Tagged: Black Panel

Emily S. Whitten: SDCC 2015 Part IV – Panels!


Greetings, ComicMixers! Did everyone have a good weekend? I hope so! But I know, I know, there was probably one thing missing from your hopefully glorious and relaxing weekend – my SDCC coverage! Yes, that’s right – Along with Part I (the con floor!); Part II (the Her Universe Fashion Show!); and Part III (The party round-up!), here comes Part IV – the panels!

Contrary to what folks who see me at cons might think, I can actually sit still for at least an hour at a time, and sometimes I even want to. In particular, I do like to try and see a few panels whenever I’m at a con; and going into SDCC, I definitely had some on my agenda. This year, unlike many, I actually even managed to see most of them, and I’m glad I did, because they were awesome and I want to share them with you. So here we go!

Voice Over Celebration with Beloved Cartoon, Video Game, and Film VO Actors

Look, the day they have voice actor panels at a con and I don’t make it to at least one is the day you’ll know I’ve lost my joy in life (the same goes for any panel featuring the delightful Rob Paulsen – and since I couldn’t make the TMNT panel (and see the awesome TMNT SDCC mini scene in person!) due to a scheduling conflict, this panel was definitely a must). The panel featured Susan Eisenberg, Rob Paulsen, Caitlin Glass, Anthony Bowling, Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal, and Genese Davis, and was primarily a Q&A, with the usual fun (and funny voices) that goes on at a VO panel.

Genese Davis was a fantastic moderator, and you could just feel the love these VO folks have for their work and the fans. It was also neat to hear, e.g., Eisenberg discuss what voicing Wonder Woman has meant to her, and other great and inspiring stories from the panelists. My favorite funny bit of the panel was Lowenthal’s explanation for why he has a mohawk, which basically varies depending on the moment and his mood. “You know, a fan will ask me, ‘Did you get a mohawk because your character has one?’ And I’m like, ‘Oh, yeah, what a good idea – of course that’s why I got it!'” Hah!

The Black Panel

For those who don’t know, The Black Panel is an SDCC staple that’s been happening since 1997. It primarily features black creators in and connected with the genre entertainment industry (although often there is also a “token white person” on the panel) and discusses their impact on and experiences within the industry. While the panel is known for the irreverent humor and moderating style of organizer Michael Davis , it’s also known for the impressive list of top-tier creators it’s featured over the years, and the valuable advice they have shared for young creators and others in the audience.

This year, the panel featured Joe Illidge, Eric Dean Seaton, Don McGregor, Tatiana EL-Khouri, and of course, moderator Davis. Although distilled wisdom and good advice were shared with the audience by all of the panelists, as usual, this panel was also bittersweet and truly the end of an era, as we learned that this was going to be the last SDCC Black Panel. It then featured a scrolling list of all of the luminaries who have been on the panel, as well as at least two fans whose Q&A questions consisted of talking about how valuable the Black Panel has been to them over the years in raising awareness of black talent (one woman in particular, a librarian, discussed how the panel had helped her to find black-created comics to include in her library stock). It was truly an inspiring panel, both in hearing what the panelists shared, and in hearing what the panel has meant to people; although of course, the trademark humor of the panel was still present. In classic Black Panel style, Davis closed the final Black Panel with, “Oh yeah: white people, get out!”

Dark Horse: An Afternoon with Joss Whedon

This panel was an absolute delight (and can be watched in its entirety here, thanks to others who actually filmed it). Whedon started with a nice thanks to Dark Horse and a funny Oz joke: ” I want to talk about how ridiculously grateful I am to everybody at Dark Horse for doing what is honestly one of the hardest jobs in the world. When you take a licensed product, something that already exists, and you have to continue those stories, you have to be so faithful and yet so inventive to make the stories come to life. And that is a tightrope act. It is really difficult for someone; for anyone, to carry on something that is so beloved, and take it to another level, while still being true to all the voices and the characters and what we were trying to do way back when. Thank you to Scott, who’s been my editor forever, and Sierra, who is working on the books; Mike Richardson, who built the house we’re all in, and particularly the writers and artists – Christos Gage has been killing it, Rebekah Isaacs, and Georges Jeanty of course; Zack Whedon. …I feel like five years ago a tornado ripped up my house and dropped it in the land of Marvel, and it’s been a very weird time. And (pointing to the audience) you were in it, and you were there, and you were there…and all that while, all these people have been working so hard and doing such beautiful work, and it’s been so great for me to know that the things I care most about are being taken care of. So I want to give Dark Horse a shout-out for their amazing work.”

