July 24, 2006

I Came, I Saw, I Comic-Conned!

Every year I'm always amazed at how much fun Comic-Con is. I've been going to this convention for years and it's always a blast to see old friends, pick up some new toys/comics/art and of course be blown away at the mere fandom this place can hold.

Here's a few of the highlights from this weekend:

  • Snakes on a Plane booth: By far the coolest booth there. A gigantic snake head with a booth you could walk inside it!

  • Artist Alley: This is where the rock stars hung out like: Tom Hodges, Matt Busch, Randy Martinez, Cat Staggs, Cynthia Cummens, Joe Corroney, Otis Frampton, Ground Gould, Adam Hughes, Chris Trevas, Russell Walks and the usual suspects. Special thanks to Cat for the b-day prezzie and Adam for the signed art!

  • Roman Dirge and Kiana: I only got to chat with them for a few seconds as Roman was wrapping up his signing at the Slave Labor booth, but it was worth it to get a portrait of him and his taxidermied pal.

  • Lowbrow Art and toys: This year almost looked more like a Juxtapoz magazine convention than one for comics. The amount of high-end beautifully weird paintings, sculptures and toys was astounding. And for someone who's not a huge comic book collector, it was a nice change. I took a bunch of snapshots of the toys that were some of the more unusual showcased, but there literally were booths and booths full of this stuff. Jesus as an astronaut was my favorite.

  • Parties!: I went to the Master Replicas party long enough for a cocktail and to chat with some folks from work, but the real party was at Gentle Giant where there were plenty of more cocktails and celebs. I didn't take any photos but I did almost fall headfirst into the chocolate fountain which made me nervous that an Oompa Loompa was going to come for me at any minute.


Check out the full gallery of my photos here on Flickr.

July 18, 2006

Man in Red Dress on the Run

So yesterday evening around 7pm as I was on the treadmill at the company gym in the Presidio -- burning off stress and a double mocha -- I noticed about 25 to 30 guys running by outside in what looked to be a marathon. The thing is, they were all wearing red dresses!

At first I was thinking I finally experienced Runner's High until the girl on the other treadmill beside me took off her headphones and said, "What the hell is THAT?"

We watched as man after manly man dressed to the nines in red ballgowns, prom dresses, bridesmaid dresses and perky cheerleading outfits ran by in varying degrees of fatigue. Some had red beehive wigs and some looked like great aunts at family reunions that you're warned not to make eye contact with...

Of course, living in the Castro for so long, if I see a man in a dress it better be a high-end drag queen wearing MAC makeup, Jimmy Choo heels and a sparkly Versace dress. Seeing normal jocks in bridesmaid dresses is a little unnerving -- especially when you recognize one of the dresses as your own.

On the other side of me watching the whole spectacle was a really buffed out muscle man, probably one of the security guards on break as opposed to our scrawny gamer kids at LucasArts or ILM. He remained silent until the very end when the last trailer runner wogged by.

"Ya know that guy really shouldn't be wearing that outfit," he said rather somberly. "That skirt isn't doing his thighs any favors."

At any rate I'm curious if any of you know what that was all about? Was it an extension of this weekend's AIDS run, or is there a new sport I don't know about involving red dresses, wigs and jogging in packs?

July 17, 2006

My Letter to Magnet Magazine

I've been on a kick recently to write at least one Letter to the Editor every week to magazines and publications that I read religiously like Magnet, Premiere, The Believer, Juxtapoz, Giant Robot, BUST, Filter, ReadyMade, Nylon, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, Uncut and a ton of others.

So to start off my letter writing frenzy, I got a letter to the editor published in the July/Aug issue (#72) of Magnet thanking them for posting the Decemberists' tour diary in issue #70.

The Empire Writes Back
As I opened issue #70 to read the Decemberists' tour diary, I was happily surprised not only to read about how much fun they had during the tour I gave them of Skywalker Ranch but also to see the photo of them posed around our beloved Yoda statue. Earlier in the year, I interviewed Jenny Conlee for the official Lucasfilm site: www.starwars.com. Little did I know that on that same night, the Decemberists would turn their live show at the Fillmore into an impromptu tribute to Darth Vader. Not only did the band play a short cover of the Star Wars theme, but Jenny -- dressed in her DIY fress made from a vintage Star Wars sheet -- and her bandmates re-enacted a rather impressive lightsaber battle onstage. I was already a die-hard Decemberists fan, but after seeing their flattering tribute to the Skywalker family and meeting them in person, I have to saythe Force will always be with them.

