Lots to say about ‘Much Ado…’

September 14, 2012

So, I went up to the Toronto International Film Festival today, to see the last screening of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado About Nothing,” and I loved it. I’d recommend it to anybody, whether they be a fan of Joss Whedon, Shakespeare, both, or neither. But I’m going to direct most of what I have to say in this post to anybody who might be in the same boat as I was coming in:

  • No familiarity with this specific play. I knew that it was Shakespeare, and I’ve read and seen around a dozen Shakespeare plays, but ‘Much Ado’ wasn’t on the list until today.
  • Some familiarity with recent popular television shows and/or blockbuster movies. (I don’t think you’ll have to have seen anything by Joss for this to make sense.)
  • Not much familiarity with typical ‘festival films’, as such.

There are a few things that struck me about the movie that I’ll mention by way of introduction. It’s in black and white, and most of the dialog is in the traditional Shakespearean mode, though I suspect there are very small moments where it was updated for clarity. That was very jarring for me at the start, but I found myself getting used to it very quickly.

There was also a kinduv cool dissonance between the medieval/Renaissance aspects of the script, and the modern setting Joss puts it in. The characters are still Italian lords and ladies who have just returned from a war, but they drive around in cars and play music on ipods. (The ipod got a huge laugh from the audience the first time.) To intimidate someone before challenging a duel, Benedick shows a gun in a shoulder holster instead of gesturing to a sword at his hip.

I found it a little hard to keep track of the cast of characters, so for anybody who’s interested, I’ll share a quick rundown, along with hints about where you might have seen these faces before. More or less in order of appearance:

Benedick is a gentleman, soldier, and confirmed bachelor. The movie opens on a wordless scene of Benedick dressing and leaving Beatrice’s room as she sleeps. He vows to never get married or fall in love, and has nothing but scorn for men who do. He’s very witty and is well regarded for his sense of humor, and trades all kinds of verbal jabs and spars with Beatrice whenever they run into each other. He has recently served in a war on the side of Prince Pedro, who he’s close to. Benedick is played by Alexis Denisof, well-known for playing Wesley on ‘Angel’ and Sandy Rivers on ‘How I met your mother.’

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Dragon*Con 2012: Day 1

September 3, 2012

So, I finished my Friday post having finished Camp Nanowrimo and just about to rush off for my first day of Dragon*Con panels for this year, right? 🙂

First, a little Dragon*Con 101, to help you understand what I’m talking about, and maybe give you a feel for what going is like. Dragon*Con is organized into dozens of fan tracks like WeyrFest, Whedon Universe, BritTrack, and American Sci-Fi Media – those are the ones that I’ve been mostly following. Each track has a ‘home room’ in one of the hotels, where the smaller panels and events will be held, and will reserve a larger ballroom for bigger events, like when they have a celebrity guest Q&A. Often the larger room will be in the same hotel as the home room.

Whedon Universe and BritTrack are very ‘big’ tracks, with a lot of people attending at least a few of their events; bigger rooms, longer lines, and bigger stars, which often does mean bigger fun. Weyrfest is a lot smaller, and doesn’t often leave the Vinings room on the lowest conference level of the Hyatt hotel.

The second thing you need to understand is about the schedule. Each track sets its own schedule, and though there are exceptions, generally the schedules are synchronized on a pattern of one hour for an event, then half an hour for people to get to their next event. So you have panels from 10am to eleven, and then the next panels start at 11:30, and so on through the day until 8:30pm, and then 10pm. Each track generally runs one item in each time slot, though occasionally they’ll have a gap or two choices at the same time, and they each make their own decisions about how early they start or late they go on a particular day. There are often some late parties that run longer than an hour.

Finally, a map! I never found the maps they have in the DragonCon program to be too easy to understand, and sort of learned the layout by trial and error last year. Here’s my own map, not to scale, but it clearly shows everything important, and also gives a few street names:

 

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More Wizard World Toronto 2012 Memories

May 5, 2012

Previous memories.

Okay, so – the Vampire Diaries panel was a lot of fun. The panel was just Paul Wesley and Torrey DeVitto – and I think I didn’t realize for a few minutes that they were both married and castmates on the show, but it sounds like that’s a lot of fun for them. I hadn’t actually gotten to see any of Torrey’s episodes of the show at the time, because I was many months behind, though I’ve caught up to her first appearances by now, thanks to a small weekend marathon.

Jeri Ryan’s Q&A was scheduled in the same room next, and I’d heard enough to guess that Wizard World was going to enforce the ‘clear out of the room and let the people waiting in line have first choice of seats’ policy, so I actually took off five minutes early, when the volunteer mentioned that it was going to be last question, just to beat the rush – and that seemed to work pretty well, though I’m not sure if there was any chance of not getting back into the room.

Jeri was a lot of fun, telling stories about what it was like to be the new girl on Voyager and how she almost fell over on the bridge wearing a laser prosthetic piece over one of her eyes, because it took away her depth perception. She talked up her new show ‘Body of Proof’ a lot too, which makes sense because it’s still waiting on news for getting renewed. I asked her about if she felt she was typecast from having been on Voyager – “No, I feel like it gave me a lot of career opportunities that I wouldn’t have had otherwise” – and asked about her favorite role since, which got her talking for several minutes about Leverage. I’ll have to check that series out.

