Sunday, May 23, 2010
Reflections Of IMAGICON
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear emerges from the fog at IMAGICON.
I’ve just spent the last few days in Birmingham, Alabama, appearing at Imagicon, a fan convention consisting of a mixture of sci-fi, anime, horror, paranormal, celebrities, indie films, and comic books. It was the second year for this show and there were a few snags and hitches along the way, but, being new, the event organizers are still learning the process.
ABOVE: Who the heck let the dinosaur in?
One of the big problems this show faced was the fact that it was divided up among several different venues. These venues weren’t within walking distance, either, which meant you had to catch a shuttle that ran every half an hour if you wanted to see vendors and events located in every location. This created confusion and some frustration, especially on Sunday when the shuttle didn’t run at all. One of the venues used was the McWane Center, which is a children’s hands-on museum in downtown Birmingham. In theory, this was supposed to create cross-traffic for the Imagicon event, bringing in museum patrons who may not have known the convention was happening on the upper levels of the museum. Unfortunately, young children are not necessarily the patrons you want to target for this particular type of event.
ABOVE: Daniel Taylor (RETURN OF THE SWAMP THING) plays with one of the exhibits inside the McWane Center.
The show opened on Friday and after wading through hundreds of small, screaming children… who were at the museum for a school field trip… I made it to my table to set up. The celebrity guests were all located in one room of the museum and I was pleased to be sharing the space with Gil Gerard (BUCK ROGERS), Erin Gray (BUCK ROGERS, SILVER SPOONS), Bonita Friedericy (CHUCK, ANGEL), John Billingsly (TRUE BLOOD, STAR TREK: ENTERPRISE), Daniel Taylor (RETURN OF THE SWAMP THING), zombie artist Billy Tackett, writers Timothy Zahn, Sean Taylor, Bobbie Nash, and many more.
ABOVE: Gil Gerard (BUCK ROGERS) and Jim O’Rear.
ABOVE: Erin Gray (BUCK ROGERS, SILVER SPOONS) and Jim O’Rear.
Attendance was small on Friday, but we all made the best of it and had a good time. It allowed many of us to visit with each other and play around in the museum. During some of this free time, Kevin from Macabre Mansion (www.macabremansion.com) stopped by my table. He was there to cover the show and had interviews planned with some of the guests. As many of my friends know, I’m often asked by Macabre Mansion to be a guest interviewer for their internet show. I always enjoy doing this for my friends at M.M. and Kevin asked if I’d be willing to do it again. So, we headed off to film and record interviews with Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Bonita Fredericy, and John Billingsly, where we discussed such things as Gil Gerard’s detachable penis, John Billingsly’s frequent romps in the nude, Bonita Fredericy’s secret lust for myself and Zach Levi, and much more. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled on M.M.’s website to watch these hilarious interviews when they are posted.
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear interviews Gil Gerard, Erin Gray, Bonita Fredericy, and John Billingsly for MACABRE MANSION.
Saturday provided stronger attendance but it was tough to get a read on how many attendees there were due to the various venues that had people scattered throughout the city. Many events took place on Saturday, including film screenings, Q&A panels, costume contests, and more. I spotted several varied and cool costumes throughout McWane Center, although my favorite was the very simple Elphaba. I’m not sure why I’ve had a lifelong fascination with Elphaba, the Wicked Witch, but… there she was!
ABOVE: Jim O’Rear sporting a WICKED shirt checks out the convention with Elphaba.
Speaking of costumes… here are a few more I enjoyed seeing…
Fun stuff! Daniel Taylor and I were scheduled to lead a panel on the art of independent filmmaking which, unfortunately, was located in a different venue than where our tables were, but it allowed us the opportunity to see a little more of the show. The panel discussion was held at Old Car Heaven, which is also where most of the anime was located. A few people attended the panel where we got to share good and bad stories about filmmaking and acting in independent movies.
ABOVE: Everything was going along swimmingly until a giant fish came out of nowhere and ate Daniel!
The convention also hosted a screening of my movie OLD HABITS DIE HARD (featuring myself, Kane “Jason” Hodder, Tricia Cast, Roger Hewlett, and Stacey Dixon) on Saturday. Unfortunately, due to poor planning, the screening was held in an open area right alongside a very loud Rock Band contest… so, sounds of the movie and sounds of the bands constantly fought each other and clashed the entire time, making it very difficult to enjoy either of those events.
ABOVE: The Rock Band contest takes place on stage!
Sunday was another slow day, allowing us additional opportunities to find our own entertainment and ways that we could get into trouble. My friends from Macabre Mansion asked if I would conduct another interview for them with zombie artist Billy Tackett (www.BillyTackett.com) while we had some free time. Watch for this one on the M.M. website soon, too. Daniel and Ami Taylor and I used some of the downtime to start filming a humorous short “fish out of water” film based on characters we previous created in another feature. More info about these shenanigans will come at a later time. Bonita Friedericy and John Billingsly used some of their downtime to play a prank on Gil Gerard and Erin Gray. I won’t tell you what it was because these two pranksters will probably want to do it to someone else in the future… so, if you attend a con where Bonita and John are guests, keep an eye on them for some funny stuff!
ABOVE: Daniel Taylor sets fire to the McWane Center while testing his new super powers.
Although Imagicon is new and had some hiccups, the event organizers put forth their best efforts. It was a small, but fun, show that I hope is able to grow in the future.
Thanks for reading,