Lee Wochner: Writer. Director. Writing instructor. Thinker about things.


Blog

Archive for the ‘On seeing’ Category

I’ll save you the money

Sunday, August 6th, 2017

“Dunkirk” is overly loud and underly plotted, with artsy time-shifting that does more to confound than to explicate, while deserving of a Best Actor nomination for Tom Hardy’s left eye, which is all we see of him behind goggles throughout the movie.

The surprise ending to the most frightening sequel

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

“The Conjuring” scared the pants off me, and there’s a new sequel, “Annabelle: Creation,” opening soon.

But the frights to be found there pale in comparison to those forecast in “An Inconvenient Sequel,” the followup to Al Gore’s previous documentary warning about global warming. The new one opens this Friday.

Last night, I took my two teenagers and a friend of mine to an invited preview of the film at the Arclight Cinema in Hollywood. I wanted them to see what we’re up against with climate change, and also, I hoped, to see that there are people working on solutions (or improvements). But inwardly, I feared that the movie would be so bleak it’d leave us feeling hopeless — much as a close friend told me that a recent piece about global warming in The New Yorker left her feeling.

Yes, the film shows the ravages of melting ice, surging hurricanes and rising ocean waters, both here and abroad. But to my great surprise, it’s frequently funny and terrifically hopeful. The pace of technological advance is great, as are the numbers of people and nations working on solutions. If the movie sometimes candy-coats the situation — yes, we are moving away from fossil fuels, but that doesn’t mean we’ll be somehow restoring melted glaciers — it also ends with rousing optimism, as Al Gore documents the previous struggles that humankind has surmounted.

The former vice president was present at the theatre for a talkback. Yes, he said, sometimes he despairs — but he noted that even some naysayers are coming around, and that last week here in California eight Republican members of the state Assembly voted with Democrats to pass cap-and-trade legislation. (He also shared that one of his “personal heroes,” Governor Jerry Brown, was at that moment in the next screening room watching the movie.) Every great campaign for progress has setbacks: the film documents a particular instance with a research satellite getting decommissioned courtesy of Bush/Cheney, and of course also the perfidious presidency of Donald Trump. However: the film also shows Gore and others working a deal that convinces India not to build 400 (!) new coal-burning plants, plus an impressive graphic depicting the increase in renewable energy production.

I didn’t expect to leave the theatre feeling that my hope was renewed, but it was. My friend felt the same way, and told me he’d feared that it would be depressing.

Now I’m urging everyone to see the film. Go see it, learn about the real-world, right-now, impacts of global warming on places you’re familiar with — places like Miami (which is partly underwater), Nebraska, New Orleans, New Jersey, and Manhattan, all of them shown on-screen under siege from radical new weather.

And then see how tomorrow isn’t impossible. Want to feel that progress is possible about the greatest challenge facing all of humankind? Then this is the film for you.

One final thing: Al Gore has been working on this issue as a personal mission since the 1980’s — the movie shows scenes to this effect. Given the work he’s been doing in build coalitions and making deals that help address this issue, he may be our greatest ex-president. I was happy to shake his hand after the screening.

My wife’s reaction upon seeing our new family photo hung on our wall

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

“None of us look good in it, but I guess that’s how we really look.”

Cogent criticism

Saturday, June 3rd, 2017

My new play, “Triptych,” opened today. It runs through June in Hollywood at the Stephanie Feury Theatre. Here’s where to learn more, and get tickets.

Here are some initial responses.

A theatrical producer I’ve known for a long time now posted this on Facebook:  “Just saw this today. A bracing mix of art, sex and violence. Made me think, feel, and think again. Lee Wochner mixes up a potent brew. I recommend it!”

The artistically minded mother of a director and playwright I’ve worked with posted this:  “My husband  & I saw today’s performance & enjoyed our afternoon. I especially liked the ending but I’ll never tell! Long stem Red Roses & Kudo’s to Lee Wochner, Michael David, Daria Balling, Ross Kramer, Laura Buckles & Dana Xedos.”

But here’s what both my director and I think is the most cogent criticism so far. When it was over, my 14-year-old son turned to me and said, “Dad, this play reeks of you.”

And it does. It reeks of me. The wordplay, the insistence on grammar, the vocabulary, some of the tensions in the relationships, the mockery of Barefoot wine, and much more. “I’ve heard you say a lot of that!” he said later.

