Thursday, January 19, 2017

Clowning Around At Days of the Dead Chicago 2016

You see lots of great costumes at Days of the Dead events.  I always like seeing the various horror clowns.  At the last Days (Chicago 2016), I saw a cosplayer as Pennywise, the frightening clown from It.
Some people find clowns creepy.  I find them fascinating.  Either way, they are definitely colorful.  I have to applaude the fan who goes as a clown, because it requires a lot of makeup work.
I could have fun just people watching at Days.  There are so many other great costumed fans.  You'll see a lot of ladies as Harley Quinn and men as Joker, but you'll also see some obscure characters, too.  Those people usually take it more seriously than anyone.  It's all fun though!
The next Days event is February 3-5 in Atlanta.  You can check out DaydoftheDead.net for guest announcements and other info.
A cosplayer and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2016.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Steve Burton at REWind Con 2016

REWind Con 2016 brought in the "Boys of Port Chuck," which meant some of the studs of the daytime show General Hospital.  I knew this would be a major hit with the young ladies, but I didn't realize how popular they would be with male fans, too.  They all drew long lines of fans (male and female).
I haven't watched GH in a long while, but I wanted to meet a couple I knew from my biewing days.  Steve Burton was one of those.
Burton played Jason Morgan (Quartermaine).  Morgan "died" a few times, disappeared, lost his memory, joined the mob and had most of the usual daytime drama usual experiences. He left and returned to GH a few times, too.  Along the way, he developed quite a large following.
After his last GH departure, he joined the cast of The Young and Restless.  It was just announced that he was leaving Y&R and the rumors of his return to GH immediately started.  When I had my chance to talk briefly to Burton, he would not confirm that rumor, but my guess is that you will eventually see him back in Port Charles.
Burton was really cool with each of his fans.  Every time I saw him, he was taking two pictures with each fan.  For the guys, it usually was one straight and one "tough" picture.  For the ladies, it seemed like one regular and one "huggy" picture.  He made all of his fans happy!
He would make even more fans happy if he did return to GH.  Until then, you can check REWindCon.com to see if he will be appearing at any of their events in 2017.
Steve Burton and me in Bloomingdale, IL-November 2016.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Marty Jannetty, The "Marty Jannetty" of the Rockers

Marty Jannetty gets a bad rap at times.  In the Rockers (or Midnight Rockers), he was one-half of an exciting, young tag team with Shawn Michaels.  One legendary kick through a "window" on a WWF televised skit later and Michaels was headed for superstardom leaving Jannetty to become the standard bearer for guys left behind.
Andrew Ridgeley to George Michael.  Peter Scolari to Tom Hanks.  Jim Messina to Kenny Loggins.
It's never really fair.  How does one partner far exceed the one left behind?  Fate?  Luck?  Talent?
I'm not taking anything away from Michaels.  Despite his own demons, he had a Hall of Fame career.  Still, at one point, Michaels and Jannetty were seen as fairly equal.  What happened and could it have been reversed?
In the world of pro wrestling, the promoter can make or break you.  In this case, Vince McMahon saw something special in Michaels and he was proven right, but what about Jannetty?  He went on to have a solid career, but nothing like Michaels.  Jannetty's lot in life is to be the guy referenced when one partner leaves the other far behind.  
Jannetty had some personal problems, but so did many wrestlers, especially during that era.  If McMahon had switched the roles, what would have happened to both of these men?  It is hard to say.  It's easy to say talent rises to the top, but it is also easier to rise above when you are given a better chance.
By any other measuring stick, Jannetty beat the odds and had a lengthy, if unspectacular, career as both a tag team wrestler and as a singles wrestler.  At least, Jannetty seems to be in a good place in his life and that is the most important factor of all.
Marty Jannetty and me in Elk Grove Village, IL-March 2013.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Friendly Encounters: Marty Jannetty and Bob Jay

This is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

I see a lot of strange things at Days of the Dead.  Few things (if any) have been stranger than seeing "Ozzy" interact with wrestling legend Marty Jannetty.  Then again, what did I expect when PsychoBabbleTV invaded Days?
Mike Preston and his crew made the rounds at the DotD event in Chicago last year.  Bob Jay did his usual outstanding performance as the barely coherent Ozzy performing the interviewing duties.
For his part, Jannetty went along with the insanity.  To be perfectly honest, Jannetty was enjoying the bit, but he also enjoyed the entire weekend (maybe a bit too much).
It all produced a funny segment for PsychoBabbleTV, as you can see at PsychoBabbleTV on Vimeo.  There are also a few other interviews Ozzy conducted.  It's all highly entertaining, like PsychoBabbleTV usually is.
Marty Jannetty and Bob Jay in Schaumburg, IL-November 2016.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Celebrity Jersey Cards #305 Edge & April Hunter

This is a regular series where I create virtual trading cards for jersey-clad celebrities.

Adam "Edge" Copeland was born in Canada and lives in North Carolina, but somehow, he is a fan of the New Jersey Devils.  Then again, so is my friend JayHawk Evans, but I digress.  He retired from wrestling early because of injury, but he had already started acting.  The WWE Hall of Famer really earned his Celebrity Jersey Card by sitting with the public at game.
Former wrestler April Hunter was born in Philadelphia, but she earned her Celebrity Jersey Card while wearing a Boston Bruins sweater.  I won't argue that, although the fans of the respective rival teams might.  I also don't know the significance of her #55.  Only eight players have worn that for the Bruins, with Johnny Boychuk as the most notable.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Thinking of the Chicago Bandits and Emily Allard

