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Now in our sixth calendar year
PCR #251  (Vol. 6, No. 2)  This edition is for the week of January 10--16, 2005.

Will and Karen's Cabbage Key and Key West Kraziness, Part Four....Comet Machholz....Thanks, I'm Semi-Outta Here!...And The Winner Is...
 by William Moriaty
 by Mike Smith
"White Noise"  by Nolan Canova
The Best Albums of 2004
 by Terence Nuzum
An Afternoon With Chris Sarandon
 by Andy Lalino
Pimp Is Not Evel....Wade In The Hall, But Who Are These Voters?....Bizarre Sports Note....The People's Choice....Just Some Updates....Goodbye to the Godfather, Will Eisner
 by Brandon Jones
WMD And Me....Happy Birthday To Me....Lizzie Borden Took An Axe....Football Playoffs
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Happy Birthday....Also In This Issue....Movie Notes....Censorship -- A Good Thing?....How Do You Spell Punk? M O S S....Jaws: The Story, Part 1
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

An Afternoon with Chris Sarandon
While thumbing through the St. Petersburg Times, I noticed an unusual (for this area) event featuring one of the most esteemed actors in the industry; an actor who's not only highly regarded by his peers, but who also appeals to the Crazed Fanboy® (do I need a "register" mark here, Nole?)(Yep! --N) in each and every one of us: Chris Sarandon. For those unfamiliar, Sarandon is best-known (at least to us fanboys) for portraying the cool and seductive vampire Jerry Dandridge from "Fright Night". His many genre roles don't start or end there; in '77 he starred in "The Sentinel"; "Frankenstein" in 1987; "Child's Play" in 1988, Dan O' Bannon's "The Resurrected" in 1992; "Tales from the Crypt presents Bordello of Blood" and "The Vampyre Wars" in 1996; and "Reaper" in 2000 (which I've seen!).

Sarandon was to give an acting seminar at the Tarpon Springs Cultural Center, and I figured this would be a "don't miss" event in terms of picking up some directing tips and meeting Count Dandridge himself. Sarandon was in town for the popular Epiphany event in Tarpon Springs, and made time to conduct a seminar at the request of Tarpon cultural leaders. I left my house (in Clearwater) a good hour beforehand, and arrived with time to spare.

I immediately encountered two familiar faces: friends Shade Burnett, the "coolest chick on earth", and Karen Ezell, both aspiring actresses. "Come over and sit with us" Shade demanded, so I packed up my things from a mid-auditorium seat and plopped down in the very front row. Shade, Karen, and I caught up on what each other was doing as we waited for Mr. Sarandon to arrive.

The seminar began a few minutes late, but in time Sarandon walked in, accompanied by the mayor of Tarpon Springs, supporters of the local arts, and finally his mom. It never occurred to me that Chris Sarandon is Greek (for those that don't know, Tarpon Springs is an ethnic Greek community located just north of St. Petersburg), until I thought about it - he very much looks Greek, later explaining that his father was from a "Greek village in Turkey".

One of the first things that struck me as Chris made his way to the podium amidst sighs from female members of the audience, was how fit he was. Not an ounce of body fat on the man. An audience member asked how he kept himself so lean, confessing that he worked out 6 times a week!

The seminar kicked off with Chris receiving an award from the city of Tarpon Springs for his contributions to the arts, presented to him by the Mayor. Grateful, Sarandon began the seminar proper with a reality check to aspiring actors: if you aren't prepared to live a life where you never know where your next check is coming from, don't get into the business. He's right. Being an actor is very much the life of a freelancer. When the shock wore off, he played some beginner acting "games", challenging audience members to get in touch with and express their feelings, which they can parlay into future roles.

The first half of the seminar consisted of games and advice, which were a lot of fun, followed by a thorough Q&A session. Two times, the very proud Mrs. Sarandon chimed in with charming stories about her son's childhood. Near the end of the Q&A, she interjected that she was going back to the house, in the way only a mother can! It was hilarious and heart-warming.

Sarandon's Q&A consisted of a variety of questions, from "how do you prepare for roles?" to "what do you think of reality TV"? Personally, I would have loved to hear about the making of "Fright Night" or "The Sentinel" and how he prepared to play an undead entity. Oddly, the program book we were handed made no mention of his horror roles, not even "Fright Night", one of his greatest triumphs. It did, however, mention Peter Cushing, who Sarandon had the privilege of co-starring with in "A Tale of Two Cities" in 1980.

After the lengthy and informative Q&A, Sarandon concluded the session, and was off to meet up with his family. For a second I worried that he would dart out, leaving little or no time for autograph signings or pictures. Since I brought my complete set of 8 "Fright Night" lobby cards with me, I really wanted him to sign one featuring him! Luckily, a small crowd cornered him, and I was able to squeeze in with my silver Sharpie and beg for a signing, which he did graciously. I even posed for a picture with him.

After the brief post-seminar mingling, Chris was off. Shade, Karen, and I talked some more, and were met with three ladies of the FMPTA (Florida Motion Picture and Television Association): Carol Halliburton, Carole Ferrill, and Miriam Goodspeed, who informed us about their latest projects.

We all left the seminar at approximately 4:30pm, enriched by the experience of meeting one of the great actors of our time; a man truly devoted to his craft with the desire to mentor others as they begin their career as actors and actresses. Thank you for the visit, Chris!

"Oddservations" is ©2005 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. Photos used for this article courtesy of Shade Burnett and Andy Lalino. All other graphics are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2005 by Nolan B. Canova.