For info on these knitted hats, scroll to the end.
This weekend we went, we wore weird hats, we met some of our favorite tv/ movie actors, and, most importantly, we relaxed. We'd all, separately, had our own hectic few weeks, so the idea of camping out in a Q and A room sounded great to me. The interviews were the main attraction for me, anyway.
Carrie Fisher backed out, but I wore the hat anyway and Friday night we saw Anthony Daniels's (C3P0) who didn't let some empty seats bring the mood down. He walked the floor, meeting fans before the show and all through the weekend, and gave a really fun panel that required much audience participation. For instance, every time he held up the "VIP Jump" directional signs all the VIP wrist band wearers had to hop up and down. This was punishment for paying double to fund his appearance, I suppose. He also roamed the audience, picking people to question about their costumes. One man who dared to say he liked The Phantom Menace was made to act out R2D2 in a scene with Anthony. He had to squat to R2 height and when he didn't do a correct imitation, other audience members were called on to supply sound effects for R2, the desert wind (This was the pod landing scene on Tatooine), and the hydraulic sound of C3P0's joints. Then the scene was re-enacted up to, "You'll be malfunctioning within a day, you nearsighted scrap pile!" and a swift kick complete with sound effects.
We met him the next day in his autograph room just after he gave an autograph away to a little boy who had blown through all of his souvenir money. It was slow then, so he took his time looking through the book I brought for him to sign. It was one of those little paperbacks that accompany a 45 record and you flip the page when the bell rings. I've had this since I was 5 or 6 and read through it with great care as a child. I remember bringing it for show and tell in first grade. He read through some of it, correcting the writing, "I never said that." and "That's not how it happened." Then we heard, "We're doomed." from the man himself. Pretty cool.
I wasn't super crazy about seeing John Heder or Michael Rosenbaum because, though I loved Napolean Dynamite, I haven't really seen John Heder in anything else and I've yet to watch Smallville. But their panel was also a hoot. They were running all over the room, moon walking, getting right in people's faces as they asked questions. They played so well off of one another, it was clear that they are good friends. Michael revealed that just before they arrived Friday, John actually panicked for a second in the car because he forgot his chapstick... really. And we heard, "Tina, you fat lard, come get some dinner!" from John, himself.
Giancarlo Esposito, Charles Baker, and Robert Patrick were equally good humored, though not as boisterous. Robert Patrick was quick to launch into stories from his first acting gigs and how frightened he was to star in a Terminator movie. He told how he unwittingly baited James Gandolfini into beating the crap out of him by telling him to bring his A game to a fight scene. He also mentioned he'd like to be in Terminator 5..hint...hint.
Since I haven't seen Breaking Bad yet, I have no frame of reference for Charles Baker, but I was still interested by his take on the show and Giancarlo Esposito surprised us by being... bubbly... is the only word for it. He plays such evil characters but in his panel, he was full of gratitude to the universe for letting him do what he does and full of advice on how to tap into the connective energy of all things to ask the universe for what you want. When he wasn't the embodiment of "The Secret" he was giving behind the scenes scoop on his last scene in Breaking Bad. Then we heard Gus's final yell, from Giancarlo himself. Later I saw that he posed in photos with fans, holding a box cutter - funny.
The comic book artists' panel was the only one were gratitude and good will was lacking, so I won't go into it much. Besides, I think Neal Adams promoted Neal Adams enough in the panel with Herb Trimpe as his chuckling, Ed McMahon-esque side kick. I will say that being hostile, acting bored, and even saying you're bored by fans' questions ought to keep an artist from being invited back, but he has a following so I doubt that will happen. He did make it abundantly clear that he is a savvy business man and his art is all about money. I haven't heard a diva so intent on tooting their own horn since girls in Junior High. I rarely ever read comics, so I would've left but I was blocked in and, unlike the artists, I didn't want to be rude. Besides, I can always save my gripes for my little-known blog.
The Battlestar Galactica panel was good too, though there weren't many interesting questions asked. I should have gotten in line. I'm sure these actors must get tired of talking about the same things over and over again. What I really wanted to know is if Jamie Bamber was aware of his on screen chemistry with Mary McDonnell. They had this mother/son vibe in the beginning that made every one of their scenes extra good. Instead we heard more about inequality of the sexes in the film industry, body type madness, and how Katee's fighting sexism with partial nudity, etc. There were few questions directed to Jamie Bamber, I guess because Katee's movie Riddick just came out, which I thought was a shame. His performance, along with Edward James Olmos and Mary McDonell's, pretty much made that tv show. Seriously, the first two seasons are still some of the best tv I've ever seen. Everything- the script, music, direction- was so perfect. They're up there with Homicide: Life on the Streets, China Beach, and the first few seasons of Lost. (By the way, Riddick is stinky cheese, which isn't Katee's fault. In her favor, Longmire is actually really good.)
