Sunday, April 20, 2008

Me and Xena: A Love Story

Perhaps love is the wrong word.

I moderated the Battlestar Galactica panel at the New York Comic Con over the weekend. Before me and the cast members I was "grilling"—Tigh (Michael Hogan), Anders (Michael Trucco), and Tory (Rekha Sharma)—went on stage, they asked me if I was nervous. I told them that whatever happened, it couldn't be as uncomfortable as the last time I did this, at the 2007 San Diego Comic Con. And I told them the story I'm about to tell you:

I get into the green room (really, just an inconspicuous, cordoned-off meeting room in the convention center) about 30 minutes before the "Women of Battlestar Galactica" panel was set to start, to meet the cast and to go over the protocol of the panel: how it was supposed to flow, etc. Meeting everyone was perfectly shiny; they were all, to a person, quite nice...and I've already made my feelings for Mary McDonnell known. I sat down to go over my questions one last time (and try not to vomit on anyone), and one of the Sci Fi Channel publicists comes over and says, "Okay, our big surprise for this panel is that we're going to bring out Lucy Lawless—who's returning to the show as D'Anna—mid-way through. How do you think we should do that?"

So I said, "Why don't I ask Tricia Helfer, 'What was it like to share Baltar with another woman?' And then the Other Woman would walk out..."

"Perfect," replies the publicist, and she bounded away to deal with something else, leaving me to stew in my thoughts and try not to look at the crazy-bare-backed dress that Katee Sackhoff was wearing. And continue not vomiting on anyone.

Showtime rolls around, and we all start walking to the San Diego Convention Center's second-biggest ballroom, which holds something like 6,000 people. We're in a loading hallway, all of us like NASA astronauts heading to the Apollo capsule. (Or Spinal Tap.) Just as we get backstage, the publicist runs through the order of the panel one last time: "First, you head out. Intro the clip, then intro the panel. Couple of questions, then 'What was it like to share Baltar with another man,' Lucy comes out, more questions, toss to the crowd for fan questions, wrap it up, drink heavily."

Of course, I corrected her: "What was it like to share him with another woman." "Yeah...duh," she said.

What do you think I said, in front of the 6,000 people sitting in the crowd (and the other 300-400 standing in the aisles)?

So, Tricia, what was it like to share Baltar with another man?

Out comes Lucy, who hugs everyone else on the panel, turns to me, and flips me the middle finger. And I just took it, because there's no coming back from that. You just gotta swallow the faux pas, take your shot to the nuts like a man, and keep on moving. Which I did.

But you never forget your first time...being flipped off by a warrior princess in front of the entire geek nation. (The fact that it lives forever in online-video infamy is just icing on the cake.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Me and the New York Comic Con

Yes, I will be there, once again. Soundly smarting from The Highwaymen not getting an Eisner nomination for Best Geezer Oriented Series. (I kid.)

So, if'n you're really dead-set on tracking me down, here are a few places I'm guaranteed to be:

SATURDAY, 4/19 12:00-1:00pm: Battlestar Galactica panel. Hall 1D
I'm moderating, so I'll be the substantially less-beautiful person sitting with Grace Park and Tahmoh Penikett.

3:00-4:00pm: TopCow panel. Room 1E15.
Where I'm assuming I'll be talking a little about our Pilot Season 2008 book, Genius. And mercilessly ribbing Rob Levin. And basking in the light of Joshua Hale Fialkov, The People's Choice.

6:00-7:00pm: Signing at DC Comics booth.
Or, how I learned to stop worrying and love the fact that no one will ask me to sign a book that no one actually bought. (Again, I kid.) But I do a mean stick figure sketch.

Friday will be spent hustling my ass on "the track" and Sunday I'm doing a quick roundelay on the floor with my son. Who I may or may not be willing to trade for an ongoing series.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Right Way to Do Drunk

I really, really miss Insomniac with Dave Attell. If you don't remember, it was the Comedy Central show in which comedian-drunk Dave Attell would drink his way through a different town each week. Drunks are funny enough, but funny drunks are like ambrosia spiked with awesome.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

My Gods...Just Listen.

Never mind the photo montage, just listen to that music. It's...sustaining. Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. The mind, it reels.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

What You Talking About, Foo?

This was a while back, now...but I'm just getting around to it. And it stuck with me, so that counts for something, right?

I went to the Foo Fighters concert at Madison Square Garden back in February. I don't go to many concerts, primarily because I'm lazy/busy and, secondarily, because I'm not that big a fan of anyone enough to get off my lazy/busy ass to get the tickets. But my love for the Foos is well-documented, so I decided to see what I can do. Now, since I work where I work, trying to get into a concert doesn't involve constant calls to Ticketmaster, or angling to win a radio contest. I call in some favors. And because I never ask for this sort of thing, people are generally willing to help me out.

So I'm in a luxury box in Madison Square Garden, courtesy of the fine folks at Fuse—which I've never really watched, but, apparently, they show music videos, which is more than I can say for either of the channels that are supposed to show music videos. (The irony of me getting seats that would cost a fortune for nothing isn't lost on me at all. Neither is the distinctly un-rock-ness of attempting to rock out in a corporate suite.)

We discretely headbang our way through the show—a fine performance, to be sure—until we get to the encore. One of the Fuse publicists tells me that there's a Make-A-Wish kid who met the band during soundcheck; that he was really sweet, and that Dave Grohl took a liking to him. Just as she says this, Dave steps up to the mic and says something like, "Hey, guys. This here's my buddy Josh...he's gonna play a song with us." This teenager walks out, sits behind the drum kit, and the band launches into "Long Road to Ruin."

And this kid is phenomenal. No one spoke in the luxury suite for the whole four minutes Josh was playing. Personally, I couldn't. A smile had plastered itself on my face, goosebumps broke out everywhere, and a frog had taken up residence in my throat.

To get to meet your favorite band, to play with them at soundcheck, to be asked if you wanna get out on the stage of MADISON SQUARE FUCKING GARDEN, and then to knock it out of the goddamn park.... If that's not a wish coming true, then they flat-out never do.

And the thing of it is, if I hadn't been sitting in the Fuse box and hadn't gotten that information from the publicist, it just would've been the second song of the encore. Instead, it was heartbreakingly wonderful.

Just one of the times when I really, really love my job.

Here, so you can feel it too:

P.S. Ask my buddy Adam to tell you the story of the time he saw U2 in LA and Bono brought a bunch of teenage girls on stage to play with them.