Category Archives: 2009
Co-hosted by Ani Lorak, who sang “Shady Lady” for Ukraine in the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest, the Junior Eurovision Song Contest 2009 was held in Kyiv today.
Streaming live on the official Eurovision website, the seventh running of the contest from the Palace of Sports featured young talents, all between ten and fifteen years old, from thirteen countries.
Armenia had a powerful song and start. Cyprus presented a song that would have been suitable for the regular Eurovision. The kid from the Netherlands has a lot of tail in his future if he hasn’t already. Boy band hot, even if the song’s about tap dancing. And apparently all the bunny ears in the audience were for the little boy from Belarus, who was just more than a little bit scary, kinda like the kid from The Omen or The Shining. And my, the announcers’ broken English, while appreciated, is horrendous. But it is more entertaining than some of the acts.
The Junior contest this year was much closer than this year’s landslide for Norway in the main event. The winner of the Junior Eurovision Song Contest for 2009 was Ralf of The Netherlands with the song “Click Clack.” Way to go, kid!
Been long enough, but they’ve finally released the ‘official’ music video for Norway’s winning entry into this year’s Eurovision Song Contest – “Fairytale” by Alexander Rybak. Enjoy.
Saturday. Met up with my partners in crime – Anthony, Andrea and Ray – just after Wizard World Philadelphia 2009 opened this morning. We hung out in the Green Room for a bit, subtly eavesdropping on Marvel Comics’ Bill Roseman giving portfolio reviews to potential artists. Lots of keen insight on what is expected of artists and how comics should be done was overheard. Quite the learning experience.
Also from the eagle eye view in the Green Room over the con floor we spied one lone Suicide Girl, Kyra, staring at her lap and texting on her phone. She was surrounded by comics geeks and fanboys who just appeared too scared or shy to approach her. It wasn’t until her fellow Suicide Girls showed up that people came up to the table. I guess there’s safety in numbers?
On the con floor whilst checking out Artist Alley and hunting for HeroClix and Marvel Super Hero Squad figures, we witnessed quite a nasty bit of poaching between booths. A woman from one booth came up behind me while I was at another to say she had all of a certain action figure line – come on over and see. I was incredulous, and even if she did have what I was looking for I wouldn’t buy it (or anything) from her now.
Something else to add to the list of things that had to be seen to be believed was when I was chilling up on the third floor overlooking the entrance to the con floor, just over the concession stand. Two guys in their twenties were taking pictures straight down Yancy Butler’s (“Witchblade,” “Mann and Machine”) low-cut shirt while she was getting a hot dog. I chastised them and told them they should be ashamed of themselves. It seemed to have little to no effect.
Over the last two days I’ve sat in on a few writing panels, and it seems really strange and enlightening to me that everyone has a different process. From Garth Ennis to Raven Gregory to Jimmy Palmiotti to Alan Moore – everyone has a different approach. Interesting stuff. I also want to add that Buddy Scalara who hosted a few of these panels was very enthusiastic, entertaining and educational. Great stuff, Buddy.
The DC Nation panel hosted by Dan DiDio, editor-in-chief of DC Comics, was intriguing. We got a rundown, followed by asking an opinion of the audience, of DC’s current big projects. DiDio called out Green Lantern, Batman, Superman, and when he asked about Wonder Woman, my buddy Ray took him to task saying he didn’t like it, and felt that there was editorial interference on the book – specifically DiDio’s. Ray also mentioned that he thought “Battle for the Cowl” sucked and was one of the worst comics he’d ever read – even worse than US 1. It was made a bit of joke and Dan turned to Ray throughout the panel to ask if certain projects ‘sucked.’
Justice Society was next, then Justice League, Teen Titans, and then a project I’m pretty excited about – Wednesday Comics. Then there was talk of another project that piqued my interest, a series featuring old pulp characters, including Doc Savage, the Spirit, Wildcat, the Blackhawks and maybe a few others, tentatively called First Wave written by Brian Azzarello and penciled by Rags Morales.
A question and answer session followed. There appears to be a surprising amount of support for more of the new Uncle Sam and the Freedom Fighters. There was some talk of Grant Morrison’s “Multiversity,” as well as speculation on two different Flash ongoing series. I was also amazed by an answer given by Bob Wayne, DC’s sales manager, regarding rising prices and titles per month. Apparently he thinks that this country’s current economic crisis is one big joke. Obviously the man gets his comics for free.
