Monday, April 16, 2018

2018 San Diego Comic-Con Special Guest Announcement

Well, the news is out—I will be a Special Guest at this year's San Diego Comic-Con, July 19–22, 2018!

While I'm not quite sure how I rated such a recognition—aside from sheer stubbornness in continuing to publish Rob Hanes Adventures—I'm greatly honored and grateful to the organizers!

I'll of course keep everyone apprised of anything scheduled at the show related to my participation there!

You can find the announcement here along with a list of the other honoree.

Below is the tweet announcement and a scan of my bio at the Special Guest website....

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Batman '66 and the Hollywood Museum

Earlier this month, some old college buddies and I visited the Hollywood Museum. I'd never visited before, though upon first hearing about it, I assumed it was a "tourist trap" given its location in the heart of Hollywood—so "heart" in fact that it's located at Hollywood and Highland, the location of the Dolby Theatre where the Academy Awards are held and just a half block from the old Grauman's Chinese Theatre (now TCL Chinese Theatre).

The specific occasion for this field trip was to see a "Batman '66" exhibition devoted to the 1960's Batman television show.

The museum is located in the historic Max Factor building, making the structure itself an icon of art deco architecture. (Factor, of course, was a famed Hollywood make-up artist who helped mainstream the acceptance of cosmetics and make-up.) Some of the original make-up rooms and equipment are re-created and restored in the building.

The museum is otherwise a shrine to Hollywood memorabilia. While classic Hollywood, of course, is well represented, films throughout the decades are featured, with temporary exhibits, like "Batman '66" intertwined among what I assume is the permanent collection. The museum is densely packed with artifacts, but nevertheless artfully displayed.

The "Batman '66" exhibition features costumes and props from the show, as well as collectibles, film clips, etc. For my friends and I, who were children when the show hit the air (or at least in re-runs immediately following its run), it was a great time to reminisce. A horror film exhibit was also on display on the bottom level, as well as exhibitions devoted to Marilyn Monroe, costume designers, etc. On top of that, the museum is surprisingly very affordably priced ($15 for an adult ticket).

By sheer coincidence, we visited the museum the day before this year's Academy Awards, when much of the area was already closed off to traffic. We saw parts of the red carpet, but otherwise foot and tourist traffic seemed fairly normal. Though my friends and I came from two different directions, we also decided to all take the L.A. Metro train to the area to avoid the hassle of traffic and parking. It helped that there is actually a Hollywood/Highland station on the line, so we were let off at close proximity to the museum. Other than that, the only real indication we were in Oscar season was the fact that when we decided to go to the famed Hollywood eatery, Musso and Frank's, we found a wait for a table to be inordinately long due to the fact that one room in the restaurant had been reserved for an Academy Awards film editors party that was underway when we arrived. We ended up going to another old Hollywood haunt, Michei's,  founded in 1949, and billed as "Hollywood's oldest Italian restaurant." It turned out to be a great choice, the food was terrific.

Anyway, whether your visiting or a local, if you're a fan of the movies (and who isn't?), a visit to Hollywood should be on your itinerary and a stop at the Hollywood Museum recommended if you have the time.

To see the full photogallery, click here. Some photos from the gallery are embedded below.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Back to Back to the Future

The film Back to the Future is one of my son's favorite films—I have great memories for them too and still have memories of how blown away I was when I first saw the film at its opening release.

I've long known that the location of the fictional Twin Pines Mall in the film was Puente Hills Mall in the City of Industry/Rowland Heights area of the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. I have family who live only an exit away and when I was attending UCLA n the 1980s, I would occasionally visit them and sometimes visit the mall, sometimes taking my younger cousins as company.

My son recently learned from one of his favorite vloggers that the mall actually has a Twin Pines Mall sign on display. My family still lives in the area so I promised that next time we were passing by, we'd stop by.  (In October 2015, there apparently was a celebration there to mark the day Marty McFly showed up there in the "future.")

That opportunity came up near the end of February for a family party (in fact, it was coincidentally my birthday as well). I wanted to be sure, however, that the display was still there, and after finding no mention of it online or at the mall's website, I called the mall directly. Fortunately, the person at the information desk there was not only able to confirm the display was still there but also its location.

I also had the presence of mind to find out where the exterior scenes—featuring the Libyan terrorists—were filmed. In the film (see the screencap accompanying this post), you could clearly see a JC Penney in the background. It turns out that JC Penney closed years ago and was replaced by a 24-Hour Fitness Center.

We parked next to the fitness center and before going into the mall, took a walk to get a good vantage shot of where the exterior shots were filmed. You'll see we were right there, though we took our photos a little bit to one side of the film shot. In the photos, you can see the service road both in the screencap and our photos—it actually was a fairly busy thoroughfare, such that it was impossible to safely take a photo standing in the middle of the street. At one point, a car full of young people stopped and asked if we were taking photos because of the film—when I confirmed we were, they laughed and said, "We were just talking about it!" They thanked me when I told them about the sign inside the mall.

The sign itself is clearly displayed though I saw no explicit reference to Back the Future.

Inside the mall, there is also a general memorabilia store for autographed items and such, and in the window display was a Back to the Future poster, signed by the cast (presumably). (I have that poster as well, signed by the artist, Drew Struzan.)

Anyway, it was a fun detour on this trip!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Entertainment Round up for 2017

As I do every year, I'm listing the films, plays, exhibitions and books consumed during the previous year. While I try to keep track, the list is likely not exhaustive—I've probably watched more  streaming content than is noted here—but it's sometimes hard to document everything.

