A session Mr. Trejo was asked to pick a ticket out of a bowl to choose a winner of a special prize which was a limited edition figure of Machete, sponsored by Sideshow Collectibles. Mr. Trejo graciously signed the prize and took pictures with the lucky winner. For myself I thought this panel session was the highlight in my comic con experience. A note to any organizers of this event that might read this article do yourself a favor and invite Mr. Trejo back for next year’s comic con.
River City Attractions
Congrats go out to J.R. Martinez and Karina , just when we all thought the fix was in after the results showed Rikki Lake came in third ” I thought I was gonna die” However , the best finally won. Then after getting ready to write something about his victory I could not find anything on the net or on the news! Had that other (2nd place person had won, I feel the media would be shoving it down our throats for a week. So I write this in honor of J.R. and his military service and for all in our military. And for those of you who are not to familiar with J.R. here is a little bio on him I found on Dancing with the stars website from ABC. His real name is Jose Rene..DOB June 14,1984.What is not included below is that he is not married. Has a girlfriend “Diana Jones” who is an executive assistant for ABCs hit sop opera “All My Children” He was in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell in Kentucky when he was deployed to Iraq in 2003. He is originally from Shreveport, LA via El Salvador where his mothers family is from. I salute you J.R. for giving all of us with a handicapp, the inspiration and motivation to keep pushing forward in life and work. You are an example of making all the hard work and re-hab well worth it………………
J.R. Martinez is an Iraq war veteran, motivational speaker and actor on ABC’s All My Children. In April 2003, at 19 years old, he was serving as a Humvee driver for the U.S. Army in Iraq when his left front tire hit a landmine. He suffered smoke inhalation and severe burns to more than 40 percent of his body.
J.R. was immediately evacuated and sent to Brooke Army Medical Center (BAMC) in San Antonio where he spent 34 months in recovery. Since his injury, he has undergone 33 different surgeries, including skin grafts and cosmetic surgery. While in recovery, he started speaking to other burn patients within the hospital, sharing his experiences and listening to theirs. News of his story and efforts to help others quickly spread, first on a local level and then to national circuits, leading to appearances on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN and more.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, J.R. has traveled the country since 2004, spreading his message of resilience and optimism. Today he is a sought-after motivational speaker and has shared the stage with many notable individuals. In October 2008, J.R. joined the cast of ABC’s Emmy® Award-winning daytime drama All My Children as combat veteran Brot Monroe.
Born in Shreveport, LA, he moved to Hope, AR, where he and his mother lived until he was 17. They moved to Dalton, GA, just prior to his senior year, the place J.R. proudly calls his hometown. J.R. continues to balance his motivational speaking engagements and charity work with his acting. He is also busy working on his memoirs.