Con Man Season 2: Continuing the Laughs with Alan Tudyk (Review)

Screen shot of Con Man Season 2

Alan Tudyk and Nathan Fillion are back for the second season of Con Man. The tale of the “also ran” actor, aka Wray Nerely and his best buddy, Jack Moore “superstar” is continuing. Watching the first four episodes it is clear that the laughter quotient has increased exponentially.

There really is very little that we can reveal without entering spoiler territory, but suffice to say, Wray is still having difficulty living down the specter of “Spectrum” (The Firefly of this universe.).

The show’s star, Moore (Fillion) is working hard to bring the popular television series to the big screen. (This was part of the plot in season one.) Moore is focusing his efforts on reuniting the show’s cast while Nerely is still trying his best to avoid revisiting his past performances on the series.

There are some splendid cameos in the first four episode’s.  Dr. Ken regular Jonathan Slavin makes the most of his role as Wray’s agent. Returning season one regular Mindy Sterling returns to take up the reins of control, for her convention client and she is just as hysterically funny this time around.

In this second season times are hard in the “entertainment industry” and Wray’s romantic life is suffering as well.  Agents prove to be fickle in terms of loyalty to their clients and we learn that stuntmen do not get paid if they do not perform.

Tudyk continues to show that he has a definite flair for comedy, and not just the physical aspects of the job either. Tucker and Dale vs Evil, a tale of such dark hilarity that fans want to see it repeated in the guise of a sequel, proved that Alan has got comic chops for days.

(The actor has other comic roles but none were as nuanced as his character in the “Evil” film.)

Fans of Con Man season one will remember that Vimeo streamed the story of Wray’s uncomfortable life on the convention trail.  The second season has moved to Comic Con Hq and there will be a launch on December 6 over at the Paley Center in Los Angeles.

There will be a load of familiar faces. Geek pinup Felicia Day, video game actor Nolan North (who has featured in more video games than Carter has little pills) and Alan Tudyk, as well as a plethora of other stars, will be having a panel discussion about the new season.

It should be noted that Casper Van Dien and Mark Hamill will also be attending the special event.

Season two of Con Man delivers the same quirky and irreverent humor as the first season and promises to be even funnier. Nothing is sacred. From Brazilian waxing to other assorted attacks on the nether region, the comedy comes fast and furious with all the major players mercilessly taking part in self parody.

There appears to be another 13 episodes this time around and the show will most likely follow the four show format. (Last season featured releases of four episodes at one time, until the season ended.)

Since the plot line includes Jack Moore’s determination to make a feature length film of Firefly Spectrum, one can imagine that all the players will return.

Fans of Con Man will enjoy this newest installment of the series which premieres 8 December on Comic C0n HQ. Check out the trailer below and see if this second season tickles your funny bone.

Facebook Match-Making and Spam “Friends”

No Soliciting sign Call me cynical (No really, you can call me that, I was a Prison Officer for 10 years, trusting; I am not.) but the sudden influx of friend requests from pretty, young and, presumably, single females had me flummoxed. Not that I do not have young, pretty and single, or otherwise, ladies as friends already, but they are usually mates from my old jobs or folks I’ve met through my daughter, or YouTube, or other media outlets connected with journalism.

Let’s face it, on Facebook you tend to meet a lot of people who have similar interests, jobs, or are “friend’s of friends.” These folks are not all individuals that you have met in person but can, nonetheless, become quite valued mates on the net.

However, these sudden friend requests from a bevy of beauties looked suspicious to say the least. There were no mutual friends and apart from a flurry of friend requests in my local area, had nothing in common with me at all. A few times I accepted. (Yes, I can be amazingly obtuse at times.)

I then got spammed, only once – to paraphrase a character from Something Big, “My mamma didn’t raise no fool.” The other times I got messages. Most said, “Hi” and then waited for awhile to see if I would respond. Usually I do not, apart from saying “Hi” back and leaving it at that.

One young lady, however, got rather chatty and explained that she’d seen me on Facebook “Match” and was interested in getting acquainted. If I were a bit less cynical, I’d be flattered.

But…

As I told the young lady, who helpfully informed me that she was 32, given that she was younger than my oldest child and that at my age and after two failed marriages, I was not interested in a relationship with anyone; not even a gorgeous young thing like her. So, “Thanks but no thanks.” Another one I told point blank that I was not in the market no matter how succulent the bait.

Now I don’t know if Facebook has decided to be helpful and pasted my mug on various pages which offer match-making services, but I would ask that they stop. Like I asked them to stop putting advertisements on my page of singles seeking older men.

Yes, I am older but I am not seeking younger women (Don’t get me wrong, if I were seeking they would definitely be younger, both my wives were younger age-wise, number two considerably so.) or older ones. For those who have seen my picture and think I’m an easy mark? Think again.

This reminds me of my second day covering The Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con last year. I was tired and hungry. Finding a spot at the Oyster Bar in the casino, I ordered clam linguini and began working on my article for that day. The waitress brought me an iced tea and I noticed a devastatingly beautiful young lady walking toward the cafe/bar.

