Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our fourth calendar year!
Number 196 (Vol. 4, No. 52). This edition is for the week of December 22--31, 2003.
Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year
Season's Greetings from all of us at Crazed Fanboy dotcom and Nolan's Pop Culture Review to you, our loyal readers!
Another year behind us, brighter prospects ahead.
And, of course, a plethora of thank-yous for the many folks who've made this possible.
THE YEAR IN REVIEW FROM A PCR PERSPECTIVE. A mix of personal and national stories.
Reviewing the Archives of Nolan's Pop Culture Review is a reminder of just how much one can get in in a year's time. The first big headline was January's first-ever Super Bowl win for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as the Bucs trounced the Oakland Raiders 48-21. (The current season hasn't been so...encouraging.) We didn't get to revel in ecstacy too long as February's first headline concerned the Columbia disaster, the space shuttle that blew up over several states (mainly Texas), costing seven lives and forcing us, once again, to re-evaluate maintenance objectives on the aging fleet. Tampa was celebrating Gasparilla when news came down the pike.
Along about the same time, I took my first baby steps into internet video with the first 1 Minute With Nolan segments. A PCR class reunion was instigated by Misters Smith and Drinnenberg as they were both invited to the same wedding in Tampa. This gave me a rare opportunity to get everyone together for a "class reunion" snapshot. Well, it didn't quite work out that smoothly, but we had a great time and got some great pictures anyway! Later in February the band Great White suffered a tragedy when they accidentally set fire to the club they were playing, costing lives and losing one of their own in the process.
In March, William, Scott and I finally got to meet ED Tucker, author of the insanely popular "Lost Interview of Dr. Paul Bearer", while visiting Orlando's MegaCon. ED and I were less-than-thrilled with the Con, but we met some cool celebrities (and some not-so-cool), and caught up on tons of Horror Host gossip. I also got a videotape from ED showing us together at a 1991 Con with Dr. Paul Bearer! The same month, one of our notorious Top Ten lists (first of three this year) asked for the Top 10 Sci-Fi Books of all Time. Mid-March, The PCR turned 3 years old the same week America went to war with Iraq. Chicago won Best Picture at the Academy Awards and Matt Cerrato began his short-lived column on toy-
collecting, Plastic People. In April, Mike Smith interviewed Linda Harrison, and a former junior columnist shows up again to write Ashley's Hollwood, nearly causing one of our senior writers to quit! Sadly, I lost two family members this month when I had to say goodbye to Barbara Castellano and Bruce Canova, may they rest in peace.
William and I were invited to a special screening at the Tambay Film Fest to see "IF", and meet the cast. Later in the month, Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses finally debuted, inspiring our own Terence Nuzum to write one of his rare, full-fledged movie reviews. May brought about the beginning of Brandon Jones' Splash Page, the return of John Lewis's Creature's Corner, The Matrix Reloaded, and our second Top Ten List of the year, The Top Ten Cult Movies of All Time. The last day of the month brought us the third Renegade Film Festival, with all the controversy it usually stirs, to say nothing of the big-screen debut of Andy Lalino's Filthy. Andy himself continues to develop his own following in the PCR Lettercol.
June is summer blockbuster time at the movies and this year was no exception, starting off with a less-than-Incredible Hulk and Terminator 3. However, 28 Days Later seems to tickle the fancy of zombie-lovers everywhere. The long-lost Vinnie Blesi who re-arrived on PCR shores just the year before, debuted his TV commentary column, Couch Potato Confessions. Forbidden Video launches. The PCR hitcounter reaches another milestone. The accelerating wave of dying celebrities continues as Strom Thurmond, Katherine Hepburn, and Buddy Hackett pass on. In fact July's first headline reflects same with the passing of Buddy Ebsen. I start getting itchy for more changes at Crazed Fanboy/PCR to ease my workload. La Floridiana celebrates its 100th installment with the story of UFO Hill. Patty G. Henderson's column on murder-mystery books, Murder on the Woo Woo Express returns from limbo.
