Friday, August 31, 2007

Dragon*Con 2007 Friday: IGNORE ME!!!

The Galactic Inquisitor appeared before the representatives of The Venture Brothers, screaming "Ignore me!" Not in the grating, metallic tones of Stephen Colbert, perhaps, but adequately enough for Doc Hammer to provide a prize. Sadly, there is no Venture Brothers merchandise except a calendar, so they loaded up on stuff from just about anywhere - a Jon Bon Jovi action figure, a cheap Hello Kitty notebook that Hammer and Dana Snyder signed in.

I had the chance to ask both Hammer and Snyder a question, and it will be on the next Cartoon Geeks podcast. Even weirder, there was one tall guy with a blond wig who shocked even them by coming out with a perfect vocal impression of Brock Samson.

This wasn't the only surprise for me. At my "State of Animation 2007" panel I had a co-panelist of whom I had never heard. He was Kevin McKeever, and it turns out that he was a PR guy for Harmony Gold. He tolerated some questions from the audience, but wound up into the reason he was there for the con - to publicize HIS project, Robotech: Shadow Chronicles.

In actuality, he was promoting a way that this will be shown - on a few hundred movie screens across the US. It's a project called "Anime Bento," and it's an attempt to get anime in theatrical showings through one-time-only mass digital distribution. This sounds crazy, but apparently a HD showing of the Metropolitan Opera on this basis sold out in many locations, and it's assumed more people will watch anime than opera. These are the dates and times for the one-time-only showings:

 “Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles” – Wednesday, Sept. 19th
 “Full Metal Alchemist – The Movie – Conqueror of Shambala” – Thursday, Sept. 20th
 “Lupin the III: The Castle of Cagliostro” – Wednesday, Sept. 26th
 “Karas – The Prophecy” – Thursday, Sept. 27th

The show time will be 7:30 PM, no matter what your time zone. They'll be playing at participating Regal and AMC theaters, mostly the ones that have the digital projection systems installed.

I was polite and let Mr. McKeever have his time in the sun. I did not say some of these things out loud. These films are not new. Showing them one-time-only means that you can't tell your friends about them and get them to enjoy it too. At this point it's only planned as an annual event. These films are being shown mid-week, a bad time, but they're pre-empting the regular theatrical films on these days - even if all those theaters are showing something lame, the movie companies want their lame films seen.

Worst of all, McKeever was asking the audience to ask their theater managers to run this series - but he didn't have any handouts or information to give them, hoping they'd remember the web site address he mentioned! In all honesty, for a guy working in anime, he seemed to have no understanding of fandom and how they do things - or don't do things, like they don't write down web addresses because they never have pens and paper handy.

However, I will do my part. Seeing anime in theatres at all is a good thing, so here is the web address for the press release - which Mr. McKeever also didn't have on hand;

Anime Bento

Nothing like coming to a con without the proper tools. Which I didn't. I have a ton of stuff, and I've had all kinds of recordings. But I didn't pack the memory card reader to read from my camcorder. I do have a regular digital camera, but it's fairly insensitive to light. My camcorder takes better low-light pictures, but I can't post those until I get back to Orlando.

I did have the great pleasure of helping out the great Luke Ski a little at his table. He's selling his latest CD of comedy music, "Baconspiracy," and a compilation CD of his "cartoon themed" songs and sketches.

This year, Luke was not running the "filk/comedy music" track; The World's Fastest Filker, Tom Smith, was in charge. And the lovely lady above - Carla Ulbrich - is the Filk Guest of Honor. She's a sweet, charming lady - half a head shorter than I am, which is saying a lot - and she charmed the relatively large audience at the Friday afternoon session. Comedy musicians Rob Balder and Carrie Dahlby also sang - but much of the show I missed because of the panel I was running.

One of the funniest moments of the evening was after the shows. The big screen put up Dragon*Con TV, the constantly running mix of gags, jokes and music videos. This was a black-and-white version of Jonathan Coulton's song "Re: Your Brains."

Rather than spoiling the joke, here is another video done to Mr. Coulton's song:

Re: Your Brains video

Everyone on the sidelines cleaning up their unsold merchandise - Luke Ski and Dement1A, the green-haired lady who's also a DJ on Dementia Radio, Tom Smith, Ken "Madman" Sherlock, assorted fans - joined in on the song. Even me.

All we want to do is eat your brains,
We're not unreasonable,
No one wants to eat your eyes.
All we want to do is eat your brains,
We're at an impasse here,
Maybe we can compromise.
If you open up the door,
We'll all come inside
And eat your brains!

And with that combination of Dawn of the Dead and The Office, I leave you until tomorrow night!