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LA FLORIDIANA
La Floridiana Lite: Upcoming Events  by William Moriaty
MOVIE REVIEW
"Firewall"  by Mike Smith
MY MIDDLE TOE
Don't Cry. Steelers Are World Champions.  by Mark Terry
MIKE'S RANT
Make Up Your Mind....Thank God I'm Losing My Hair....Congrats....Passing On....My Favorite Films--Chapter 6  by Mike Smith
Nolan's Pop Culture Review, 2006!
    Established A.D. 2000, March 19. Now in our seventh calendar year!
Number 307  (Vol. 7, No. 6). This edition is for the week of February 6--12, 2006.

Convention Season
  • F/X CON '06 review by ED Tucker
    Also....
  • MegaCon Plans
  • The Passing of Al Lewis
  • Tampa Film Network's First Meeting by Chris Woods
  • Tampa Film Review Reminder for February by Paul Guzzo
  • 'Tis convention season indeed and as many of us are gearing up for our annual pilgrimmage to MegaCon in Orlando, ED Tucker brings us his as-always great review of this year's Florida Extravaganza Collectibles and Toy Show, aka, F/X '06.

    I don't want to unnecessarily pre-diss the venerable MegaCon, but if this year's itinerary is any indication of what's to come down the road, it may well be that next year's Fanboy Summit may take place at the growing F/X Con than at the fading MegaCon, much as I hate to say it.

    Meet Some of the PCR Gang!
    MegaCon '06 will be held at the Orlando Convention Center, February 24, 25, and 26. Our group leaving from Tampa will be attending Saturday only. Our group this year is barely half of what is was last year. With MegaCon's so-so guest list and the dreaded parking hassles looming ahead, this could be our last show for a while. So....I'm extending an invitation (started by Brandon Jones on the Message Board) to any and all fans of Crazed Fanboy and Nolan's Pop Culture Review, that we are meeting up for lunch at the front doors of MegaCon at one o'clock sharp, and all of y'all are invited to join us for a Fanboy Summit Luncheon! (Yes, Fangirls are welcome, too, of course.) Expect to meet and dine with: ED Tucker, Brandon Jones, Joshua Montgomery, Lisa & Gage Zubek, Lonnie Dohlen, and, of course, yours truly, PCR publisher and editor-in-chief, Nolan B. Canova. At this time, the location is assumed to be UNO's Pizza on International Drive like last year. Hope to see you there!

    Update From Will Moriaty, re: MegaCon
    Florida's Master of the Weird, Charlie Carlson, along with the magical mistress of ghosts, Susan Thompson, as well as radio's Emi and Amy Diaz, hosts from the Graveyard Shift Radio Show will have booths at MegaCon! For more information about MegaCon, visit their website at www.megaconvention.com. For more on Florida events over the next few months, see this issue's La Floridiana "Lite".


    Grandpa Munster Passes On
    Al Lewis, known to a generation of fans as Grandpa Munster from the early '60s sitcom The Munsters, recently passed away at the age of 95. Before he and co-star Fred Gwynne donned monster movie make-up to become America's first family of comedy-horror, they were patrolman in the seminal '50s sitcom, Car 54 , Where Are You?. The two remained life-long friends.

    Al Lewis's raucous sense of humor and infectious laugh would be his most endearing tradenmarks, even as he endeavored to enter the world of politics very late in life (running for mayor or governor of NY was typical). Al Lewis was a fixture on '60s television (also appearing on Lost in Space as a space magician), but after retiring, went into the restaurant business and politics. His passing serves as yet again another reminder of how many of the original "vaudevillian"-types we are losing every year. Al Lewis will be sorely missed. I'm sure our own Mike Smith will do up his usual terrific in-depth review of the career of Al Lewis in this week's Mike's Rant.


    Tampa Film Network Meeting, #1     by Chris Woods
    The first meeting of the Tampa Film Network was held at Durango’s Steakhouse at The Best Western Hotel, 1200 N. Westshore, in Tampa on February 1st, 2006.

    To give a little history on how this all came about was about a month ago when filmmaker Joe Davison called me up and had an idea to start up a group to help local filmmakers to get together and help one another out on projects. Joe headed up a group like this one in Cambridge in the U.K. and it was very successful. Now, on to the meeting.