We stopped at the supermarket later to pick up a few things, and he went on about how much he heard “me” through the play. I told him that I’ve written lots of plays, and lots of different sorts of plays, and that not all of them sound that much like me. I told him that I’ve written a lot of blue-collar characters with restricted vocabulary, and reminded him that I grew up knowing a lot of people like that and that I have great respect for them.

But he hasn’t seen those plays — and I had thought he hadn’t seen any other of my plays, until I remembered he’d seen a couple of short plays of mine the past couple of years at the annual Moving Arts holiday party.

So, for now, I’m associated with the terrible caustic people in my new play. He and his sister (18) associated my wife with it in a different way. Responding to a situation in the play, they asked her, “Do you have a lesbian lover?!?!?” Her response:  “Not that you know of.”

 

What I’d like to see

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

In addition to the Trump impeachment (and good luck on that one), here are some things I’d like to see this summer.

After 29 years of wondering just who the Hell would ever read through the LA Times’ Summer Sneaks list, I did so this morning. So don’t let anyone ever tell you it’s too late to change.

Here are the films (and release dates) on my I’d-like-to-see list. Realistically, given time constraints, I might see 5-8 of these. At the top, I’m putting the MUST SEE list (barring nuclear holocaust, of course).

I’m not even a movie fan, per se — but there’s something about each of these that speaks to me.

MUST SEE!

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (5/5/17)

Alien: Covenant (I go to see all “Aliens” movies, so long as they don’t also involve Predators, because even I know to avoid those.)(5/19/17)

War for the Planet of the Apes (For five decades now, I’ve made it a practice to see all “Apes” movies) (7/14/17)

Dunkirk (TOM HARDY and MARK RYLANCE. ‘Nuff said!) (7/21/17)

An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (the terrifying Al Gore documentary — I’ll need drinks afterward) (7/28/17)

WOULD LIKE TO SEE

Citizen Jane: Battle for the City (documentary; currently, I’m interested in development issues) (4/28/17)

LA92 (documentary about the LA riots; I want to see it because I was here) (4/28/17)

Julian Schnabel: A Private Portrait (documentary) (5/5/17)

The Lovers (Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters) (5/5/17)

Obit (documentary, about the people who write obits for newspapers) (5/5/17)

3 Generations (5/5/17)

Burden (documentary, about the performance artist Chris Burden, who encouraged his assistant to shoot him in the arm during one live performance, and who was crucified onto a Volkswagen in another) (5/12/17)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (5/12/17)

Whisky Galore! (it stars Eddie Izzard — that’s why!) (5/12/17)

The Commune (This is about a Danish commune in the 1970s. I think communes are ridiculous, and from the plot description this one sounds typically misbegotten, so I’ll be seeing it because occasionally it’s good to see your beliefs and values vindicated.) (5/19/17)

Paint It Black (5/19/17)

The Survivalist (post-apocalyptic thriller) (5/19/17)

Long Strange Trip (documentary about the Grateful Dead; I don’t like the Dead, but I’m still trying to figure out why so many people do. I feel similarly about Frank Sinatra.) (5/26/17)

Churchhill (Brian Cox, Miranda Richardson, John Slattery; I’m going because it’s a great cast, and because it’s about Churchhill.) (6/2/17)

Wonder Woman (Because it looks like great fun, and because she was the only fun thing in that wretched Batman v. Superman movie.) (6/2/17)

It Comes at Night (And hopefully it scares the bejesus out of me.) (6/9/17)

Nobody Speaks: Trials of the Free Press (documentary about the privacy trial between Hulk Hogan and Gawker Media) (6/23/17)

Baby Driver (from writer-director Edgar Wright, about a heist gone wrong) (6/28/17)

Good Fortune (documentary about John Paul DeJoria’s rise from homelessness and gang banging to become a billionaire philanthropist — I love this guy) (6/30/17)

The Journey (Timothy Spall, Colm Meaney, John Hurt in a fictional account of two implacable enemies in Northern Ireland – firebrand Democratic Unionist Party leader Paisley and Sinn Fein politician Martin McGuinness – who set aside their differences and arrive at peace. I need more of this right now.) (June)

The Dark Tower (from the Stephen King novels) (8/4/17)

Annabelle: Creation (I see all “Annabelle” movies too. I’m a sucker for menacing evil playthings.) (8/11/17)

Tulip Fever (written by Tom Stoppard) (8/25/17)

The Unknown Girl (thriller) (August)

Monday, not Sunday

Monday, February 20th, 2017

While in the past I’ve been happy to celebrate Washington’s birthday, or Lincoln’s birthday, I’ve never wanted to celebrate President’s Day, for the simple reason that I don’t celebrate all of them. I didn’t like it when George W. Bush was the president, I don’t recall liking it before that, and I certainly don’t like it now.

