Sunday, August 29, 2010

Comic-Con 2010: Sightings In and Around

The coolest thing about Comic-Con, to me, is spotting and interacting with the special guests. The best part is that it can happen most anywhere, from booths (both scheduled and surprise), to outside, to on the floor, to in a hotel lobby, and even at off-site theaters.

Here is a listing, from the best of my recollection, of every such encounter I had in my four days at Comic-Con 2010 (in no order of particularity):

JJ Abrams: He was in the audience for the Piranha 3D unsanctioned and too-hot-for-Comic-Con panel held off-site. After the event, he was taking pictures with anyone who asked. Very nice guy. He signed his portroid over the picture and worried that he "f*cked it up". I assured him it was fine. Other than the unfortunately expired film, it was. See?

Tom Lennon: I love this guy. We were crossing the street at the same time toward the convention center. His wife had stopped to take a picture of a bulldog riding a motorcyle, so I took the opportunity to say hello. He is already in three portroids, so we agreed there was probably no need for another just then. I did act as photographer for a few people that asked him to pose with them, of which he graciously agreed. Class act!

Here are the three portroids featuring Tom Lennon:

Thomas Jane: I saw him twice. The first time was when I was waiting in the Machete Taco Truck line with Valorie, Vanessa, and Jorge and he walked by on the other side of the chain link fence and exclaimed loudly to his friend that he didn't know they actually made a Machete movie. They did. The next time was when I was walking by the Hard Rock Hotel and he was walking in. He blew a puff of cigar smoke in the faces of autograph hounds and stuck his hand in the way of a paparazzi lens. Class act!

Bruce Willis: Taller than I expected. I saw Bruce twice. Once heading into the MTV Live interview room at the Hard Rock Hotel and once leaving. He was just a few feet from me each time, but with the cluster of publicists and handlers with him, I did not bother to ask for a photo. You can't get rejected if you don't try (you also can't succeed).

Michael Cera: For how many times I saw him, it is surprising that I never interacted with him. He was at Comic-Con promoting Scott Pilgrim vs. The World (which I have seen, and loved, and recommend you see in theaters while you still have the chance). I saw Michael at the Scott Pilgrim panel, at the MTV Live recording and in the waiting area afterwards (where I'd taken a few portroids previously, but was informed by security that I wasn't allowed, so I stopped), walking in downtown San Diego with the rest of the cast from Scott Pilgrim (across the street from me for a few blocks before our paths diverged), and again the next day entering the theater for the sneak peak screening of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Alas, despite it all, no portroid for Mr. Cera.

Brian Posehn: He performed at the House of Blues with Patton Oswalt and the next day I saw him walking around on the exhibit floor and told him I enjoyed his performance. I already had a portroid from a few years prior at SF Sketchfest:

Stan Lee: The Man himself. I attended a Manga panel where he was expected, but due to  illness he did not make it. I did end up seeing him later that day doing a signing on the exhibit floor, but didn't get the chance to meet him. Maybe next year.

Peter Serafinowicz: Along with Robert Popper, he was doing a signing at the BBC America booth for the DVD release of "Look Around You". They were also signing "Look Around You" lab coats which were being given away for free. Portroid with expired film:

Malcolm McDowell: As I walked the exhibit floor I came across a booth where Malcolm was doing a signing. He sat there in his sunglasses and for X amount of $ you could have him sign a headshot or whatever. Thinking back I probably should've paid his ransom and had a nice shot for my collection, but alas no. Perhaps next time.

Jane Wiedlin: At the Image booth promoting her new comic book, "Lady Robotika", Jane Wiedlin and Bill Morrison (co-creator) showed up a few minutes early for a specially-arranged portroid opportunity. Usually I don't like portroid subjects to use props in their photos, but Jane's use of the face-hugger Alien really turned out well:

Bill Morrison: At the Image booth with Jane Wiedlin with their new comic book, "Lady Robotika":

Corey Feldman: Corey was doing a signing at the WB booth for the third film in the "Lost Boys" series, but the line had already reached capacity by the time I arrived, so I just took a quick digital picture as I walked by. The next day as I was entering the convention center, he was walking in right by me. I only noticed him, in his sunglasses and hat, because I recognized his voice as he pointed out the floating bubble people soaring above the city. I told him I am a fan of his films and he said thanks and gave a two-finger handshake (while holding his cell phone). I didn't ask to take a portroid because he was there with his young son and father.