The end of July marks the new look for Crazed Fanboy, as for the first time ever, I incorporate Nolan's Pop Culture Review into the Crazed Fanboy homepage in an attempt to streamline the operation and make the hit traffic a little easier to understand. A few minor modifications later, it's here to stay.
In this year filled with reunions, William Moriaty and I attend our 30th High School reunion in Clearwater, and afterwards meet up with "Florida Noir" author Dan Allison (All the Little Birdies). Legendary comic Bob Hope joins the previously-mentioned celebrities in the great beyond when he passes on at age 100. Mike Smith talks to Luke Ski. Jason Liquori begins the story of Dinosoldier as we move into August. August contained my "birthday issue" where I tore it up for my 48th with a graphic illustrating my close biological ties to Superman. There was Freddy vs Jason. But probably the biggest thing was the end-of-the-month debut of The World of Nolan internet TV show, my long-held dream, finally coming to fruition with a 14½ video of the third Renegade Film Fest.
September brought the passings of Charles Bronson, Johnny Cash, and John Ritter, reflections on 9/11, Fall TV premieres, and my first steps to a near-disastrous upgrade of my aging-but-reliable computer system as the handwriting on the hard-drive says it's time if I want to grow as a video editor. One of our most notorious Top Ten challenges ever, The Top Ten Albums of the '60s, the third and final Top Ten challenge of the year, stokes a firestorm in the Lettercol. As September moves into October, the month of darkness and death, the latter certainly seems to be in the headlines as Terri Schiavo fights to stay alive, and rock band Hell On Earth fights to die! This raises the ire of Phil Frank who begins his rebuke in the Lettercol, but continues in a private correspondence that lasts to this day. Mr. Frank would surface again later in the year under totally different circumstances. On a more positive note, Mike Smith interviewed Paul Williams. However, Rush Limbaugh, caught popping pills, is forced to step down from his radio show. Siegfried & Roy experience near tragedy as the latter in nearly killed by a confused tiger. I unplug cable TV as we move into the Halloween season. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre remake tears it up at the box-office and the new World of Nolan episode on Rakuween is posted. November is a month of mystery as we wonder about who Prof Paul Bearer II is and we get ready for The Matrix Revolutions. But we do know that Patty G. Henderson's Flash Fantastic has arrived!The sad Hollywood Death march continues as Art Carney joins the others in eternity. Screamfest 2003 is a screaming success in Ft. Lauderdale, but Michael Jackson is screaming his defense at renewed allegations of child molestation, and Glen Campbell is screaming at officers trying to arrest him for driving under the influence. Publisher Ray Ferry is screaming at Matt Drinnenberg to take down his copyright-infringing displays of Famous Monsters symbols on the latter's website only to find there aren't any. I figured I was home free by December, but that contained still more controversy as the 4th Renegade Film Festival created a minor hurricane close to home over what makes a director a director. This cost us one of our writers (Ashley Lauren, who hadn't contributed in a month, here officially "quit"), and it tested our strength and integrity as few issues have before. I mark the 20th anniversary of BLADE, my primordial heavy metal band, on December 5th. New videos are posted to The World of Nolan, including a new roll-in, and separate, discrete links are favored over the embedded player for viewer convenience. Saddam Hussein is finally captured at the bottom of his spider-hole (guess his spider-sense wasn't tingling), should be the story of the year, yet it strangely lacks the necessary impact for many outside the military. LOTR: The Return of The King opens at theaters and completes the masterful trilogy by JRR Tolkien and Peter Jackson. The Strange Agents video and new Christmas video messages are posted to the World of Nolan. Plans are underway to make Crazed Fanboy more vigorously video-centric, but Nolan's Pop Culture Review is forever.
I want to thank...
