Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Chicago Bliss are "Pretty. Strong."

Pretty.  Strong. debuts tonight on the Oxygen Network.  Pretty.  Strong. will focus on the Chicago Bliss on and off the football field.
I have had an interesting three year journey with the Bliss.  The league is not always the most press-friendly, but the players and coaches have been nothing but great.  I can't say a bad word about the Chicago Bliss.
Tonight is a bit of an odd night.  I fear my little secret will become national headlines.  Of course, I think the Bliss players deserve every bit of recognition they can get.  They bust their butts for months just to play a handful of games.  Their dedication is amazing.
The root of my angst stems from memories of Jack and I hanging around parctice after practice, being almost a part of the team.  Once the show hits (and even in the last few weeks of publicity), the Bliss have been gaining so much recognition and public awareness that it feels like I am losing my special secret pleasure.  I guess my small loss is the public's big gain.
Tune into Pretty.  Strong. and see for yourself.  I am sure you will jump on the Bliss bandwagon, too.
There are a lot of great stories on the team, but watch out for Jamie Barwick.  I think she might be the under-the-radar breakout of the show.  You read it here first.
Jamie Barwick and me in Bridgeview, IL-May 2015.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Friendly Encounters: Bugs Bunny and Amy Jo Hill

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

My buddy Chazz Moretti might argue that Amy Joe Hill sees a big celebrity every day.  This might be true, seeing as Chazz and Amy are a couple, but for the purpose of this "Friendly Encounter, I am going to feature Amy with an even bigger celebrity.
Even Chazz cannot deny that Bugs Bunny is a slightly bigger celebrity, even if Bugs is animated.  Of course, Chazz is well-renowned for his career in wrestling and his general media presence, but Bugs has been around a lot longer and is world famous.
There is no shame in finishing behind Bugs in celebdom.  Aside from his cartoons and movies, Bugs can often be seen at Six Flags, as was the case when Amy met him and got the picture below.
This whole things gives me an idea.  Why can't Chazz also be a star at an amusement park?  Would it be ChazzLand?  Moretti Place?  I'm just having a blast picturing a big Chazz character walking around, posing for pictures with all of his adoring fans.  This could be big!
I guess the real winner is Amy though.  Not only did she get to meet Bugs, she gets to be with Chazz every day.  Okay, seriously, we all know Chazz is the real winner in that scenario.  Still, to keep peace, I will end by saying they are both lucky to have found each other and I am lucky to be friends with both.
Bugs Bunny and Amy Jo Hill in Gurnee, IL-August 2015.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Celebrity Jersey Cards #241 Naya Rivera & Velvet Sky

Athletes get trading cards.  Why not celebrities?  At least celebrities wearing athletic jerseys should get cards.  I am doing my best to create cards for jersey-clad celebs.  Today, I continue my theme of featuring celebs who are repping the jerseys of the opponent of the Bears.

Actress Naya Rivera was born in Valencia, California and stays true to her roots by sporting an Oakland Raiders jersey for her Celebrity Jersey Card.  Rivera, who has been in show business practically since birth, really gained fame on tv's Glee.  The #81 could be for NFL Hall of Famer Tim Brown or maybe it is for her namesake, Mychal Rivera.
Once again, we have wrestler Velvet Sky appearing on a Celebrity Jersey Card.  This time, Velvet is wearing a Raiders #20, which I am claiming is a Darren McFadden jersey.  The #20 has not been worn with much success with the Raiders, other than by McFadden.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Magic at the Ballpark with Jeff Scanlan

Chuck Gekas introduced me to Jeff Scanlan when we were at a Milwaukee Brewers game last season.  His friend Scanlan was entertaining the crowd on the right field concourse.
Scanlan's performance was impressive on multiple levels.  He was performing up-close magic.  I think this is the toughest.  How do you do card tricks within inches of people's eyes?  Yet he did.
He also had a good rapport with the young and old fans.  Engaging an audience is always tough, but engaging them within minutes, when a ball game is being played is magic in itself.
He also showed us some ridiculous tricks, like putting a full size sneaker into a bottle.  I have no idea how that could be done, but he has done it with sneakers, baseballs, decks of cards and more.  The guy is amazing.
I ran into him at the Chicago Bandits Home Opener.  Once again, Scanlan had a steady crowd around him as he performed trick after trick.  This is just one of the cool things that the Bandits had on their schedule.  They entertain fans on and off the field.
While you are surfing the web, go to JeffScanlan.com.  Make sure you look for his bottle tricks there, along with all of the other magical fun.
Jeff Scanlan and me in Rosemont, IL-May 2015.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Susan Saranwrap and the Windy City Rollers

Susan Saranwrap is an official for the Windy City Rollers.  As I have written many times, this roller derby has rules and enforces them.  Aside from her name, she is just like any official in any professional sports league.
I have been covering the WCR for a few years and I find myself enjoying it even more every time I am out there.  The crowd is lively, filled with friends, family and fans of the WCR.  The age range is across the board.  Everyone is just there to have a great time.
Tonight there is a WCR playoff viewing party at Cary's Lounge in Chicago.  The party starts at 7 p.m., with an 8 p.m. game time.  There will be lots of fun, mystery $4 beers, derby family, friends and fans.  It should be a great time.  
I hope to see some friends out there.  For more info on the teams and league, head over to WindyCityRollers.com.
Susan Saranwrap and me in Chicago, IL-February 2015.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Barry Bostwick Loves Johngy's Beat