    I arrived there a little after 8pm. First person I saw was Andy Lalino and his wife Sandy who were having dinner before the meeting. I then ran into Joe and Tampa Film Commissioner Krista Soroka. I greeted them and talked with Joe on where in the restaurant to hold the meeting. There were already about seven to eight people who had arrived and were sitting at a table outside the lounge. I then saw good friend Dan Goncalves and filmmaker Melissa Webb. I talked to them for a bit when others started coming in. Joe and myself decided to have the meeting in the main room of the restaurant, since most of everyone was hungry and wanted to eat (including myself). Joe put about five tables together, people took their seats, menus were passed around, and the meeting was on.

    They were plenty of new faces at the meeting and many familiar ones as well. Filmmaker and Tampa Film Review co-founder Paul Guzzo, USF’s Rodrick Colbert, Tampa Film Fan Lisa Ciurro, Screenwriter Ronnie Mitchell, Filmmakers Greg Rivera and Craig Kovach, and USF student Andrew Ortoski who I met at last month's Tampa Film Review.

    Joe started off the meeting by thanking everyone for coming. He talked about the goal for the group and the film scene in Tampa Bay. To unite the community and work towards better film productions. After Joe, I took the stage and told everyone a little about myself. Then I asked the group to go around the room and introduce themselves. We met many different types of talent that night that included screenwriters, editors, actors, stunt men, graphic artists, sound operators, voice-over artists, and tons of others. This was the main purpose of this first meeting to have everyone get to know each other, see who everyone is, see what we can all do, and take it from there.

    One of our main goals is to present projects to the table and say, “Hey I need a sound guy, or I need an actor, or a camera and a place to shoot.” An the ideal thing to happen is someone to stand up and say, “I’m an actor or I can do sound, or I have the prefect place on where to shoot.” That’s how we get everyone to work together. One project that was brought to the table was one that I’m involved with, which is a series for The Horror Channel, where we’re looking for crewmembers and locations. Many people were interested in helping out on the project. The next meeting we’re hoping that others will bring projects to the table. We then asked the group if they had any questions. Many asked if there is going to be a web site for The Tampa Film Network and the answer is YES. We’ll have one soon. We might start one off on myspace.com but eventually we want to have our own in the future. I know Krista Soroka was very supportive with helping us out with that. Other questions were answered and a quick mention from Joe who gave a shout out to Nolan Canova, who wished he could have been there for the first meeting. (We missed you, Nolan.) He also said that Nolan has been a great supporter of the film scene for years and encouraged everyone to check out his site.

    After that, it was time for everyone to order. The remainder of the night we all mingled and had great conversations. I talked to a few friends and meet some new ones. It was an awesome first meeting for The Tampa Film Network. They were about almost 30 people at the event, a great turn out. The night ended about 11pm. Everyone said their good-byes and looked forward to working together. We hope we have just as good of a turn out for the next meeting. We want to have the meetings every other month. The next one will be in April at the same location. For myself (Chris Woods) and Joe Davison, thank you all for coming out to our first meeting. We hope to have many other successful ones in the future and we hope to pump out many successful productions.

    For more info on The Tampa Film Network go to www.popgunpictures.com and www.iconfilmstudios.com.


    Tampa Film Review Reminder For February     by Paul Guzzo
    The next Tampa Film Review, presented by 1 Day Films, will be held on Friday, February 10 from 8 – 10 p.m. at International Bazaar, located at 1600 E. Eighth Ave. in the Centro Ybor Complex. Tampa Film Reviews is held every second Friday of the month and is free.

    February’s films will include:
    The feature film The Cross by Gino Cabanas: The story of Ray, a personal injury attorney facing a moral and spiritual crisis. Ray finds himself feeling cursed, trapped, and miserable as a parade of “injured” clients constantly pressure him for their money, most of which is not deserved. He feels he is only an instrument of their greed. The time constraints of his job prevent him from spending time with his family and friends. Ray misses a chance to see his brother Paul before he dies of cancer. As his clients become more frantic and demanding, Ray begins to unravel, questioning the morality of his profession. He is haunted by the ghost of his deceased brother Paul, who guides him toward his salvation. (www.thecrossthemovie.com)

    1 Day Films feels that there are very few, if any, regular outlets in the local area for local independent filmmakers to showcase their films. Hopefully, this monthly event will provide that outlet for everyone, from experienced local independent filmmakers to local college and high school filmmakers experimenting with film production for the first time. 1 Day Films promises your film will be shown!