The PCR has experienced some considerable growth over the last year, which has resulted in new additions to the thank you list. Others you may recognize from years' past. The most valuable players in 2003 were:
Michael A. Smith who has been with me from the beginning and....say it with me folks...has never missed an issue. If I have nothing else with which to start the week, I can count on Mike's movie review. Later in the week, The Rant, a Hollywood commentary and news column, basically started in the first Lettercol ever published. Off-handedly referring to his own letters as his "rant", I saw to it the name stuck. Under extreme stress earlier this year due to personal conflicts, Mike nearly quit the PCR over the addition of Ashley's Hollywood. I talked him out of it, but it was close. Deep down, I knew Mike was in it for the long haul, Ashley was not. And fortunately, Mike is still with us. Mike is 43 and lives in Leavenworth, Kansas with his son Phillip, 19.
William Moriaty has very rarely missed an issue from beginning his La Floridiana column way back in issue #70. His scribblings have attracted the attention of several high-profile authors and not just a few celebrities. His columns on local Horror Hosts resulted in more correspondence than nearly all other La Floridianas put together. Will's series on UFOs and the paranormal in Florida are, to me, required reading for any student of the genre. His pictorial travelouges are generous and personal. William is the only person I went to high school with I still see from that era. Our 30th high school reunion was this year. Will adopted his "Sonny Crocket" look from his near-obsession with the TV show "Miami Vice". Will is 48, and lives in Plant City, FL, with his wife Karen Cashon.
Terence Nuzum, 24, is a native and current resident of Tampa. From his very first appearance defending album choices, he pioneered an in-your-face "punk" writing style that has managed to offend just about everybody in my sphere at least once, but he always knows what he's talking about, even if his diplomacy is occasionally wanting. There's almost nothing he doesn't feel strongly about. The nephew of Woo Woo Express and Flash Fantastic chief Patty G. Henderson, Terence started with his now-classic Tirade, moving later into The Enlightenment and eventually, the excellent music-review column The Digital Divide. Although he doesn't write columns quite as often as he used to (screenplay in the works), he often responds to issues raised in the Lettercol. Terence is a vital and important member of the PCR "staff" and of my personal life.
Matt Drinnenberg, 42, wife Denise, residents of Massachusetts. Matt went to Plant High School with Mike Smith. Their reunion is next year. Matt started The Rail nearly the same time as Mike's Rant, but due to severe constrictions of career was not able to be as regular. No matter, his contributions were and are always valuable. Earlier this year, Matt's journalistic chops got a major boost when a little investigative reporting revealed a seamy underside to the hideous Forrest Ackerman/Ray Ferry battle over Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. Later, Ray Ferry attacked Matt directly, accusing him of stealing copyrighted images for use on Matt's own website, The Masters of Horror. Matt defended himself by saying, basically, that Ferry didn't know what he was talking about. Despite lacing his rhetoric with legal threats, Ferry eventually backed off.
Vinnie Blesi, about 42, a contemporary of Mike and Matt's (and also a Plant High alumnus) started Couch Potato Confessions earlier this year and filled a need we had for good TV commentary. Vinnie disappeared for nearly 20 years before surfacing at the end of 2001 basically in response to finding his name mentioned in one of our columns. Delighted to be reunited with this creative and artistic individual, I vigorously encouraged him when he pitched the idea of writing a TV column. Vinnie is also a member of the post-modern-industrial-din music band Strange Agents. A video of an October performance is at pagetop. Be afraid, be very afraid.
Andy Lalino. I'm probably going to get some huff about this since he's not actually recognized as a regular PCR feature writer, but his intense Lettercol epics are certainly more than casual emails. 37 years old and married to Sandy (who must be a very patient woman), residents of Clearwater FL, Andy is a film fanboy from the word go. His horror film Filthy has garnered him several awards and his resulting higher-profile status garnered him not just a few critics who feel he is smug or smarmy. I don't see it myself, as I am too self-centered to notice. Nevertheless, his Lettercol debates with Terence Nuzum over film history minutiae is the stuff of legend, rivaling Terence's war with Deadguy over art-vs-commerce. Andy has a terrifying devotion to 70's/80s horror culture that makes him stand out as such a disturbed fanboy. How can I not like this guy?
