Monday, July 26, 2004

Hanging out with JJ and the Gang; Plus blurry Lost photos

Last Friday (that would be July 23), JJ Abrams, Ron Rifkin, Greg Grunberg (and Kevin Weissman, who turned out to be a no-show) were at one of the booths at Comic Con signing autographs. I got there about 30 minutes early knowing full well that, sooner rather than later, lines for such things get capped with alarming quickness. Chatting with some Alias fans in line helped to pass the time, and when the JJ, Ron and Greg showed up, the line proceeded briskly because we were allowed only to have one item signed by the three of them. Still, they chatted briefly with fans and largely did the nice thing.

While in line, I worried about what they could sign for me, since I had (and still don't have) any Alias merchandise. There were Comic Con-exclusive posters of Alias: Tribunal (an animated short about Syd's missing two years in between the end of season 2 and beginning of season 3) but since it was enormous (re: too difficult to carry around without crinkling, especially since I was flying back home) and buttugly to boot, I passed on those and settled on simply getting autographs in the sketchbook I usually reserve for artist sketches. After probably a mere 15 minutes, it was my turn, and I complimented Ron for being one of my favorite actors on the show. He signed my book, then I went on to JJ. He rifled quickly through the pages, and what he saw evidently impressed him enough to ask if I did them. I guffawed, no, those were sketches by "everyone else." Well, he said, is it ok if he did a sketch? By all means! I said. And thus I got what I can only guess is the only self-portrait of JJ Abrams in the world (the blue scribbling is Greg's autograph).

Everything would've been divine if I hadn't said the following: "Guys, congratulations on a great season. I know a lot of people complained that last year's storylines were too complicated to follow, but I don't think it matters so much because the show's trademark is style over substance." To which JJ responded, "We like substance too." Uh oh! Cut to me trying to extricate myself, and everything after what JJ said was an embarrassed blur. No bloodshed, apparently, since I managed to get a semi-cordial group picture (though when I asked if I could take the photo, Ron said, "No" with a slight grin -- which, I should note, he did for everyone who asked for a picture).

Then, on Saturday morning, there was a screening of the Lost pilot. I was all sorts of paranoid that an enormous audience would be camping out in front of the auditorium and crowding me out. Fortunately, that wasn't even close to happening as the auditorium was only filled to two-thirds capacity (though in the case of the Sin City movie panel discussion, a line stretching out of the convention center and into the street for at least two city blocks did keep me from Jessica Alba, Rosario Dawson and the foxxiest of them all, Frank Miller). JJ was supposed to be there but didn't make it, possibly because my comments traumatized him.

After the screening, various cast and crew members come onstage for a Q&A, and it proved exceedingly difficult for me to take a good picture of resident hottie Evangeline Lilly, who, it turns out, was rocking the Avril Lavigne look, i.e. tank top with necktie. In any case, she looked more attractive in person than in the episode, for reasons having to do with uninteresting hair.

Most of the questions were directed to Dominic Monaghan by (you guessed it) teenage girls. Keeping that in mind, I took plenty of pictures of the lad, because, after all, the target audience for my blog is the critical juggernauts represented by SWOONING GIRLS. One question asked the differences between playing Merry and Charlie (his character on the show), and he answered, "Merry didn't do drugs. Or maybe mushrooms..." Another asked if he would prefer to be a ninja or a pirate, to which he said that a certain "Orlando" had the market cornered on pirates.

Outside of salacious interests, the writers and producers assured the audience that they are capable of sustaining the "Stranded on an island" trope for several seasons and that everything that happens in the show will be grounded in reality (i.e. NO DINOSAURS).

Cutie -- nice arms!

Avril! But hotter!

Wake up!

Detroit Tigers wristband??

Clearly prefers being a ninja.


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