My last event of the day on Saturday was a Doctor Who fan panel, which was a lot of fun. It was put on by a new fan group, the Doctor Who Society of Canada, which was apparently born at Fan Expo 2011, and they said that they’re looking for new members and had events regularly in the Toronto area.

After the panel, I hurried home so quickly I realized on the bus that I’d completely forgotten to collect the photo that I had taken with Amy.

Sunday morning, as I got off the bus at Union station, something unfortunate happened – I slipped on the slightly wet pavement and wrenched my knee. 😦 But I didn’t want to let it ruin my day, so I hurried off towards the convention center as quickly as I could manage, and soon I was in line to get back into the show. I’d inventoried my Buffy and Angel graphic novels Saturday evening, and managed to pick up several new titles, (getting a discount on a slightly worn copy of the last ‘Buffy Season Eight’) and I also remembered to get my Amy Acker photo.

Soon enough, I was headed back down to panel room B. First was the Quantum Leap Panel – Scott Bakula and Dean Stockwell talking about the old days together, which was an awful lot of fun. I kept using the same trick of leaving the audience a few minutes early to get in line for the next one – hobbling actually, on my injured knee, but I managed well enough. Sean Maher’s Q&A session was next, and it was a lot of fun. He talked about some of his favorite bits of filming “The Playboy Club”, and being a part of Joss Whedon’s “Much Ado about Nothing.” I was able to ask him about his favorite moment of working with Jewel Staite – he said that moment in the Movie where Simon tells Kaylee that his one regret is not making time to be with her, and her reaction is ‘Hell with this – I’m gonna live!’ I also asked him if he had any notion of what happened next for Simon and Kaylee after the movie.

“Well, Jewel and I joked a bit about that. She said that if there was a Serenity 2, it should open with Kaylee like eight and a half months pregnant, really big. And she’s shaving Simon’s head, saying that he’s just too damn pretty.”

And the last Q&A panel of the entire con was Amy Acker. She was great, really funny and sweet, talked about Cabin in the Woods, and Much Ado about Nothing, and how she’s going to be guest starring on Person of Interest. That’s about all I can remember now – catch you later!


Somewhat faded memories of Wizard World Toronto 2012 – part 1

May 2, 2012

Because of the non-stop craziness of the A-Z challenge and continuing to do Six Sentence Sunday, I didn’t get to tell you anything about the Wizard World Toronto Comic Con, which took place April 14th and 15th. I had a really great time, (except for perhaps one moment that I’ll tell you about later,) and want to send a shout-out to the Wizard World team for a very well-run show.

I’ve been to Wizard World Comic Con in Toronto two times before. In 2010, it was actually the first fan convention I ever went to – I won a general admission ticket in a Toronto Browncoats shindig giveaway, and had a really great time, meeting Jewel Staite and Magda Apanowicz. I blogged quite a bit about the 2011 show at the time.

There were a lot of changes to Wizard World Toronto in 2012. They moved from the Direct Energy Center on the CNE grounds to the North building of the Metro Toronto Convention Center, a venue that I haven’t been to since the overcrowded 2010 Fan Expo. They also cut it down to a 2-day show, eliminating the Friday afternoon part of the schedule, and moved into April – the same weekend as the Ad Astra fan-run literary convention, actually. I’m disappointed that I couldn’t go to both Wizard World and Ad Astra this year, but I have no regrets about picking Wizard World.

I stuck with the same strategy I used in the March comic con of taking the GO bus into Toronto each day, rather than getting a hotel room downtown. I was also able to drive to the Hamilton bus station this time, in my new car, which actually made the commute a lot less stressful. I got to the South building pretty early on Saturday morning, armed with my barcode ticket printouts. It didn’t take too long to get one of the barcodes scanned and an official wristband sealed onto my person. Then helpful volunteers directed me up an escalator…

To wait in line, with the rest of the general admission peons, for the doors to the show floor to open. (Behind the advance VIP line, but they had to line up too, at least.)

But around 10 am the line started moving, and I went straight for the celebrity autograph area along the back of the floor. Not many stars were there yet, but I think there was a volunteer at Sean Maher’s booth, saying that he was on his way, so I waited around and got him to sign the two items that I’m trying to get signed by the whole Firefly cast – my Serenity blueprints book, and the graphic novel of ‘Those Left Behind.’ Waited a bit longer for somebody to show up at Amy Acker’s booth – eventually heard from somebody that her flight was delayed and she’d be half an hour – or an hour.

The rest of that morning went pretty quickly. Lining up for the photo op with Sean, by that time the word was in that Amy was on her way and a line was forming at her booth, so I joined the line, got her to sign an Angel comic and a head shot, then lined up to get my photo taken with her. I think around this point I must have grabbed a slice of pizza from the ubiquitous Pizza Pizza concession, and wandered the sales floor, looking for anything really cool I had to buy, Picked up some ‘Firefly’ promotional cards, wandered through the comic book stands looking at all the Buffy and Angel graphic novels, and realized that I had very little certainty of which titles I already owned, so I didn’t buy any that day.

I don’t really remember anything else before three in the afternoon on Saturday, which was the Vampire Diaries panel. Actually, I remember lining up for the panel shortly after two. And I think that I’ve rambled long enough for one post, so I’ll pick it up there next time!


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