It's early January and cold outside.  My thoughts turn to softball to warm my brain.  When thinking of softball, I start with the Chicago Bandits and nobody represents the Bandits better than #24, Emily Allard.
Emily represents all that is good in the National Pro Fastpitch and the Bandits.  You couldn't find a better role model for youngsters (boys and girls).
Emily has been with the Bandits all three seasons I have had the pleasure of covering the team.  Unfortunately, due to a concussion, Emily missed much of last season.  She was sorely missed by the fans and team, as much as she missed playing.  The love is strong and it flows strong between Emily and the fans.  In On the Beat With Emily Allard, you can hear her discuss her passion for the fans.  This comes from the heart and Emily has a lot of heart.
I have seen Emily sign hundreds of autographs and take just as many pictures (several with me, in fact).  She works tirelessly to promote the sport and support the youth.
Emily is one of the founders of Be The Momentum, dedicated to empowering slappers.  Emily is proof that you do not have to hit towering home runs to be a successful player and she is more than happy to teach that skill and pass it on.  Yes, it is a business, but it is more than that for Emily.  It is a calling.
I hope and believe Emily will come back strong in 2017.  I'll be there covering her comeback and cheering all the way.  Fortunately for me, I don't have to be an unbiased journalist.  Around the Bandits, I'd have no chance at staying impartial anyway.
Emily Allard and me in Park Ridge, IL-June 2016.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Happy Birthday Scott

The man they call "Pork" is celebrating his birthday today.  I raise a toast to my brother-in-law Scott.
I've known Scott for 30+ years.  Over those years, we have experienced a lot of fun, sometimes on the same side, sometimes not, but always fun.  Recently in Las Vegas, we were on the same side, cheering for the Chicago Cubs, as they advanced to the World Series.  It was disturbing and cool seeing Scott acknowledge the Cubs for once in his life.
We also met "Jennifer Lopez."  I like to refer to this picture as SPark, JLo and JWro.  Of course, I also like to think I actually met Jennifer Lopez.  Take it for what it's worth folks.
Anyway, back to the birthday boy.  Scott has been like a brother to me and I appreciate him, all he has done and all we have done.  Even when we are on opposite sides (maybe even more so), it is always interesting because of the bond.  He really is a great guy and I must give him his props once a year.  Tomorrow, I will go back to competing with him at everything, but today he deserves the spotlight.
Happy birthday Pork.  I hope it's fantastic for you.
Scott, "Jennifer Lopez" and me in Las Vegas, NV-October 2016.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Congratulations to CJ Lunde (aka Thunderkitty)

I first saw Thunderkitty at Resistance Pro in early 2012.  She had a unique look, unique music and a unique style.  She was sort of a throwback or old school.  JohngysBeat.com interviewed her and that first interview with her can be found at On the Beat With Thunderkitty.
She wrestled several more times at RPro and of course, she wrestled a lot all over the place.  She seemed to be a student of the game.
Wrestling is hard and odd.  Who knows exactly what it takes to make it to the big time?  I have seen a lot of talented wrestlers in Chicago and a few have made it to the big companies.  Things have started to improve in that area though.  Lately, I have seen more familiar faces on television.  The most recent was a couple nights ago when I saw Thunderkitty (or should I say CJ Lunde?) on WWE Smackdown.
Lunde lost her match to Carmella (with interference from Carmella's manager).  That loss is insignificant.  All that matters is Thunderkitty had made it.  Even if it was a one time performance, TK made it to the big time, where so few make it.
Congratulations to my friend TK.  Your hard work has paid off.  I hope you celebrate that "loss," because it was a huge "win" in my book.
Thunderkitty and me in Chicago, IL-May 2012.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Milo Ventimiglia at Wizard World Chicago 2016

Milo Ventimiglia has been acting for over 20 years.  My favorite role of his was his portrayal of Robert Balboa in Rocky Balboa.  Many others might remember him fondly for his role on tv's Gilmore Girls or any of his other many roles.
I first met Milo at Wizard World in 2015.  Last year, as I approached him, he recalled our meeting in 2015.  It's not that rare for a celeb to remember meeting a fan, but I only met him once and he remembered where, too.  That was pretty impressive, but as I talked more with him, it made sense.
Milo really gets to know each fan.  It goes beyond simply interaction.  He takes time to actually have a short conversation with each fan.  Time constraints obviously limit his ability to have lengthy chats, but he makes the most of the limited time.
He asked me about coming to Wizard World.  We talked about his role as Balboa Jr.  We also talked about his workout regmin.  The guy is rock solid buff.
Then when it is time for the pictures, he handles the selfie duty.  It kind of surprised me, but actually it is probably easier for him to do this, as opposed to watching as fans fumble with their phone cams.  It gets better though.  He snaps a couple shots, then tells you to make a face.  A few crazy face pictures later, the encounter ends with a warm handshake or hug.
It's pleasurable experiences like this that keep me going to Wizard World.  It is also because of this, I will keep visiting Milo at his booth.
Milo Ventimiglia and me in Chicago, IL-August 2016.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Mick Foley (and Liza) at Days of the Dead Louisville 2016

Liza might state that she is the bigger star in this picture with Mick Foley and her tiara certainly lends credibility to that claim.  Actually, her Hardcore title belt adds to her legend.  Mick has his own belt and Mr. Socko though.  It's a tough call.
Liza was such a trooper on this trip.  Despite not being a huge wrestling fan or even a huge fan of conventions and despite her recent back surgery, she hung tough throughout the Days of the Dead weekend.
It was a real highlight seeing her wear Road Warrior Animal's shoulder pads (as I wrote a while back).  Just as entertaining was her holding Mick's title belt and posing with the Hardcore Legend himself.  Plus their interaction was priceless.  Liza really made this convention a hit for me.  I will never stop smiling at the pictures with her at the convention.
Liza Nolan, Mick Foley and me in Louisville, KY-September 2016.