In addition to not-celebrating the holiday, another reason I had a hard time just a minute ago remembering that it’s Monday and not Sunday is that I spent the morning eating a leisurely breakfast with strong coffee, horsing around on my iPhone playing far too many rounds of Drop7, and making mental lists of things I should do today but probably won’t. In other words: Sunday activities. I was especially confused when the newspaper was even slimmer than usual — pretty slim for a Sunday! … Oh.

Yesterday, on what felt like Saturday but was actually Sunday, I took my daughter to LACMA to see the exhibit of German art of the Renaissance. My forebears were torn between two factions (in this case, the Catholics and the Protestants), an awful conflict that gave rise to some great art and some very snotty illustrations that reminded me of the underground comix o the 1960s. (Good thing nothing like this is happening these days.) The work was deeply beautiful and generally disturbing — very warlike, with representations of the chosen arbiters (Martin Luther or the Pope) swinging between deific and demonic, and with much heraldry, spilled blood, and tortured Christs. The portraiture of the one-percenters (who, of course, could afford portraits of themselves), was necessarily flattering. Hats off, then, to Albrecht Durer, who had the audacity to depict one such Burgermeister as a thin-lipped, cold-eyed coot. I can only wonder what this person thought of his portrait.

While we were there, we paid extra to see the exhibit showcasing the work of Diego Rivera and Pablo Picasso. I’d never thought of the two together, associating the former with a sort of socialist-peasant art and the latter with modernism, and I wasn’t aware of their friendship, but now I’ve been educated. I was especially interested to see how informed Rivera’s work was by Mayan art, with its simple uninflected portrayals of people, and also to see Picasso’s elementary illustrations of a translation of Ovid; it’s astounding how much he could convey with just a simple fluid line.

My friend and former playwriting workshop member Tira Palmquist is having quite a year or two or three. She’s been racking up productions all over the place, and just broke through the LORT curtain with her play “Two Degrees,” which is currently running at Denver Center for the Performing Arts. She says a number of smart and useful things in this interview, and is even so kind as to give me a shoutout. In with all the other wise things she says here, I particularly recommend this advice: “Write as much as possible. Set difficult goals.”

Go to the gym. Do the grocery shopping. Write as much as possible. That’s my to-do list for today.

Fringe appeal

Thursday, June 9th, 2016

fringe

Starting today, the Hollywood Fringe Festival is upon us again, and I’m carefully marking my selections.

What’s the Hollywood Fringe Festival? It’s 2-3 weeks of new, engaging, offbeat, sometimes hilarious and wonderful but sometimes absolutely horrible theatrical events staged around greater Hollywood. To quote their website, “Each June during the Hollywood Fringe, the arts infiltrate the Hollywood neighborhood: fully equipped theaters, parks, clubs, churches, restaurants and other unexpected places host hundreds of productions by local, national, and international arts companies and independent performers. Participation in the Hollywood Fringe is completely open and uncensored.”

Which might explain how, one year, I was able to perform as a cynical crow in one show and, two years hence, a smart-alecky duck in another. (My acting abilities are clearly limited to playing one-note animals.)

The joy of the Fringe is not merely in seeing as many shows as you can — it’s also in feeling the vibe around town as you pass by theatres in Hollywood and see crowds milling around on sidewalks, even at 2 a.m., awaiting whatever the next performance is. It’s an exciting time for what is, to me, the most exciting art form.

Today, I bought tickets for my first two selections.

MyAlamoWarOn Monday, June 20th, at 7 p.m. I’ll be seeing “My Alamo War,” a one-man show written by and starring my longtime friend the playwright Ernest Kearney. Ernest is a fiercely talented and principled writer-performer whose work I’ve been following (and, one time, producing) for 20 years. Last year he wrote and starred in what was perhaps the most beautiful and heartfelt show I saw all year — a slideshow documenting his year or two managing a storage facility that fronted on Hollywood Boulevard in the 1980s. During that time, Ernest took at least one photo every day, and grew to know the people who passed by his workplace window. His story — and their stories — merged into a searing, funny, and deeply moving event that, if he ever repeats it, I will invite many, many people to. His new show concerns his “war” against the Tony and Susan Alamo Christian Foundation, a nefarious group whose awful booklets and pamphlets I’ve been collecting since the 1980s in order to keep my bile duct working. Ernest, who, as well as being funny and clever and a severely talented writer, is a fearless fellow, evidently engaged in some sort of guerrilla war against them for two years — and I’m eager to find out who won. My money would be on him.

