This year, I had a special arrangement. My co-worker's partner worked at Moscone Center, so he was able to get someone to let me into the Exhibit Hall right when it opened as opposed to waiting in line forever and then taking ten minutes to actually get through the line. Lionsgate was handing out tickets for a Kick-Ass screening on Saturday, and I wanted to beat the mob. Of course, I learned that there's a special press/professional line that is significantly shorter than the regular line that I could have waited in, but this was cooler. I made contact with my point person, and we coordinated. This meant I had time to go get lunch!
The Jack in the Box I always went to was gone, so I walked down Howard and looked for eateries. I stumbled upon the Good Morning Cafe, which promised hot piroshkies. Except they mostly all had beef and they were fairly small. I said I ate chicken, and the woman said they had a chicken salad sandwich. I looked at the menu, and their sandwiches were reasonably priced! I asked what was in the chicken salad and then decided, hey, I will patronize this establishment. They seem nice. Plus, they had a restroom. I put all my stuff down on a chair.
When I returned, the woman was placing my sandwich on the table in front of the empty chair. She figured that I would be sitting on that side since the other side had all my stuff. The chicken salad sandwich was packed full of chicken salad! It was pretty good, nothing super special but not bad. I asked what time they opened tomorrow. They opened at nine, which meant I could grab a sandwich from them to go to pack for lunch. Sweet. She told me to come back, and I said I would.
I went back to Moscone and stood by the entrance in front of the two big escalators, waiting for my contact. She did not arrive, and it was close to noon, when the Exhibit Hall was going to open. Then I noticed that, uh, there were two big escalators to my right. I peeked over to the doors on the other side, and, sure enough, there she was in a very noticeable purple skirt, as she'd said. I went over and introduced myself. She poked her head in the hall to see whether they were letting people in yet. Not yet. She asked me what booth was I heading for, and when I told her 939, she took me over to an entrance closer to that booth, which was good of her. When the security officer gave me a look, she told him I was with her. I WAS WITH HER. DON'T TOUCH ME. I HAVE SECRET PRIVILEGES.
It looked like they were letting people in, so she gave me the go-ahead, and I thanked her and made a beeline for the Lionsgate booth. People were taking something off the booth. Except they were bumper stickers. I asked about the passes for the screening. The lady said they would give them out tomorrow. And then she yelled, "PASSES FOR THE SCREENING WILL BE GIVEN OUT TOMORROW!" She did not seem happy. But the website said they would be giving them out today, dammit. I HAD A PLAN.
Fine then. I easily grabbed a couple passes to the screening of the Resident Evil: Afterlife trailer in 3D for Seanan from the nearby Capcom booth. Next on my agenda was to go stop by David Mack's booth and get some of my Kabuki trades signed. I walked up to his booth, and he said, "Sunil!" He remembered me! Or he read my badge! I said it was good to see him again now that I was all Kabuki'd.
"I like when Kabuki becomes a verb," he said. I had three trades today, three to bring later. I pulled them out, but he became mired in conversation with a colleague about a project for a few minutes. Then he returned to me and asked if I wanted him to sign them. I told him yes, but he couldn't sign them as himself; he had to sign them as the fictional version of him that appears in the book. So he signed them as "Dr. David" and "Mr. Mack." Ha.
Since he had asked on Facebook for suggestions of places to see while he was in SF, I recommended the pirate store. His colleague seconded that suggestion.
I complimented Mack's artwork, noting that in my review of the series, I said that pages from Kabuki wouldn't be out of place in art gallery. His colleague piped up, "Speaking of!" Ooh, neat! I showed David a particular page in Dreams I really loved. He thanked me, and he thanked me for picking up the trades and reading them. And, oh, speaking of, I did remember to tell him that his friends at Golden Apple said hi. And I even managed to remember Kendra's name without looking it up. I told him about finding Circle of Blood and excitedly showing it to her.
Then I had more booths to visit! Like the Wondermark booth, which...really was called The Reason You Came. The booth housed several webcomics, including Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, which was still setting up. David Malki ! was all ready to go, however, so I said hi and perused his wares. I told him I hadn't gotten around to laminating the sketch he did for me at Comic-Con. I saw that he had large prints of Supernatural Collective Nouns, which I have printed out and posted in front of my cube, and the Genre-Fiction Generator. I was tempted to pick them up, but I didn't really need them, per se. The printouts would do just fine. I told him I loved the supernatural collective nouns and asked if any of them had been put to use since many of them sounded like they should be the collective nouns. He said that as far as he knew, the collective nouns arose because someone made them up. Might as well be him.