    Coffeehouse Film Review was awarded a 2005 Best of the Bay Award for BEST REASONS TO BELIEVE THE LOCAL FILM SCENE IS ALIVE AND WELL.

    International Bazaar is a place where the arts, culture, entertainment, food, music and dance connect in harmony. Come explore and shop for items from over 100 countries representing cultures in their traditional and modern styles. Explore, enjoy, learn and shop. They promise you an enlightened and fun experience.

    1 Day Films is looking for film submissions for future events. For more pete@tooprod.com or paulguzzo@hotmail.com. All genres of films are accepted – feature length, shorts, documentaries, comedy, horror, love, art, drama, foreign language, experimental etc. No pornography!

    Visit www.thetampafilmreview.com for more.


    F/X 2006
    The Florida Extravaganza Marches Onward
    by ED Tucker


    The weekend of January 28 marked the 17th anniversary of FX – the Florida Extravaganza collectibles show. This also marked the second year since founder Mike Herz returned to the reins of the Orlando based con to pull the plummeting show out of a dangerous nosedive and my fifteenth visit to the trenches. While the 2006 event was fraught with challenges, the attendee and dealer response was overall positive and the future still looks bright.

    From the very outset, 2006 promised to be a year of change for more than just the location. It was obvious from the website that the focus had shifted from a simple toy and collectibles show to a much broader event. This year's FX incorporated gaming, comic book artists, anime, and a horde of media guests that were all clearly aimed at giving the rival Megacon show a run for it's business. While celebrity guests have been a staple of FX for many years, this year's selection of over 30 from all types of media was exponentially larger than any previous year. Even patrons who normally attend just for the collectibles were almost certain to have an opportunity to meet at least one of their favorite stars.

    The Central Florida Fairgrounds was chosen as the new host for FX and proved adequate but far from ideal. The main complaint came from the dealers who felt displaced in the detached buildings. The event was spread out over two separate buildings with a smaller building in between serving as the gaming and presentation area. Unfortunately this space was not contiguous and vendors placed in the back building felt isolated from the rest of the show. One dealer even commented that sellers in the main building were telling attendees that there were no other areas! Another concern was the floor plan, which was overhauled at the eleventh hour when problems arose with the facility. This resulted in guest areas being spread out through both buildings and disrupting the flow of traffic in the dealers areas.

    The Friday night preview offered attendees who purchased full access admissions an unhurried evening to browse the tables of dealers that were set up early and avoid the general rush for the guests who had arrived in advance. This was where I did the bulk of my purchasing for this fairly economical visit. My main acquisitions were a boxed G.I. Joe Adventure Team Vehicle (the six wheeled amphibious dune buggy primarily used to recover lost mummies) and a Secret Mountain Outpost set from near the end of the line when Hasbro was trying to cash in on the Six Million Dollar Man.

    Almost as soon as I set foot in the main building, I ran into fellow PCR contributor Drew Reiber and we raced each other to see who could get to George Romero's table first! For me it was a long awaited reunion with the godfather of the Living Dead. I had first meet him twenty-one years ago to the month at Valencia Community College just outside Orlando. We reminisced about the lecture he gave that day and he graciously signed my original memorabilia from Night of the Living Dead including a lobby card that pictured him in his brief cameo as a Washington reporter. Drew and I grabbed a few quick photos with Mr. Romero and then parted company as I had many more celebrities to visit.

    While it was mentioned nowhere in the publicity material, FX 2006 also served as a reunion for a highly entertaining but overlooked sci-fi horror film from the 1980's. Produced by the legendary Roger Corman and boasting some of the coolest artwork ever seen on a low budget poster, "Galaxy of Terror" featured Robert Englund, Sid Haig, and Erin Moran who were all in attendance at this year's show. If star Edward Albert (son of Green Acre's Eddie) had been there then I believe all of the surviving cast members would have been present. Robert Englund, who was located right next to George Romero, divulged a design secret to me as he signed my poster. While the interiors of the space ship look very realistic and even a bit "Alien" inspired, the walls were actually covered with Big Mac containers from McDonalds! Three guesses what the cast and crew had to eat during filming!