As my impression of Mr. Wayne sank, I must admit that my respect for Mr. DiDio rose quite a bit as the discussion he’d had with Ray continued outside the panel room for about fifteen minutes. With this amazing follow up Dan DiDio talked openly about how his job works and offered his thoughts as well as listening to those of others. Hell of a guy, great stuff. This made the con for me, seeing that the man wasn’t a monster at all but someone who is just like the rest of us – just with a much cooler job.
This is two years in a row that Wizard World Philadelphia has been scheduled the same weekend as Heroes Con in Charlotte NC. This year, it looks like it may have bitten them in the ass. Just check the guest lists of both events and tell me which one you’d rather be at. Marvel and DC Comics have prominent presence in Charlotte, but not even a booth here in Philly. I think that’s very telling. And looking at the floor, not many people around, even for an industry day – there should be more of a crowd.
One of the first folks I ran into was someone who is definitely worth seeing – Mighty Avengers artist Khoi Pham. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this is the nicest, coolest and most modest guy in comics. And he’s one hell of an artist too. Those who’ve read my reviews know I don’t throw out compliments easily. Khoi Pham deserves the praise, just check out his work.
Going to the opposite end of the spectrum, another note on the caliber of guests WWPhilly has been able to snag this year is Lou Ferrigno. Lou is at every con. Now he’s a special guest. Wow. He even has a panel this time. I’m guessing maybe a better manager or agent too. Remember if you do want to see him, bring cash, lots and lots of cash.
On my trip through Artist Alley the dangers of having a press badge once again became clear to me as folks jumped out as if in ambush to push their wares at me. I’ve decided after years of this that I like the quick and to the point approach. I like it so much, here’s a plug – www.kevinbolk.com and www.interrobangstudios.com – the woman handed me the card, said I might like the webcomics at the sites, and to have a great afternoon. I’m sold. The guy who wanted to tell me not only the history of his comic but also his life story – not so much.
I liked the first page cartoon in the convention guide by artist Ryan Dunlavey. It’s all about convention etiquette, and highly entertaining I’m sure for regular con-goers. I especially liked the bits about being lost in Artist Alley and not asking for autographs in the rest rooms. What I didn’t like was the concept that you cannot take off the wristband they tightly bond to your wrist – all weekend. I know what the stereotype is for comics and gaming fans (there are horror stories about this from GenCon) that they don’t bathe – but come on. How am I supposed to take a shower with this thing on? Mine’s coming off. We’ll see what happens tomorrow.
The Bride stopped by at lunch and we hooked up with friends Bryan and Paul. We checked out the autograph area and met Edward James Olmos and Erin Gray who were not only friendly and talkative but they also looked great. Ms. Gray was talking up an independent flick she’s in called Dreams Awake that sounded great.
Overheard at one of the food concessions between two women working the counter…
She points him out to the other, “Over there.”
“Nah, Chewbacca’s got way more hair than that guy.”
The opening number was spectacular. “Billy Elliot” took home fifteen Tonys, including best musical and three best actor for the three leads in the title role. “God of Carnage” got best play. Frank Langella and Geoffrey Rush both tried to be funny but failed. Bret Michaels and Poison performed, as did Sir Elton John, but only Bret got hurt. James Gandolfini was unamused. Anne Hathaway had a ball. Angela Lansbury looked good and won her fifth Tony. Liza Minnelli won one too but looked pretty scary. A mispronounciation in-joke proliferated. Lots of fun all around.
And of course, the highlight of the evening was that NPH sang to close out the show. Witness the brilliance:
This has been a good summer for movies so far, between Up and now My Life in Ruins, things are definitely looking ‘up.’
Nia Vardalos, of My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Connie and Carla, returns to the screen with this tale of Georgia, an uptight history professor who ends up as a tourguide in Greece when the teaching job dries up. One particular tour changes her life and hilarity ensues. This is a delightful romantic comedy that the star and cast, including Richard Dreyfuss as well as Rachel Dratch and Harland Williams, effortlessly bring to life.
In a summer also littered with slob comedies and angry robots, this is a breath of fresh air, a fun flick, highly recommended.
Check it out here.
It just doesn’t get any cooler than this. The Beatles. Rock Band. Anime. Pychedelics. And of course, the Beatles. Wow. A shame the actual game (see below) just doesn’t look half as cool…
The game releases on September 9th, 2009.