 

designatedmournerOn Saturday, June 25th, I’ll be seeing “The Designated Mourner,” by Wallace Shawn at 5 p.m. at Theatre of NOTE. Close friends and long-time readers of this blog are aware of my deep interest in Mr. Shawn’s writing. (I’m currently reading his book of essays, where I find once again that I’m drawn to his writing while shaking my head at the “logic” of his arguments, or lack thereof.) I’ve read the playscript version of this play several times, and have seen the filmed version (which is very good) twice, and am looking forward to seeing it staged for the first time. In the play, we’re there for the moment when America (it seems) slides into being a banana republic and we’ve lost our cultural and moral anchors; it’s a world where no one will care any longer about John Donne. One could argue that we’re already there. But then, one could also argue that because the Internet has created access for everyone to everything, now more people than ever know about and appreciate John Donne. (And the latter, clearly, is my argument.) I don’t fully buy Shawn’s story of how the country will fall apart, but he may be having the last laugh under President Trump.

When I get the time, I’m going to do my best to squeeze in as much of the Fringe as possible. Some of it will be terrific, and some of it will be terrible, but the totality of those two or three weeks will be intoxicating.

Plot lines of your life

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

At some point or other, and as along as they’re still living, you will once again run into everyone you’ve ever met. Sometimes we can thank chance for that (as I’ve seen every time I’ve visited Las Vegas in the past few years, including last week, and come across someone I know), and we can thank the Internet, and Facebook most specifically, for that. And when running into them, you can sometimes piece together elements of your life in new and surprising ways.

My childhood friend Keith Reamer, whom I haven’t seen in the flesh in 37 years, Facebook-tagged me tonight on a post about the Little Art Theatre, a single-screen movie house of the 1980’s that was tucked away back in the woods of Bargaintown, NJ. I wrote about that cherished movie house, and how much it affected my life, in this post from October, 2007. I thought Keith was just nicely tagging me because he knew I’d been a devotee of that space (as was everyone in that time and space who wanted offbeat or obscure film offerings).

No, it turns out that this remembrance of the Little Art Theatre quotes my piece on this blog — and then the author states, “Disconcertingly, this is the only direct recollection of the theater’s existence I can find online.” Disconcertingly because it was a big part of his young life:  He was the son of the owners. Which means he was the kid taking my tickets before showings.

He also mentions the Atlantic Film Society. When I was 14, Keith Reamer invited me to the premiere Atlantic Film Society event. The entry was a door in an alleyway in what I recall as a not terribly inviting area of Atlantic City; inside, in a small dark room, about 16 of us watched films screened from a portable projector (16 mm? 35 mm?), and one of the films shown was “La Jetee,” the inspiration for “12 Monkeys,” which scared the bejeebers out of me. I knew no one there but Keith… but over the years, I came to meet probably every other person who was in that room that night, including someone I later did a newspaper feature on (who, it turned out, also knew Keith), various friends, the woman who was to become my dearest college professor eight years later and, I’m now assuming due to the story linked above, the couple who later opened the Little Art Theatre.

Working backward from all this:  When I was 12 or so, I started writing letters to other comics fans with New Jersey addresses. We’d find each other through the letters pages of Marvel and DC comics or through fanzines. That’s how I meet Keith. Keith and I start doing fanzines together. He’s more interested in movies than comics, and invites me to the Atlantic Film Society’s inaugural screening. There, I meet a handful of people who will later make a significant impact on my life (what Kurt Vonnegut in Cat’s Cradle called a karrass, a “group of people linked in a cosmically significant manner, even when superficial links are not evident”). One attendee will introduce me to Theatre of the Absurd and will get me a scholarship in exchange for writing a play — which turned me into a playwright, and which led to graduate school, which is what brought me to Los Angeles. Two of the other attendees will start the movie house that happens to be the site of my first date with the woman who turns out to be my wife.

Without these odd connections, I might have become, say, an unmarried electrician living in Mullica Township, NJ.

Maybe not a bad life — but certainly a very different one.

