Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Mad Man Pondo at Days of the Dead Indianapolis 2017

I have interviewed hundreds of celebrities, a lot of whom were wrestlers. Although some were pretty big names, very few ever had me hesitant. Madman Pondo was one of those.
Pondo has a well-earned reputation for being a hardcore wrestler. He is world-famous, having also appeared in movies, video games, comic books and more. I simply did not know what to expect from him. Much to my relief, what I got was a completely nice guy.
I have had the pleasure of being around Pondo for several; years with Resistance Pro and now The Resistance. Pondo has been the consummate professional. I have seen him tutor young wrestlers (and veterans, too). I have seen him set up and tear down rings, proving he is willing to do the little things. He is always up for an interview and they are always fun with him. He is sort of like your cool uncle.
Last year, Pondo published Memoirs of a MadMan. It is 340 pages of Pondo's life in and out of the ring. He started as a fan and has carved out (pun intended) a successful career. It's a fun and interesting read. If you happen to have the opportunity to have him sign it, he might even do one of his trademark drawings, because once again, Pondo gives the fans more than expected!
You can check out Memoirs of a MadMan on Amazon. You can also check out Pondo at any of his Girl Fight events or at The Resistance shows.
Pondo and me in Indianapolis, IN-July 2017.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Friend Encounters: Jim Zorn and Tony Feddeler

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

With football season upon us, it is a great time to feature my bud Tony Feddeler meeting former Seattle Seahawks quarterback Jim Zorn. These are two of my favorite guys.
Tony and I don't exactly remember when we met. It was several years ago at either a wrestling show, a comic con or a Chicago Bandits game. That about narrows it down. No matter where and when the friendship started, I am happy to call Tony my friend.
A big fan of the Seahawks, Tony was very happy to meet Zorn, the first starting quarterback in their history and a very good one! Zorn played for the Seahawks for nine seasons, helping to turn the team into a success. Zorn to Steve Largent was a very good combo.
I always liked Zorn and the old Seahawks uniforms. Tony modeled a Zorn uni when he met him. Zorn was very happy to see that and spent some extra time with Tony.
This is one Tony has on me. I have never met Zorn, but he is on my "want" list.
Tony Feddeler and Jim Zorn in Rosemont, IL-March 2018.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Celebrity Jersey Cards #634 Caitlin Powell & Sidney Powell

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.

Sisters Caitlin and Sidney Powell make up Facing West, an up and coming band. The sisters were born in Florida, moved to South Carolina and eventually landed in Lakewood, CO in 2012. Caitlin (21 and dark-haired) and Sidney (18 with lighter hair) started as aspiring solo artists, because "they couldn't get along," according to Sidney. As a present to their mom, they sang a song together and gradually segued into performing together as Facing West.
Caitlin says their motto is “808s and banjos,” but the songwriting is “honest, emotional lyrics.” Influenced by Imagine Dragons, their roots are also in Christian music.
They have been touring for several years, building their audience. They had a large audience when they sang the National Anthem for the Colorado Rockies. They also earned Celebrity Jersey Cards, with both sisters appearing on both cards. Hey, they are a natural pair.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Caitlin Jo Burke of the Denver Dream Loves Johngy's Beat

Caitlin Jo Burke tried out and made the roster of the 2015 Chicago Bliss of the Legends Football League (formerly Lingerie Football League). Covering the team that season, I had the pleasure of talking to her several times. My first interview with CJB can be found at On the Beat With Caitlin Jo Burke.
CJB moved from Chicago to Denver, but kept her passion for football. She tried out for the LFL Denver Dream and once again made the roster, although I had no doubt she would. CJB is an athlete. She is a tough young woman who has an athlete's mindset. She works incredibly hard at always improving her skill set. She loves challenges and plays through pain. She even played through a broken wrist last season.
Recently, Caitlin was kind enough to send a shout out to JohngysBeat.com. It's always cool when people I have covered send me promo videos. I appreciate it. Of course, I will always have a special place in my heart for former Bliss players, even when they are playing for another team like CJB is. I'm just happy to see her playing.
For more info on CJB and her teammates, check out LFLUS.com. These ladies aren't just pretty faces who play football. They are football players, who happen to have pretty faces.

