Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Gory Details on Buffy's Birthday Bash

There were so many amazing Kodak moments in that brief two-hour window, but this one took the cake. (From now on, no more crummy puns. Oops!) In all seriousness, though, it was a night to remember. The geekage per square inch was off the charts! I'd go so far as to say it rivaled Comic Con, since Con -- densely populated though it is -- is also diluted with Twilight teenyboppers and random normal people stalking their favorite stars. These people, on the other hand, were EXTREEEEME! (Insert heavy metal growl here.)

When Robert LeMoyne, who has now gained the title of "geek guru", told me about the event, I knew I had to go. In my scramble to reproduce more flyers, I missed some of the commencing festivities, which apparently included Buffy trivia and a Happy Birthday Buffy sing-along. But believe you me, the fun had only just begun. And BOY was I glad to have those flyers! I brought in a stack of them and left with none, and though I didn't give one to absolutely every person in the room, I have complete faith that they reached the hands of everyone who was meant to get them. But enough about me; let me tell you about all the awesome people I met.

While hovering by the cupcake table, I started a conversation with a filmmaker by the name of Tom Etlinger. We spent a long time talking about Buffy, movie-making, and fantasy musicals (you'd never guess, but the transitions between topics were pretty seamless!). He is currently planning a music video shoot for his friend Edgar Ibarraran, a flamenco guitarist who was also hanging out in close proximity to the cupcakes. Getting further into the crowd, I spotted an amazingly cute dress with comic book-printed fabric, the wearer of which turned out to be Sarah Kuhn, author of the geek romantic comedy novella One Con Glory. Andrea (a.k.a. Arkham Asylum) was totally pimping the Star Wars, decked out with baby doll T-shirt, handbag, and tattoo. (It was no accident, as she has a photo blog called Star Wars and Wine.) As I milled about, I saw Joe LeFavi, whom I had known from The Thrilling Adventure Hour, but I had not known the scope of his geeky awesomeness. As it turned out, it was also the release date of his issue of Fraggle Rock, and I was lucky enough to document his first signing. (You can see all the photos in my album on Facebook.)

I passed out a few more flyers, then took a breather back at the cupcake table. Actually, "breather" is probably the wrong word, since I quickly got pulled into so many engaging conversations that I could barely catch my breath. I had a long conversation with Marsia Powers, Web News Editor of, a site that covers Joss Whedon-related news, as well as organizes charity screenings and events. Marsia expounded Costco-caliber quantities of Whedon wisdom (among other things). The conversation then shifted to Suzanne Eggebrecht, a.k.a. "the Button Lady"), a Comic Con veteran who had many entertaining Con war stories. And if the cupcake table weren't already supersaturated with nerd niche celebrities, Mark Harvey was also among the crowd. To the naked ear, it's a pretty innocuous name, but if you're a fan of the LA Derby Dolls, you would know him as the Sirens mascot, "Bacon". Yes, he dresses as a giant strip of bacon. (And the even funnier part of it is that he once worked for Kevin Bacon so if you want to stand any chance in a game of "6° of Kevin Bacon", do NOT play with this guy!) He was the one who actually won the Buffy trivia. Most of the questions he answered correctly had me completely stumped!

By the time Robert and I left, I was tired, wired, and totally de-flyered. On our way out, a panhandler asked me for spare change and I gave him my chocolate cupcake with the hand sticking out of it. (I hope he knew not to eat the hand!) Robert and I sat at the Whole Foods on Santa Monica where we debriefed and decompressed over soup. I also showed him my freshly finished Anya song, which will be released soon, though not until after the still-to-be-completed song about Faith. There is much more to blog about, but I've written enough for today. For all of you who made it out, thanks for your contribution to the experience. And for those of you who didn't, it isn't too late to celebrate. A very merry Buffy Un-Birthday to Buffy!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Captain Caleb Castle, I Salute You!

I said to myself, "If Nathan Fillion wants a picture of himself on my vision board, he's going to have to take it with me himself!" Well, Nate, you stepped up to the plate. Congratulations, you made the cut.

Yes, it really happened. And yes, I have the photographic evidence to prove it. It was a brief moment, but the journey there was a pilgrimage. And by pilgrimage I mean pilgrimage, pronounced with a pretentious soft "g" and an elongated "aaaah."

