Tagged: John Barrowman

Mike Gold: My Timey-Wimey Toddlin’ Town

Well, last Sunday my pal John Ostrander did a lovely and quite informative column around his inability to come up with a topic. And tomorrow, my pal Denny O’Neil has an equally interesting column addressing the same basic issue. So, damn, I’d look pretty lame if I pulled the same stunt today, wouldn’t I?

Yeah, I know. I should be used to that.

So, instead of impressing you with my astonishing ability to wax on for 591 words about how there’s an echo chamber between my ears – it’s August; there’s supposed to be an echo chamber between my ears… or, at least, the Attica! chant – I’m going to write up a couple of paragraphs about a comic book show I’ll be doing in 15 days. Stream of consciousness, to paraphrase Kris Kristofferson, means you have nothing left to lose.

Danny Fingeroth, who’s name will magically reappear in Denny’s column tomorrow, finally found the one way to get me out to Chicago’s Wizard World show August 24 – 27. No, it’s not the availability of that wondrous delight, the Italian beef sammich. I get back to Chicago three or four times a year, so that’s not quite a deal maker.

No, Danny suggested we do a panel about America’s first mammoth Doctor Who convention, held as part of the Chicago Comicon (since sold to Wizard World) way back in 1982. Larry Charet, who, along with Bob Weinberg and me, were sponsors of the Comicon back then and Doctor Who had pretty much just taken a serious hold among American geekdom. We massively underestimated the number of folks who would be interested in attending… by… well… a lot. We made the Chicago Fire Department nervous, which, historically, is a dick move. We made the American Nazi Party nervous as well, but you’ll have to attend our panel in order to find out why.

I believe this was one of the first, if not the first, Doctor Who show that attracted the attention of a 15-year old named John Barrowman, who had been living in nearby Joliet Illinois at the time. John also will be a guest at Wizard World, so hopefully, I’ll be able to find out. Not that we’re taking credit for inspiring the man who became Captain Jack Harkness on Doctor Who and on Torchwood… but, with him no longer part of Arrow (at least for the time being), maybe the good folks at BBC-Wales can get him back to the timey-wimey stuff.

Of course, going home for Wizard World puts me back in the neighborhood of a hell of a lot of friends, as well as a gaggle of good folks that I haven’t pissed off for a while. Writers, artists, retailers, media folks, actors, broadcasters – it’s a fun place to be. And I’ve always had a great time at Wizard World Chicago, even though it’s actually in Rosemont Illinois, a town sandwiched in between the City of Chicago and the Airport of O’Hare. If you go there, check out Rosemont’s water tower and, if there are children around, try not to laugh out loud.

A month later, I’ll be at the Baltimore Comic-Con, one of my favorites. A damn good show run by damn good people.

That’s the reason we started these big comic book shows. Friendship, seeing people from all over the planet and making rude and obnoxious comments about the high price of stabbed comic books.

At least, we think those are comic books in there. Outside of the cover… who knows?

Mindy Newell: “Flash” Dance

I grew up on Broadway musicals. Once upon a time when going to see a show on Broadway didn’t cost you your mortgage plus the life of your first-born, my mom and dad were avid theatergoers. They saw the original production of South Pacific with Mary Martin and Ezio Pinza, the original production of Camelot with Richard Burton and Julie Andrews and Robert Goulet, and the original production of The King and I with Gertrude Lawrence and a then little-known Yul Brynner.

When they were still dating they went into town to see Oklahoma! Over the years they saw Carousel, and Brigadoon, and Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady, and Zero Mostel in Fiddler on the Roof, and Carol Channing in Hello, Dolly!, and the original West Side Story with Carol Lawrence and Larry Kert. My father fell asleep at Cats and my mother said she had a hard time staying awake herself.

Our stereo console was filled with “original Broadway cast” albums from all those shows and more – well, not Cats. When I was kid I would put on an album of, say, South Pacific and pretend I was Mary Martin washing that man out of my hair – oh, and I still do that in the shower some times:

“When a man don’t understand you, When you fly on separate beams,

 “Waste no time, Make a change,

 “Ride that man right off your range. Rub him out of your roll call,

 “And drum him out of your dreams.”

Yes, I am singing as I type.

My brother and I would put on West Side Story and dance around the living room, jumping on and off the chairs and the tables and sofas and getting into a lot of trouble. Later on, my mom often took Glenn and I into town to see revivals of these shows and others. In 1966 my father was laid up with a really bad ankle sprain, so I was privileged to go with my mom to see the one and only Ethel Merman in the revival of Annie Get Your Gun at Lincoln Center.

