Our dirt bikes bring all the boys to the yard. Damn right, they're better than yours.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

OK, now I can check off one more thing I needed to do before I die: meet Pee-Wee Herman. He was a ComiCon this year with Thomas “The Punisher” Jane and David Arquette (they both star in Arquette’s directorial debut horror flick The Tripper). My co-worker Jovanka knows Jane and a few us had drinks with Arquette in Montreal at the FanTasia film fest last month (he bought!), so that was my in (the chap on the far right is our friend and Warner Bros rep Chris Lewchuk, who's also an acknowledged Pee-Wee stalker). It should also be noted that later that weekend we watched Jane stand in the street and below at the top of his lungs, “Does anybody have any ecstasy?!?” Ker-rist...

There are all kinda celebs at ComiCon, and while it’s fun to spot ‘em, the only guy I just had to meet was Paul Reubens. He was friendly, polite and sheepishly said, “Hi, I’m Paul” when I shook his hand. More importantly, I managed – somehow – not to scream “I KNOW YOU ARE BUT WHAT AM I?” in his face, or tell him how much pure madcap, personality-warping joy I derived from watching Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, or kidnap him, bring him back to our hotel room and make him put on a tight gray suit and red bow-tie and jump on the furniture.

I was also quite happy to meet Fred Dekker (pictured left), director of one of my fave flicks, The Monster Squad, and some of the cast from that film. The star of the movie, Andre Gower, told me about staying at the Skywalker Ranch, which was a surreal tale. Apparently there are a whole bunch of cottages that are fully stocked with food and necessities and a firehall on site that also has a movie library where you can sign out DVDs. No droid servants, though.

And for your amusement, I snapped a pic of the unfunny little dinklord who does Ed the Sock. Man, that guy sucks.

Moving right along. The weather was beautiful in San Diego and our hotel, The Omni, was right across the street from the convention, which was fantastically convenient, and I’m really glad I wasn’t footing the bill for it, as the price for a room triples during the Con. Verne Troyer was staying on our floor and is even smaller in-person than on TV, if that’s possible. I couldn’t help but think that in terms of a body mass to room space ratio, he was getting ripped off more than anyone.

We were at the Omni because we got banned from the hotel we were at last year when our party got out of hand (just too big, really, as it spilled into the loby) and there were complaints. A shitload of complaints, actually. On the flipside, everyone this year was asking where our party was gonna be, so I guess it went over OK. And, really, who doesn’t feel kinda badass being all, like, “Yeah, we totally got kicked out of that hotel for partying too hard. That’s just how we roll – I drank a bathub full of tequila and threw the minibar through the roof of a cop car. WHOOOOOOO!”

Blatant untruths, aside, the Omni has a walkway to the city’s baseball stadium, where the Padres play. On Friday night we went there for a massive party put on by Warner Brothers to celebrate the DVD release of 300. They had tens of thousands of people in the bleachers watching the film, but we got to go to the private red carpet party. It was impressively opulent, decorated with dried wheat, red fabric, period furniture in tents, costumes from the film, guys dressed as Spartans and dancing slave girls. The bars were open, serving high-end booze, and giant buffet tables offered more food than you could even sample without getting stuffed. Admittedly, I did try, though.

Another party we attended provided the funniest celeb moment of the weekend: watching Dee Snider get introduced to George Romero and someone having to explain to ol’ George that “Dee is a really well-known musician in heavy metal music.” Ha!

The weirdest celeb moment happened Saturday night when Jovanka went back to our hotel room early. When I arrived back there, a bunch of people were hanging out that I didn’t know, and a few of them were just leaving. We met briefly before they headed out, and the next day I found out one of them was Hayden Christensen. I guess I missed my chance to ask him if George Lucas was literally retarded or simply artistically retarded for making the last three Star Wars movies. Oh well…

Parties and famous faces are all part of the fun of ComiCon but the really good times are had gawking at all the outrageous, often inventive and sometimes rather tragic costumes (the closest I got to dressing up was, as you can see, wearing a rib bib backwards like a cape), buying nerdy crap – such as my talking, swearing big Lebowski bobble-head and a pricey but beautiful vintage French Eyes Without a Face movie poster – and, more importantly, hanging out with other nerds. I got to see Steve Notley again, grinning and wearing his Bob the Angry Flower headpiece in a valiant effort to sell his books. We partied every night with comic book artists Nat Jones and Jay Fotos (they're in the pic with the Spartan: nat with dreads, Jay with the cap, and the other dude is our Rue Morgue ad guy, Jody), and just shot the shit about stuff we liked. And I met this other really cool comic artist, Jeff, who knew all about lasers and how all the crap humans have shot into space is actually breaking into pieces and picking up speed as it orbits, steadily creating a bullet field around the earth that will destroy anything that enters or exits the atmosphere, effectively ending space travel for
good. I’m sure the lasers had something to do with destroying these debris bullets – it’s a little hazy, as I was kinda drunk. We did agree, though, that humanity totally has it coming. I think the best part of traveling is meeting interesting people with captivating and/or funny stories.

Alright, I’ll be honest, that ranks just under meeting Pee-Wee.