Jason Liquori, 32, a resident of Apopka, FL, Jason wrote to me the first time after I gave his movie "Z the Mailman" a positive review after seeing it at the second Renegade Film Festival. After several more exchanges, I began to see how deeply creative and talented he was. The vision behind Hocus Focus Productions, Jason has been a writer and filmmaker for many years. Earlier this year his crime-thriller "Hit & Miss" won an award, followed closely by the online release of "008: Once is Not Enough", a hilarious James Bond spoof. Jason pitched to me the idea of publishing an original fiction series that he had been working on, on-and-off, for ten years. That series was "Dinosoldier", currently up to chapter 9, and new chapters are on the way. William Moriaty has some designs on doing illios for Dinosoldier as soon as we can fine-tune our output system. (Computer problems have bogged us down this year, but I digress.) Jason has been most generous in contributing animations and short pieces to The World of Nolan internet video series. I've never met Jason face-to-face but hope to in 2004.
ED Tucker is 37 years old, married, resident of Jacksonville, Florida. I've lost many old emails through several computer crashes, so I'm not exactly sure to the minute and second when I was first contacted by ED Tucker, but I'm reasonably sure it as about 2 or 3 years ago, and had to do with information regarding the auction of Dick Bennik's "Dr. Paul Bearer" hearse. A follow-up letter informed me of ED's now-famous lost interview he conducted with the man himself, backstage at Necronomicon 1991. After first publishing it in Scary Monsters magazine, he asked, would I like to publish it on Crazed Fanboy? Sure, I said, why not? Well....I don't know how much traffic or correspondence Scary Monsters got off that, but I'll tell you what, ED's article generated a ton of response for me from fandom assembled, all of it glowing with praise, and deservedly so. ED's extremely knowledgable about many facets of fandom, from arcane video to collectible toys. He has written several top-flight articles and I'm proud to sponsor 'em all. ED and I finally met face-to-face at this year's MegaCon in Orlando. We may repeat that next year, if all goes well. I've been asked if there's any special meaning to ED's first name always being spelled all-caps. Some thought it was meant to be initials, like E. D. Tucker. ED says no, it was simply a style thing as the word "Ed" looks too small in emails. (ED elaborates on some pertinant bio info in this issue's "Letters" --N)
Patty G. Henderson. 52, native and resident of Tampa. Published author, distinguished horror/mystery genre fan of many years, and the current managing editor of Murder on the Woo Woo Express and Flash Fantastic. Introduced me to Terence Nuzum, her nephew, in the late '90s. Patty's enthusiasm for writing and publishing is infectious and her devotion to the new Flash Fantastic space we've developed is inspiring. This will just get better and better.
Brandon Jones. In an earlier edition of PCR, Brandon's name was left off which was by no means intentional. Starting late Spring, his Splash Page has informed and entertained us on all matters movie-wise, comics-wise, and gossip-wise about both and so much more. Brandon was also instrumental in getting me to Dover Florida to help document the Rakuween Halloween and his part in it for the video posted earlier this year.
Extremely honorable mentions go to...
Corey Castellano, 40 of Valrico FL, is totally and completely responsible for the computer system I have right now, any I had in the past, plus coaching and programming brain-picking knowledge related to same. This is besides the fact that he's a full-time Special Effects Make-Up expert in constant demand on movie sets around the world. Corey doesn't write often, but his "Musings of a Make-Up Artist" had many Bay-area filmmakers wondering if he was talking about them. Oh, and he's one of the oldest and best friends I ever had.
John Lewis, 49, of Clearwater, FL. Reappeared earlier this year to resume Creature's Corner, a column on pop commentary, he started in 2000 but lasted only a few weeks. John was pursuing a movie career in the intervening years and this year produced two shorts, one of which, Permanent Job, played at the 4th Renegade Film Festival. We are glad to have Creature's Corner back, especially as it addresses movies and comics. To John's credit it has seen continuous publication, nearly every week since May.
