Notes from the Media Party Circuit at Comic-Con

By TV / Video Download Archives
Cover image for  article: Notes from the Media Party Circuit at Comic-Con

 

There were more parties at Comic-Con than anyone could count, the two most spectacular being the annual Syfy/Entertainment Weekly bash at the Hotel Solamar (more on that to come) and the Wrath of Con party on the fourth floor roof deck at the Hard Rock Hotel. (I was invited to the former, not to the latter, but I went anyway, thanks to my new best friend Zachary Levi of NBC’s Chuck. Earlier in the evening Levi had welcomed me into his posse (comprised mostly of fellow Chuck cast members) and escorted me past the throng of hundreds out front of the Hard Rock, all of them pleading with or threatening the poor folks at the door. In a long career of entertainment reporting and attending events this was my first real Entourage moment.

 

The Wrath of Con party was sponsored by FEARnet, TNA Wrestling, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Capcom, among others, and featured Chris Daughtry and his band as the musical entertainment. The crowd enjoyed them (so did Hard Rock guests watching from their balconies) but the party really kicked in (or came to a sudden halt, depending on your perspective) when TNA wrestlers Chris Daniels, Suicide and the Motorcity Machine Guns went at each other in a six-sided ring constructed in the middle of the deck. (I never saw that at a party before.) I wasn’t familiar with Suicide or the other three, and I seemed to be the only person there who didn’t know them. (Levi was on hand to introduce the match.) It was so intense the go-go girls stopped dancing.

 

Even with the outsize parties, the 6000-person screenings and all the action in the expansive exhibition floor at the San Diego Convention Center, there were smaller and equally memorable moments throughout the Con. For example, I went to dinner at the Palm Restaurant on Thursday night, and standing at the bar (without a drink) was Twilight star Taylor Lautner with a small group of friends. Earlier that day, thousands of fans had clamored to get into a presentation for New Moon, the next entry in the Twilight franchise, which will premiere in December, and thousands of fans had been turned away, because Twilight brought a new level of merry madness to the already crowded Con overall. I informed my dinner companion that we were seated across from a young actor who was going to be one of the biggest movie stars in the world by the end of the year. She didn’t know who he was, but she appreciated the tip.

 

Earlier that night I attended a small cocktail party thrown by Entertainment Weekly (also at the Hard Rock) intended as a meet and greet between EW staffers and the “digital elite.” The highlight of that event was the arrival of approximately 100 fans of my pal Michael Ausiello, the EW television writer and blogger known as much for his spoilers as his snark. These Ausholes (as Ausiello’s fans are known) were the winners of a contest for Ausiello readers who were attending the Con. (Ausiello is the fellow with the black jacket and blue T-shirt in the photo below.)

 

 

 

The very smart publicity team at Warner Bros. took full advantage of the record number of mainstream media writers attending the Con by throwing a party on Saturday at the Hilton Hotel adjacent to the convention center. Unlike most television industry events, writers and reporters were free to mingle with producers and casts of The Big Bang Theory, Smallville, Chuck, V and other Warner Bros. shows without running interference from personal publicists. No scandals ensued and a good time was had by all – especially the talent. This was networking as it is meant to be. With parties, screenings and panels filled with surprises, not to mention dozens of their stars eagerly working the exhibition floor, the Warner Bros. folks dive into Comic-Con in a way few other studios do. The others could all learn a lesson from them.

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