Chevy Chase: He was doing a signing for "Community" at the Sony booth. They weren't allowing photos or personalizations because they didn't want people to be holding up the line. I even asked one of the publicists I worked with in one of the press rooms (as she was standing by the signing table) and she also said it wasn't going to be possible. Something held up the person behind me, so Joel McHale approved my Polaroid and snuck a signature on it for me. Next in line was Chevy. I did not take his picture, as I already had at the Boulder International Film Festival (though I should have because my original one is kind of blurry). I talked to him for about 30 seconds about that and then moved on down the line. He pretended to remember me, but I know he was just being nice :)

Erik Estrada: On my way to meet a friend for lunch, I ran into Erik on the street. He was taking a photo with some people passing by. I stopped and took a photo, too. He was very cool about it. My friend asked me if I called him "Ponch". I did not, but I didn't need to:

Aubrey Plaza: She was at the Hard Rock Hotel with many of the cast of "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World" for the MTV Live interview. As I had been asked by security to not take any photos, I didn't. I also saw her all the other places I saw Michael Cera, so re-read that section to know where those places were (so you can meet her should you ever get a time-and-place machine (I have faith in you! Keep trying!)).

Scott Adsit: As I was walking through the Sails Pavilion, I happened upon Scott. He seemed surprised that I wanted his picture, but he granted one anyway. Hooray for me!

Mark Hamill: Walking down the hall, after signing a ton of impromptu autographs, and heading to the DC Universe Online media party, Mark enthusiastically agreed to a Polaroid. I'm happy to have caught some of the fans in the background behind him, too.

Simon Pegg: Surprise guest on the Scott Pilgrim panel where he and Nick Frost came out hyped-up on stage and almost instantly turned around and dejectedly left when it was announced they had nothing to do with the film. I also saw Simon walking down the street with his ball cap down low. I didn't stop him for that reason and because I already had a portroid from the "Spaced" Butt-Numb-A-Thon at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin two years prior, and because he wasn't with Nick Frost, who I was really hoping to meet (spoiler alert: I never did).

Mr. Brainwash: He was doing a signing at a booth on the far side of the exhibit hall. There were two posters available, including the Star Wars reunion one. I arrived just as he was walking back into the enclosed booth and didn't get the chance to talk to him about getting a portroid. The guy working the booth said no photos. I wish I could've gotten a Polaroid. If you haven't seen Banksy's film "Exit Through the Gift Shop", you absolutely must. It's genius. I'd love to get portroids of Mr. Brainwash and Banksy (in his monkey mask) someday (if either of you read this, email me at and let's put something together).

Here are some Banksy street art pieces we came across last weekend in San Francisco (plus we saw one that had been painted over):

Alex Winter: On the exhibit floor I spotted Alex (of "Bill and Ted" and "Lost Boys" fame). He was holding an infant, so it didn't seem like a cool thing to ask for a photo, so I was totally cool and didn't.
Donald Glover: At the "Community" signing at the Sony booth. Luckily the person behind me in line was spending a lot of time talking to Chevy Chase so it gave me the freedom to walk down the line taking portroids of the entire cast. Awesome!

Zachary Quinto: Saw him quickly at the Hard Rock Hotel talking to Edgar Wright. He was on a bunch of panels, but I didn't get the chance to see any of them.

Nick Kroll: Saw him briefly as I walked by the WB booth during the "Children's Hospital" signing. Here's a portroid from SF Sketchfest:

Robert Popper: At the BBC America booth for the "Look Around You" signing with Peter Serafinowicz. Again, expired film:

James Adomian: At the Patton Oswalt show at the House of Blues, Patton called out a member of the audience for their pirate laugh and started interrogating them from the stage. That person turned out to be his friend, James Adomian.

Karl Urban: Remember all the stuff I wrote about seeing Bruce Willis? No? Scroll up and read it again. I'll wait ... Remember now? Yes, good. Karl was there with Bruce for all of that. They were there promoting the new film "Red".

Levar Burton: There was a booth which offered, for the low price of $50, signatures from a large number of the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Lined up in their own version of Hands Across America were a bunch of women forming a red rover blockade to stop people from taking unauthorized photos. Levar, despite this attempt to keep people moving, stood up on his chair and began spouting some sort of public address. Despite this public address, I kept moving.

Adam Scott: I had the chance to talk to Adam at the Piranha 3D event. We discussed our previous interview (included below), my continued Polaroids, our mutual disappointment in Starz cancelling "Party Down", and his new role on "Parks and Recreation". An exceptional actor and an exemplary person overall.