Ashley Lauren, 19, of Ashley's Hollywood and John Lewis's daughter, created quite a stir when her column debuted earlier this year (her short-lived original column, also from 2000, was slightly more generic), her boldness and candor in commenting on stars' weaknesses as well as strengths drew the ire of many readers and a couple staff writers. Ashley left to pursue college, returned to the PCR briefly, then left again, quitting for the last time a few weeks ago over a matter of, shall we say, semantics.
John Petrey, 40, for helping me to develop and manage Forbidden Video and helping with my web development in the early days. F.V. will grow even bigger in 2004 if we can keep the operation as well-oiled as it has been.
Scott van Sickle, 40, chieftain of Bout Time Studios, for his long-term friendship and moral support and help with occasional critical transportation needs. Scott's family, like the Castellanos, took me in during the hard years. You don't forget stuff like that.
Christian Dumais (doo-MAY), 29, an unlikely ally from a rival website some said, but I always liked him and saw no conflict. A gifted writer, Christian raised the rafters in the PCR earlier this year with his unflattering commentary on the third Renengade Film Festival, then elsewhere commented on Orlando's MegaCon as being a "porn con". HAHA, he slays me. Currently living in Poland as an English teacher, he's got 'em all fooled.
Phil Frank, 43, drummer, friend to John Lewis and currently movie partner. A deeply religious man, Phil takes issue with anything anti-Biblical, which means he could find a lot here to debate. And debate he did (or rebuked, actually) over several issues in the Lettercol, mainly over the right-to-life/right-to-die issues. Later, we continued corresponding privately over Creationism vs Evolution. Very stimulating. Phil is helping with some legwork at John's Creature Productions.
|TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2003 by Drew Reiber||TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2003 by Derrek Carriveau|
Lost in Translation – Combining her own story with the style of director Michelangelo Antonioni and the elegance of Japan, Sofia Coppola’s second feature proved to be a masterpiece. Bill Murray shows us that he’s capable of more range with just facial expressions than most actors can manage with dialogue. My favorite movie of the year and the best “disconnected from society” film I’ve ever seen.|
Kill Bill: Volume 1 – Quentin Tarantino may not have a lot going on beneath the surface, but he knows what makes an entertaining action film. The second Spaghetti Western-inspired picture of the year, it might help to whittle down mainstream audience’s intolerance for violence and genre filmmaking. Here’s hoping that the second volume justifies an otherwise incomplete experience.
The Animation Show – Finally, an anthology film with a variety of fresh ideas and a lot of quality. Don Hertzfeldt’s bridging chapters are some of the funniest and most bizarre short films I’ve ever witnessed, not to mention his previously seen (and included) “Rejected”. If you’re a fan of animation whatsoever, see this at your earliest convenience.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico – Robert Rodriguez’s third and final entry in the Mariachi series is a hyper-kinetic ode to Sergio Leone and the fighting spirit of Mexico. In an interesting twist, Banderas’ character becomes a pawn in a country-affecting chess game orchestrated between lead Johnny Depp’s cool-and-evil-as-Hell Agent Sands (imo, even better than Captain Jack Sparrow) and the monstrous Barillo (played by Willem Dafoe). I just wish the movie were longer so the story had a little more time to breathe.
X2: X-Men United – Finally, a superhero sequel done right. I’m sorry, but “Superman 2” lost a lot of points from crappy post-production effects and silly re-shoots by Richard Lester. This movie was for all intents and purposes, intentionally at that, the “Wrath of Khan” of the X-Men series. If the original cast and crew return with free reign on the next sequel, it could very well become the best comic book adaptation to date (“Dark Phoenix Saga” anyone?).
Big Fish – Tim Burton, where have you been? Campy adaptation after stupid remake, Burton hasn’t impressed me since “Ed Wood”. With a stellar cast and a fantastic script, this film shows the power and purpose of storytelling in the otherwise drab world we live in. After such a thought-provoking picture, I just wish that Burton would stick to his strengths and keep away from re-interpretations of already existing films (“Charlie & the Chocolate Factory”).