So it’s safe to say that I grew up on Broadway musicals. And love them. I have more Broadway soundtracks on my iTunes playlist than anything else – perhaps not cool, but fuck you and your Beyonce and Adele. One of my proudest and happiest moments and one that I will remember on my deathbed is when I played Peter Pan in Peter Pan at Camp Monroe. I have also played Ado Annie in Oklahoma and every single female role in Fiddler on the Roof except for Golde (Tevye’s wife, for those not in the know). I was Miss Mazeppa, bumping with my trumpet and in full Roman centurion regalia, in Gypsy.

So it’s safe to say that I grew up on Broadway musicals. And that it has continued into adulthood and to the present day. I became mesmerized by Hugh Jackman long before he was Wolverine when John and I went to see him as Curly in a revival of Oklahoma. And I became familiar with Melissa Benoist and Grant Gustin and Darren Criss long before any of them put on a superhero costume through my allegiance to Glee. And I knew Jesse L. Martin as Tom Collins from Rent, not to mention Victor Garber from Godspell, Sweeney Todd, and the 1990 revival of Damn Yankees.

And of course I knew John Barrowman from his days as Captain Jack on Doctor Who. But I never watched Smash, so I never caught on that Jeremy Jordan could sing and dance until last week…

…which was, of course, the crossover musical episode of The Flash called “Duet.”

It was wonderful.

It started in the epilogue of Supergirl on Monday night, in which Darren Criss pops up as the Music Meister, who does “something” to Kara which places her in a seemingly coma and then pops off to find the “fastest man alive.” Meanwhile, Kara wakes to find herself in a nightclub in what looks like the 1940s, dressed in a gorgeous gold beaded gown with a man telling her that she is the last-minute opening act. She steps through the curtains, and finds herself standing in front of a microphone and an audience. She opens her mouth and…to be continued.

And on The Flash the next night…

A young Barry Allen is watching Singin’ in the Rain with his mother, who is, uh, singing the praises of the musical. Then, in present time, Barry is watching Singin’ in the Rain and other classic musicals to soothe his tormented soul over his breakup with Iris. “Everything is better in song,” he says to Cisco, with whom he has moved in as a temporary(?) roommate.

Called to S.T.A.R. Labs because of a breach in the multiverse, they find Mon-El carrying a still-comatose Kara and J’onn Jonzz, who have come to Barry’s Earth because of the Music Meister’s claim to be looking for the Flash. The villain shows up, puts Barry into the same coma-like state as Kara, and suddenly Barry finds himself in the same nightclub as his Kryptonian friend… and she is up on stage, singing “Moon River.” (One of my favorites – from the not-musical Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in which Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly sings the lovely ballad, composed by Henry Mancini with lyrics by Johnny Mercer, while sitting on her fire escape and accompanying herself with a guitar.)

After Kara finishes her performance, the Music Meister pops in and tells them what’s going on – they are actually living this scenario psychically, or “in their own minds,” while their bodies lay undisturbed and inanimate in S.T.A.R. labs. Why the musical setting? Because both are deeply connected to the genre – Barry through his mom, and Kara through her love of The Wizard of Oz. They both must follow the plot of this mind-blowing musical to its end to recover and get back to the real world. Except: “If you die in here, you die out there.”

The episode is full of remarkable performances. Perhaps, at least for me, the best was the beautiful rendition of “More I Cannot Wish You” from Guys and Dolls sung by Jesse, Victor, and John. Grant’s interpretation of “Running Home to You” is heartbreaking and glorious. “Super Friend” is a treat to watch, with Grant and Melissa singing and hoofing and having a joyous time. Jeremy, Darren, John, and Carlos (Valdes) swing to “Put a Little Love in Your Heart.” And Melissa’s “Moon River” is, just, well, I just have to sing along…

 “You dream maker, you heartbreaker,

 “Wherever you’re going, I’m going your way.”

 “Two drifters, off to see the world.

 “There’s such a lot of world to see. We’re after the same rainbow’s end,”

 “Waiting ‘round the bend, my huckleberry friend,

 “Moon River, And me.”

Brava!!!!

Also… Encore!!!!

 

Tweeks SuperFlash Duet

Musicals are life. And while we weren’t exactly caught up on both Supergirl and The Flash (though we’re told we really need to do that), we couldn’t miss the SuperFlash crossover event. Especially not with Broadway talents like Darren Criss, Jeremy Jordan, John Barrowman, Jesse L. Martin, Victor Garber and Glee alums Melissa Benoist & Grant Gustin!

Thing is, Maddy knew a little something about the Music Meister’s first appearance (played by Neil Patrick Harris, who also beat Darren Criss to the punch at playing Hedwig) on Batman: The Brave and the Bold, so we couldn’t help but compare the two musical episodes.

