Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ZONACON Recap - Anime & Horror In Florida


ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Terrance “Grave Robber” Zdunich (REPO).

I’ve just returned home from appearing at ZonaCon (an anime/horror convention) in Orlando, FL, with such guests as Terrance Zdunich (REPO THE GENETIC OPERA), Sybil Danning (HOWLING 2, HALLOWEEN), Eric Vale (DRAGONBALL Z, FULL METAL ALCHEMIST), Robert Axelrod (POWER RANGERS, AKIRA, DIGIMON), Kelly Jo Minter (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5, PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS), Joel Wyncoop (DARK DIMENSION), and many more.

I arrived in Florida early on Friday before the convention. I knew, immediately, that I was in the “Sunshine State” because across the street from my hotel I found… alligators!

ABOVE: Several baby gators check out the Florida tourists.

I had time to hit the hotel fitness room and grab a bite to eat before the show started. On my way to the fitness center I noticed that costumed fans had already started to arrive and vendors were busily at work on their booths.

ABOVE: Some anime fans sport their Friday afternoon costumes.

I was pleased to find that I was seated next to and around the lovely Sybil Danning (who had her mother visiting with her from Germany), Kynt and Vyxsin (THE AMAZING RACE), Kelly Jo Minter (ELM STREET), Mike Holman (JACK ASS), and Johnny Fairplay (SURVIVOR). It was an interesting mix of people and personalities to be seated with and it kept the weekend interesting.

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Sybil Danning (HOWLING 2, HALLOWEEN).

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear with Kynt and Vyxsin (THE AMAZING RACE).

After a couple of hours at my table it was time for a panel on acting, stuntwork, and filmmaking. On my way, I ran into Robert Axelrod (POWER RANGERS), a super pleasant and kind man. I look forward to our next appearance together in Texas during June of 2010. With panels over, I returned to my table for a few hours before the VIP dinner, which was filled with a wonderful assortment of pastas and sauces, among other treats. Along with the good food came the great company of Sybil Danning, Terrance Zdunich, Kelly Jo Minter, Robert Axelrod, Joel Wyncoop, and upcoming actress Melanie Robel (POST MORTEM AMERICA 2021).

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Robert “Lord Zedd” Axelrod (POWER RANGERS).

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Melanie Robel (POST MORTEM AMERICA).

After dinner there was a rave. Yes, glow sticks and loud techno music took over the night as people danced their feet off. A convention worker, Asia, made it her goal to make sure that everyone danced at least once… even enticing Terrance Zdunich and Robert Axelrod to shake their groove-thang for a couple of brief moments.

ABOVE: People enjoy themselves at the Friday night rave.

ABOVE: Just before the rave began to get completely out of control!

Saturday was a full day of seminars, film screenings, and special events. After participating in a seminar on horror films with Kelly Jo Minter (LOST BOYS) and Anjanette Clewis (WITCHCRAFT 13, SURBURBAN NIGHTMARE) I was surprised by two people who happened to be in the area and just stopped in to say hello… Mike “Hari Krishna Zombie” Christopher (DAWN OF THE DEAD) and Marc Macaulay (BURN NOTICE, MY BLOOD VALENTINE, 2 FAST 2 FURIOUS). What a pleasant surprise it was catching up with these two guys!

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Marc Macaulay (BURN NOTICE).

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear and Mike Christopher (DAWN OF THE DEAD).

ABOVE: Kelly Jo Minter (NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET 5), Jim O’Rear, and Anjanette Clewis (WITCHCRAFT) just before their seminar.

I’m a HUGE fan of REPO THE GENETIC OPERA. On top of being able to appear at this show with the creator, Terrance Zdunich, the convention was also holding a screening of the movie with a shadow cast (in the tradition of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW). Terrance spoke about the film and provided candid, behind-the-scenes stories. He was also promoting his new 12-part comic book series, THE MOULTING (www.TheMoultingComic.com). If you love REPO, you’ve gotta check out Terrance’s new comic series.

ABOVE: Terrance Zdunich shows off the first two parts of his new comic book series, THE MOULTING.

ABOVE: A member of the REPO shadow cast dresses as “Pavi” and prepares to hit the stage.

After the screening of REPO with a shadow cast there was a screening of THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW with a shadow cast… followed by another rave. An evening filled with music and mayhem.

ABOVE: Jim O’Rear, Johnny Fairplay (SURVIVOR), Melanie Robel, and Mike Holman (JACK ASS) clown around.

As usual, at most cons, Sunday was the wind-down day and a time to say goodbye to new and old friends. I hope to appear with this group of guests again very soon as you truly were a group of professionals who knew how to make the most out of the weekend, no matter what was thrown at you.

I want to wish everyone reading this a very happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy the food and family and, most of all, be safe!

Thanks for reading,
Jim O’Rear

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