Freddy vs. Jason – YES! FINALLY! It only took, what, 10 years to the day? That’s right, “Jason Goes to Hell” (with it’s surprise hint to the inevitable battle) debuted on September 13, 1993. But man, was it worth it… especially considering the trash they had to sift through to find the right creative team. Now, the only reason to continue this hybrid franchise is if they follow studio plans and secure Bruce Campbell’s Ash (from “Evil Dead”). Oh please make it so.
Finding Nemo – Yeah, that’s right. A good children-oriented film made it to my list. It’s just too bad that Michael Eisner is doing everything in his power to muck up the chances of Disney making any more films with the incredibly talented Pixar studio. Adult themes, all-ages humor and young characters put in danger… remember those days, Disney? Oh, I’m sorry, didn’t mean to disturb you guys from your work on “Sleeping Beauty VI: Maleficent Lives”.
House of 1,000 Corpses – So there’s life left in horror, who would have guessed? Rob Zombie’s feature film directorial debut was a look back at the hicksploitation horror subgenre of the 70’s and early 80’s. You know, when movies used to be scary? I can’t tell you how good it was to walk out of a movie theater with the hint of nausea in my stomach, for all the RIGHT reasons. I anxiously await the road-tripping sequel due next year.
Cabin Fever – What the Hell?! Another interesting throwback to good horror filmmaking? What happened, were the suits asleep at the wheel again? [See Universal’s green-lighting and subsequent dumping of House of 1,000 Corpses.] Independently produced, Eli Roth (another new director) refused to allow his audience to become comfortable with the experience or exactly what direction the story was taking. Never taking itself too seriously, it didn’t allow it’s inspirational roots to overpower his originality either (28 Days Later, blargh!). Now where’s the sequel? I need more Winston, dammit!
Thank you, Mr. Reiber! Always good to hear from you.
Drew Reiber (rhymes with "fiber"), former PCR columnist of "Wake Up and Smell The Comics" and "The Unapologetic DVD Enthusiast" fame, is currently living and attending college in Orlando. I am honored and pleased he took the time to write. --Nolan)
Here's my Top 13 Albums for the year. I hope this gets to you on time and finds you well.
(It did, and I thank you sir!--N)
Top 13 Albums of 2003
1. Nada Surf - Let Go
2. Ted Leo & The Pharmacists - Hearts of Oak
3. Cursive - The Ugly Organ
4. Death Cab For Cutie - Transatlanticism
5. Marilyn Manson - The Golden Age of Grotesque
6. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take Them On, On Your Own
7. Crooked Fingers - Red Devil Dawn
8. Howie Day - Stop All the World
9. The Twilight Singers - Blackberry Belle
10. Dirty Three - She Has No Strings Apollo
11. The Angels of Light - Everything is Good Here/Please Come Home
12. White Stripes - Elephant
13. Josh Rouse - 1972
Johnny Cash - Unearthed. A boxed set of mostly unreleased songs recorded during his American tenure.
Fu Manchu - Go For It...Live! This was the only live album I picked up this year. But at least it was a good one.
Willie Nelson - Crazy: The Demo Sessions. This probably could have made my Best of the Year list, but I just couldn't get over that most of these songs were recorded 40 years ago. Mostly just Willie and a guitar on a demo reel. Stark, simple and just plain incredible.
Thank you for taking the time to write in Derrek, and Happy Holidays to you.