The bottle factory

Friday, April 8th, 2016

More than 30 years ago, I interviewed Denny O’Neil, the foremost writer of Batman comics of the 1970s, the writer who has most influenced the Batman you’ve been seeing in the movies the past 10 years. The interview was for The Comics Journal, and Denny and I got into a heated exchange about low art and high art. He’d once written searing issues-oriented comic-books, taking mainstream comics far far out in new explorations – and now he was writing GI Joe comics.

He defended the GI Joe comics (“Have you read it?” he said. “Basically it’s a superhero comic.”) but I couldn’t imagine how the person who’d tried to address poverty, racism, and drug abuse through the prism of superhero comics could defend writing militaristic toy tie-ins.

Of the entire exchange, and our lunch a week or two later in Manhattan, the thing that made the greatest impression was this: the bottle factory.

I was bemoaning popular low art. (Ironic, for someone writing about comic books, I know.) My lowest-common-denominator example was “Laverne & Shirley.” I don’t know why I hated “Laverne & Shirley” so desperately (nor do I know why my wife’s example later became “Charles in Charge,”), but “Laverne & Shirley” just seemed like the nadir, with its canned laughter and obvious jokes.

Denny’s response to this tirade was this: “Think about the guy at the bottle factory.”

“Huh? What guy at the bottle factory?”

“The poor guy at the bottle factory. He works all day at the bottle factory, he comes off, he wants to take off his shoes, have a beer and watch something simple and entertaining. He doesn’t want to read Tolstoy. It was hard and hot and demanding all day at the bottle factory. He loves ‘Laverne & Shirley.’ It’s what he needs.”

In other words, “Laverne & Shirley” wasn’t for me – but it was certainly for others. A lot of others.

Unfortunately, the choices of those of us who didn’t want “Laverne & Shirley” and its like were severely limited.

At the time, everyone in America was limited to three channels – CBS, NBC, and ABC – and maybe a couple of Ultra High Frequency channels if you could get them (we got 17, and 29, and 48, out of Philadelphia) – and maybe PBS. That was it. And so your choices were: whatever inane original series was on CBS, NBC or ABC; scratchy syndicated shows from an earlier era or old movies; or cheap “it’s good for you” television courtesy of the prim and proper.

For me, watching TV in that era was like working at the bottle factory. With rare exceptions, it was something to be endured.

Now television’s bottle factory has been blown up. It was blown up by cable, which gave creators new freedoms and more opportunities, and the Internet, which did the same and also removed the financial restrictions of needing a studio, and broadcast towers, and expensive cameras and editors and so forth. Now if you’ve got an idea for a show, you can make it yourself and distribute it yourself.

This bonanza of choice has segregated the audience into many little tributes. Today at the airport, a woman near me was excited because a semi-famous contestant from “American Idol” was waiting with us for the same plane. She pointed him out, and showed me his image on her phone as well, but I didn’t know who he was, having never watched “American Idol.” In the 1970s, with so few shows, everyone knew who everyone was.

All of this new choice has also made us pickier. A couple of years ago late at night in some hotel room I fired up Netflix to watch another episode of “Sons of Anarchy” and found myself mostly scrolling through my phone while it was on. Then I realized that not only was I not watching the episode, I’d never watch another one – not just because I didn’t care, but because I had so many choices I didn’t need to settle for this. When the menu is 90 pages long, why order something you don’t want to eat?

A few nights ago, I was watching “Mr. Selfridge” on my DVR and that bottle-factory feeling came over me. The characters I cared about (mostly the women striving to advance in a sexist and classist early 20th century England) were all gone, leaving me entirely at the mercy of Jeremy Piven’s completely ersatz performance. So I deleted it.

In the post-bottle factory age, we have the opposite dilemma. Now that there are an estimated 450 original scripted shows a year, and so many of them are excellent, it would be easy to lose your life to television. I can recommend “Breaking Bad” and “The Wire” and “The Sopranos” and “The Good Wife,” but no, I’m not adding “Orphan Black” or “The Americans” or “Homeland” or, probably, any other show that you’re recommending. I don’t have time. I don’t have the time. Well, specifically, I have just as much time as anyone else alive at the moment – but I’m working harder than ever to guard it for other things.

I read somewhere that when there are too many items on a menu, people are more likely to order less – or to order nothing. The wealth of choices is too daunting, so they lose their hunger. I used to yearn for great TV.

But now that it’s here, I wish a lot of it would go away.

Because I’d like to watch it. Really.