I did buy the first collection, however, since I wanted to get them all eventually. They're more than just the collected strips; the book design is pretty entertaining and there's bonus material that's funny as well.
I stopped by the Oni Press booth and finally picked up the Scott Pilgrim Full-Colour Odds and Ends 2008 and this awesome poster. They were also selling a limited edition T-shirt that was based on the movie poster, and it looked really cool, but it was $25, and I already have a Scott Pilgrim shirt...but it was tempting. Because I wanted to be cool.
I hit the half-price trades booth with a mission: Y and Fables. And the one Astonishing X-Men trade I needed. Nothing else! Mostly! I scoured the rows of books as Crazy Dee (her moniker) repeatedly advertised her wares. "All trades half-price! Buy 'em, read 'em, and sell 'em online for full price!" I don't think that works, lady. Anyway, as always, I kept finding other shit I was interested in, but I tried to stay on-task. I was doing pretty well. I rapidly collected most of the Y and Fables I needed and then kept seeing the same trades over and over, which was annoying. But then I found one more I needed! And another! And I found one I needed but was bent, so I put it back because I figured I could find a version. The great thing about the half-price trades is that 90% of them were in practically pristine condition. I found the AXM I needed near the end of my search.
I could have bought all the Ultimates trades but the one I had (the first one, which I never encountered, heh). I could have bought all of LXG. I could have bought Officer Down. Identity Crisis. So many others! But the only bonus trade I picked up was Fray, which I had been wanting to own for a while and had not picked up in used bookstores since I knew I could find it here for cheaper.
I had a large stack of books to purchase. "I like you!" said Crazy Dee. "Are you married?" Not yet, I replied. I took my stack over to the money man, and he looked the books over. One of the Fables trades had a bent back cover, and I made a small comment about it, since I actually hadn't noticed it and was mildly annoyed. He asked if I wanted to look for a better copy, or he could take a few bucks off. I hadn't seen any other copies, and it wasn't really that bad, especially in comparison to the book that was bent the whole way through. He looked at the prices and added them up and did the math. I wanted to make a panel in a few minutes, so I considered saying, "I think it's about a hundred," since that's what I figured, but I let him finish.
"Eighty bucks," he said.
"All right," I said with neutrality. He was amused at my reaction, like, "Okay, if you say so, what am I going to do?" I handed him four twenties. I had smartly brought a bag for the books so I wouldn't have to lug them around in a plastic bag. I headed toward the exit.
When I got a free moment later, I calculated the total value of my books.
$214. Half off should have been $107. And I had paid $80. BULK DISCOUNT FTW.
I made my way to the Mezzanine, where the panel rooms were. I passed Richard Hatch posing for some pictures and relating an anecdote. I looked for a seat in Room 236 and sat down. A few minutes later, a guy shuffled past me and saved the seat next to me for someone. That someone happened to be an attractive woman who looked possibly Indian and perhaps strangely familiar. She wore large silver bracelets on her wrists.
The panel was "Setting the Score: Composing for Film & Television for Sci-Fi/Fantasy." It was delayed a bit, and when it finally started, we learned that two of the panelists had had (unrelated) family emergencies: Wendy Melvoin (of Wendy & Lisa) and the guy who did the music for True Blood. But we still had Jim Dooley (Pushing Daisies), Lisa Coleman (Heroes), and Jeremy Zuckerman and Ben Wynn (Avatar!!!).
The moderator began by asking each panelist to relate how they got into composing for television because she suspected each person would have a different answer! And she was right! It was really interesting! And I can't remember much of it now! DAMMIT. But I'm sure it's all on Wikipedia, so whatevs, right? See, Wikipedia tells me Jim Dooley majored in music composition and then went on to study film scoring. So that was sort of a traditional path. But Lisa Coleman worked with Prince! Like, she was in the Revolution. And then somehow she ended up scoring TV.