Short shorts, halter top, and a flower in her blonde hair, she was turning heads as she approached. This vision sat one chair away from me at the bar. She kept trying to make eye contact the whole time I sat there sucking down my linguini. Finally she caught my eye and began the small talk.

I explained that I was working the comic con and writing up my article for the day. I asked for my check and excused myself. The look on her face was one of chagrin mixed with a bit of disbelief. Leaning over I apologized and explained that if I did not have to work, nothing could have torn me away.

Walking away, I realized that she must have been a professional lady and I’d obviously looked like a good mark. Wrong. Not only did my employer pay me so poorly that my own money paid for the food eaten (and the bugger still owes me over $1,000 after I left last year – the Guardian Liberty Voice do not work for them…) but I had nothing left over for illegal activities, if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink.

The point of the story is that even if I had the money for a little “fun,” I was not interested. Those who know me and have read my blog for a while will know why. Now Facebook is sending me folks via Match? Come on chaps. If I were interested in finding a perfect mate, or “a friend with benefits” I would already be a member. All right? Even being a “young” 56, I still love video games, movies and so on, who finds the younger gal much more attractive to look at and interact with, does not mean I’m on the lookout for anything.

I am, as mentioned above, a cynic. So…unless you have a really different spiel, don’t waste my time or yours. As for Facebook, take my picture off the sites, if they do exist. Just as I do not want “Asian” women searching for mates, girls looking for older men, or older women searching for partners, I also do not want a “match.”

Cheers.

12 May, 2015

Michael Knox-Smith

Life in the Slow Lane

Las Vegas Sign

I returned to the USA last year on January 15. I flew into the airport in Las Vegas to meet a man I’d only encountered on Skype and the Internet. The promise of working as the head of Entertainment for a relatively new “news-site” seemed like a dream come true. The job, and the publisher, appeared to be legit. After all, I had been sent to South Africa to speak to sources who told our “reporter” in-country that Nelson Mandela had died in June and was not still alive as the SA government and the rest of the world were reporting.

That was in 2013 and everything certainly felt like it was “above board.” However, what seems all too real over the Internet can turn out to be something altogether different in the flesh. But this article is not about the fall, and continued fall, of the publication where I worked for 18 months, I’ve already written about that. This is more about my sudden change of lifestyle and working conditions, the second in a two year time period.

I jumped at what seemed like a generous offer to come over and live with the publisher and his wife until I could get settled. Working and living in Las Vegas was, a lot like my job in Her Majesty’s Prison Service, not something I’d ever planned on or dreamed of doing. It was another of those, “just turned out that way” moments.

After being ill health retired from HMPS I was in a bind. I’d stupidly spent my way through the one-time cash payout from “her majesty” and was down to trying to survive on £255 per month via my tiny ill health pension. Time to leave my adopted, and beloved, country behind and come “home.” Leaving my daughter behind with her boyfriend, I boarded a small plane in Norwich and began my journey back to the US.

Again, I digress, I am pretty sure I’ve covered this before so I’ll move on. Once I arrived in Vegas and got the lay of the land, I slowly began covering events and doing interviews with celebs and authors and got to attend my first ever Comic Con.

After working very hard to fix a communications problem with the local studio reps I also got a slew of invites to film screenings and reviewed each one attended. I was busy building up our Entertainment section and having a ball doing it. Sure there were problems, money being one of them, but I was enjoying the act of meeting and talking to actors I had admired from afar for years.

I also got to meet new actors and celebs from television as well as from the world of literature. One happy accident was getting to meet the Winner Twins. Two delightfully talented, and damned nice, girls who rock it in the world of Science Fiction. Award winning authors, the two young ladies were positioned diagonally near two ladies I was desperate to meet and interview from the SyFy channels series Heroes of Cosplay. Brittany and Brianna Winner started out in this world as two dyslexic children whose love of stories, and their father’s encouragement, learned to overcome this problem by writing their own tales.

Las Vegas Amazing Comic Con
The Winner Twins and Moi

The two ladies from the SyFy channel, Jessica Merizan and Holly Conrad, were two of my favorites on the show and are partners in a business related to cosplay. Both were very friendly and I owe the both Holly and Jessica a bit thank you for telling me where to find British food in the country. Especially Heinz baked beans.

Both pairs of women were lovely to talk with and I was pleased to find that both Jessica and Holly had been reading my reviews of the show. Later on I would meet a very busy Chloe Dykstra at another convention who, while not quite so eager talk, did allow me to take a quick snap of her at the Star Trek Convention.

I met a number of well known folks at my first ever Comic Con and got pictures taken with as many as I could. Later I would learn that this was a unique opportunity. At year two of the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con it was relatively easy to access the celebs. At the Star Trek convention I learned that interviewing the “stars” was pretty much verboten unless set up before hand. I did “luck out” and got to speak (illegally) to the late Richard Kiel, just a month before his death, and a number of other stars I have idolized since childhood.