Following that was some big news from Whedon; the announcement of a new Dark Horse six issue book, The Twist, about which Whedon said, “it basically deals with the most important moral question facing us, which is why isn’t there a Victorian female Batman?” He then decided to impart some life and creative advice to all of us, which was, ” Continue to earn what you already have.” Followed quickly with more witty repartee, including discussion of the Marvel movies, about which he observed, “What’s exciting was that everyone was so perfectly pleased with how I handled Natasha.” Followed by, “Yeah, I still got it,” in response to the ensuing laughter.

The whole panel is well worth a watch, but in particular Joss’s answer to this fan question is worth paying attention to. The fan said, “I, like many of us, gain a lot of peace from your work, even though it’s about people who exist in very non-peaceful situations. My question is: what is the world, what is existence, why are we here, how can I and all of us feel more sane and purposeful in our own lives, and how do you represent that philosophy in your writings?”

Whedon replied with, “You think I’m not going to…but I’m going to answer that! The world is a random and meaningless terrifying place, and we all, spoiler alert, die. Most critters are designed not to know that. We are designed uniquely to transcend that. To understand that…Ooh, I can quote myself, this is fun! ‘A thing isn’t beautiful because it lasts.’ That what we have right now, right here, has as much meaning as anything we’re afraid of. And the way we’re designed to do this is that the main function of the human brain, the primary instant function, is storytelling. Memory is storytelling. If we all remembered everything, we would be Rain Man, and we would not be socially active at all. We learn to forget and we learn to also distort, and from the very beginning, we’re learning to tell a story about ourselves.

I keep hoping to be the hero of my story; I’m kind of like the annoying sidekick. I’m like Rosie O’Donnell in the Tarzan movie that Disney did. I’m that annoying. I was like, “But I’m Tarzan, right?’ And they were like, “No. You’re that weird ape that we don’t know if it’s a girl.” But, it is still a narrative. And since we’re doing that from the moment we’re alive, living stories that we then hear and see and internalize and wear hats from and come to conventions about; we all come here to celebrate only exactly that: storytelling. And the shared experience of what that gives us. And it may give us strength; it may distract us. It can do almost anything. And that, for me, is how we live peacefully, and how we live with ourselves, and each other. We understand our story, everybody else’s story, that we’re all part of that; and that story is going to be with us, and can be controlled by us, and can be surprising and delightful and horrifying and all those things, but it’s something we can survive because, unlike me, you all are the hero of the story. That is my answer.”

Wow. And after that profoundness, I’ll end my summary of this panel with this quote from Whedon, which clearly needs no context: “This is very simple, and I think everyone can relate to where I am on this. I love bees. I just want to put bees in my clothes. And have bee-time.”

Thanks for that, Joss. And for being awesome.

20th Century Fox

Ohhhhh, you guys know where this is going, right? Okay, so the Fox panel showcased a bunch of projects, including The Maze Runner: Scorch Trials, Victor Frankenstein (which featured the most hilariously homoerotic panel I have experienced in person), Fantastic Four, and X-Men: Apocalypse, several of which I’m excited about (X-Men in particular); but you all know why I sat my butt on those hard seats in the Most Depressing Room of SDCC for two hours after Joss Whedon left, right? Deadpool. (Look, I’m not the only one. The Wall Street Journal is all about the Deadpool, too. As is Nicholas Hoult, who, when asked about his character Beast on the X-Men panel, replied, “I can’t concentrate because I’m still psyched about the ‘Deadpool’ trailer.”)

In the midst of all of the other cool Fox stuff going on, moderator Chris Hardwick of Nerdist started the Deadpool ball rolling with, “I believe we have a special announcement before the next panel…?” That was the cue to roll an SDCC Hall H exclusive video which showed Ryan Reynolds in his full Deadpool regalia, seated in a Masterpiece Theatre-style chair, complete with pipe in hand, as he intoned, “In a world divided by fear, one man must save the world… From the studio that inexplicably sewed his fucking mouth shut the first time, comes five-time Academy Award-winner Ryan Reynolds as a man on an e-Harmony date with destiny. Ladies and gentlemen of Hall H, I give you…me! Deadpool! To teach you to take these broken wings and learn to fucking fly again.” And then, of course, Deadpool tried to put the pipe in his masked mouth and dropped it.