But these were the guys I really came to hear! They were adorable and awesome and I want to be their friends, but that is true of everyone who worked on Avatar, I think. Jeremy studied various instruments over the years, never committing to one, and he ended up studying world music at CalArts. Ben was more into electronic music...and he was roommates with Mike or Bryan! I think Bryan, based on the fact that he was the only one they mentioned specifically later. And so that's how they got the gig. They talked about doing the sound design as well as the music.
They had brought a clip of a scene without sound, like they were given, and then with sound and music. Curiously, the scene was a key scene in the finale that is essentially the climax of the entire series.
"Spoiler warning!" I muttered. I didn't really understand why they had brought that scene; there wasn't even a lot of music in it. And wow did it look silly and stupid with no sound or music. Don't make the show look like it's all flashy colors and nonsense!
Jeremy had interesting things to say! I DON'T REMEMBER ANY OF THEM. I feel like such a failure.
Ben same same same same same! SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME SAME. Same same same same same same.
They knew from the onset that the show was going to be something special, that it was going to last.
This one time Bryan wanted a duduk in the mix, so Jeremy went to a pawn shop and bought a duduk. And then he taught himself to play it. Because he is just that awesome. Armenian woodwind? No problem!
I'm sure they've told all these stories and said all these things in other interviews by now, though. In fact, yes, I have confirmed on the Internet that Ben was Bryan's roommate. Yeah, why am I even writing any of this down? You can find it all out on the Internet.
The girl next to me asked if the Avatar clip they'd showed hadn't aired yet. I said that it was from the finale, the last episode of the series. So her friends wouldn't want to know about it? Oh, no, the finale aired last year; the show was over. Ah, she had just started watching with her friends. I told her it was a great show.
Jim Dooley said Pushing Daisies was the most challenging job of his career. He...doesn't want to be challenged like that again. Because we were running low on time, we could only watch a Pushing Daisies clip with music, but it was a good clip since there was a lot of it in different styles. He said he basically had fifteen minutes to compose the Ned/Chuck love theme used in the clip. How could he possibly do that? Well, happy songs go up and sad songs go down. No, really, there were certain fundamental truths, and that was one you could fall back on.
I really wish zimshan had been there. She would have remembered everything!
Lisa showed a Heroes clip featuring a new character who basically has superpowered synesthesia. She sees a cello being played and then picks it up and plays it herself. The actress was deaf, but I don't know whether the character was supposed to be. Lisa said the actress actually learned to bow the cello so that she could "play" the right notes, but then they ended up having to change some of the notes afterward and all her hard work was for naught. Alas.
There was a little time for audience questions, and I think one person asked how to deal with writer's block, and the answer was that you weren't allowed time to have writer's block, you just had to do it (which is where the happy songs go up and sad songs go down part came in, I think). I promise this panel was more interesting than it sounds, and the moderator wished it were a two-hour panel so that we could have spent more time with everyone.
As we packed up, I decided to ask the girl beside me a question. Because the wrist bracelets made me think of Wonder Woman, and she did look like that hot Wonder Woman from last year. I asked her if she dressed up like Wonder Woman last year. She had!
"That was a great costume," I said. She thanked me, and I told her my thoughts on the wrist bracelets.
"They reminded me of Wonder Woman, so I had to have them," she said. I told her to enjoy Avatar.
I didn't get her name and/or number, but...what the hell, she is kinda famous! And maybe not Indian? Or only half-Indian? Also, she appears to be in L.A. It's hard for me to conceive of people actually coming from out of town for WonderCon because it's right here, and it's kind of small. But just the other day at Dr. Comics some guy asked if WonderCon was worth going to, and we were like, sure, it's right there. And he said he had come in from Philadelphia. So, uh, he hoped it was worth going to!
One of the other reasons I had been excited for the panel was the promise of free CDs. Jeremy and Ben had CDs that contained five tracks from the finale, and Jim Dooley had a sampler CD. I asked if I could have one more of each for a friend, and I got them with no problem.
They had said that they were doing press afterward in the press room, so I headed there and milled about, waiting for the composers to show up. When they did, there was a photo op.
They ran this press room like a press conference, putting all the panelists at one table and taking questions one by one and asking each person to state his or her name and outlet. There were a couple girls from a Heroes fansite who had a question for Lisa Coleman. It was a Prince question. They also asked her about Heroes, and Lisa said that the introduction of guns—I guess they're more prevalent now?—this season had resulted in their asking for more BOOMs and such, which she didn't seem to find very interesting. The girl asked her how she felt about it.
