Thursday, July 18, 2019

John Cappelletti at The National 2017

The National Sports Collectors Convention will be held in Rosemont July 31-August 4. Once again, I will be "On the Beat" and reporting back here, on Patch.com and GlobalTravelerUSA.com.
When I was asked to cover The National in 2017, I immediately checked the sports guest list and saw John Cappelletti's name. I was a huge fan of Cappelletti's and made him my main target to meet.
Cappy was a star running back at Penn State when his younger brother Joey was diagnosed with leukemia. His special bond with Joey led to his famous, tear-filled Heisman trophy acceptance speech.
The story is beautifully told in Something For Joey, an old movie starring Marc Singer as John. It is less well-known, but every bit as heart-wrenching as Brian's Song
Everything went great at The National until it came time to meet Cappy. There was some sort of mixup in the scheduling and I missed my opportunity. Disappointed, but not deterred, I approached a staffer and plead my case. Cappy had moved onto the autograph signing portion of his day. I plead some more and the staffer said he would talk to Cappy. I figured that was a polite blow-off, but minutes later, he returned and told me Cappy would meet me after his signing session if I wanted to wait.
Would I wait? Oh certainly I would wait.
About an hour later, the staffer got me and brought me to Cappy. He didn't have much time, but I was thankful for the few minutes. Cappy appreciated my effort to see him and my interest in his entire career.
I really appreciate Cappy for taking the extra time to see me. He didn't have to do that. I also appreciate the staffer at The National for going above and beyond in making this happen. He didn't have to do that either. Of course, I also appreciate The National for granting me access and giving me a great experience, highlighted by meeting Cappelletti.
Go to NSCCShow.com to get all of the info on the 2019 National Sports Collectors Convention. You can also check here for more updates.
John Cappelletti and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2017.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Mike Knezevich On The Mic

Mike Knezevich has been the voice of the Chicago Bandits since 2009. A graduate of Notre Dame, Mike has has worked solo, as well as working with several broadcasting partner, including me for a game a few years back.
I will forever be grateful for Mike allowing me to share the mic with him during a Bandits game. It was a real thrill and definitely a "bucket list" item for me.
Mike is a friendly face around the ballpark, often chatting with players and fans before and after the game. During the game, he is all business, of course. Still, although he takes his craft seriously, he does have a keen sense of humor that he sprinkles around in the broadcast. A true professional, Mike is beloved in Rosemont and everywhere else he broadcasts.
I had a chance to chat with Mike for longer than usual during a rain delay. I started by complimenting his hat. Mike looked like he was ready to go on safari, which would be cool, because he could also handle the broadcast duties on the safari. That would make for some great entertainment.
Seriously though, Mike is a great guy and an asset to the Bandits. I'd love to hear his briadcasts over the speakers while attending a Bandits game. That would be the ultimate.
Go to ChicagoBandits.com for more info on the team and Mike. Come out to a game and experience it all firsthand.
Mike Knezevich and me in Rosemont, IL-June 2019.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

The Resistance Presents Blood Feast

Last year, The Resistance and Girl Fight presented Death Becomes Her, an 8 women death tournament. It was such a huge success, it was quickly announced there would be another tourney.
This year, we got double the fun as there was a Death Becomes Her 2, but Blood Feast, an 8 man death tournament was added on the same weekend. That's a lot of carnage for one weekend.
Making it even more exciting was Blood Feast being the first iPPV for The Resistance. Available on FITE, Blood Feast is was streamed live and is available to be viewed.
Making it even more exciting for me was me doing commentary along with The Resistance co-owner Gabe Baron. That's right. I would be broadcasting a legit iPPV event.
I took my assignment seriously and compiled some info on all eight male participants. I knew a few from their time at The Resistance, but I wanted to be fully prepared and to do a solid job.This might be my only such opportunity and I wanted to give it my best shot.
I wanted to broadcast one match for a while. I wanted the experience and I thought it would make for a good story. The timing wasn't right at first, but the chance came up when Tommy Else and I provided commentary for the last RPro event and then the first event from The Resistance. Gabe then joined the broadcasting team, sharing the mic with me for the first half of shows and with Tommy for the second parts.
Each time on mic is a learning experience. The roster for The Resistance features a lot of wrestlers and we have to learn about them on the fly sometimes. The crowd is always loud and sometimes so loud, I cannot even hear Gabe.
I never expected to be on commentary for the iPPV though. I figured that role would go to someone more famous or more experienced. Of course, when asked I jumped at the chance. I really appreciate Gabe and co-owner Jacques Baron trusting me with this role. While I would like to continue doing commentary, I would also understand if they went in another direction sometime.I'd walk away happy and grateful for the opportunities already given.
Check out LiveDieResist.org for more info and news. I encourage everyone to order Blood Feast. I will write more about Blood Feast in the future, but for now, I don't want to spoil it for anyone who hasn't watched it on iPPV yet.
Gabe Baron and me in Summit, IL-July 2019.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Friend Encounters: Emily Allard, Megan Blank, Michelle Gascoigne, Sammy Marshall and Chris Bejcek