Friday, September 13, 2019

Tienne at Resistance

Tienne was the least experienced ring announcer for Resistance Pro Wrestling, but definitely the most colorful and one of the most entertaining. Despite it being her first time announcing, Tienne did a great job and had the crowd into the action.
RPro had many announcers over the years. All were talented in their own right. Some were more experienced than others, but all did a good job with all aspects of ring announcing.
At the suggestion of Tommy Else, RPro turned over the mic duties to Tienne when the regular ring announcer was unavailable. She probably had a few days to prepare, but so many things change on event night. Tienne handled it all like a pro.
I give her extra credit for the outfit she wore for her night in action. She fit right into the wrestling scene. That night she was among the busiest people taking pictures with the fans. Of course, I had to get my picture with her (purely in th interest of solid reporting).
Tienne and me in Summit, IL-November 2017.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Teal Piper Loves Johngy's Beat

Several years ago, Roddy Piper did a promo video for Johngy's Beat. That video sits at the top of the Promo Videos column on the left. Sadly, Roddy passed in 2015, but his legacy lives on, a huge part of which is his children.
Roddy was very close with his family. His son Colt often joined him at his appearances and he supported all of his kids in their various endeavors.
His middle daughter Teal (Ariel Teal Toombs) has done some acting and is currently embarking on a wrestling career. She is a talented young woman and I look forward to following her career wherever it takes her.
Teal and Colt helped carry on their father's legacy by finishing the autobiography that he started. Roddy always told me he was disappointed that his first book (In the Pit With Piper) was chopped too much by the editors. He wanted to tell more of his story. Unfortunately, he died before this could happen, but thanks to Teal and Colt, "Rowdy: The Roddy Piper Story" was beautifully completed. I highly recommend this book.
Speaking of high recommendations, Teal sent along a little recommendation of her own. It is very amusing and certainly shows she is Roddy's child.
Thank you to Teal for her time, consideration and humor. You can follow her at @ArielTeal on twitter.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Henry Winkler Is The Coolest and the Nicest

I have met hundreds of celebrities. People always ask me who the best and worst was. Fortunately, I have had very few bad celebrity encounters, but on the topic of good ones, Henry Winkler must be mentioned first.
Winkler rose to fame as "The Fonz" on tv's Happy Days in the mid-1970's. Some 40+ years later, he is still fondly remembered and very popular with fans of all ages. Part of his lasting popularity must be attributed to him being one of the nicest people ever.
I first met Winkler many years ago at a celebrity convention. His line was incredibly long, but nobody complained. He did a few things I never saw before or since. Winkler would take an occasional break to walk the line and thank people for waiting. He also made sure to bring anyone with physical limitations to the front of the line (and nobody complained). If that wasn't enough, he made every encounter special. At conventions, time constraints are tight, but a few pleasantries by the celebrity can make all the difference. Winkler actually had personal interactions with everyone he met.
At the recent Wizard World, Winkler was once again a hit with the fans. Because he was there all four days (a bit of a rarity for celebrities), Winkler's line was never exceptionally long, but it was steadily among the longest there all weekend.
Once again, Winker proved to be a wonderful person. He gladly talked about Happy Days and other parts of his career. With a lot of wrestling fans as attendees, he often was asked questions about The One and Only, a wrestling movie from early in his career. I asked about The Lords of Flatbush, one of my favorite mvies from very early in his career (also starring Sylvester Stallone).
Not only did Winkler spend quality time with everyone, he seemed to enjoy it all. I always say, the minimum requirement for any celebrity at these events is to at least "act" like it is fun (or at the very least not unpleasant). Winkler didn't have to act. He genuinely appreciates his fans and we appreciate him.
In a world ready to jump on all negative stuff, especially with celebrities, Winkler deserves applause for a career of being a wonderful person. As cool as it was to meet Fonzie, it was even cooler just meeting Winkler.
I also wrote about meeting Winkler online for Global Traveler at Fonzie Is Still the Coolest. Thank you to Wizard World and PR Manager Jerry Milani for this opportunity.
Henry Winkler and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Kato Kaelin Appreciation