Oh, we also heard, "Nothin' but the rain," from Katee, herself.
Of course we had our photo taken with them and I had another regret: Jamie said, "I want a woolly hat too, " just being polite, and I didn't have the mental snap to hand him mine because I was instantly pushed away from the backdrop by the photo people. I know, what would he do with a "Woolly hat" that he doesn't recognize as a Jayne hat because he doesn't even watch his own show, much less Firefly? But still, I could've said Jamie and I shared a hat. So... much... regret... sob.
Later, when I picked up the photo from the Battlestar Photo-op table, I saw a major discrepancy between their photo-op style and John Barrowman's. Don't get me wrong, I'm thrilled by my photo-op with Jamie and Katee, but I did understand why we were told tickets to his photo-op sell out fast. He was all over his fans! They rode piggy back, bum slapped him, gave full frontal embraces, danced together. He's a ham and they love it.
His Q and A was Sunday but I think it drew the biggest crowd. He was amped up like Heder and Rosenbaum, and moved constantly, re-enacting his and David Tennant's reaction to reading the script in which Captain Jack is revealed as The Face of Boe. He told how David kept banging on his trailer door, asking if he'd read it just to be shooed away so he wouldn't spoil anything. Finally, John read it and went banging on David's door. They had a breathless, animated charades-ike session of acting out how John could become the giant suspended head. There was also singing- lots of singing because he has an excellent voice. He also re-enacted a classic theatrical moment where during his performance in Anything Goes, his co-star, Martin, blasted gas in the dramatic pause before the last note of a song. He actually laid across the panel table and rolled to one side to demonstrate. Oh boy, crazy. It was the telling of racy, behind-the-scenes gags that made me glad I hadn't brought my kids with me. I can say this about John Barrowman, he was all about giving his fans, and there were so many, their money's worth. He didn't stop, from the "personalized" photo-ops to inviting fans who couldn't get a seat to take empty VIP seats up front, to a singing/dancing performance.
I was too busy doing my own thing to get many photos of cosplay there. Somehow with a giant Alien and Predator fighting on the landing, tons of Viper and X-Wing pilots, a hairy Wonder Woman, and a big group of kids dressed like all of the main characters from The Girl in the Fireplace episode of Dr. Who, all I came home with were these blurry phone pics. But I had used all of my memory to record some Q&As. Just check out instagram for an idea of what it was like.
Look Mermaid Man has on slippers.
That was my take on Dallas Comic Con. Now for the most fascinating part: the knitted fan hats!
I spent the whole ride up to Dallas sitting in the back seat, knitting the Leia hair pattern by Jennifer Carter. My only modification was to only knit 52 cast-on stitches. Because my stitch count was off, I decreased one extra stitch at the end of that first dec row and sometimes had to change the order of knits and purls. I decreased as many times as called for, though ending with a slightly different stitch count.
Using yarn to tighten the wig to fit like a beanie was tricky. I didn't knot anything off until I was completely finished with the wig. I really didn't know if it would fit until I had finished it and could try. Thankfully, it did. I then used my second skein of Wool of the Andes Bulky for the "star puffs." It is the correct yardage for two buns, so I had to divide it. I used my husband's headrest to lay the skein over and count the loops hanging over it. I then wound half of the loops into a spare yarn ball and cut the yarn.
Positioning the buns was also a trial and error sort of thing. When I liked its position, I unwound the spare ball of yarn over the headrest to the approximate size of the first bun's worth, and shaped it into the other bun.
The fit was alright and had a bit of room in back for me to tuck my hair out of sight. There was no doubt who this was supposed to be. Daleks even like it.
1) Jayne hats are awesome
2) They used exactly 3 skeins of old stash, which makes me feel thrifty, and
3) They are meant to be knit a bit sloppily, so no great focus is required.
It was almost hard to make myself decrease so abruptly and make such a messy pompom. The ear flaps were ratty, but I think the pattern I used, by Erika Barcott, was most true to the one Adam Baldwin wears in Firefly and the ears flaps did, indeed, flip outward in a goofy way.
I used yellow Wool Ease and red and pumpkin colored Lion Wool for this with size 10 needles. Mine was a size medium and Adam's (my Adam) was a large.
Amid all of this, we rounded out the weekend with an Imax showing of Gravity. I had fun, guys. Though you don't see my brother here, because he's not into photos, it meant so much to me to get to hang out with him, especially doing the nerdy stuff we like to do. I mean, we met our first-ever action figure (C3P0)! I reveled in the conversation and odd situations. I haven't laughed so much or so loudly in ages.
Here I inserted chewing gum into the memory banks of this R2 unit.
More on my flickr, ravelry, kollabora, instagram, yada, yada, yada.
more on the Leia and Jayne hats here.