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

This is a big group Friend Encounters. It is fitting as it is right in the middle of the Chicago Bandits season.
It represents great times for my bud Chris Bejcek and also for me. Chris is surrounded by former outfielder Emily Allard, former infielder Megan Blank, former pitcher Michelle Gascoigne and former Bandits player Sammy Marshall. Now, just three years after this picture, all four ladies are either retired or playing elsewhere. That's just life in the NPF.
Emily was forced into retirement due to concussion issues. She is doing great, running BeTheMomentumSoftball.com and clinics all over.
Megan retired after last season. She has done coaching clinics and I think coachinbg somewhere is in her future.
Michelle was coaching in the collegiate ranks while playing. She is currently the pitching coach at Northwestern, who had a fantastic 2019 season. Check out the Cats at NUSports.com.
Sammy is a local athlete who starred at Western Illinois before becoming a star with the Bandits. In the last offseason, she was traded to Cleveland. It was a tough loss, Sammy is doing fine and also has a bright future in coaching.
Meanwhile, there is Chris, a music junkie. Aside from his passion for the Bandits, Chris is a big time concert goer. His musical love seems to span the spectrum. If you don't see him at a Bandits game, chances are he is at some concert.
These five represent great people I have met and befriended through the Bandits. Bandit Nation isn't just a name for the fan group. Bandit Nation is a community of people who come together for our love of softball, but who have developed friendships outside of the ballpark.
I have seen each of these ladies since their departures from the Bandits and it is like sweeing an old friend. You can't emotionally invest in the team, without being attached to the players. Likewise, they become attached to the loyal fans who have supported them.
There is still plenty of softball action left in the season. I encourage everyone to get in on the fun. Go to ChicagoBandits.com to get all of the info and scheduling.
Emily Allard, Megan Blank, Chris Bejcek, Michelle Gascoigne and Sammy Marshall in Rosemont, IL-April 2016.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Celebrity Jersey Cards #626 Elizabeth Dole & John Lewis

This is a regular series in which I create virtual trading cards for celebrities wearing jerseys. Once again, we are working our way alphabetically through all of the Major League Baseball teams. Today, we get political.

Elizabeth Dole was born in North Carolina. Long before marrying husband Bob in 1975, Elizabeth had been involved in politics, including campaigning for the Kennedy–Johnson presidential ticket in 1960. Doles Celebrity Jersey Card not only predates the existence of the Nationals, it precedes the origin of the franchise in Montreal.
Politician and civil rights leader John Lewis was born in Alabama. Since 1987, he has served as the U.S. Representative for Georgia's 5th congressional district. Lewis was heavily involved in many protests and marches. He suffered verbal and physical abuse for his cause, but he remained resolute. The Celebrity Jersey Card for Lewis also predates both the Washington Nationals and their predecessors the Montreal Expos.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Travel Training Tips From Joey Thurman

Several years ago, I had an idea for a Global Traveler online feature. I thought it would be interesting to have a trainer give ideas for simple exercises while travelling. 
I heard about Joey Thurman, a local trainer with Morph Fitness. Joey was gracious enough to let us video his workout suggestions for travelers. That video can be found at Travel Training Tips From Joey Thurman.
At the time, Joey was on the rise, but he really has taken off recently. He has been on television, in magazines and all over the internet.
His website starts with "Joey Thurman helps celebrities and A-list business people and parents fit health and fitness into their busy lives." That was the perfect fit for GT. I got Joey early in his success.
I doubt he would have the time to do this for us now, but Joey would probably be nice enough to consider it if asked. Joey was extremely nice, inviting us into Morph Fitness and giving us the grand tour. He put a lot of thought into the exercises he demonstrated.
I knew Joey was great at what he did and I knew he would keep gaining more success and exposure, but I am happy to see him doing this well. The man has earned it. I am very happy GT was at the early end of his success, too.
Go to JoeyThurman.com for more info. Also, head over to GlobalTravelerUSA.com for all sorts of interesting bits on travel, business, technology and more.
Joey Thurman and me in Chicago, IL-July 2012.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Sherilyn Fenn at Days of the Dead Indianapolis 2019

I spent last weekend at Days of the Dead in Indianapolis. I was there when DotD debuted in Indy in 2011 and I have attended every Indy (and Chicago) show since then. I wrote more about this year's Indy show at Days of the Dead Indy 2019 for Patch.com.
Sherilyn Fenn comes from a showbiz family. Her mom is keyboard player Arlene Quatro, her aunt is musician Suzi Quatro, her grandfather was jazz musician Art Quatro and her father Leo Fenn managed several musical acts, including Suzi and Alice Cooper. Sherilyn carved out her own legacy in acting, really rising to fame with her role on Twin Peaks.
DotD invited Sherilynn to their celebrity guest lineup for a rare midwest appearance. Fans were very happy about this rare opportunity and they showed their appreciation all weekend long. Sherilynn had one of the longest lines, but she was very personable and made sure to make it special for everyone. She was a fantastic guest and nobody minded the wait!
DotD Indy was another fun-filled weekend. The Days machine will be back in action in Louisville August 30-September 1. Carmen Electra and Elvira have already been announced in what looks to be another great celebrity lineup.
Check DaysoftheDead.com for more info. As always, I will have recurring coverage here, as well.
Sherilyn Fenn and me in Indianapolis, IN-July 2019.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