"Fantastic!" Lisa said disingenuously. We all laughed. The girl pushed, wanting to know how she really felt. "I would prefer not to do that," Lisa said diplomatically. Oh snaaaap, Heroes, even your composer doesn't like you anymore.
Lisa spoke very slowly and softly, without a lot of high emotion, but there was one great moment when she was asked another Prince question, someone asking whether a particular movie was a realistic depiction of what happened with the band. She didn't know since she hadn't seen the movie, but she was actually under a gag order not to say anything about Prince, even though she had nothing but really good things to say about him, "that little a—". Haaaaa. ("You're my new best friend," said Ben.)
One guy asked how you get to, say, a James Newton Howard level, and they all laughed, like, "Dude, you tell us!" The general answer, though, was that when you start out, nothing is "beneath" you. You never know what each job will bring. Lisa Coleman, for instance, didn't think Heroes would get picked up when she did the music for the pilot, but she figured what the hell.
A guy next to me started out by saying he was a fan of Pushing Daisies since his friends had forced him to watch it and he bought it on a whim. There was a little laughter, and then Jim Dooley commented, "There's something to be said about being forced to watch it," and we all burst into laughter. (This was not the first time we burst into laughter. There were a lot of funny comments from the panel; it was a fun forty minutes.)
The guy tried to save face and clarify that he was going to watch it anyway—"Encouraged," said Jim (or Ben?)—and then went on to mention that he was also a fan of Heroes, but unfortunately, he never watched Avatar.
"You should be forced to," said Ben.
The actual question was about character themes, which had come up in the panel. He wanted to know how they were inspired to create themes for each individual character.
Lisa said it was pretty easy for her given the nature of the show, since the characters had such distinct characteristics and powers. Since Sylar had all these clocks, she incorporated them into his theme. Hiro and Ando were always bending time, so she played with time signatures and rhythms. And so on.
And then it was finally my turn! And it was good since my question worked as a follow-up question. "I'm a huge Avatar fan," I began, "and I forced my friends to watch it." Laughter! Since I'd seen every episode at least three times, I began to notice things like recurring themes. For instance, the Momo theme, which appeared several times, and I hadn't noticed that before.
"That was one of our favorites," said Ben.
"They told us to stop using it," said Jeremy. Ha! Which was exactly my question, since I wanted to know whether, when they had this musical theme that they or the creators really liked, whether they start writing scenes just to have that music.
Jeremy said that each episode had five to fifteen new musical themes, and the ones that were really good survived, although sometimes he looked back and heard great stuff that he wondered why he never used again. But he didn't think the writers wrote scenes for the themes, since there were so many.
But there was definitely the Momo issue. "I think they gave us the last hurrah with Momo," said Ben.
I also got to ask what they used for the tsungi horn, and, thankfully, Ben did not groan in exasperation at having been asked that question again since he's clearly been answering it since at least 2006! Here, see, this is from a messageboard post:
"the tsungi horn had to be a cross between a woodwind and a brass instrument. we played that theme on a duduk (armenian reed instrument) and then performed a computer process called convolution where we combined the timbre of a trombone with our duduk performance. convolution can sound very natural if done correctly. one of the most interesting challenges of avatar is to create new sounds that sound old... "
He was glad that it didn't sound processed. It shouldn't, because the challenge with Avatar was that the show took place on an alternate planet that was "magical" and very old, but the music was not supposed to sound "magical." It should sound like the music of the time.
Jim added to the conversation about themes, saying that sometimes it required a lot of research. He was working on scoring the video game Epic Mickey, and he wanted to get the "Disney sound," so he requested scores from the Disney archives. What he found was that the Disney sound was essentially 19th century Western European music. He got his music geek on and declared that "When You Wish Upon a Star" taught him more about music than he'd learned in the last year. Because they did a theta move in the chart without doing a theta move. Or something. There were a couple minutes of music geekery that I was lost on where Jim talked about the construction of various Disney themes. Ben also offered the observation that the Twilight Zone theme is a loop. Just those four notes were recorded and looped. Huh! Such music geeks, these composers.