Could this CW musical event stacked with all our favorites be better than an animated episode featuring Black Canary singing about her love for Batman? Watch the video & find out.

Tweeks: Long Beach Comic Con 2015

Last weekend, we attended the Long Beach Comic Con. Yeah, it was pretty amazing.  We met John Barrowman and Baby from The Hillywood Show Supernatural parody.  Yeah we fangirled! Here’s a recap of the con with interviews from some great comic creators like Barbara Dillon from Fanboy Comics (Penguins  Vs. Possums), Sara Banning (Find Kelley Green), and D.J. Kirkbride (Amelia Cole and the Unknown World).  We also talk to the owner of The Beee Hive about her super cool Marvel themed jewelry and show you  Cosplay Corner (lots of Deadpools, as always).

Marc Alan Fishman: Slaying the Dragon Con

John BarrowmanAs you read these words, my Unshaven brethren and I will be in “Cincinnati” for CincyComiCon – Tony Moore’s comic book convention that takes place in the Northern Kentucky Convention Center (which is, funny enough, not in Cincinnati proper). A week ago we were in Atlanta for the famed Dragon Con. The show itself had been promoted to us as “A license to make money,”Nerd Mardi Gras,” and “The biggest and best fan-run comic convention in the nation.” We were told the absolute truth.

Dragon Con exists not in a behemoth convention center but a gaggle of interconnected hotels and venues in downtown Atlanta. Each building either hosts a litany of programming or contains an artist alley, an art show, a celebrity row, or dealer’s room. Anyone within a square mile of any of these venues is likely to get the feeling that the entire city itself has been usurped wholly by the geek world at large. This fact was compounded to me personally when upon entering the hotel that housed the Artist Alley the night before the show actually started, we had to cut through what could only be described as a cosplay raver that choked the Hyatt Regency’s lobby to the rafters with costumed partiers, and their menagerie of fans and onlookers. Nerd Mardi Gras indeed.

From Unshaven Comics’ perspective, the show felt far more like an intimate Anime show than the MegaCons that are C2E2, New York Comic Con, or any of the Wizard Cons. Because the alley itself was housed in a single ballroom (split, in-fact, with a fantasy fine-art show), everything felt small. This in and of itself turned out to be a boon for our business.

The reason, as best as I could ascertain, was due entirely to the fans themselves. Unlike the cold and lifeless MegaCons whose corporate masters anchor their shows on exhibitors and celebrity guests, Dragon Con is clearly a fan-driven affair first and foremost. The staples of the con circuit – the aforementioned celebs and exhibitors, the artists, small publishers, and vendors – are secondary to the programming and atmosphere. Furthermore, the Alley itself was juried, built to ensure that amidst some well-recognized names there was an emphasis on showcasing that which was new and off-the-beaten-path.

Because each bit of Dragon con existed in its own ecosystem, there was no fighting for a fan’s attention. Unshaven Comics is used to competing with marked-down maquettes, bins of bootlegs, the appeal of autographs, and the untz-untz throb of expensive exhibitor booths. In lieu of that, our particular Alley was served up as an experience unto itself. Within our handful of aisles were the skilled craftspeopleartists alone selling their crafts, prints, canvases, and comic books. And with that atmosphere cultivated without the aforementioned competition, the fans came without any larger agenda beyond appreciating the specificity of the Alley. That appreciation bore the sweetest fruit an indie table could dine on… great sales.

To get analytical about it, by the end of four solid days of shilling we limped out of Atlanta 600 books lighter. For those playing along at home, that’s better than our first year showing at NYCC. Our closing rate has never been this high, peaking at 60% on Saturday and Sunday. We also had the largest rate of return purchasers; fantastic fans willing to pick up the first issue in our Samurnauts series early in the show, and make their way back to us to scoop up any other issues on our rack. In addition, both Matt (Wright, Unshaven artist extraordinaire) and myself saw a plethora of commission requests. This required us to bring home homework every night, in order to satisfy the masses. Forget Sid Caesar, kiddos. This was the Show of Shows.

As we took to the 12-hour car trip home, it became evident to us that Dragon Con was not a convention. Truly, it was a celebration. Beyond the curtained walls of our show-space, we’d later find out there were over 30 tracks of programming to peruse. There was a literal parade for Cosplayers. There were 4 unending nights of after-parties. We were left baffled in the wake of it all. That feeling of a larger company perched on high-tented fingers over a pile of reports and stacks of cash was nowhere to be found. Instead, there were passionate promoters trying to put together a cacophony of fan-driven fun. They did it in style. They did it in epic fashion. And they did it in a manner that served up that mass of fandom to our little table, with an open wallet, and an ear-to-ear smile.