    Sid Haig, star of last year's cult favorite "The Devil's Rejects", greeted me with "what have you got for me this time"! I replied with his single line from "Galaxy of Terror", "I live by the crystals and I die by the crystals" and he immediately knew what was in store. I also finally got a signed advance poster of "Rejects" from him and caught up with the latest news on his career. Unfortunately, Rob Zombie has no plans to follow up "Rejects" with any type of related project but the films success has brought Haig some promising offers for film roles and he plans to be back on the big screen in the near future.

    While the job of being Linda Blair's stunt double in "The Exorcist" may not have been an enviable one, Eileen Dietz is the woman responsible for many of the nightmares that resulted from viewing the film. In addition to doubling for Blair in the most infamous scenes, like the one with the crucifix, Dietz also played "Captain Howdy", the pasty faced demon who, while appearing for only mere seconds in the finished film, still left a lasting impression on terrified audiences. Ms. Dietz was a delight to meet and entertained Byron and I with some incredible stories about filming one of the greatest horror films of all time. Today she continues to act, mainly in low budget horror films, and runs her own website, www.eileendietz.com, with some cool behind the scenes photos from her film work including "The Exorcist".

    Next up on the parade of stars was Cindy Williams, best known as Shirley from "Laverne and Shirley", but better remembered by fanboys for appearing in the apocalyptic comedy film "GASSSS" and the bizarre sequel "Beware the Blob!" (directed by J.R. himself, Larry Hagman). While tales of her demeanor during the dissolution of the long running "Laverne and Shirley" series do not paint her in the most attractive of lights, Ms. Williams was an absolute sweetheart in person. She was more than willing to talk about all stages of her career and there is still a genuine camaraderie between her and the other Happy Days alumni who were present.

    My last celebrity sighting on Friday night was the lovely and good-natured Pricilla Barnes who played the final blonde roommate Terri on another 70's staple, "Three's Company". Ms. Barnes managed to survive the co-ed living arrangements unscathed and still appears in a variety of feature films today including "The Devil's Rejects". Our conversation steered to a much earlier point in her career (March 1976 to be exact) when she posed Full Monty for Penthouse Magazine under an alias (as Joann Witty for all you trivia buffs out there). It seems the magazine decided to rerun these photos using her real name during the height of her popularity on "Three's Company" and found themselves in a lawsuit which Barnes says she won. Unfortunately this caused bad blood between her and Penthouse to this day and she refuses to sign their magazines either under her real or assumed name. As a consolation, she did autograph the one sheet poster I brought for "The Seniors", a 1978 film she appeared in with Dennis Quaid. In this better than average drive-in sexploitation picture, Barnes plays "Sylvia", a character the film describes as "a nymphomaniac who loves to cook and clean". While she has no dialog in the entire movie and her screen time is restricted, she provides some excellent eye candy and you get a good idea of why she made Pet of the Month!

    In the pre-show hours of Saturday morning, Mike Herz assembled his staff for one last pep talk before the general admission began. With a cigarette dangling from his lip, he reminded me more of Vic Morrow in "Combat!" planning a dangerous mission with his troops than a mere show promoter. As the crowd rolled in and the aisles filled up, it appeared his organizational skills had paid off and his staff did an excellent job of controlling the morning rush. Fortunately for Byron and I, we were able to get in early and avoid the traffic jam for a brief hour.

    After canvassing the dealers again and making a few more purchases, including some vintage comic books and an HBO promotional shirt from the series "Carnivale" with great spider girl freak show artwork, I headed straight back to the celebrity area to catch the guests that had not been available the night before. I finally had an opportunity to meet Johnny Whitaker who played Jody on "Family Affair" but may be better remembered for his two-season stint on the Sid & Marty Krofft Saturday morning series "Sigmund and the Sea Monsters". I had him autograph a half sheet poster for the Disney film "Napoleon and Samantha" in which he stars opposite Jody Foster in her film debut and a full-grown lion! Unfortunately I did not get to ask him about the rumored final episode of "Sea Monsters" where Johnny and his brother Scott get sent to psychiatric counseling after selling Sigmund to a research institute and dynamiting the cave where the rest of his annoying family were living!