I got a second question! "Avatar is the show that's brought me closer to tears, like, consistently"—"Nice," said Ben (ha)—"and a large part of that is the music. So I was wondering, for all of you, do you find yourself emotionally affected by the music when you hear it yourself?"
Jeremy admitted that he cried during the finale because he got attached to these little guys. He definitely got emotional, although sometimes he was surprised when he did (or didn't). Like, for instance, the music for the Zuko/Azula fight in the finale, which all the fans love, he had a lot of trouble writing, and he just ended up banging it out and didn't think it was anything special, but for some reason it was one that was always mentioned.
Ben got really emotional during Iroh's song for his son. Which, yeah, if you don't, you have no soul.
Also, Jeremy is in a funk band! And Jim was into heavy metal guitar when he was a teenager! And now he's finally getting to use that for a TV show, which played into a recurring theme of the conversation, which was that it was good to have multiple skills and learn all sorts of instruments and music because you never knew when it would come in handy.
One amusing tidbit was that both Jeremy and Lisa, since they used a lot of ethnic and world instruments, hoped they weren't offending any of those cultures by using their instruments, perhaps even in non-traditional ways, for the purposes of a better score. Like if she was using an instrument from Yugoslavia...
"The country formerly known as Yugoslavia," interjected Jim. "Sorry, I had to say it."
"I know, I know," said Lisa. "It's a recurring theme in my life." Much laughter and poking fun at Jim for his bad joke.
"I'm glad he said it," said Ben.
"They're not all gems, okay!" cried Jim.
"Anyway," said Lisa, "back to Prince." We laughed. Then: "He owes me a lot of money."
And with that, we had run out of time!
I went up to Jeremy and Ben and fanboyed, "Avatar is such a great show, but the music really takes it to another level." They thanked me. I asked if they could sign my CD. Sure, did I have a marker? I did not! Crap! I looked around for a marker, and nobody had one, but oh, there was Jim Dooley signing his CD with a marker! Yeah, let's use his. Also, he could sign my CD too!
Ben asked if I wanted it signed to me. Ooh, sure! I also got one signed for a friend.
As I packed up, the publicity guy came and introduced himself. I asked if they had any more of those Avatar CDs, since I had many friends who would love them. We went over to ask Jeremy and Ben, and they were all, "Sure, how do many do you want?" I didn't know. So they just gave me a big handful! So, hi, if you are reading this post and would like a special CD with tracks from the Avatar finale, let me know.
I checked the time and checked the schedule. Originally, I had planned to attend the V screening, but it had been changed to an encore of that week's episode, which meant I could skip it until Fringe. Seanan was already in Esplanade and had a seat saved for me. Sweet.
I headed into the Exhibit Hall and searched another half-price trade booth for the two Y trades and last Fables trade I needed. I did find the two Y trades, including, as I had hoped, a better copy of vol. 9, which I had passed on earlier. Rock.
Then I hit the booth where Max Brooks was signing. I had brought my copies of The Zombie Survival Guide and World War Z, and I was excited to meet the author, who I learned while waiting was the son of Mel Brooks. Did I know that?! Huh.
When it was my turn, I handed him my books and said that I had actually just read them over Christmas. He opened the books to sign them and asked my name. "Sunil," I said, showing him my badge for the spelling.
"Ah," he remarked, "Indian!"
"I have a friend named Sunil." Just like Mary Robinette Kowal! If I didn't mind answering, what state was I from?
"Gujarat," I said.
"You're Gujarati too," he said. "I also have a Punjabi friend, and Sunil is always telling him that the Gujarati people are warriors. 'It's the caste system, look it up!'" I was definitely not a warrior. Max was always joshing him, noting that he lived in upper westside Manhattan. He wasn't a warrior! "You should see me in Starbuck's," his friend would say.
I told him something he already knew: "You've clearly thought a lot about the zombie apocalypse." I also gave him props for including Indians in his book. He said he wanted to make it a global story.
I got someone behind me to take a picture.
In this picture, he looks like kind of a serious douche, but he's really a funny and nice guy. I enjoyed talking with him, and he seemed to enjoy talking with each individual person, engaging them separately and specifically.
Back at Esplanade, I caught the tail end of V with Seanan. In the scene where Anna chooses a mate from a dozen potential candidates, I remarked, "That was like an entire reality show in thirty seconds."