Tony Todd is a brilliant chap who spent hours talking to me and was one of the most fun interviews I have ever done. He made me laugh so much that my cheeks hurt. This Horror genre icon has a tremendous sense of humor and really enjoys interacting with his fans. I even spent two seconds, well maybe a bit longer, with the wonderfully intimidating Peter Weller (the other baddie in the last Star Trek film in case you’re wondering).

Weller, whom I adore, was giving “private” autographs to fans who spent a pretty penny to get the opportunity. A minder stood outside the room where Peter was ensconced and I asked if he thought it was alright to take a picture from the hallway. He went in to ask and the great actor looked up and saw me hovering in the doorway. “RoboCop” motioned me to come forward.

“You realize,” he said, “that people are paying a lot of money for pictures and autographs, don’t you?” I replied that I was not a fan attending but a member of the press and only wanted a snap to pop on Instagram for our readers. He then smiled and said, “Sure.” I stepped back toward the doorway, as I really was not supposed to be in there, to take the photo and he stopped me. “Oh no,” he said, “Don’t take it from there, take it here. The light is much better.”

Peter Weller Star Trek Las Vegas Con
Peter Weller the light WAS better…

What a guy.

There were many stars and things were so hectic that I missed half of those I wanted pictures of and hoped to have a word with. On one evening while leaving the venue I bumped into Walter Koenig. He was dressed in a flat cap and long jacket. He walked feebly between two people who were apparently holding him up. I stopped and put my camera away. I told him that I admired his work and was so pleased to see him at the conference. He smiled and shook my hand and moved slowly away.

The next day he was onstage and there was nothing feeble about him. I realized that his two minders were part of his “act” and kept most fans at a distance. The night before only one other person recognized “Chekov” and if she had not spied him, I would have walked right on by.

Almost all of 2014 was full of meeting people I never dreamed of ever getting close enough to speak to. I met and interviewed Tommy DeVito from the iconic group The Four Seasons and on the same night got close enough to his best friend Joe Pesci to smell his cologne. The press were not allowed to speak with Joe or take his picture unless it could be done without bothering him. Short of stature both men might be but the aura they both put off was that bigger than life projection that only stars can manage.

I met many more, got pictures of a lot, selfies with some others, and spoke to more. The publication I worked for might not have been “the real deal” but it provided me a banner to work from and to fulfill part of a dream. I got to meet the rich and famous, and not so famous, speak with them and write about them.

This year I have faded back into the woodwork. Obscurity beckons as I wait, not so patiently, for decent Internet and the ability to write enough articles for a new site to make a little money. I still have the odd film to watch/review and the odd interview to schedule, but this is life in the slow lane and I’ve got to say, despite all the negative aspects of working in Vegas, I kinda miss it.

Hopefully, once things are sorted out, I’ll be back in the thick of it. Nervously interviewing those talented people who entertain or inform for a living by directing, acting, writing or a combination of the above. While I have not met a number of folks I’ve interviewed in person, I have spoken to some brilliant people: Stephen Bishop, Jordan Hayes, Tiny Lister, Terry Kiser, Dr. Cyril Wecht and a number of other folks who were great fun to meet “over the phone.”

James Darren Star Trek Las Vegas Con
James Darren another man who knew where the good lighting was!

I would like to do an Arnold Schwarzenegger and say firmly that I’ll be back, but I cannot do so with any degree of certainty. What I can say is that even with all the negative things that were going on in the company I was attached to for 18 months, I had one helluva good time and met some great people. For awhile there I was doing the dream job. It was nice while it lasted but sadly it was not the opportunity it was advertised to be.

Eliza Dushku: Faith in Comic Con Rattled by Theft

Eliza Dushku: Faith in Comic Con Rattled by Theft

Not even Faith, that other vampire Slayer from the Buffy verse, is apparently safe from the crime of theft which is what happened to the rattled Eliza Dushku at the Rhode Island Comic Con when she was checking into a local hotel for the upcoming event. The 33 year-old actress, shot to prominence as the “naughty” wild-child slayer Faith in Joss Whedon’s award winning television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1997 – 2003). She went on to work with Whedon again on Angel, the Buffy spin-off and The Dollhouse, the second “cursed” television series of The Avengers director to be cancelled before it could really begin. The actress had her $4000 Louis Vuitton duffel bag taken from her side while unloading her car before going into her hotel room.

The Vampire Diaries Official Convention Las Vegas 2014 September 12 – 14

The Vampire Diaries Official Convention Las Vegas 2014 September 12 – 14

Fan conventions, such as The Vampire Diaries 2014 Official Convention in Las Vegas September 12 – 14, are popular and a great chance to meet the stars who bring these shows to life. Like other conventions, the Star Trek Con earlier this year at the Rio Hotel and Casino and the Amazing Las Vegas Comic Con at South Point Hotel and Casino the conventions vary in size and popularity.