That was the catch phrase that could have been used all week at San Diego's Comic Con, or what I prefer to call, Woodstock for Geeks. A love-in of a different sort. People dressed in costumes they bought, rented, created, stole, dug up, refurbished and all sorts of cobbled together sans permission.
And you know, that's what made this Comic Con rock! This is a festival for geeks and fans and people who share like interests, and come in all shapes and sizes and colors and tastes, merging under one gigantic ginormous tent top to out-geek one another. And the thing about Comic Con geeks? They give it UP! I must have heard nine million - "Yo, great Boba Fett, dude!" And those were just from Jamie Kennedy, who insisted on getting his photo taken with every single costumed character who passed by. He is going to have one HELL of a Facebook Con album. My phone died. So, I have four pictures. Sad, really. All out of focus. One of my fabulous hotel room. Pathetic.
I arrived in San Diego and the weather was gorgeous. Sweater-weather that would soon burst forth into a I-gotta-move-here kinda day. I had risen early to drive down. I didn't want to commit too much time to the Con this year. This would be my fifth one - and I didn't have the greatest experiences at them before. In fact the last one, where I was signing at the Cartoon Network Booth for Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends, I forayed out into the crowd in search of a snack and a girl dropped in front of me having a seizure. It was a full ten minutes before paramedics reached her and I was traumatized by the time Sunday rolled around. Crowds were out of control and fans were upset that by 3pm each day, giveaways had been given away. Someone stole my wallet, my favorite pen AND my lip gloss. So I wanted to get in, do my panels and go home the next day.
I could not have been more pleasantly surprised! I am a geek. And this was geek heaven!
I arrived at the Omni - right on the water, across from the Convention Center. I keyed in the elevator with my DC Comics Comic Con key - YAY!!!! and rode the elevator up to the penthouse floor. An elevator completely decked out in True Blood posters and Eclipse walls!
"Heaven, I'm in heaven - and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak..."
My room overlooked the Convention and the train and the bay. I only wish I had my Stanley to share the whole experience with - but alas- we haven't met yet. Damn reality!
I did hair and makeup and slid out of my driving clothes and into Geek Chic. White top, mini-skirt, fishnets and motorcycle boots. Serious fan - but still - professional. (I know. Professional on WHAT planet, Miss Milo? Humor me.) I walked over and got my badge. As I reached for it from a woman named Nell who had the same split between her teeth that I had before I had it fixed and now wish I hadn't, looked at me and asked if I'd like a tote bag. I said sure. My friend Lauren Tom and I grabbed our bags and looked at each other and busted out laughing. They were life-sized! We could have lived in them they were so big. It just made me more excited to get In The Hall!!!!
My first panel was called Cartoon Voices and I was held at the door as someone dressed as a toaster with bread popping out (and whose face was somewhere INSIDE his costume) was led to a seat. I took the dais and proceeded to answer questions given by the moderator and then read a script cold. It was the truncated story of Cinderella. I got to play Cinderella. Right before my line I decided she should be a Puerto Rican with a bad attitude - and it brought the house down. Next to me, Jason Marsden did Stepsister #1 as a high pitched girl that woke me in the middle of the night laughing, it was that good! Tom Kane played the narrator and every time he said a line it was in a different voice. Chuck McCann played the Fairy GodMother and he was pure genius. April Winchell played the Evil Stepmother - and it was suddenly apparent why she was also Cruella DeVille and all other matters of womanly evil. Besides her imeccable timing, she has the best chops for that operatic diva voice EVER.
2900 people packed the room. Bill Farmer, the voice of Goofy, joined us from the audience and said hello. Fans completely went crazy as he and Jason did a father and son Goofy and Max. It was over too fast and I left the dais early to head to the Fanboy & Chum Chum panel. Before I left the hall I connected with lots of my Facebook friends! That was so cool to do!
We also did a reading at the Fanboy panel - and displayed pencil tests to read to. That was very cool. Eric narrated for us (the creator). I play a ton of characters on that show - and sat on that dais with him AND Jamie Kennedy and David Hornsby - who make me laaauuugghh. My favorite part of that was the Q&A at the end. Six kids in a row came up with the exact same question. Exact. Same. Question. And our fabulous show creator was able to interpret what they "really" meant and answered them to the delight of the audience - and the kids - who were like, "That dude is a genius! He gets me!"
I was surprised to be part of Nick's press tour and was secretly sliiiightly bummed that I couldn't cross back over the street and have a drink at the bar with the guy I met who looked muuuuuch better with his Batman mask off. I was whisked down to the main hall to Nick's booth. I could smell a Dexter moment (NOT a Nickelodeon show - oopsie!) and sure enough, a DJ wanting a station identification ("This is Lupe from Fanboy and you're listening to blabbity-blabbity-boo on your dial...") for a San Diego local Radio Station looked at me and asked, "So I understand that you are the woman who does Dexter?" So listen up San Diego - you'll hear Maya, Tito, Dexter, Cheese, Coco, Madame Foster, Mrs. Wakeman, Teacher from Cow & Chicken, Jacobo all calling out for his show! hahahahahaha Did them all. Cause I'm me.
Then we signed autographs and sat up on a large dais as fans lined up AND filed past us. We meant little or nothing to them. THEY were on display. This was their Con. We were visitors from planet TV show. They were there to strut and meet comic book artists and animators. Sergio Aragones, the MAD Magazine illustrator was part of a quick draw panel and was brilliant. I laughed so hard. We must have signed 500 autographs for Fanboy & Chum Chum - a great new show from Nick by Eric Robles And Steve Thompkins. It was kind of fun to see that the Fairly Odd Parents and Penguins cast had signed the table we were all seated at. I drew a Kilroy - and signed my name.
I was only there Saturday and yet I managed to have lunch and connect with old friends; producers, animators, casting people, and get all caught up. "Yes, Bambi's going to college! No, I haven't moved to NY yet, but I'm doing Actorfest in October. Yes, I'd love to come and be on your show and make millions and millions and millions of pennies!" Lots of hugs and promises and reconnects. This recession/depression has been hard on all of us. To a (wo)man we all pledged that we just have to hang in there and rely on each other to see us through. Creative people are simply the greatest. Art is forever!
I grabbed a nibble of bar mix at the hotel bar and I will tell you that a glass of Pinot Noir makes the Con a little more palatable. I scooted back over to Hall H and over to the Ugly Dolls booth and tried to meet the creators. I own all of the dolls - and wanted to give them my take on voices. You know, in case there was a gig coming up?!?!? :) The line was about 200 people long and since my name and face wouldn't buy me a cup of coffee and doing voices in line is something that would, even at The Con, get you thrown out - I left.
I had a drink with a couple I met after my first panel, whose boys are big fans of my work. Sigh. Under ten and under four feet - those are the men that love me...
I said goodbye and we promised to keep in touch and I rode the elevator back up to my room. I kissed my hand and touched it to all the evil vampires on display there and dragged myself to my room and flopped on my bed. Then the fireworks began and I snuggled down with room service - a cheeseburger and fries and all my free goodies. I watched "Hairspray" cause I know all the words...until it was time to sleep.
Sunday came too soon. I got up - ready for the 2 1/2 hour drive back home and thought about what fun I had in less than 24 hours. I smiled inside. I was tired and knew I had to get back to the grind of doing voices.
I know. World's greatest gig! I highly recommend it.
You know you love me - Candi
PS - Yes, I got stuff signed. I am one of them.