Amidst an absolute uproar of delighted cheers and screams, Reynolds snuck onto the still-dark stage to surprise us all as the lights came up and lead off an awesome, raunchy, totally Deadpool-esque panel that also featured Tim Miller (Director), Morena Baccarin (Vanessa Carlysle), T.J. Miller (Weasel), Brianna Hildebrand (Negasonic Teenage Warhead), Ed Skrein (Ajax), and Gina Carano (Angel Dust). Reynolds responded to the crowd’s cheers with, “Looks like we’re ready to make the chimi-fucking-changas already. It’s only been eleven years in the waiting.” When Hardwick asked him how it felt for the movie to finally be coming out, Reynolds replied, clearly delighted, “One year ago, almost today, some asshole leaked that footage, and that’s why we’re standing here… You guys – the internet, fans, you made the studio do this.” Reynolds, Miller, and cast also gave credit to the excellent script of Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick.

Miller said about the movie finally being made that, “I would have made this fucking movie anytime, but it had to come at the right time, and the studio was ready to make it now. And I think it’s because as Ryan said, it’s the fans. He is the perfect character for our time, I think.” Reynolds added, “I think this character inhabits a space in the comic universe that no other person can or will ever inhabit. It’s got everything you’d ever want. …For one I just think it’s an absolute miracle that a studio let us make Deadpool, let alone an R-rated Deadpool.” He added, “…No matter what the rating is, though, babies will love this.”

All of the actors discussed their characters, and were clearly excited about their roles in the film. When asked about her character Vanessa, Baccarin said, “She’s a badass. It was really awesome to read the script. You don’t get to read many superhero movies that have a badass romantic lead. She gives him lip right back, and not necessarily the talking kind. …She’s the perfect match to his crassness.”

After the Q&A they showed some exclusive footage, which was amazing and appears very loyal to Deadpool’s origins. Expanding on the earlier leaked footage, it showed more characters and backstory (including that Negasonic Teenage Warhead starts out in training with Colossus), included more great comedic moments, and highlighted Deadpool’s fighting prowess when he shot three people in the head with one bullet. It was also rife with fourth-wall breakage, and featured a Liefeld joke, a dig at Green Lantern, and an appearance by Blind Al (w00t!). It was such a hit that at the finish, Hall H exploded into chants of, “One more time!” and Hardwick obliged by running the footage again, to more cheers.

In summary, this panel was hilarious and the movie looks like it is going to be awesome and, and, and you guys. I can’t even. I almost died of happiness during the panel. Deadpool. Is finally coming to theaters. And it looks fantastic. Y’all are lucky I didn’t expire right there in Hall H and am still here to write this.

And that I was still vaguely coherent for the next Fox panel, X-Men: Apocalypse. I feel like no matter what, I’ll do this write-up a disservice, because I was still buzzing so much from Deadpool that I could hardly concentrate; but I will say that the footage looked amazing, the cast is huge but it seems to work, there was a moment where Hugh Jackman sat on Jennifer Lawrence’s lap, and I am really looking forward to the film. If Deadpool hadn’t been on the panel agenda, this would have been the Fox movie I’m most looking forward to.

The Fox panel wrapped with a giant selfie of “the most superheroes,” with the casts of Wolverine, Deadpool, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Fantastic Four, and a special appearance by Stan Lee. Sweet.

X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut

The last panel-like thing I did while at SDCC was actually a screening – of X-Men: Days of Future Past – The Rogue Cut. Essentially, a Rogue storyline got cut out of the movie for running time, and it’s been added back by Bryan Singer, who introduced the screening for the new DVD. The screening was cool – it was fun to see the film again on the big screen, and while the movie does work without the Rogue storyline, I did feel it added to the overall story to include it. Certainly for a movie on DVD (where you can pause anytime for snack and bathroom breaks!) I’d advocate getting the longer cut.