"You're evil!" she said, laughing onto my shoulder. But in her mind, she was comparing Anna to Tyra Banks.
After V, we got the first episode of the Ghostfacers webseries! It was pretty funny. There was an entire screen dedicated to identifying Sam and Dean as DOUCHENOZZLES.
Next up, Fringe! Which was great, not having to wait a week after last night's awesome episode. It was not as awesome, but it was still good. Except for the Kevin Smith fans who were only sitting through Fringe to see Kevin Smith and had obnoxiously exaggerated reactions every now and then.
But then Seanan and I sat through Human Target to see Kevin Smith. I had never seen the show, and it was the season finale. It seemed like it would be an awesome episode for fans because it was big on backstory, but it was still cool for us because it randomly guest-starred Amy Acker! Also Armand Assante! And Aziz Ansari! Okay, not that last one, but they did get Lee Majors. And Timothy Omundson!! The show wasn't bad, but there was extra hilarity because it was a rough cut. So the special effects weren't completed, for one, which made a dramatic explosion look incredibly silly, and the final ADRs hadn't been recorded, which made some dramatic line readings also very silly.
We got another episode of Ghostfacers after Fringe but not after Human Target since they were running late. Boo!
Seanan and I had been sitting at the end of a row, but a small family arrived with a stroller. Seanan saw that we had some empty seats adjacent to our little group, so she had us all move down so that the family could situate themselves properly with the stroller. It was very considerate of her. After considering their situation, she considered the small child, who could not really be a Kevin Smith fan.
She turned to me. "Are you really going to make one of those?"
"Eventually," I said.
"What will you do with it?"
"Bring it to see Kevin Smith?"
She looked at me. "You're going to be the best daddy ever!"
And then they finally brought out Kevin Smith!
I had randomly met him four years ago, but now I could see him from many yards away and not talk to him! Oh man. I did not get in line to ask a question because I could not think of one. I was just there to enjoy the raunchy hilarity I had heard so much about it. And oh, he brought it.
One of the first people at the microphone asked him how he was. And he thanked him for asking. He was great! In fact, he'd had the most awesome sex in the past ten years last night. Oh, uh, thanks for sharing, Kevin. He continued, clarifying that it was sex with his wife, and it sure was good that she was his wife because he loved having sex with her. Somehow, the Fleshlight was brought up, and it became a recurring joke through both this sex digression and the entire talk.
What struck me was that, unlike any other Q&A I'd seen, Kevin Smith really engaged with the questioner. He would basically have a conversation with them. That's what drove him, he said; this was basically his favorite part of his job. This and the Smodcast. Back when he made Clerks and Mallrats and all those movies, that was his way of having a conversation. He put his heart out onscreen and wanted to hear what people thought. Now Smodcast and Twitter and such fulfilled those needs. He wanted to talk to people, all people, about anything. He also admitted that he wasn't much of a filmmaker anymore; while he still loved film, it wasn't his religion like it used to be. He had changed so much from the person who had made Clerks; he couldn't relate to that guy anymore. He could, however, remember how much everything cost (someone asked what the greatest expenses were).
At least three people asked to get a picture with him, and he assented. They were all different, however. One guy just did it straight-up (actually, I think he had to choose between getting a picture or hearing Kevin rehash the Southwest story, and he chose the picture). Another guy said that his grandfather always told him to find someone whom he admired, someone whose work he respected, someone he wanted to be like—
"And kill him and take his place?" said Kevin.
The guy chuckled. "And that's why he's no longer with us today." There was some booing at his joke, but the guy was like COME ON, and I was on his side. Really, this is a Kevin Smith Q&A, and you're getting offended at that? But no, he was talking about Kevin Smith, his idol, and it would mean so much to his grandfather if he could get a picture with him.
"Wait, so he's alive?" asked Kevin. Heh.
One guy said that he was sitting in the front, and his friends were way in the back, so he wanted to get a picture with Kevin Smith as a fuck-you to them. Aw, how sweet. He always made funny faces when taking pictures with people, maybe as a fuck-you to them. Heh.
One guy began, "We all know you're more successful at writing comics than—"
"Watch it!" said Kevin.
"—getting superhero movies made."
"Nice save," he said. "I thought you were going somewhere else with that." He added, somewhat sheepishly and cutely, "I liked Cop Out."