On the Beat With Bobby Easley, Michelle Morris and Dustin Kay at Days of the Dead 2019

I spent last weekend at Days of the Dead horror convention in Indianapolis. I have met many creative folks over the years at DotD and am honored to call some of them my friends. Bobby Easley, Michelle Morris and Dustin Kay are three of those creative friends and they are creating something cool right now.
I first met all three several years ago and have seen their careers blossom over the years. We have done several interviews and I have seen several private screenings of their various projects. I am always highly entertained and impressed with their work.
It's always tricky watching the work of friends How would I give an honest opinion if I disliked the product? Fortunately, I have really, honestly liked everything I have seen from this group.
At Days of the Dead, I had the pleasure of catching up with the trio and interviewing them. They gave me the scoop on their latest project. Versiera is an H.P. Lovecraft adaptation of “The Dreams in the Witch House,” originally written and published in the 1930's. Michelle (also professionally known as Portia Chellelynn) plays Alice Gilman, the main character (changed from Walter Gilman in the original).
Just listening to Bobby, Michelle and Dustin discuss this project, you can feel the passion and excitement they have for it. They are hustlers in the best sense of that word and you cannot help but get caught up in the fervor. Based on the past and what I hear about this project, that anticipation will be rewarded once we see the finished film.
While the details were held to a minimum at this point, they assured me I will get more details as the project progresses. Bobby mentioned November as a possible time and that coincides with Days of the Dead in Chicago. I am holding them to an update interview there and will continue to bring info and updates as I get them.
Along with the talk of Versiera, the trio also briefly discussed other projects they have in the works. As I said, they are busy and we all benefit from the entertainment they provide.
Until then, enjoy this interview with Bobby, Michelle and Dustin. Keep an eye out for Versiera!

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Courtney Gano and the Chicago Bandits 2019

The Chicago Bandits are 21-3 and in first place. I recapped the last week for Global Traveler at National Pro Fastpitch Chicago Bandits.
Handling first base is Courtney Gano. In 16 games, with 32 at bats, Courtney is hitting .250 with 4 rbi's, 2 runs scored and 2 stolen bases. Last season, she hit .384 in 31 games. She also has a .949 fielding percentage.
A star at the University of Washington, Courtney is in her second season in the NPF and the Bandits. Her mom was an All-American softball player for Cal Poly Pomona. She also has played with the Italian-base Softball Club Forlì.
Courtney is another fan favorite. I have seen many youngsters admire her for her play and for her glasses. Actually prescription glasses are a rarity in pro softball, but Courtney successfully wears them and is a role model for glasses-wearing youngsters.
As a kid who has worn glasses all my life, I always had a soft spot for ball players who wore glasses. As contacts became more common, glass wearers were less common. I clung to the dwindling number of bespectacled players. Courtney is that player for Bandits fans.
Of course, she has much more to offer than just her eyewear. She is extremely good with the fans. I see many Gano jerseys in the crowd.
It's been a pleasure watching Courtney develop in the league and knowing her off the field as well. She is a class act and another great ambassador for the team and the league.
Check ChicagoBandits.com for more info on Courtney and the team. Also, check here for recurring coverage.
Courtney Gano and me in Rosemont, IL-July 2019.

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Jackson Bostwick at PopCon Milwaukee 2017

Shazam! was one of my favorite Saturday morning television shows when I was a kid. Focusing on Captain Marvel, it ran for 28 episodes over three seasons.
Michael Gray starred as Billy Batson and Jackson Bostwick was his superhero alter ego Captain Marvel. Les Tremayne played Billy's (unnamed) mentor, who drove him around in a Winnebago, helping people along the way.
For debatable reasons, Bostwick's run with the series ended two episodes into the second season. He cites an injury, while the studo claimed he was holding out for more money. The courts eventually ruled with Bostwick.
I had the pleasure of meeting Bostwick at the PopCon Milwaukee 2017. Unlike a lot of actors, Bostwick embraced his iconic role. His run on Shazam! might have ended badly and prematurely, but he has fond memories and has gained a lot of fans because of the series.
He stated that he looked at playing Captain Marvel, like Clayton Moore viewed his role as the Lone Ranger. Both wanted the kids to be able to look up to the character. Both paid particular attention to details, knowing how critical and observant kids are. I'd say he accomplished his goal.
I haven't seen Bostwick do many conventions since PopCon Milwaukee. I was glad to catch him there, which is why I always say never to pass up such an opportunity.
You can get more info on Bostwick at JacksonBostwick.com. You can also go to PopConMilwaukee.com for more info on this event. They have not announced a date for their 2019 show, but check the site for breaking news.
Jackson Bostwick and me in Milwaukee, WI-November 2017.