And that’s it for me and the panels! Check out my panel photo album here or my whole SDCC collection of photos here.

And until next time, Servo Lectio!

Michael Davis: The Black Hollywood Shuffle, Part 2

Niggers, Get A Fucking Clue

Please read last week’s installment .

Last week I recounted what happened to me, at the hands of a black woman, while backstage at The Arsenio Hall Show some months ago. I’m not pointing out she was a black woman, that’s not important.

What’s important is she’s black.

Most, from what I could see of Arsenio’s staff is black. From my brief time there, I noticed most were pleasant and helpful. But the woman who threatened to call security on me was anything but.

She treated me as if I was a dark skinned nigger from the country and she was a light skinned lady from a well-to-do Negro family. There was a time when many light skinned blacks built communities and excluded any black person “darker than a paper bag” from living among them.

How fucked up is that, eh? Not as fucked up as those people with that mindset and their communities are still here today.

The following is from the book Our Kind Of People by Lawrence Otis Graham:

Debutante cotillions. Million-dollar homes. Summers in Martha’s Vineyard. Membership in the Links, Jack & Jill, Deltas, Boule, and AKAs. An obsession with the right schools, families, social clubs, and skin complexion. This is the world of the black upper class and the focus of the first book written about the black elite by a member of this hard-to-penetrate group.

This very real, very wealthy circle is very serious about keeping dark skinned, working class Negros away from their way of life. That way of life is filled with all sorts of perks, privileges, access and money. They have no intention of sharing any of it.

Some black people in Hollywood in power positions filled with perks, privileges, access and money also have no intention of sharing any of it with other black people.

That woman on Arsenio’s staff may not be that kind of person. But regardless if she is or not her actions towards me make her one of “those kind of people.” As such, to me, those actions were unforgiveable. She had no excuse for ignoring, both my back stage all access pass, issued by her show and the pleas of everyone involved telling her she was making a huge mistake.

Her actions are unforgivable because black people in a position of power should always remember how the fuck we got here and pay it forward.

I love America but black people are still considered by many here as second-class citizens. In the case of black boys and men we are measured by even a lesser standard. The lives of black men are worth far less.

Today, another white cop got away with killing an unarmed black boy. That explains my angry subtitle as well as why editor Mike Gold will be getting this in the wee hours of the morning, once the verdict was in I had to address it so this article had to be rewritten.

The staffer’s actions prevented an opportunity to enrich the lives of young black kids as well as disallowed the most influential forum in African-American pop culture, the Black Panel (TBP), from honoring Billy D. Williams, life and work.

In the almost 20-year history of TBP only once was such an honor bestowed. That distinction went to Bill Duke. Mr. Williams was chosen and as the premier black science fiction character of all fucking time should have been given his rightful props years ago. Props, BTW, he has never received.

I’m heartbroken that within the small world of black Hollywood there are “those kind of people.” How on Earth did some of these people achieve the kind of success where that’s even possible boggles my mind.

Don’t they realize all they are doing is helping those already out to destroy any and all black influence in media? Let’s say, by some miracle they succeed, are they so dense they think they are now part of the club? Are they so blinded with hatred for their own blackness they think themselves safe?

At any time, any unarmed black man could be leaving a studio lot and be shot dead like a dog in the street. The cop that shot him won’t give a fuck if the nigger was head of programming at HBO or a head cook in a food truck. All he will care about is how long after he’s acquitted should he wait to write his book.

I’m sorry. I hold accountable every black person in Hollywood who thinks only of themselves and not how to move of our talent into positions where they can tell more stories.

I mentioned how livid I was in the first installment and I’ve outed people for a lot less than what she who was not named because of Tiffany did.

Who’s Tiffany?

Tiffany Haddish is the reason I haven’t outed the woman who put me in this foul mood by name. Tiffany is Arsenio’s sidekick on the show, although ‘sidekick’ is most likely not the best description.

I met Tiffany in 2005 when I was writer/comedy producer for the Tom Joyner syndicated variety television show. She is a force of nature, one of the most talented people I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with and for the briefest of moments mentor. When I wrote a sketch, she was always, the actor I had in mind. It’s only a matter of time before she owns Hollywood, in my humble opinion.