I first heard about The Thrilling Adventure Hour last June from a friend who knew I was big into Joss Whedon. Nathan Fillion was guest starring in the upcoming show, and by the time I'd heard about it, it was -- of course -- completely sold out. My friend Robert LeMoyne and I showed up to the box office way early to try to get tickets, but to no avail. Actually, there was some avail, just not in the form of tickets. It was, after all, there and then that I first met Juliet Landau and the Ballads to the Buffy Big Bads project was born. Come to think of it, there was a metric caboodle of avail, but back to my original point, we did not get into the show.

The next time Nathan guest starred was last month, December, and despite extending the show to two nights, it sold out before I even knew it existed. By this time, I had a couple of inside sources, but none of them had the power to get me in. When the January show rolled around, I made sure to get my tickets right away. I didn't know the guest star list, but crazy celebrities or no (and they always have crazy celebrities), the show is an absolute romp, and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Eventually, they announced guest stars, and to my great delight, Nathan was one of them! It just might happen, it just might happen, I just might meet the freaking man himself...

Not that it was the only reason, but I decided that my potential meeting with Nathan was a good deadline for getting the new Buffy flyer done. (If you haven't seen it already, check out the pic on Facebook.) Carl Mahoney had taken an awesome picture of me in my Spike T-shirt, and we had spent the better part of the Wednesday before designing the logo, which took quite a bit of work. Inspired by the "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" logo, we modified and pieced together various fonts. Carl being the more Photoshop-savvy one, he pushed most of the buttons while I sat there and looked pretty and said "Do this, don't do that, a little bit more brushstroke on the 'B'." Later that day, my other awesome graphic designer/musician friend Brian Travis took our logo and designed the wallpaper for the back of the flyer.

I spent the next couple of days playing around with the color scheme and layout, and beefing up the logo to add a little more dimension to the characters. It was a mighty effort to get it in perfect, printable form. And I was cutting the edges with the paper cutter at Office Depot up to the moment I left for the show. By that time, I was so frazzled and exhausted, I could barely think. And the one thought that did swim through my muddy head was (and imagine me saying this with a faux-drunken slur), "Nathan Fillion might never see the light of this, but if I find myself standing next to him and he has that look on his face like, ' I could use the Buffy flyer right about now,' I can be like, 'Hey, I've got one of those!'" And I did. And he did. And I did.

The moment itself went by in a blur. I remember waiting outside the Largo, working my way through an unusually large group of people standing still as cattle, all waiting for the same thing. Everybody wanted their photo op with Mal/Castle/Capt. Hammer/Caleb/Ruggedly Handsome Heartthrob/whoever the heck else this guy symbolized to them. I couldn't help but feel a little cliché, but I was on a mission. He handled himself like a perfect gentleman superstar, taking photo after photo, being courteous but efficient, smiling that multi-million dollar smile.

I waited for some of the crowd clear, took off my giant coat, gathered my thoughts, pulled the shiniest-looking flyer from the pile, and went up to take my turn. Nathan said a quick hello, told me he liked my outfit, and put his arm around me for the photo op. (Yes, I touched him. Yes, it was 15 seconds or less a fan girl bliss. And YES, he really does look that good in person.) Jonathan Reilly -- friend, official event photographer, and impresario of AWESOMEness -- took two pictures; one with my camera and one with his. Both pictures served a purpose. The one on my camera was posted immediately, and the one on his actually looked good (in my frenzied state, I totally forgot to turn the flashback on!). After the photos were snapped, I handed him the flyer. He said, "Do you want me to sign this?" I said, "Actually, this is yours. I'm writing love songs to the Buffy super villains, and I'm going to write one for you." He looked impressed. He mentioned something about the flyer looking good, or the wording on the T-shirt, or some other gobbledygook I was too googly-eyed to remember. The point is, MISSION COMPLETE!!!

There is more to say about that night. And there is more to say about new songs. But I've gushed a great deal so you'll have to wait until the next entry in order to hear about the rest. And now, for your moment of Zen...

Apparently the only signature he needed was my fist...But with a pen in it... That I was signing with. These are not the hammer ...