I am pretty sure most people know Kato Kaelin's story. I don't need or want to rehash history here. I want to present the Kato who I know. (The mere fact that I "know" Kato blows my mind a bit.)
I first encountered Kato at Wizard World Chicago 2017. As the official host of Wizard World, Kato entertained and welcomed people in the lobby area. I had no idea what to expect, but he impressed me that first night.
Kato was engaging and endearing. He joked with people, asked fun trivia questions and schmoozed young and old, as he worked the crowd. The next day I saw more of the same. All weekend, I saw Kato delight the crowd. I was impressed, but I figured this was a one time deal.
I have seen Kato a few times since then and he has kept up the same energy level. He works a room like few others I have ever seen. He is "on" all weekend and he works tirelessly, although seemingly effortlessly.
He has pulled me into some of his bits and I am sort of an unofficial sidekick of his. While I lack the charisma and aura of Kato, we work well together and I am good with occasionally joining him.
One true test of his impact is when friends join me at Wizard World. They all have some sort of preconceived (good or bad) view of Kato, but they all walk away very impressed with Kato 2019.
I think Wizard World caught lightning in a bottle with Kato. I think they got a lot more than anticipated. It speaks volumes on what he has brought to the convention that they keep asking him back. It also speaks to Wizard World's commitment to the overall experience. Kato doesn't really bring in more attendees, but he certainly entertains those people.
There are still several more Wizard World events this year, although Kato will not be at all of them. Check WizardWorld.com for all of the info and if you see Kato, give him my best.
Kato Kaelin and me in Rosemont, IL-August 2019.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Friend Encounters; Rhian Rees and Michael West

Friend Encounters is a weekly series in which I feature friends who have met celebrities.

Today I present another Friend Encounter which features two celebrities, although author Michael West would eschew that label. Michael is a celeb though.
I first met Michael when he had a table at Days of teh Dead Indy several years ago. The Indiana native was promoting one of his books and I interviewed him. That can be found at On the Beat with Michael West.
Since then, I have seen Michael as a promoter and a fan at various conventions. He has built quite a bibliography, writing many award-winning books. Horror is his genre and he does it well. I have a few of his books on my shelf.
Michael met actress Rhian Rees earlier this year. The young actress is building her resume, but is probably best known for her role in 2018's Halloween. It is cool to see a young actress like Rees doing conventions. Of course, it is also probably smart, as she will get new fans from these appearances. I know I would like to meet her, based on her work and how nice she was according to Michael.
Check out ByMichaelWest for more info on this talented author. Also, be on the lookout at various comic and horror cons, because Michael just might be in attendance with or without a booth.
Michael West and Rhian Rees in Cincinnati, OH-March 2019.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrity Jersey Cards #634 Jack Nicklaus & Nick Faldo

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.

Born in Florida, Jack Nicklaus gained fame on golf courses all over the world. The Golden Bear won the Masters six times and the U.S. Open four times, along with 117 professional wins. He was the PGA Rookie of the Year, was the PGA Player of the Year five times and topped the PGA tour money list eight times. There is no debate he is clearly among the game's elite. He donned a Red Sox jersey to throw out a first pitch and earn a Celebrity Jersey Card.
Nick Faldo was born in England and states he got hooked on golf watching Jack Nicklaus play the 1971 Masters Tournament. Faldo would go on to win the Masters three times, along with 41 pro wins. For his Celebrity Jersey Card, Faldo wore #34, most notably also worn by David Ortiz, although my favorite #34 would be Jimmy Piersall.