Thursday, November 23, 2017

Rob Schamberger at Wizard World Chicago 2017

When I looked at the guests for Wizard World Chicago 2017, artist Rob Schambereger was one of my main targets.  I have been a fan of his work for a while and Wizard World presented a rare opportunity to meet him.
Rob's style partners well with his usual subject matter of pro wrestling.  He has done hundreds of paintings of WWE stars from the past and present.  It is cool that he has done so many different wrestlers.  He hasn't just done the top 5 or so from each era.  As I (literally) spent an hour on his site, I saw familiar, but lesser known wrestlers including Kerry Von Erich, Junkyard Dog, William Regal and so many more.  His gallery is a virtual WWE history book.  Of course, my favorite is his take on Rowdy Roddy Piper.  He totally captured the Hot Rod!
His works are sold on his website and on the WWE site.  There are also many tshirts featuring his work.
While he was incredibly busy at Wizard World, Rob actually stepped away from his booth for a few minutes to talk to me.  I appreciated that gesture of kindness and consideration.  I hope to see Rob at a future Wizard World event in 2018.
Check out RobSchamberger.com to learn more about him and to see a huge gallery of his work.  You can also follow the Art of Rob Schamberger on Facebook and Rob Schamberger on twitter.
Rob Schamberger and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Mike Hartenstine at The National 2017

Mike Hartenstine played 13 seasons in the NFL, 12 with the Chicago Bears and 1 with the Minnesota Vikings (must we really acknowledge that last season?).  Hartenstine was an underrated player who bridged the gap from the terrible 70's to the dominant 80's.
Hartenstine was part of the awesome 1975 draft class for the Bears.  Among their 17 picks were Walter Payton, Hartenstine, Virgil Livers, Revie Sorey, Bob Avellini, Tom Hicks, Doug Plank and Roland Harper.  That is a successful draft and Hartenstine would be second to Payton for overall careers.
I had the pleasure of meeting Hartenstine at the The National 2017.  He was very nice and we talked briefly about his career.  Ever humble, he talked about the greatness around him and the thrill of being on the Super Bowl team.  Of course, he also mentioned the late, great Payton.
On a team filled with Hall of Fame calibre defenders (Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary, Richard Dent, Steve McMichael, Gary Fencik, Otis Wilson and Wilbur Marshall), some think Hartenstine might have been the toughest of all and I would not disagree.
It was especially cool to see Hartenstine in the Super Bowl.  He survived some ugly earlier seasons.
Of course, I had to poke him a bit about ending his career in the purple.  Actually, it is fairly common to see long-time players end their careers with a short stint in an unfamiliar uniform.  Still, Hartenstine was and will always be a Bear.  He politely shrugged off my jab (like evading an offensive lineman), but he admitted his heart was always with the Bears.
Thank you to the fine folks at The National for their hospitality.  Thank you to Hartenstine for taking time to talk and for all you did here on and off the field.
Mike Hartenstine and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Thomas Calabro at REWind Con 2016

I'm really bummed that REWind Con is apparently a one time show.  It really brought in a great group of interesting guests, many of whom I have never seen do celebrity appearances as such.
One such celebrity was Thomas Calabro, who might be best known for his role on television's Melrose Place.  I have never seen him do any comvention and from the looks of his line at REWind Con, his fans were definitely happy to see him that day. as was I.
Calabro was a great guest, too.  He did the little things.  He connected with each fan.  He moved for better pictures, because the lighting wasn't great.  He posed with other celebrities there.  He thanked the fans for coming out.  In short, he was a class act.
I kept thinking of the old line about his character from tv's Seinfeld, "That Michael is so smug."  Of course his character on Melrose Place was a fictional role, but it was an interesting juxtaposition.  We talked about it and he thougt it was funny to be part of the the Seinfeld universe like that.  I agreed.
I hope that maybe one good thing from REWind Con is that some celebrities might be more open to do conventions.  Clearly the fans want to see these favorites.  I'd like to see Calabro again and hopefully get a real interview with him.
Thomas Calabro and me in Bloomingdale, IL-November 2016.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Friendly Encounters: Brenna Moss and Jonathan Cimaglio

Friendly Encounters is a weekly series featuring friends who have met celebrities.

