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News

An interview with Itt – Felix Silla at the All Night Flea Market

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It was recently this writer’s privilege and pleasure to have a chat with the actor, stuntman, and circus performer, Felix Silla.  This was during the Zurko Promotions, All Night Flea Market, in Wheaton, Illinois.

Felix Silla has played parts in many iconic films and shows of the past including “Star Trek,” “Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi,” “Buck Rogers in the 25th Century,” “Battlestar Galactica,” “The Monkees,” “Bonanza,” and “Petty Coat Junction.” He is, perhaps, best known for his role as Cousin Itt in “The Addams Family.”

During the interview, Mr. Silla spoke of some of his experiences in the film industry.

His favorite role was playing Litvak in “The Black Bird,” a sequel to “The Maltese Falcon,” where George Segal plays Sam Spade Jr.

He got his start in the 1963 filming of “A Ticklish Affair” where he was the stunt man for the children.  He had to wear a harness and helium balloons so that it looked like he was flying, hanging from the balloons.

One day during filming, they broke for lunch while he was still hanging from the 110 foot crane. He had to call down to them until they heard and got him down as they had forgotten he was up there.

He was in the movie “Indiana Jones and The Temple Of Doom” as the stuntman for the character Short Round. During the raft scene, he was tipped over and caught under the raft and almost drowned. Thankfully, he was rescued by the diver.

His dream role would be a western with Sophia Loren, but he expresses a doubt that such a movie will ever be made at this time in their lives.  While most dreams never come true, that would be a dream well worth seeing on the big screen!

Check out the interview with Felix then check out his website for future appearances and autographed photos.  Visit the Zurko Promotions site  for more about future events like the Chicago Civil War Show and The Haunted Halloween Flea Market.

For more about National Celebrity Examiner John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.

Oh, and do check out his series of interviews at Zurko Promotions events!

Wizard World launches CONtv and brings a fan focus to Chicago – Updated

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Jason David Frank at Wizard World
Jason David Frank at Wizard World

Wizard World, the hosts of the world’s largest network of comic conventions, launched their new network, CONtv on March 3, 2015.  CONtv has cult classics, fan favorites, and fan focused original programming.

The CONtv lineup includes classic super hero and action shows like “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe”, “Voltron”, and “She-Ra: Princess of Power”, Horror including “Re-Animator”, “Hell Raiser”, and “Puppet Master” as well as Science Fiction TV series like “Highlander”. “Farscape”, and “Stargate Infinity.”

Where CONtv looks to really shine is in its fan focused original programming.  Fan’s are able to join Jason David Frank on his adventures in and out of conventions on “My Morphing Life.”

Bruce Campbell at Wizard World
Bruce Campbell at Wizard World

beginning March 9th,  with new episodes every Monday this spring, “Army of Darkness” fans can join Bruce Campbell in his “Last Fan Standing.” For the Zombie Apocalypse fans, “Fight of the Living Dead” is coming on March 22 with Joey Graceffa, Jesse and Jeana (from Youtube’s PrankvsPrank), and Justine Ezarik fighting a reality TV world Zombie Apocalypse.

Continuing in their fan focus, this weekend in Chicago they will be hosting their first Fan Fest at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.  CSI fans will be treated to a special showing of “CSI: Cyber” and lycanthrope lovers will see a big screen showing of “Wolf Cop.”

Fan favorite celebrities including “Walking Dead” star, Norman Reedus and paranormal investigator Grant Wilson, and “True Blood” star Kristin Bauer,  will be appearing and signing autographs.  Grant Wilson is also an author, artist, musician, and game designer.  Grant and his business partner, Michael Richie, just came out with a new novel, “The Brotherhood of the Strange”, and Grant will bring along copies to sign.  Check out his website for a couple free sample chapters!

Update as of noon today, March 3, 2015, Grant Wilson had to cancel out his appearance.  There is no word on why but our thoughts and prayers are with him.

So if you are in the Chicago area this weekend or can make it, check out the Wizard World Fan Fest and if not, check out the Wizard World fun on CONtv!

For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagram, Youtube, and Facebook.  For more photos and videos, check out his photo albums!

Mardi Gras 2015: Mr. Cellophane rolls with Bacchus!

