Convention Report from StarFury '99 by Tomihawk
Pictures to be online soon!
Click here to read Part 1
Saturday, the first big day of the event, brought the rest of the fans who didn't make it to the celebrity cocktail party the previous evening. It kicked off with a screening of the Herc episode 'Men in Pink', Xena's 'The King Of Assassins' and Young Herc: The Movie. However, I had to forsake all but 'Men in Pink' to queue for the poolside photos with the guests.
For half an hour each, they posed for fans to get photos taken professionally and, with the promise that they would be developed in time, get them signed at the autograph session later in the day. The queuing can be as much fun as the goal where you can meet the most interesting people - a guy who claims to have seen the Evil Dead films over a hundred times and owns them on a multitude of formats ranging from laser disks to DVDs to 10s of different video editions. "So, you're a Bruce Campbell fan then, are you?"
Young Herc was wrapping up by the time I took my seat in the auditorium for the first guest talk. The line-up was Robert, followed by Ted and finishing with Bruce, with a half-hour interval between each. After a short video tribute to the three guests, a modern day Salmoneus made his way on stage to rapturous applause.
He began his hour by relating a few funny stories from previous film work and then turned the onus on the audience to keep the ball rolling, which they did with ease. Questions ranged from his favourite of the multicoloured costumes to his singing abilities as displayed in 'Miss Amphipolis', his relationship with other cast members and various past projects.
He revealed his dream project to be a remake of 'Fiddler on the Roof', a show he has seen many times and all too often in a poor production. It didn't take much convincing for him to show his true vocal talents with a verse of 'If I Were A Rich Man'. Then, queued by a question on his book, the 'Salmoneus' in him had the opportunity to remind us all that his first published work would be released later in the year. A few examples from the 'Questions of the Heart' section where Aphrodite seeks his help in the Love Department gave us a clear view of the humorous tone of the book and I'm sure I won't be the only one pre-ordering from amazon.com.
Before his hour was up, a familiar voice came over the speakers. It was his own, but not his own! "I'm Robert Trebor and I've got a book to promote". Then, running up the aisle with a radio mic, Ted Raimi jumped on stage with his Robert Trebor impressions cracking up the crowd. For about 5 minutes he teased his showbiz partner and then exited to the threat of comic violence for being upstaged by Joxer! Robert's hour ended and the seconds ticked away until the next guest talk.
Ted's entrance couldn't have been performed better by Buster Keaton. Missing the chair and falling to the floor started a routine that ended up with his legs knotted up in the chair's arms and classic Joxer expressions added volumes to the comic display. A brief pause, a deep breath and a round of applause brought Ted back from his brief recession into Joxerdome and he immediately started to pick questions from the sea of waving hands.
He indicated that he has no interest in directing at this time. When it rains, he explained, an actor goes back to his caravan. A director pulls his hair out because he can't get his shot. Writing and acting are his only passions in the film world with music, languages and creating board games taking up the rest of his free time. Eager fans questioned him about his love for Gabby and how he explains his brief stints with Meg. He described Joxer like any other man who wants the unattainable and will take what he can get in the meantime. Gabrielle, he confirmed, is Joxers true love.
He gave the account of his encounter with Rob Tapert in the halls of Universal Studios, which resulted in his part as Joxer, just after the cancellation of SeaQuest. It was a lifesaver, he explained, because the mortgage still had to be paid. His Rob Tapert impression, which he assured us is accurate, got a laugh from the crowd every time it was employed to recount the producers dialog. Any sentence commencing with the laid back and drawn out "Neaaah..." of Bugs Bunny would immediately identify the executive who brought him on board.
Not to be outdone by Robert Trebor, Ted agreed to sing 'Joxer the Mighty' for the first time at a convention in over a year. He insisted in getting a chorus of fans to help and, with the line-up in position, two verses were bellowed out, Ted's voice almost being drowned out by the enthusiastic Joxer lovers. His hour finished all too quickly and after saying his goodbyes, he squeezed one more joke in by hitting his nose off the door in true Joxer fashion as he left the stage.
Bruce didn't sing, he didn't dance but he certainly entertained. He immediately dove into the questions and before long he was lying on his back with a chair turned on its side, demonstrating how the Evil Dead II scene with the torrent of blood gushing from the wall was filmed. Like Ted's Rob Tapert impression, Bruce had an equally distinctive cut on Sam Raimi's voice when he told him to wave his arms if he was drowning.
Questions crossed the spectrum of his career from his first experiences in film with school friend Sam, right through to his latest roll as Autolycus on Xena & Herc. For the eternal question 'Will there be an Evil Dead 4?' he joked "Wow, now there's a question I've never heard before!" He followed with the positive answer that all fans wanted to hear and then ended with a resounding "NOT!"
He briefly mentioned his book, 'Confessions of a B Movie Actor' and then told us about his upcoming documentary 'Fanalysis' which was in the process of being edited. This lead him into a few pages of emails which he had received from fans. Each one was met with a roar of laughter and, running out of time, he insisted on squeezing in one last message. Each line he read had the audience in stitches and he promised to read the rest at his session the next day. With that, he took a bow and left the stage.
Four hours after the first talk began, fans were leaving the auditorium shaking their watches. Surely it wasn't over already. But time flew, fun was had and it was on to the next event, the autograph session. A well organised ticketing system kept waiting time to a minimum and queues small. However, this was one time I wish the queue had been longer.
Robert would shout across the room and heckle the other two about holding up the queue because they couldn't write their names fast enough. They'd respond with Robert Trebor impressions and Bruce justified his speed because he had the longest name. From time to time, Bruce and Ted would lapse into posh English accents and compliment the quality of the tea while holding up their teacups, pinkies raised. At other times they'd harass each other about not leaving enough space for any other autographs on the photos. That was definitely one queue I'll remember not wanting to leave.
The evening's events kicked off with a Cult TV Music Quiz and a Xena & Herc Picture Quiz. It was evident that prizes weren't high on the priority list of the organisers when they handed out Buffy magazines to the winners of the music quiz and our team, the Merpups, got nothing but 5 seconds of recognition when we won the Xena & Herc quiz. However, the guests antics made the evening worthwhile when they interviewed the participants in the fancy dress competition.
With Autolycus, Ephiny, Iolaus, Gabrielle, Joxer, Salmoneus a couple of Caesars, more Xenas than you could shake two fighting sticks at and a Lara Croft thrown in for good measure, they had their work cut out for them. Ted interviewed them WWF style while Bruce tested their ability to emulate the character's style. Autolycus's moustache twist and Joxer's stumble were among the most convincing while Gabrielle performed a short staff form she picked up from one of the episodes and Iolaus was by far the closest look-a-like I have ever seen. Robert quizzed an Amazon on just how much she wanted to be an Amazon and Bruce learned that part of another Amazon's head dress was purchased in a Garden Centre. "Hey, that's part of your lawn, isn't it?" Ted quipped.
After some deliberation behind a screen, they emerged with the results. Creating enough categories for everyone to win a prize in they began to hand them out, but again the prizes were lacking. With an embarrassingly small number available they had to improvise by presenting hotel tea cups and little pots of jam. Lara can now enjoy here toast with strawberry preserve!
With the presentations over they made their exits and left us to the disco, which ran on into the night. The third and final day of the convention was approaching and the animated movie was scheduled to greet the heavy eyes of a weary crowd the next morning. Not the most riveting of screenings but I wouldn't miss Lucy's singing for the world.
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