Derrek Carriveau (pronounced Carra-view, not "voh" like you'd think) is editor-in-chief of Legion Studios, a site devoted to original fiction and comics by independent artists. It was my pivilege to expose this dangerous youth cult on my old public access show, "The World of Nolan". ---Nolan
|NOLAN'S TOP 10 PERSONAL FAVORITE PCR Front Pages of 2003 by Nolan B. Canova|
10. All "Top 10 lists" issues, and every Lettercol. Continuing a tradition of pissing everyone off by starting with a very general category for number 10, I have to say the broad category of Lettercols and Top Ten lists is important enough to include in a class by itself. Any issue of PCR benefits from these. The Lettercols have taken on an especially vital interactivity with fandom over the years, and this year in particular. Rather than give it an "honorable mention", I decided that, like the Top 10 lists, the Lettercols are consistently well done enough to side-step the fact that it's currently linked from the homepage so technically not on the front page anymore (it used to be), but carries enough of my personal attention for inclusion as a front page item and into a single number in my Top 10 PCRs.|
9. The 4th Renegade Film Fest. That it didn't place any higher isn't due to the quality of films which is usually great---it's that for some reason I had really bad luck tracking people down to meet them (I'm trying not to take that personally). Even then, wound up missing a couple important flicks. Still, I always enjoy reviewing the flicks. Highlight: videotape interview with Fangoria.com's and Horrorchannel.com's "Uncle Creepy" (still to be "broadcast").
8. The Tambay Film Fest press sneak where Will and I met the cast of "IF". (The actual Festival winners were listed in the following issue.) This issue is also where Terence and Andy started getting serious in the Lettercol.
7. The Bucs win the Superbowl. I'm going to get chastised by my non-sports friends for this, but it was truly an exciting time to be a Tampan. Lots of pictures of the Denis Lebrun Bucs party. Also had a "One Minute With Nolan" video clip on it, but have since discontinued that series.
6. The "birthday" issue. Basically for the graphics on the Front Page which was otherwise routine. I was very proud of the phony Superman paper trail to my birth. Not sure where I got that idea, except I was obsessed with the TV Land reruns of the old George Reeves series at the time. Interestingly, this issue of PCR was one of those rare ones where all current writers were represented (like this issue). It really rocked (like this issue!).
5. The Year-End issue, that's right, the very issue you're looking at! I'm tremendously happy with how it's turned out.
4. The 3rd Renegade Film Festival. Despite some controversy at the time, I liked this version of the Festival the best of the three out of four I attended, and I liked my coverage of it, too, if I do say so myself. Got lots of good pictures, and as usual, the lettercol was busy for weeks afterwards with all that controversy I mentioned.
3. The first episode of my internet TV show The World of Nolan premieres around the end of August. It has since been taken down for space reasons, to replace with newer episodes, but the moment is fresh in my mind.
2. The PCR "Class Reunion". Very close to a number one, but I knew my judgement was skewed by the sheer emotion of it all. Mike Smith and Matt Drinnenberg traveled to Tampa for a relative's wedding, thus beginning a series of events that lead to an exceptionally rare reunion of all PCR writers past and present, many of whose relationships with me go back decades. Everybody got to meet everybody else. Lots of good pictures and storytelling.
1. MegaCon '03. William Moriaty, Scott van Sickle and I traveled to Orlando, FL to meet up with ED Tucker and Byron Rocher, and visit one of the planet's largest pop culture conventions. Loads of documentation of the entire affair, opinions both good and bad, with pictures. I came home with a videotape, given to me by ED, of us together in 1991 in the presence of Dr. Paul Bearer. Nevertheless, ED and I wrote up the Con in semi-negative terms due to what we saw as mismanagement issues. Lettercol storm followed. Doesn't get much better than that.
|In memory of fallen comrades...|
|I know it seems like much longer ago, but Mike "Deadguy" Scott did contribute one column in 2003, last January. After nearly 2 years of very dark-themed, but incredibly prolific web activity, job and family won out. We wish him the very best.||Returning from a lengthy disappearance, Mad Matt came to me last March with the idea of being a regular columnist with a focus on toy-collecting. Despite our checkered history of past alliances, I nervously went ahead anyway. Matt tried valiantly to be a regular columnist, but lasted only about 6 issues. He disappeared again until October. After a couple visits, he vanished yet again.||This was Ashley's second attempt at a regular column and was far more generous. Her first, back in 2000, only lasted a few weeks. Her father, John Lewis, also returned this year (Creature's Corner). Ashley suspended writing for a brief flirtation with college, then returned to the PCR briefly before being sidetracked once again by John's movie aspirations. She finally quit over my demand for a definition of what a director is. What can I say.|