The guy asked what his dream superhero movie to make would be. He said that he actually had no desire to make a superhero movie anymore; he just wanted to watch them. After Iron Man and The Dark Knight, he was good. Although he was really surprised at reading the new Green Hornet comic based on his screenplay and realizing that, huh, maybe it would have worked as a movie after all.
One guy began relating an anecdote about his friends running into [Jason] Mewes in a Target (or Wal-Mart? I forget). Kevin asked him if he was looking for twelve-inch Greedo dolls. Because apparently that was a thing they did back in the day, go buy up all the twelve-inch Greedo dolls and start their own little black market. The guy didn't know, but he did identify the Target and Kevin knew exactly which one he meant. But in any case, his friends hung out with Mewes, and then he went back to their place, and he accidentally broke their stereo.
"I hope you're not going to say I owe you seventy bucks for the stereo," Kevin said.
But actually the whole thing was some sort of callback to a previous Q&A where the guy had related the same story, having made up the last part, and Kevin had said that if he could fool him again, he would give him stuff or something like that, I don't know. It was confusing.
One woman in a wheelchair asked whether he did any research for Cop Out since her husband was a police officer and the wacky shit they put on film didn't even come close to what he'd seen in real life. As frequently happened, this led to a completely unrelated but hilarious story. Kevin had actually been asked to do a rewrite of S.W.A.T., and he really wasn't into it, but he was told to just take the meeting. So he did, but he brought a couple friends with him. And his friends pretended to be police officers. Even through the final handshake, when one of them was all, "I think you're going to make the boys back at the precinct real proud." Only one man in the room saw through the charade.
Anyway, the woman clearly wanted to tell him a crazy story, even though he wasn't specifically asking for one, so she did, and it was something about pooping and peeing on a prostitute or something, I don't know. People are awkward.
He mentioned that he loved the people that ran WonderCon. On the back of all the placards, they always have that little disclaimer that some people in the audience may be under the age of eighteen. But since they knew him and they knew how he was...they had just taped over it. He displayed it. It was hilarious.
Then there was the highlight of the whole talk. Some guy wanted to ask a question related to weed or something, but he never got to the question because he said it was weird for him to ask since he was straight-edge.
"Wait, wait, you don't smoke weed? How old are you?"
"It's time for you to start smoking weed." The audience cheered.
And then Kevin Smith went on for like twenty minutes—I don't think I'm exaggerating—on this time he and his wife got stoned before having sex, which led to a flashback of the time before that they'd gotten stoned together, which led to a discussion of convenience delivery and living in Ben Affleck's house, which came back to an excruciatingly detailed description of shitting while stoned, which came back to having an amazing, indescribable orgasm while stoned. The whole thing was hilarious, if uncomfortable at times, and it was like a goddamn off-the-cuff stand-up routine. I will not attempt to recreate it here except to say that the punchline was "It's ropey, it's ropey!"
I thought that would be the end, but he still had more in him! He talked about having been called by the Governator and not believing it because anyone can do that voice (ironically, Kevin's Schwarzenegger impression was not that great). But he did call him back a couple days later, which was too late as he'd wanted him to speak at some obesity conference. Kevin admitted to him that he was a little starstruck. He really wanted to make a Conan the Barbarian reference that many in the audience got but I did not since I've never seen it. Anyway, the point of the story was that he told him to legalize weed. Arnold did not seem enamored of the idea, but he said he would consider it. Then he made a joke about being cast in one of his movies before signing off.
And then he called back and quoted Conan back at Kevin Smith. Okay, that part didn't happen. Kevin couldn't even keep a straight face while doing this part, and even after he admitted it didn't happen, he wanted to finish saying the line in Schwarzenvoice. He's such a geek.
One guy asked Kevin Smith to sing happy birthday to his friend Michael. So he did. Sexily.
While rubbing his nipples.
Oh, Kevin Smith.
I know I've left out much of the two-hour set, but he was everything I'd heard about him and more. It's no wonder those sessions are so popular. It was a great, hilarious, full-of-TMI time.
And that was it for Friday, although I offer you this bonus picture I took at the Rockridge BART station:
I really hope this person was at WonderCon.
Tomorrow is Esplanade Day! And, more importantly, meeting-Amy Acker day!