Smaug be damned… Dragon Con decimated my idea of what a comic con could be.

Tweeks: SDCC Report Part 1

It’s hard to believe Comic Con was a week ago because we’re still tired from all that running around, squee-ing, shopping, interviewing, and nerding it up.  Here’s a our video report full of our favorites from Hall H (Mocking Jay, Supernatural, Doctor Who), Maddy asking John Barrowman to sing as Captain Jack, the Welcome To Night Vale Tumblr Meetup, and other assorted vloggy goodness. But never fear, there was so much going on last week that this is only Part 1.  We will be back later with our haul, interviews, and observations.

The Point Radio: Russell Davies Breaking New TV Ground Again

After breaking new television ground with projects like TORCHWOOD, QUEER AS FOLK and of course DOCTOR WHO. Russell T. Davies is back with a pair of new shows for Logo TV. It’s a unique concept he details in our exclusive talk, plus is there a future for TORCHWOOD and what got him to DOCTOR WHO in the first place? Plus TBS revives the domestic sitcom with YOUR FAMILY OR MINE boasting an amazing cast of TV veterans. Kat Foster and JoeBeth Williams talk about how the show is a new twist on the familiar concept.

We are back in just a few days with an exclusive look at the new season of SYFY’s werewolf drama, BITTEN (this time we mean it!). Be sure to follow us on Twitter @ThePointRadio.

Martha Thomases: Terry Crews, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.

Thomases Art 131011The fall television season isn’t the big deal it was when I was a kid, but it is still the time when a lot of new shows debut, a lot of old shows get a refurbishing, and a lot of Oscar-bait movies get advertised.

The rules have changed. The market is much more fragmented than it used to be, and the broadcast networks compete with the cable networks compete with programs on the Internet.

Still, September means it’s a new season. There is an equinox. Even astronomy knows it’s important.

There’s fun new stuff this season. I’m liking Sleepy Hollow a lot, and The Blacklist is better than I expected (and much better, so far, than Hostages, which I wanted to like so much more). I like The Crazy Ones because Hamish. American Horror Story: Coven began this week, promising a whole mess of strong women.

Naturally, the two shows that most interested me from the pre-hype are broadcast at the same time. Like a good geek, I was psyched about Marvel: Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D  not only because it has Marvel in the title, but because it has lots of Whedons behind the scene. A superhero universe and snark? Come to Mama.

And, at the same time on Tuesday evenings, there is also Brooklyn Nine Nine, a sit-com with Andy Samberg (about whom I had no strong opinions) and Andre Braugher , whom I have loved passionately since I first saw him on Homicide: Life on the Street and have watched ardently in some pretty mediocre shows since then.

I didn’t expect to like Brooklyn Nine Nine. I thought I would just DVR it out of loyalty, and because maybe they’d someday let Pembleton back in the box.

But here’s the thing. I like it. I like it a lot. I think it’s not only well-written and well-acted, but it also passes the Bechdel Test. A workplace comedy that takes place in a police precinct in Brooklyn (go figure), the cast features a diverse crew that not only reflect the city (at least more than most television shows) but also talk like people, not like tokens. The October 1 episode featured a subplot in which the three women (two cops and a civilian) teach a class to local high school kids. None of it was about dating or sex or even shoes. The writers have become comfortable enough let Braugher’s character stop explaining how he’s an out gay in every speech.

Also, Terry Crews assembled most of a dollhouse. It was awesome.

The gender politics of S.H.I.E.L.D. are more complex, but I still think they come out okay. I seem to like it more than my sister suffragette, Mindy Newell. It’s taking me some time to get into the dynamic. which feels somewhere between The A-Team and Fringe. Also, the handsome hardcore alpha male agent keeps reminding me of John Barrowman, except he’s not a time-traveller nor a Big Bad on Arrow.

I got a lot of the complaints. There are a lot of generically good-looking Hollywood types on the show, and it can be confusing to tell them apart. So far, Clark Gregg is the only character with a really distinctive style of speech (or maybe the only one with the acting chops to sound distinctive). There’s a lot of expensive action scenes, but not a lot of character development.

There were similar criticisms for Dollhouse when it started, and I had a good time with that. I realized that the key to the show, at least for me, is to understand that Skye is the protagonist. She’s the fish out of water. She’s the one who doesn’t know what’s going on, just like the audience. Her discoveries are our discoveries.

While Hollywood continues to think that women won’t go to see movies with women heroes, Joss Whedon is going to prove them wrong. I hope he passes the Bechdel Test on his way there.

SATURDAY: Marc Alan Fishman

SUNDAY: John Ostrander