At the Wizard World Chicago 2015 Press Reception, I had the pleasure of interviewing Barry Bostwick.  I even fluffed my hair with Bostwick.  That interview, including our hair fluffing, can be found at On the Beat with Barry Bostwick at Wizard World.
I had interacted with Bostwick previously at Days of the Dead.  While mingling before this interview, Bostwick brought up our time at Days.  I am always amazed when celebrities remember me like that.  Bostwick meets thousands of fans at these conventions.  He meets hundreds of press and public relations people.  I would think the experiences are a blur.  Yet, there we were and there he was remembering me.  It just strikes me as funny.
After our interview, Bostwick did a promo for Johngy's Beat.  That promo is below and also has taken its rightful place in the promo column on the left.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


PsychoBabbleTV is one of the best, most underrated fun sites on the internet.  Mike Preston is the creative blowtorch behind the madness and he has a great cast of characters to support his insanity.
I am proud to say I have joined forces with PsychoBabbleTV on occasion (with the Chicago Bliss, Days of the Dead and other endeavors).  I have also appeared briefly on an episode as Dr. Burnbaum's assistant (a role that I nailed and hope to reprise).
In addition to the PsychoBabbleTV episodes on YouTube, there are hundreds of great interviews, pictures and other fun stuff on PsychoBabbleTV.net.  Do yourself a favor and check it out, but give yourself plenty of time, because there is a lot of material and all of it is gold.
Jimmy McHugh, Mike Preston and me in Schaumburg, IL-November 2015.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Adolfo is THE Man and Days is THE Con

My association with Days of the Dead has been well-documented here.  I think it is a great convention,  It has interesting celebrity guests, fun events, a professional staff and anything else you would want.
It always starts at the top and at the top is Adolfo.  I have known him since the first Days in Indy years ago.  He has treated me well, but it's not just me.  He treats everyone well.
The world of these such cons can be a harsh world, but Adolfo never jumps in that fray.  He just continues doing what he does best, running a top notch con.
He is unlike any other convention runner.  His staff is relatively small, but filled with great people, like Heather Owens and Ed Gonzales.  I have never had even the slightest problem at any Days event and I have had some of the best convention experiences ever at various Days events.
I have also been entertained by his Facebook posts, including some delicious food posts.  He is one of the good guys.  I appreciate all he does for me, for the attendees and for the convention scene as a whole.  I will continue to support him and Days every chance I can.
The next Days of the Dead is in Schaumburg, IL.  The headline guests include Hall of Fame wrestler Bret "The Hitman" Hart, former wrestler Chyna, Elvira, Tara Reid and PJ Soles.  This is going to be a great event.  Check out DaysoftheDead.net for ticket info and updates.
Adolfo and me in Indianapolis, IN-June 2015.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Friendly Encounters: Tammy Williams and Tony Feddeler

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

I met Tony Feddeler while covering the Chicago Bandits.  Tony is a huge fan and attends most (all?) of their home games.  He can usually be spotted sitting in the first row behind home plate.
Upon getting to know Tony, I learned we share an interest in wrestling.  Tony has met some interesting wrestlers and I will feature those right here in the future.  For now, I am still on a Bandits high from their NPF (National Pro Fastpitch) championship and I am featuring Tony with one of the star players on the Bandits and in the NPF.
Tammy Williams is an elite player.  In 48 regular season games, Tammy made one error last season.  That is ridiculous.  Aside from her defensive wizardry, she is also an excellent offensive player.  She has been this type of complete player for her entire seven year career, all of which has been spent with the Bandits.
When I interviewed Tammy late in the season, she was undecided on playing next season.  She did say that if she returned, next season would be her last.  Of course, things can change.
I think Tammy will return for one more season.  I sincerely hope she does.  I know Tony and all of Bandit Nation hopes she comes back.  As sad as it will be, Tammy deserves a farewell tour.
 I sincerely hope we get more chances for current pictures with Tammy.  I'd hate to only see Tammy in "Throwback Thursday" material.
Tammy Williams and Tony Feddeler in Rosemont, IL-June 2013.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Celebrity Jersey Cards #240 Jay Buhner & Velvet Sky

This is a regular series which attempts to combine my lifelong passion for trading cards with my semi-professional interest in celebrities.  I am continuing my theme of featuring celebs wearing jerseys of whoever is playing the Chicago Bears.

Jay Buhner was born in Louisville, Kentucky.  He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates, but made his Major League Baseball debut with the New York Yankees.  He spent 14.5 seasons of his 15 year carer with the Seattle Mariners.  His trade from the Yankees for Ken Phelps was the object of a Frank Costanza tirade on tv's Seinfeld.  On his Celebrity Jersey Card, Buhner is wearing the #12 for the 12th Man.
Back again is wrestler Velvet Sky.  I don't think anyone has a problem with repeat appearances by the Velvet One.  For today's Celebrity Jersey Card, she is modeling Richard Sherman's #28 jersey.  As a cornerback, Velvet can cover me anytime and I promise to not even try to escape her coverage.