Comical weekend

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

IMG_0800

This is a little bit of graffiti in my neighborhood.

Okay, it’s the Warner Brothers water tower (still in my neighborhood). On Thursday night, the folks at Warners were kind enough to invite a couple hundred of us to a screening of “Batman v. Superman” on the lot. I won’t say that you’re looking at the best part of the movie (that would be Wonder Woman), but I will say that even with a masters in writing and almost 25 years of teaching dramatic writing, and with five decades of reading comic books starring Batman and Superman, I couldn’t make any sense of whole chunks of the film.

The next day, I went to Wonder Con, the baby brother to Comic-Con, with a couple of friends. Wonder Con, which began years ago in San Francisco and has more lately been in Anaheim, was in downtown Los Angeles this year due to scheduling difficulties with the Anaheim Convention Center. I’m now going to show you the absolutely most wondrous thing I’ve ever seen in Los Angeles. Look closely.

IMG_0803

YES, that is my car parked at a white-striped FREE parking spot right on Figueroa Street, immediately across from the Los Angeles Convention Center. You’re going to want to save this photo. Some day, you will tell your grandchildren that you’d once seen a FREE parking spot in downtown LA and they will sneer at you. They will say, “But Gramps, all parking near the Convention Center is $20, or $30, or frequently even 45 bucks! FREE parking? You’re nuts!” But there it is — absolute proof, and unlike Bigfoot photos, obviously not staged or Photoshopped. It exists! At least, it turns out, until 3 p.m., whereupon it becomes a tow-away zone unmarked by signs.  Good thing my good friend the redoubtable Dr. Trek checked for me. Whereupon I moved my car… into $20 parking. But until then, I had this, I had the FREE PARKING! Another grail quest completed!

Wonder Con, as stated, is much like Comic-Con, if Comic-Con were Galactus and Wonder Con were Ant-Man. (You’ll note that unlike Comic-Con, Wonder Con doesn’t even merit a hyphen. That says a lot.) Still, it’s possible to catch up with old friends and have a grand time. Here I am digging in comics boxes looking for a surprisingly hard-to-find copy of From Beyond the Unknown #8, with a couple of old pals.

IMG_0807

Even Spidey-Sense couldn’t help me find that issue. The search continues.

Unlike the San Diego Convention Center (and, indeed, the City of San Diego itself), where the structure is laid out sensibly, the Los Angeles Convention Center is the product of a twisted mind whose architectural style pairs M.C. Escher with the Marquis de Sade. The Center has no center — there are actually two large buildings separated by a street and an enclosed overhead byway that gives no hint that one is crossing between buildings — and is shaped overall like clumps of organic matter with roots growing through them. You know how sometimes you’ll find a section of an airport closed for renovation and you’re shunted down narrow passageways serving as temporary workarounds? At the Los Angeles Convention Center, these claustrophobic corridors are permanent. Someone actually designed them this way. (And I’m not the only one to remark upon the terrible Los Angeles Convention Center. Mark Evanier has been going on about it as well.) Take this example:

 

IMG_0811

See the people up top? Perhaps you’d like to join them. Now, barring the power of flight, how could you do it. Well, if you back up 20 feet, you find this:

IMG_0812

Yes, that’s a lady in some sort of blue costume. It’s also a stairwell. How do I know it’s a stairwell? I went all the way inside to see what it was. There’s no sign, there’s no window, it’s completely shielded, so there’s no indication that it’s a stairwell — in this case, with a  female Deadpool lying on the steps taking a photo of this lady’s rear end for some reason — but trust me, it’s a stairwell. But then, one shouldn’t be surprised that it’s unmarked:  Most of the interior of the convention center is unmarked. Including access points to the parking garage. It took my friend Larry and me 45 minutes to find my car inside the convention center parking structure on Saturday night, and that was after consulting with a convention center supervisor and a helpful guard who walked us out and still couldn’t find access. (After walking about an hour on our own, Larry and I found it. By luck.)

Even with  the frustrations of parking and navigation, as well as scheduling that left me traversing one end of the convention center back to the other repeatedly over two days during which I burned 550 calories each day just by walking (thanks, iPhone tracker), Wonder Con was great fun. Two added great finds from the Con.

1. I finally got my dream job, and a sense of the benefits.

IMG_0816

 

2. I finally, actually, really got to see someone dragging toilet paper on his shoe. I guess it isn’t just a classic movie joke.

IMG_0823