Jim Norton: As we waited in the Machete Taco Truck line, as the final group that was allowed in, comedian Jim Norton showed up and tried to join the line, but was turned away by the bouncer. Too bad. It would've been fun to hang out/near until we each received our miniature tacos.

Peter Mayhew: Another example of wishing I was willing to pay money for a photo and autograph. The man who played Chewbacca himself sat at a booth perfectly willing for me to pay him for his brief attention. Should've done. The cool thing is that Peter Mayhew, Mark Hamill, and Harrison Ford were all there the same day. They totally should've gotten together for the ultimate reunion hangout.

Mae Whitman: As one of the cast from "Scott Pilgrm vs. The World", Mae was to be found wherever the cast was to be found. And despite that, I still never got the chance to get a portroid of her. Drat!

Kyle Kinane: After performing with Patton Oswalt at the House of Blues, Kyle came outside and I was able to talk to him and take a portroid. The coolest part was that he was familiar with this site and my Polaroid portrait project. He told me about a show he was going to be doing in Denver, but it fell on a date I would be out of town. I hope to see him perform again sometime, as he was hilarious. You, too, should actively pursue attending one of his shows.

Tim Heidecker: For the past few years Tim and Eric have been putting on their own convention during Comic-Con. It is called Awesomecon and I made sure to get over to the park where it was held and check it out. Was it awesome? Sure. Here's a portroid of Tim from SF Sketchfest a few years ago:

Jerry O'Connell: Along with the aforementioned potential "Star Wars" reunion I aforementioned, another potential reunion could have included Jerry O'Connell, Wil Wheaton, and Corey Feldman for "Stand By Me". I even hoped to do my own reunion via portroids, as I was guaranteed to see Wil, for he was participating in lots of events I planned to attend, yet he is the one I never saw. Jerry, on the other hand, I did see and was able to take a portroid of (with expired film, no less) at the "Piranha 3D" event. I even left at the same time as him, but so he wouldn't think I was following him, I diverted my course and ended up getting lost in downtown San Diego in the middle of the night. Thanks, Jerry, for my thinking you might think I was following you. You made me get lost!

Mary Elizabeth Winstead: In cahoots with the rest of her cohorts from "Scott Pilgrim vs. The World", Mary Elizabeth managed to escape Comic-Con unportroided. Well played!

David Wain: As you all know, David was one of the very first people to have his portroid taken, almost seven years ago in Seattle. Since then I've seen him countless times (like five or so) and have not taken a follow-up portroid (for integrity's sake). All that said, I saw David at Comic-Con doing a signing for Children's Hospital at the WB booth. Here's his Seattle portroid circa 2003:

Joel McHale: At the Sony booth for the "Community" signing, Joel bucked the system and started the trend down the line of helping me get portroids, despite the specific instructions from the staff to not. As a result, I got some great photos and have made multiple mentions of Sony and NBC show "Community". Everyone wins!!!

LL Cool J: While I waited in line for the "Community" signing at the Sony booth (win), LLCJ showed up within eyeshot at the CBS booth. Would that I could I would've gone there, too.

Alexandre Aja: At the Piranha 3D event, director Alex Aja presented footage from his film. Afterwards, I got a portroid with some expired Polaroid film:

Seth Green: I only saw Seth briefly as he was walking in to the green room. What more is there to say? He was there to promote Robot Chicken.

Robert Rodriguez: At the Hard Rock Hotel, Robert was doing the MTV Live interview to promote his new film "Machete" with Danny Trejo. While he was waiting to go on, I just stood by and didn't ask for a photo. I thought I'd for sure see him at the Machete Taco Truck later. I didn't. Always take advantage of every opportunity.

Details on these sightings to be posted soon:

Eric Wareheim
Bill Hader
Anna Kendrick
Scott Aukerman
Ellen Wong
Ian Brill
Alison Brie
Edgar Wright
Dirk Benedict
Rob Corddry
DJ Lance Rock
Kelly Brook
Brent Spiner
Richard Hatch
Danny Trejo
Seth Rogen
Jason Schwartzman
Paul Scheer
Patton Oswalt
Yvette Nicole Brown
Kieran Culkin
Nathan Fillion
Gillian Jacobs
Denis O'Hare
Lake Bell
Elisabeth Shue
Brandon Routh
Adam Baldwin
Felicia Day
Jonathan Ross
Stephen Tobolowsky
Satya Bhabha
Tad Stones
Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Alison Pill
Brande Roderick
Kynt and Vyxsin
Eli Roth
Danny Pudi
Chris Hardwick
Morgan Spurlock

This list does not include people I saw on panels or in press rooms. Those reports are yet to come.


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