Jonathan Cimaglio is a major autograph collector.  I couldn't even guess how many he has, but it isn't uncommon for him to get fifty or more in a single night.  I've seen him in action at Chicago Bandits games, where he often got both teams.
Obviously, Cimags is a good guy and big sports fan, especially the Bandits.  He's a familiar face around the Ballpark in Rosemont.  The fans and the players know him well.  One such player is three year veteran outfielder Brenna Moss.
Brenna is one of Jonathan's favorites and he is not alone in that thought.  Brenna has been a solid player during her time in the NPF (National Pro Softball).  Last season, she even was in consideration for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award.  You can see many #55 jerseys in the crowd at every game.
Fortunately for Cimags and Bandit Nation, Brenna has already signed to play for the Bandits in 2018.  Unfortunately, Cimags might not be here as he is potentially moving.  I'd hate to see him go.  He's a fun part of the Bandits experience.  We have helped each other with picture-taking at the games.
Brenna was one of the first to resign for 2018.  She is joined by Emily Carosone, Megan Blank and Sammy Marshall.  that's a nice start to the core.  I can't wait for 2018.
For more info on the Bandits, head to ChicagoBandits.com.  Of course, I will also be reporting here on all things Bandits!
Jonathan Cimaglio and Brenna Moss in Rosemont, IL-July 2017.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Celebrity Jersey Cards #349 Meagan Jacobson & Kristen Keogh

Celebrity Jersey Cards is a regular series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebs wearing sports jerseys.  Since the Chicago Bears are floundering (again), I am taking a hiatus from football and concentrating on hockey.

Meagan Jacobson is part of the Los Angeles Kings Ice Crew and part of the Game Day Entertainment for the Kings.  A graduate of the University of California Davis and an animal lover, Jacobson studied animal nutrition, animal welfare, animal diseases and animal ethics.  Jacobson's duties for the Kings goes beyond games, as she attends many Kings Care Foundation events and other community programs.  She donned the Kings sweater for her Celebrity Jersey Card debut.
Kristen Keogh is a graduate of Arizona State University, with a degree in broadcast journalism.  She has worked as a news anchor, reporter, weather anchor and television host.  She is a fan of all Arizona sports.  Keogh gets extra points for wearing hockey gloves for her Celebrity Jersey Card.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Charles C. Moisant at Dark History Con

Charles Moisant might look like an older rocker.  Maybe a David Crosby?  Actually he is an artist, writer and publisher.
I first met Charles at the Dark Horror and History Convention, although I remember crossing paths with him at other such conventions.  He is a unique character, earning the nickname of "the craziest man in comics."  He's also talented, knowledgeable, dedicated and personable.
Don't let the reputation or wild look fool you, Charles isn't limited to craziness.  He has done educational comics about the history of Oak Park and a series that promotes healthy life choices.  His vision and focus runs the gamut.
One of my favorite projects of his is Roller Derby Drama, where the women of roller derby use super powers to fight evil.  Like Charles, that concept is unique to say the least.
Also unique is his throwback style, reminiscnet of work from the 1950's.  While many are going for the most modern look and feel, Charles once again creates his own path.
Do not pass the chance to talk to Charles at any event.  He's a real treat.  For more info on Charles, check out his Silver Phoenix Entertainment website.  Also, head to the Dark History and Horror Con Facebook page for more info on this cool con.
Charles C. Moisant and me in Champagne, IL-September 2015.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Dana Adiva at Blizzard Brawl 2015

I had crossed paths with Dana Adiva at several wrestling events, but yet somehow had never gotten a picture with her.  At Blizzard Brawl 2015, I finally got that picture.
Ironically, Dana wasn't working the event.  She was just hanging out with friends.  I don't think Dana is even working on the wrestling scene anymore, but she was hugely popular during her time in the sport.  Still, as I was leaving and I saw her, I did not miss the opportunity.
I love the David Herro Blizzard Brawl events.  Maybe that should be past tense.  They now are House of Hardcore.  I still don't know if that is just storyline or if they really are separate events.
In either case, David is big on the scene, as are several wrestling stars and many popular indy wrestlers.  You can also spot a lot of familiar faces in the crowd, such as Dana.
The next event is House of Hardcore Blizzard Brawl 2017 on Saturday, December 2 in Waukesha, WI.  This should be another great event.  I can't promise you'll see Dana, but you will see great matches, a lot of wrestlers and many of your friends in the crowd.
You can go to HouseofHardcore.net to get more info.  Also, check here for updates.
Dana Adiva and me in Waukesha, WI-December 2015.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On the Beat With John Borowski at Flashback Weekend 2017

