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Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
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The Doubletree Inn Con; Indie Film Fest for August áby Nolan B. Canova
La Floridiana Tidbits áby William Moriaty
"Idlewild" áby Mike Smith
Tampa Comic Con....Craxked Magazine Makes News....VHS Grindhouse: "Legend of the Werewolf" áby Andy Lalino
Ducks on a Pond....It's Only Money...Movie News....My Favorite Films, Part 34: "Tombstone" áby Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review
Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 335  (Vol. 7, No. 34). This edition is for the week of August 21--27, 2006.

The Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show; Indie Film Fest for August

By Nolan B. Canova

With Brandon Jones deciding to sit this one out and Corey Castellano out of town on business, thankfully, Terence Nuzum was willing to accompany me to this edition of the Tampa Giant Comic Con and Toy Show, and more significantly for us this time, the fifth Creature Productions Tampa Indie Film Fest contained therein.

Long-time readers of the message board will no doubt recall the thread where we crucified Creature Productions for a poorly-managed Indie Fest IV last May, where even the promoters didn't show up on time. I'm happy to report our criticisms were taken to heart, as Indie Fest V was WAAAY better executed than ANY of the previous four! Good production, good movies, John and Ashley Lewis were not only there on time, but had a table, a red carpet and velvet ropes out front! A computer laptop or two were on hand to play trailers and show pictures. Plenty of literature and flyers. Excellent, kids, that's the way to do it. Unfortunately, Doug & Wanda Vaters, the Lewis's helpful assistants, and the ones unfairly targeted for much of the failure of IV, were a little chilly towards me as I had sadly expected. Hopefully, someday, bygones will be bygones.

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Comics publisher Terry Cronin, left, and PCR publisher Nolan Canova in front of the "Students of the Unusual" booth.
Michael Insignares, foreground, and Alex Saviuk (next to Michael) meet with fans.
On the path to meet Noel Neill, '50s TV Lois Lane and promotion of her just-published biography.
TV legend Noel Neill, forever Lois Lane to a generation of baby-boomers!
PCR hellion Terence Nuzum, left, and I outside the Creature Productions Indie Film Fest room.
Ashley Lewis (a hellion in her own right) mans the Creature Productions booth outside the film room. Cinematographer Paul Bigotti chills next to her.
Ashley Lewis and Uncle Nolan.
From left, Paul Bigotti (pointing), Nick Cutti (standing), Nolan Canova, Ashley Lewis, John Lewis at the C.P. table.
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From left, Terence Nuzum, Sam Catalino, Nolan Canova, and Paul Bigotti. Sam and I were classmates in high school.
Left to right, John Lewis, Rick Danford, and Ashley Lewis. Ashley's holding The Reaper, a Rick Danford film.
Sometimes the pictures just don't come out well as in this attempt to capture me with C.P. mascot, Lon Madnight.
Darth Vader and me! He's the one on the right.
God only knows what's up with these two. Rick Danford (left) and Andy Lalino chat in a corner.
Outside the Doubletree, Bill Black (left, back to camera) converses with Rick Danford (center) and Chris Passinault (right)
Closing group shot outside the Doubletree, left to right: Chris Passinault, Andy Lalino, Nolan Canova, Chris Woods, Terence Nuzum, and John Lewis.
Take two, same group with Ashley Lewis added in the picture while Chris Woods holds the camera!
As we were taking in the ambiance, we encountered filmmaker Chris Woods and photorapher Chris Passinault who'd arrived on the scene earlier. Soon joining us were cinematographer Paul Bigotti, and comics legend Nick Cutti, who has been working with the Lewises on several productions. Within minutes we were surprised at the appearance of noted area filmmaker and event promoter Rick Danford. Didn't see that coming. He had a copy of The Reaper to give Ashley and presumably converse about the Halloween Horror Picture Show.

Terence and I took in a few short films, all out-of-state entries (we wondered why no locals were represented), all good stuff. Strangely, at least two movies were only shown partways as "filler" to balance out the schedule. This would be my only criticism of the fest and it's fairly minor, but it was annoying -- why pull the plug on a movie when it's still playing?

The Con itself boasted several comics celebs and one really big movie/TV one: Noel Neill, Lois Lane of the classic TV series The Adventures of Superman. She also had cameos in 1978's Superman The Movie and this year's Superman Returns. I first met Noel Neill at a custom car show in 1975 (got an autograph, wish I could find that picture), then again at the Famous Monsters Con of 1993. She was a sweetheart then and she's a sweetheart now. Her autograph line stayed pretty busy.

Nick Cardy, Alex Saviuk, Michael Insignares, Rob Granito, Mark & Stephanie Heike, Fran Matera, John Taddeo, and Larry Ward (author of "Truth, Justice and The American Way" Noel Neill biography), were some of the other noted celebs in the autograph section.

Although I was delighted to see Terry Cronin at his Students of the Unusual table (thanks for the comic Terry!), it seemed to Terence Nuzum and me that the number of dealers in general was down this time; we recalled the previous con as having at least four video/DVD dealers, this time we only found one. Greenshift Comics evidently decided to sit this one out as well. The ultra-regular Wet Ink Studios did have a table, but only one person behind it, someone I didn't know, instead of the usual three. And the people who represented Bubba The Redneck Werewolf from last time were nowhere to be found. I suppose Dick Kulpa (formerly of Cracked Magazine) has given up on traveling to Tampa, he hasn't been to one of these Cons in a while. Well, hey, these things happen in cycles, and I'm sure dealers out on "summer vacation" will return in November.

I was delighted to run into a gen-u-wine Robinson High classmate from the year I graduated (1973), Mr. Samuel Catalino. Sam and I see each other every so once in a while, and I was very happy when he recently registered on the message board and started actively posting! This makes only us three musketeers remaining (the third being William Moriaty) that still hang out to this day.

Closer to lunchtime, another shocking personal appearances was made by noted Tampa filmmaker/director Andy Lalino. Not used to seeing him show up to these things, but of course, the more the merrier I say! Andy's great to hang with, we just never have enough opportunities to do so (I told him he looks like he's lost some weight).

Creature Productions' special guest Bill Black was outside the hotel giving a sort of moving lecture as he decided to shoot some scenes for a video on-the-fly! I didn't join that group so can't report on just exactly the lecture/shoot was about.

Before I left, I got pictures taken of me with Creature Productions' mascot "Lon Madnight", then later with Darth Vader!

We took some group pictures, then Terence, Chris Woods and I departed the Doubletree and went to the Durango for lunch. All in all, a very positive experience.

For more reaction on the Tampa Giant Comic Con, please see this issue's "Oddservations".

All photos taken by Nolan Canova, Chris Woods, Terence Nuzum, and Ashley Lewis

All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ę2006 by Nolan B. Canova.

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