When I left the taping without losing my mind, it was because Tiffany is everything that woman wasn’t. She’s caring and committed to not just her craft or herself but to others.

Back in 2005, I invited Tiffany to sit on the Black Panel the first time I saw her perform. She did not have the credits, but she was already a role model for young actresses of color. I left the Arsenio show without saying hello to my old friend, and that almost brought out my dark side.

It seems that the dark side is always out for many in Black Hollywood. Perhaps that’s the reason we stay in the dark.

Michael Davis: The Black Hollywood Shuffle

ICONThe image of Icon to the left was on Arsenio Hall’s Facebook page last week. There’s a funny story behind that. Well, its funny to me.

I like Arsenio. I like him a lot. I’ve met him a few times but we are by no means boys. Whenever I see him I’d like to think he remembers me but I think he’s just being polite. Each and every time I run into him, what strikes me is how polite and straight up real the man is.

Polite, straight up and real is raised to another level by a woman of his staff. What level? Putting it as politely as I can, she’s a straight up bitch, for real.

That level.

I was invited to the Arsenio show some months ago. Guests on the show that day included Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams. It’s fair to say each have earned countless distinctive accolades but some praise could easily apply to both. Each is respected as wonderful actors from a legion of fans. They get the sex symbol nod from others and many only see two cool as fuck badass mofo’s.

Every geek and nerd sees little or none of that above noise. They don’t see Don Cheadle and Billy D. Williams hardly or at all. It’s War Machine and the greatest Black Science Fiction character to ever grace the big screen, Lando Calrissian who they see and that’s who I saw when I made a beeline for Billy D’s dressing room.

So, there I was talking some, down right, up right, San Diego Comic Con and Black Panel smack to Billy, his manager and agent both who knew of the panel and me.

That was cool.

Billy knew me also, well kind of. Each time I see him at some event or party, I tell him if he attended The High School Of Art & Design, my school, instead of the much inferior High School Of Music & Art, he’d be a successful artist today. Instead of having to fall back on that “acting” bullshit. No, I never mention I know he’s a successful painter, which would ruin a running joke nearly 20 years old.

But I digress and every time I do, Peter David gets a check a angel gets his wings and more readers get sick of reading that.

Where was I?

Where I was, about to finalize plans to honor Billy D at The Black Panel, was his dressing room, invited in by Mr. Williams himself. Then, she who would have been named but I’m not without mercy, entered and that, as they say, is all she wrote.

No idea what her title was for the show but she seemed like she was the senior, Self Hating Unhappy Negro – or SHUN. SHUN ignored my backstage credentials, ignored Billy’s agent’s assurances I was invited to be there, and in no uncertain terms told me to leave Mr. Williams alone. I tried to talk to her, Billy’s agent tried even Billy tried. She refused to believe I was not some lowly actor out to sweat Mr. Williams.

Waving a finger a hair away from my face she informed me I was one more sentence away from security being called. She was about one more inch from me becoming that nigger, but I decided against it.

No clue how I walked the fuck away without another word. I was so fucking livid I had to get out of there as my heart was racing and I’m sure my blood pressure was dangerously high and, honest to god, I felt my head was going to burst a blood vessel.

I left the building but by the time I reached my car someone from the show called my cell hoping I was still on the lot. It seems someone told SHUN who the fuck I was and just what the fuck I was there for in the place. Hint: it wasn’t to stalk Billy D. No idea to this day who I talked to but for their trouble they received a fuck you so loud it shattered the last bit of shield my brain was using to ward off a migraine and I didn’t care.

This level of pissed is rare. Even for me.

This was a big deal. You may not see it as such but yes, yes it is. Not for most reasons you would think I think. All my wrath and indignation is not towards this woman, my anger has little to do with her or what she did to me.

My anger is rooted in Black Hollywood and our rush to destroy what little we have.

Many in Black Hollywood, forget we are Black in Hollywood and I’m about to remind them.

End of Part 1.


Emily S. Whitten: Continuous Convention Catch-Up

Goooooood evening, boys and girls! Before we get on with today’s column, let us have a moment of silence (because we’ve all fainted from excitement) to celebrate that a Deadpool movie is really, truly, finally in the works. For real this time. Like, totally.