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King John, aka John C. Reilly, throwing Bacchus dubloons to the crowds
King John, aka John C. Reilly, throwing Bacchus dubloons to the crowds

The 2015 Bacchus Mardi Gras parade rolled last night in New and its theme was “Children’s Stories That Live Forever.”  The 2015 King Bacchus was movie star, John C. Reilly with diverse credits including Ralph in  “Wreck-Ralph”, “Step Brothers” (and other films with Will Ferrell), “Guardians of the Galaxy”, and this writer’s favorite, Amos Hart in “Chicago.”

Friday before Mardi Gras weekend he stopped by the New Orleans Children hospital giving the residents movies and the rare opportunity to meet the voice of one of their favorite cartoon movie stars.

King John blessing the Bacchus parade goers
King John blessing the Bacchus parade goers

If the 2012 Bacchus King Ferrell wowed the crowds of New Orleans Mardi Gras parade goers, King John, Mr. Cellophane himself, blew them away!  Some said that King Ferrell in his bright, cheery, red robes had the look of a Disney King.  King John wore deep burgundy robes with wide, golden bands and a thick, heavy crown.  Bearing a mace-like scepter, he had the look of a warrior king, nobel, yet fierce enough to stand against barbarian hordes.

The thunderous sound of adulation was deafening at times as he road through the streets, gracing the crowds with his presence and throwing them treasures from the King Bacchus storehouse.  He threw double hands full of dubloons, the royal coinage of Bacchus bearing his visage, as well as beads and other items, often blessing them with a kiss before launching them to the hands raised in supplication.

King John toasting Mayor Landrieu at Gallier Hall
King John toasting Mayor Landrieu at Gallier Hall

Throughout his ride he maintained character in his role as King John, toasting Mayor Landrieu and his entourage and later the Krewe of Orpheus with the sobriety and demeanor of a true, royal ceremony.  Some might find he lacked as the senior celebrant of the god of wine but he left this writer feeling proud of the role model he was for the children who came to pay their respects.

Congratulations King John!  May you live long and give us many more years of great and inspirational performances.  Long live King John!  Long live King Cellophane!

For more about National Art, Tourism, and Celebrity Examiner, John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagramYoutube, and Facebook.  Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles.  For more photos and videos, check out his photo albums!

Comics, cosplay, and celebrities in the Big Easy with Wizard World

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The Eiffel Society in New Orleans
The Eiffel Society in New Orleans

This weekend Wizard World starts their 2015 comic convention schedule in the Big Easy, New Orleans.  Thursday night the con was kicked off with a gathering of press, guests, artists, and exhibitors at the Eiffel Society.  Celebrities present at the soiree included Lou FerignoJason David Frank, and New Orleans nerdlesque stars, Xena Zeit-Geist, and Remy Dee.

Kristen Hughey as Super Girl
Kristen Hughey as Super Girl

Friday the con officially started at 4 p.m. at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center with a Mardi Gras costume photo op on the show stage and panels from 4:30 to 8:15.  The last panel of the day was “COSTUMES + PLAYING = COSPLAY! So what does that actually mean?”  with Damian BeurerRiki “Riddle” LeCotey, and Kristen Hughey giving hints and humor from their cosplay experiences.

The night ended at Fulton Alley with the Creator Pro Am: Drink and Draw where artists and writers could come and compete in a writing and drawing competition.

Jumping for Joy with Eyeshine at Anime-ZING!
Johnny Yong Bosch and the Eyeshine guys with Sonny Strait, Christina Vee, and Robert “Lord Zedd” Axelrod

Today the con opens at 11 a.m. with panels, a variety of movie, television, comic, and cosplay special guests including a new trivia game show, “Last Fan Standing” with Bruce Campbell.  Mighty Morphin Power Ranger fans won’t want to miss Jason David Frank’s 3:00 p.m. panel with a Wizard World first appearance by Johnny Yong Bosch.  One of the highlights of Wizard World, the adult costume contest, goes from 7 – 9 p.m.

Xena Zeit-Geist as Batman in her Bat-Jammies at the opening of "Arkham ASS-YLUM!"
Xena Zeit-Geist as Batman in her Bat-Jammies at the opening of “Arkham ASS-YLUM!”

The convention continues Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 with the Wizard World Kids Costume Contest as one of closing acts.  Unofficially (no Wizard World pass needed) for those who can’t get enough of the lovely ladies and dapper dudes of cosplay, Xena Zeit-Geist and her ladies and gents of nerdlesque will continue their costumed carrying on at the Eiffel Society opening at 8 p.m. with Harry Potter related nerdlesque performances at 9:00 p.m. and closing with a Yule Ball Dance Party.