I should also add that the list somewhat reflects the blurry lines of streamed content, particularly  original streamed content on platforms like Netflix and Amazon. Generally speaking, streamed content that are film-length and stand-alone are included under "Films" while episodic series (like The Crown) are listed under Television/Series.

Among my favorite films this year (though some may have been released in a previous year), pretty much in the order listed: Lady Bird, I, TonyaThe FounderWonder WomanCocoBridge of Spies,  The Man Who Invented ChristmasThor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Darkest Hour.

Television/original streaming series, of course, continue to provide great content. Among my favorites this past year were the Crown: Season 2Love (a great series that really captures life as a single in L.A.), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (a show like many of the best ones that got better with each episode), Finding Vivian Maier, the criminally underrated Red Oaks, The Good Place (a great cast and further proof of Ted Danson's comedy chops), the Girls of GLOW (another great ensemble, with Marc Maron a revelation—though I thought the series wavered a bit at the end).


La La Land (1/1/2017)
Jim Gaffigan: Cinco - Netflix (1/14/2017)
Finding Vivian Maier - Netflix (1/15/2017)
Across the Pacific - TCM (1/1/2017)
That’s Entertainment, Part III - TCM (1/2/2017)
That’s Entertainment - TCM (1/2/2017)
Whiskey Tango Foxtrot - Amazon (1/7/2017)
Expendables 3 - Cable TV (1/8/2017)
Mike Nichols - Amazon (1/13/2017)
Tales from the Script - Amazon (1/13/2017)
West Wing - Season 7 (1/30/2017)
Band of Brothers - Amazon (2/10/2017)
David Brent: Life on the Road - Netflix (2/11/2017)
Lego Batman Movie (2/11/2017)
Margin Call - Amazon (2/19/2017)
Big Eyes - Netflix (2/19/2017)
Beauty and the Beast (3/18/2017)
American Experience: The Boys of '36 - Netflix (5/6/17)
Handsome: A Netflix Mystery Movie (5/6/17)
Guardians of the Galaxy, Volume 2 (5/7/2017)
Handsome: A Netflix Mystery MoviePirates of the Caribbean 5: Dead Men Tell No Tales (5/27/2017)
Fire and Ice - Amazon (6/2017)
A Man of No Importance - Amazon (6/2017)
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Amazon (6/2017)
Wonder Woman (6/4/2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/7/2017)
On the Town (8/6/2017)
Comrade Detective, Season 1, Ep. 1 (8/8/2017)
If Knishes Could Talk: The Story of the New York Accent (8/6/2017)
The Founder - Netflix (8/7/2017)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - Netflix (8/8/2017)
Mastermind - Netflix (8/12/2017)
Hall Pass - cable (8/27/2017)
Wanderlust - cable (8/27/2017)
Clueless - cable (8/28/2017)
Mifune: The Last Samurai - Netflix (9/10/2017)
Jerry Before Seinfeld (9/21/2017)
Beauty and the Beast - Netflix (9/24/2017)
Rocco - Netflix (10/9/2017)
Sleeping With Other People - Netflix (10/12/2017)
Whatever Works - Netflix (10/18/2017)
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) - Netflix (10/20/2017)
Thor: Ragnarok (11/5/2017)
Lady Bird (11/11/2017)
Cinderella - Cable (11/2017)
Justice League: Dawn of Justice (11/19/2017)
Justice League: Dawn of Justice (11/22/2017)
Coco (11/23/2017)
Hidden Figures - HBO (11/26/2017)
Bridge of Spies - HBO (11/26/2017)
The Big Sick - Amazon (12/4/2017)
The Man Who Invented Christmas (12/2/2017)
The Darkest Hour (12/9/2017)
Homecoming - TCM Streaming (12/22/2017)
Pottersville (12/23/2017)


Jim Gaffigan Cinco (1/11/17)
Masters of Sex - Season 1 (2/4/2017)
Victoria: Masterpiece Theater (2/2017)
The Feud (3/2017)
American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson (3/8/17)
Love - Netflix (3/2017)
Five Came Back: Season 1 – Netflix (4/26/17)
Boys of ‘36 - Netflix (5/6/2017)
A Perfect Ending - Netflix (5/6/2017)
Sgt. Pepper's Musical Revolution (6/4/2017)
Dear White People: Season 1, Episodes 1-4 (7/4/2017)
Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later - Netflix (8/6/2017)
Red Oaks - Season 2 - Amazon (8/12/2017)
The Good Place Season 1 - Netflix (9/9/2017)
The Good Place: Season 1 - Netflix (9/28/17)
GLOW (Season 1) - Netflix (10/22/2017)
Master of None: Season 2 - Netflix (10/22/2017)
American Experience: New York - Season 1 - Amazon (11/18/2017)
Red Oaks - Season 3 - Amazon (12/1/2017)
Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Season 2 (12/5/2017)
The Crown Season 2 - Netflix (12/19/2017)

Plays/Live Performance/Exhibitions:

L.A. County Museum of Art (1/8/2017)
Long Day’s Journey into Night - Geffen Playhouse (2/15/17)
Long Beach Comic Expo (2/19/2017)
Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (3/4/2017)
West Side Story (3/11/2017)
WonderCon (4/8/17)
Universal Studios (4/10/17)
AVPA JAVA-Gala (6/3/2017)
Mighty Morphin Midsummer's Night Dream (Actor's Gang) (8/19/17)


Al Franken: Giant of the Senate (6/20/17)
Ric Hochet: - Volume 1 - R.I.P., Ric! by Zidrou (8/29/17)
Paying for It by Chester Brown (4/5/17)