(Obligatory NSFW test footage shot)


Aaaaaand, we’re back. Everyone have time to get up off the floor? Yes? Excellent. And don’t be ashamed of fainting. I’m that excited, too! Now, we just have to hope that they don’t screw it up.

And now on with the column. The convention season has been just flying by, it seems. Barely did I return from SDCC before it was time to start finalizing my costumes and setting my meet-up plans for Dragon Con; and of course after Dragon Con, Baltimore Comic Con was literally right around the corner, being the next weekend. And with all of the cool things going on at every single con, I feel like I’m weeks behind on everything I still have to share with you all out there in reader-land.

So this week, let’s have a little whirlwind catch-up/retrospective of the highlights.

Comic-Con International

No, I’m not even kidding, there’s still cool stuff that happened at SDCC that I haven’t shared yet. In particular, I didn’t really get to write about the panels yet, and man, there were some cool panels. For one thing, there was our very own Michael Davis’s The Black Panel, which focuses on black entertainment and creators who are doing notable work in the various entertainment industries. This year, the panel featured Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow, MAD TV), Ne-Yo (actor, artist, writer, singer, etc.), J. August Richards (Angel, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.), Kevin Grevioux (I, Frankenstein; Underworld), Cree Summer (Batman Beyond, Rugrats, A Different World), and Erika Alexander (Living Single, “Concrete Park”). After the panel I got to catch up with J. August Richards (who, by the way, had a hilarious mic-drop moment), and he had this to say: “Michael Davis is a legend and a pioneer in the field. It was an honor to be a part of The Black Panel and hilarious to watch him do his thing in person. Clearly, he’s the star of the panel every year!”

I also checked in with my friend Sarah Goodwin, a scientist in the field of cell biology. She shared that, “this was my first Comic-Con and so my first time attending The Black Panel. First of all, this was one of the few panels I saw that featured women (yay!!!!). Secondly, all of the panelists were very open and honest about their experiences and how they see themselves positioned within the various cultures of their crafts. Throughout this panel came lessons in putting yourself out there, taking risks, and most importantly, persistence. I found the panel very informative and could relate to a lot of what they were saying since I am a woman in a male-dominated field (in science the field is male-dominated at the ’star’ level, at least). I left the panel with a sense of optimism that diversity in all aspects of Hollywood will continue to grow, and that Comic-Con can be a place where this is discussed and celebrated and/or criticized amongst a supportive and welcoming community. Also Kevin Grevioux has an incredible voice, and I think it is super cool that he used to be a scientist at the NIH!” Clearly, The Black Panel is not to be missed.

I also checked out the I Know That Voice panel, which was super fun since they were showing some of the cool extras that came along with the DVD of the awesome voice actor documentary that I’ve covered before. The panel featured some of my favorite people in the industry and the extras were well worth a watch, with discussions of “Andrea Romano’s First Time,” Billy West talking about the origins of Zapp Branigan, and Jim Cummings telling tales involving booth etiquette, among other things. Check out a few pics here, and then go get the DVD.

And that’s all for me this week, folks, so until next time when I continue my convention catch-up, Servo Lectio!

Emily S. Whitten’s Grand San Diego Adventure, Part Two!

After reading my Twitter feed one night during SDCC weekend, my friend (and cool voiceover dude) Bob Joles joked that I was just at SDCC for the parties. And while that’s not entirely true, I do love a good party and folks at SDCC host some killer shindigs. I’m eternally sad that I can’t somehow clone myself and be at all of them at once, but I did manage to make it to a good handful this year, so here’s my SDCC Party Round-Up!

Gabe Eltaeb’s Comics Kickoff Fundraiser with Jinx Clothing

Wednesday night I didn’t actually expect to be at any parties, but I did meet some friends for a late dinner over at Basic Bar & Pizza, and it turned out that Jinx Clothing was co-sponsoring a comics party there with artist Gabe Eltaeb. It was pretty cool! For atmosphere they had the big ol’ Jinx skull up on the wall, and a fun comics-themed drinks menu. And along with artists Gabe Eltaeb, Carlos D’Anda, Doug Wheatley, Dave Wilkins, Eddie Nunez, and Todd Nauck doing live sketches, they also had some great art prints for sale (I coveted the Harley Quinn one, but by the time I got there they were all sold out), and a raffle going for some of the prints, with all funds going to benefit the important Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed, and the pizza was good. All-in-all, it was a great chill little party with which to kick off the weekend! If they do something again next year, I’ll surely be there!