    Last, but by no means least, I stopped by to give David Carradine a second chance at selling me an autograph. Carradine had previously been a guest at the 2002 FX but his "sliding scale" autograph policy, which included $30 for movie posters, drove most fans including myself away. In the intervening years, Mr. Carradine's stock has risen with his appearances in the "Kill Bill" cult film series but his autograph prices have gone down and he now charges $20 to sign anything like just about everyone else. After waiting for four years, I was finally able to get my one sheet for "Death Race 2000" signed but I passed on the replica "Kill Bill" swords he was selling for $85.00.

    The merchandise selection at this year's show was a mixed bag. While there was an expected preponderance of newer items, vintage collectibles were still strongly represented. The emphasis on celebrity guests brought in movie poster vendors, comic book dealers were more prominent, and bootleg DVDs are still on the rise. High end collectibles were on display from Master Replicas including Cinderella's glass slipper, an incredibly detailed model of the Nautilus submarine from "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea", and light sabers from Star Wars that did everything but send unlucky Jedi Knights into the Force! Deals could still be found but serious collectors are recommended to attend the Friday preview for access to the best bargains and selections of the show.

    Byron proved to be the big spender for this year's FX. In addition to two of the previously mentioned light sabers (one Darth Vader and one Luke Skywalker style), he also purchased a promotional Disney shirt for "Star Wars" and one for the new "Battlestar Galactica" series. He rounded out his purchases with some collectible cards from the "Smallville" television series and "Star Wars" miniatures from the new gaming line.

    Despite the logistical problems of a new location and the possible pitfalls of over diversification, the Florida Extravaganza collectibles show is back on the right track. Attendance and dealer satisfaction are still strong and continued careful management should guarantee future success. Even in this current culture of perpetual online collectibles purchasing, FX proves there is still a solid base of collectors who appreciate the tradition and excitement of a real toy show.


    Announcements
    NUPTUALS
    I wish to congratulate Lisa & Brian Zubek on the marriage of their daughter Autumn Lynn to Kyle Lavery this weekend, Saturday, February 11th! I wish the happy couple a lifetime of happiness and prosperity and only wish I could be there myself, but alas, these old bones don't move like they used-ta.

    NEW HORROR MOVIE
    KSFILMS is getting ready to release "DELIVERY", a horror thriller starring MATT NELSON, TARA CARDINAL, KEVIN O'NEILL, MELISSA GRUVER and PETRA BUKALO among others.

    The film was directed and photographed by award winning Cinematographer JOSE CASSELLA, co-founder of KSFILMS and produced by RALPH HARDEN. Jose Cassella has an extended record of music videos and commercials and KSFILMS was founded with the goal of reuniting the best talent from the indie world and also as an outlet for feature films.

    DELIVERY - THE STORY
    DELIVERY deals with a gentle loner, Montgomery Goth (MATT NELSON), with a traumatic past, trying to put the pieces of his life back together, while working as a delivery boy for a local pizza place. He has no friends, no life, and no prospects for the future, until one day he meets the girl of his dreams, Bibi (TARA CARDINAL), and life seems to finally change for the better.

    But a series of events will test Montgomery's sanity and awaken the demons inside of him, unleashing a murderous rampage that will keep everyone from ordering take out for a very long, long time....

    Great special effects, photography, atmosphere and a lot of horror, DELIVERY will keep you glued to your seat!

    KSFILMS will announce the February screening dates of the feature on its site www.ksfilms.com. Everyone is invited!

    Please consider making a donation to help support Crazed Fanboy! Click on the "donate" link below and give whatever you can. I sincerely thank you for any and all consideration.---Nolan
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    "Mike's Rant" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2006 by Matthew Drinnenberg     "La Floridiana" is ©2006 by William Moriaty     "This Week's Movie Review" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith    "Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2006 by Vinnie Blesi    "Creature's Corner" is ©2006 by John Lewis    "My Middle Toe Is Longer Than Yours" is ©2006 by Mark Terry    "The Drow" is ©2006 by Dylan Jones      All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova    
    Crazed Fanboy dotcom is owned and operated by Nolan B. Canova


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