Bonnie Burton
Lucasfilm
San Francsico, CA

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July 12, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me

Today on July 12, 1972, I was born in rural Kansas amongst the cowboys and tumbleweeds -- (pssst that means I'm 34). And I have to say even though I feel more like the Incredible Hulk every day (alone, bad temper, clothes don't fit right) I'm still damn glad I'm on this planet.

Every year I make a list of things I accomplished over the year so I can feel proud that I'm not a complete slacker. I'm still kicking it at Lucasfilm and I get to interview rock stars and celebs for the Star Wars Rocks section I started. In fact since last July, I got to chat with: Richard Patrick, Ash, The Muffs, Nickel Creek, Anthrax, Slipknot, Fall Out Boy, Aqualung, Eisley, Story of the Year, Ween, DJ Kid Koala, DJ AM, Cut Chemist, Viva Voce, Jane Wiedlin from the Go-Go's, Chris Vrenna, Death Cab for Cutie, Relient K, Snow Patrol, Coheed and Cambria, Nine Black Alps, The Darkness, Thee More Shallows, Mike Doughty, Richard Cheese, the guys from "MythBusters," J.J. Abrams (Creator of "Lost"), the designers from "Project Runway 2," and actor Seth Green! So yeah, work is good.

Plus as I'm putting the finishing touches on the text for the How To Draw Star Wars book, I'm working on getting another one book to pitch. And it doesn't hurt that I get to still freelance for my favorite magazines like BUST and Organic Gardening.

It's pretty obvious that being a workaholic is what I've been about for the last 12 months. I tried dating again last year, but it didn't quite pan out. So I figured I would throw myself into work. But thanks to my friends who get me outside once in awhile, I hopefully won't lose all my social skills! So thank you to everyone who's been a pal to me this year! It's appreciated more than you know! ;-)

When I came to my desk this morning, Kristen had delivered via her boyfriend some rather tasty homemade brownies, and Mary Franklin (if you don't know her, you're missin' out!) gave me some of her special Chipotle-infused tequilla. And Erin and Libby were nice enough to make me dinner. It's rare I get a homecooked meal these days, so that was just about the best present I could get to end out the day.

Not that any of you have to -- but if you feel inclined to buy me a birthday prezzie, here's my Amazon wish list. But I'd be just as happy with an online greeting card. I still get a Klingon birthday greeting every year, and that brings a smile to my face -- even though technically my loyalty lies with different galaxy far, far away.

As you can see by this lovely birthday message of me as Bea Arthur in the Star Wars Holiday Special made by my pal and co-worker Pete:

July 5, 2006

My Open Letter to My Neighbors

Open Letter to the Neighbors Who Refuse to Clean Up After Mr. Whiskers,

While I am thoroughly grateful that you are NOT the kind of tenants who like to randomly set fires, or set up a meth labs in your kitchen, or steal gas from my car, I feel as though I must address an issue that has been bothering me for some time namely the cat feces I step in regularly deposited at our garage door. It seems that your cat Mr. Whiskers, who likes to keep a low profile as the outdoor guardian of the trashcans, is now using our garage door as his litter box.

Now I am all for believing the world is one's oyster, or even a stage, but since I don't shit on seafood or theaters, I'd like to ask that Mr. Whiskers stop defecating in the one area we all share.

I left rather whimsical notes asking you to start picking up his morning presents complete with an impressive portrait of Mr. Whiskers dancing in his litter box waving a white flag of surrender. I taped it to your car and front door. Did you see them? Because the day after, I saw that Mr. Whiskers left another odorous present by the garage door. In fact, his deposits are getting larger in quantity, and smellier I might add. Are you perchance feeding your feline Indian food?

Since you may have missed my notes, I also drew a series of signs featuring famous cartoon cats you might recognize, asking you to put a litter box by your door, or to keep your cat inside for a wacky change of pace. I've posted them in the exact area where Mr. Whiskers likes to have his morning bowel movement. If anything, perhaps it will sink into his little brain that even his role models wouldn't use our garage door as a latrine.

Case in point Azrael chased Smurfs, but he never crapped all over Gargamel's hut. Garfield ate so much lasagna that explosive diarrhea must have been the norm, but he at least kept his leakage contained inside the litter box. I figure the dapper Snagglepuss was most likely toilet trained. And when you think about it you'd never see the Thundercats take a dump in a garage. Heck, even Stimpy loved spending time in his box so much that he wrote poems about Gritty Kitty litter.

So please take the advice of the cartoon kitties I took so many hours to draw and shade, so that I no longer track in Mr. Whiskers' colon creations all over my apartment and car. Myself and Cheetara sure would be thankful.

Sincerely,
Girl Upstairs

------

I posted my letter on Craig's List as well here. Originally submitted to McSweeney's Open Letters section.


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