At Flashback Weekend, I reconnected with filmmaker and author John Borowski.  John started as an interesting interview subject, but I am also proud to call John a friend.
John's focus has been on serial killers, international criminals and other similar subjects.  While some might find the subject matter to be controversial, I urge all to check out John's work.
He doesn't sensationalize the topics.  This isn't about shocking for theatrical effect.  John's work is about studying and learning about the horrors.  This is history and we can learn from it, thanks to John's efforts.
Prior to my first meeting with John, I wondered about how John handled the subjects.  After watching some of his movies and talking to him, I learned that John treats his work very seriously.  Of course, there has to be an entertainment value in any media form, but John never makes that the priority.  His productions are entertaining through the information he gets from first-person accounts, interviews, artifacts and more.
I find John's work to be fascinating.  He presents information you won't find in history books or even websites.  John doesn't give a glossy surface account of anything.  He digs in and gets some incredibly interesting and unique material.
I always appreciate John giving us his time and his updates.  I will continue to follow and report on John and his projects.  You can also learn more about John at JohnBorowski.com.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Back on the Beat With the Windy City Rollers

The Windy City Rollers Home Team Season Bout #1 is tonight!  The Fury takes on Hell's Belles in the first match.  The Manic Attackers and the Double Crossers will battle in the second match.  The action starts at 7.
I've been covering the Windy City Rollers for a few years.  I went to my first night of roller derby action not really knowing what to expect.  I was familiar with roller derby from television, but this was billed as a legit sport now.
After one night of action, I was hooked.  This version of roller derby was just as fun and colorful as the old televised roller derby, but this was a real competition.  While the ladies still had theatrical names (Sara Problem, AliSin Chains, Jackie Daniels and more), it lacked the over-the-top theatrics of the televised variety.
I admit that although they explained the rules and scoring before the bouts, I was still a bit confused about some of the specifics.  Still, I got the basics and certainly enough to cheer on the ladies as they raced around the track.
I started interviewing some of the Rollers that night.  Over the years, I've managed to get interviews with 20 of them, which can be found on the Johngy's Beat Windy City Rollers playlist on YouTube.  Through the interviews, I learned a bit about the history of derby, the origins of WCR and some interesting things about the women athletes.
Much like the elite athletes on the Chicago Bandits and the Chicago Bliss, the women of the WCR are dedicated, skilled athletes, who train virtually all year.  They sacrifice a lot for the sport they love.
The fans are interesting, too.  You are likely to see a wide variety of people in the stands.  Young and old, singles and couples, students and professionals all are rabid fans.  It's quite interesting just crowd-watching.
I'm looking forward to seeing some of my old favorites and the rookies, too.  Derby season is upon us and I am loving it.
Check WindyCityRollers.com for more info and schedules.  Also, follow the Windy City Rollers on Facebook.
Project Mayhem, Peacock, Emtropy, Albus Rumblemore, Shake N Bake and me in Chicago, IL-Spring 2017.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

David Herro and Blizzard Brawl 13

For David Herro, #SuperFriends is much more than a catchy slogan to sell shirts.  It is his motto and way of life.  He is a SuperFriend and he has a lot of other #SuperFriends.
He's been involved in wrestling for a long time.  He hasn't run many actual wrestling shows of late, but he is still very involved with the business.
The good news is that Blizzard Brawl is coming soon.  On December 2 in Waukesha, Tommy Dreamer's House of Hardcore presents Blizzard Brawl 13.  Dreamer takes on Abyss.  Candice Michelle (in her last match ever) will face Lisa Marie Varon.  Austin Aries battles Joey Mercury.  Al Snow and Swoggle (with Dave Herro) take on The Squad.  Also appearing will be Carlito, MVP and many more.  You can get more info at Blizzard Brawl.
I'm sure Wisconsin and northern Illinois wrestling fans are excited to see GLCW back.  It had been too long.  There is no news if this will mean more regular shows or not, but it is a great start.  Herro and GLCW were missed.
I made the trek from Chicago to GLCW events many times and it is always worth it.  The place is packed and lively.  The wrestling action is always solid.  The headliners are always great with the fans.  In short, it's all you would want in a wrestling show.
Wrestling promoters too often get a bad name, but Herro is a good one.  He works hard to make the shows great and to make the fans happy.  Believe me, I never intended to start attending shows in Wisconsin, but Herro makes the shows well worth the extra effort to get there.
I'm sure that on December 2, the arena will be packed with #SuperFriends.  I am also certain they will enjoy the entire night.  #SuperFriend David Herro would have it no other way.
David Herro and me in Chicago, IL-April 2017.