For more information about the New Orleans Comic Con and other events, check the official Wizard World website.

For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagramYoutube, and Facebook.  Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!

Sixth Who and Hatch trek the stars and Judge becomes High Lord

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Vic Mignogna paying due respect to Richard Hatch at Geekonomicon
Vic Mignogna paying due respect to Richard Hatch at Geekonomicon

While chatting with writer, producer, and lead actor, Vic Mignogna of “Star Trek Continues“, he passed on a bit of information about the next episode.  For the fourth episode, former Time Lord, Dr. Who number 6, Colin Baker will make a guest appearance.

“Start Trek Continues” is a fan based production that recreates the original series from the moment that it ended with the intention of concluding the full, five year mission of the original Enterprise.  It is being produced with such attention to detail that it is winning awards and casual observers often mistake it for the original series.  Mr. Mignogna plays Captain Kirk and Todd Haberkorn plays Mr. Spock.

Richard Hatch premiered the fun, new Steampunk short, “Cowboys and Engines” where he plays Cade Ballard the former ambassador from the Nation of Texas who save Lincoln at the Ford Theater.  He also showed “Prelude to Axanar” where he plays Commander Kharn of the Klingon Empire.  While “Star Trek Continues” is a faithfull homage to the original series, “Prelude to Axanar” uses cutting edge technology, top actors, and rivals big budget films.

While Mr. Hatch was at Geekonomicon, the Executive Producer of the Machinima Prime channel was working hard on “Loadout” for the December 17, 2014 premiere and needed a few lines redone A.S.A.P. giving this writer the opportunity to assist on the project.  Check it out and make sure to watch it through to the “Special Thanks” in the credits!

While preparing for an interview with Christopher Judge, he mentioned the “Infinity Blade Chronicles” project he has been working on.  He will be playing Thane, the High Lord of House Ix.  This looks to be another fun project so check it out as well as the interview with Mr. Judge at Geekonomicon.

For more about John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagramYoutube, and Facebook.  Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!

A pearl and a gold nugget on the Gulf Coast

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Biloxi Bay is for the birds!
Biloxi Bay is for the birds!

A beautiful Polynesian princess plunges to a bed of oysters in the depths where she returns with a lovely, precious pearl while a prospector searches for the glitz and glammer of gold.  Each is precious but the one is serene and smooth, while the other’s shine sparks excitement and the lust to win.  Along the shores of the Biloxi Bay are two such treasures.  Ocean Springs to the east, is an old, artistic community, while across the beautiful bay bridge lie the casinos, convention center, and clubs of Biloxi.

In the spring of 1699, French Canadian Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville established a colony on the Ocean Springs shore and built Fort Maurepas to defend the territory.  The area natives included the Bylocchy tribe for which the area was named Biloxi.  A couple decades later and across the bay, the city now known as Biloxi began to grow and the twin towns were known as old and new Biloxi.

As time has passed, mother and daughter cities have matured with the city of Ocean Springs having a more quiet, reserved, and artistic disposition.  Ocean Springs was a recipient of the 2013 Great American Main Street Award and is known for its lovely, old storefronts along the downtown street where Elvis would go to relax in the sunny south.  For those artistically inclined there is the nationally recognized, Walter Anderson Museum and a number of art shops, where you can chat with and buy the works of local artists.

To set up  your  own picnic for the beach, head over to Broom’s Grocery and Catering and fill up in the deli.  For more generic fare, just up the highway a bit, there is a Walmart, fast food shops, as well as an Applebee’s for a bit more upscale fare.

Ocean Spring's one-eyed gator spends a lazy day by his pond
Ocean Spring’s one-eyed gator spends a lazy day by his pond

For a relaxing vacation, the bay shore is beautiful for laying in the sun, a casual, sight-seeing bike ride, and, of course, watersports in the bay.  For a change from walking on the lovely sands of the beach, a nearby park has nature trails and a pond where you can see their old, one-eyed alligator.

Of course, across the bay, the shore of the coast continues with more beautiful, sandy beach for the sun seekers and a lot of action and excitement.  At the Beau Rivage CasinoThe Hard Rock Casino, the smoke free Palace Casino, and other casinos you will find more fervent, unanswered prayers than in the local churches.  In the casinos, night clubs, and other places of entertainment and revelry you can catch performances from old favorites like Gary Puckett and B.J. Thomas.