TNT and CraveOnline’s The Last Ship Party:

When I saw the notice for this Friday night party, I couldn’t resist, because, hello? Party on a ship! And the historic U.S.S. Midway Museum at that. How cool, yes? The party was put on to promote one of TNT’s new shows, The Last Ship, which airs Sundays at 9 (ET) and features Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, and more as the crew of a naval destroyer tasked with finding the cure for a global pandemic that’s killed eighty percent of the population.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to see everything that was going on. Apparently there was a laser tag target practice game and a Science Lab, both of which I would have loved to review but missed due to a delay in press being let in to the party. But I did get to catch a few songs by MGMT on the flight deck of the ship, which had a great stage setup and ended with some pretty awesome fireworks. They also had some finger food and free drinks, which are always welcome. I chatted with a few partygoers, who were having a great time, and also saw The Last Ship cast member Travis Van Winkle, as well as celebs Nathan Fillion, Julie Benz, Keahu Kahuaniui, Jason Mewes, Charles Michael Davis, Maitland Ward, and others coming on board to hang out in the VIP area and watch the show. Regrettably I didn’t get a chance to see what was in the Loot Crates that were being given out as party swag, since I didn’t have time to wait in the line where they were being given out at the end of the party and press were not provided with them ahead of time, but if you’re going to give swag, I’d venture to say you probably can’t go wrong with Loot Crates, so hopefully attendees went home happy.

3BlackDot Launch and After the Eisner’s Party

My next party of Friday night was Milestone Comics co-founder and fellow ComicMix writer Michael Davis‘ After the Eisner’s Party which, this year, was also the launch party for 3BlackDot. If you’re lucky enough to swing an invite to Michael Davis’ yearly After the Eisner’s party, do not miss it, because it’s a total blast. This year’s was at BarleyMash, and featured several live performers, including amazing musician and DJ Lil Jon. It also featured a burger bar and tasty hors d’oeuvres, and a cool swag bag. The music, food, atmosphere, swag, and company were all top-notch.

While there I danced and chilled with the ComicMix family and with several members of this year’s SDCC Black Panel, including J. August Richards, Orlando Jones, and Tatiana EL-Khouri, and of course panel founder and host Michael Davis, along with other super-talented folks like Phil LaMarr, Deric Hughes, Denys Cowan, Georges Jeanty, and Damion Poitier. The party went until 2 a.m., and I enjoyed every minute of it. Good times!

The Robot Rendezvous Party

At SDCC this year, not only did Tweet House help organize the excellent I Know That Voice panel (which I will be covering in a separate column), but for Saturday they also put together a “Pop Culture and the Robot Reality” panel (which, alas, I missed, but it sounded super fun!), followed by the “Robot Rendezvous,” a chill gathering at Stone Brewing Tap Room from 5 to 7 PM, both sponsored by GM and Sphero.

The Rendezvous included appetizers and two drinks on the house, and featured several of the panelists with their robotics projects, including Jennifer Barry with a robot that poured you a beer on request, and Marty Linn with the Robo-Glove, which is designed to help people with weak grips (like those with MS or the elderly) be able to exert more pressure to lift and carry things. It was pretty darned cool (and super nerdy in the best way) to get to walk around and see and hear about these great robotics while having a drink and a snack. The party also featured special guest Brent Spiner, who graciously did photographs during the party and was a pure delight to talk with. I and the several friends I brought along had a fantastic time, and can’t wait to see what Tweet House decides to do next year.

And that was it for me and the party scene, y’all! Although I did get the invite to SlamCon (the casual, impromptu end-of-the-con party that can include everyone from regular attendees to celebs) via running into Deric Hughes on the street on the day of. I totally wanted to go, but was way too sleep-deprived to manage it. However, reports from friends said it was a great time, and Jared Padalecki and Misha Collins from Supernatural, among others, were spotted enjoying the vibe. I’m sad I missed it – but maybe next year! …If I get more sleep first.

Stay tuned for more of the news round-up from SDCC, and until next time, Servo Lectio!