At Biloxi’s Mississippi Coast Convention Center you can catch great events like the Fear Fete horror film festival and convention and Geekonomicon, where they passed the Guinness Book of World Records current record for the most Steampunks in one place.  At events like Biloxi’s Geekonomicon you can see such celebrities as Richard Hatch from “Battlestar Galactica”, Christopher Judge from “Stargate SG1”, Gigi Edgley from “Farscape” and other awesome actors who visit the sunny coast.

The creative folks that are working to bring Juamingo to the screens
The creative folks that are working to bring Juamingo to the screens

In addition to importing actors for conventions, there is a developing film industry in the area.  The films “The Historian” and “Rites of Spring” were filmed in Mississippi and an upcoming animation, “Juamingo” is in development in Ocean Springs.

The Biloxi Bay Bridge in the evening light
The Biloxi Bay Bridge in the evening light

While the mother and daughter cities of the Biloxi Bay are remarkably different they share a distinct beauty.  They are also joined by a remarkably beautiful bridge that ties the two together for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  The bridge’s lovely curves stretch over a mile, provide bikers and walkers resting points along the way, and add beauty to the sunsets.  Tourists and locals alike owe their thanks to Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, who insisted that they build a wide biking/walking path on the side of the bridge when they were planning the post-Katrina reconstruction.

The Mardi Gras Museum in Biloxi
The Mardi Gras Museum in Biloxi

While not as large as Mardi Gras in Mobile or New Orleans, both Ocean Springs and Biloxi celebrate Mardi Gras.  Biloxi has a Mardi Gras museum in a beautiful, old, French mansion where you can stop in for a bit of information on their celebration.

The Barbeque Sandwich at Slap Ya Momma's in Biloxi
The Barbeque Sandwich at Slap Ya Momma’s in Biloxi

So for a quiet vacation in the sun or a hot night on the strip, check out these two treasures and make sure you stop by Slap Ya Mommas BBQ Smokehouse – the best barbeque on the beach!

For more about National Tourism, Art, Music, Celebrity, Steampunk, and Geek Culture Examiner, John N. Collins, find him on TwitterInstagramYoutube, and Facebook.  Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!

Geekonomicon casts a summoning for a World Record breaking event in Biloxi

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Vic Mignogna will be appearing (with out Scott Bakula, sadly) at Geeknomicon 2014
Vic Mignogna will be appearing (without Scott Bakula, sadly) at Geeknomicon 2014

H.P. Lovecraft’s fictitious book, the “Necronomicon” was said to have information on the Elder gods, including how to summon them.  In Biloxi, Mississippi, the Geekonomicon is summoning geeks from all over and, especially geeks of the Steampunk fandom, to appear over the weekend of December 12-14, 2014, where they will attempt to break the worlds record for the most steampunks in one location.

According to Mina Frannea, the head of Geekonomicon Media, “The effort is being spearheaded by Captain Cannon Trawets of Airship 67, founder of the Mississippi Steampunk Society, along with Airship Isabella.”  Airships and steampunks from other locations are encouraged to dock in the beautiful Biloxi port.  Lesley Scott, Editor of The Steampunk Soiree, and this writer will be there to representing The Pandora Society, The Steampunk Soiree, The Weird Review, and in his role as a National Steampunk Examiner, to witness this historic event.

The convention is scheduled to have many very impressive guests, including Gigi Edgley who is slated to be in Bruce Boxleitner’s Lantern City.  Ms. Edgley has graciously agreed to an interview with this writer while at the convention.  Ms. Edgley is also starring in a short film, “Hashtag” and if you act fast (it ends in three days from the date of this writing), you can take part in this by kicking in on their Kickstarter!  The kickstarter rewards include autographed items from Ms. Edgley, IMDB thanks and producer credits and even as an actor in the show!

The entertainment scheduled for the event is sure  to entice as many Steampunks as possible to the convention.  The steampunk sideshow, Carnival Epsilon, will be adding magic, mirth, and merry, sideshow geekery with their machetes, chainsaws, mousetraps, and a little light lunching on a lightbulb.  Captain John Sprocket and The Cog is Dead crew will be there with their songs of steam.  Chicago’s Master Magician Ron Fitzgerald rounds out the entertainment with his magical mayhem.

So, hop in your airship, carriage, or Delorean and head on down to Geekonomicon 2014 for some steamy fun on the lovely gulf city, Biloxi!

More about John N. Collins

For more photos and fun, follow John N. Collins on TwitterInstagramYoutube, and Facebook and be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!