Ok, so I attended the Steel City Con (a.k.a Pittsburgh Toy, Comic and Childhood Collectibles Show) this afternoon in Monroeville. Due to the Monroeville ExpoMart being sold, this unfortunately will be the last time the Steel City Con will be held there.
That is a real shame because pretty much all of my convention experiences have been at the ExpoMart. I've met a lot of celebrities over the years and had a lot of great times. Got all liquored up in the Radisson bar to the point where I threw a drink in the general direction of Ray Park. Got to run security for two TNA wrestling chicks, Gail Kim and Christy Hemme, while they did a bikini photo shoot. To this day, Gail is the hottest celebrity I've ever met in person (Danielle Harris is a very close second). I wanted to go all Quasimodo and take her to a nearby church tower. I could go on and on but I better get back to the post.
The main reason for me attending the show was to get autographs for my son. I got him a Chewbacca autograph when he was only a couple of months old and now I'm kind of addicted to it. I go places now specifically to get autographs. I used to be a toy collector but that has fallen by the waste side. I used to collect a ton of toys as a kid (Star Wars, He-Man, etc.), fell off for a while, and then picked up really heavy again when "Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace" came out. Come to think of it, Brandon was the one that started me on the path again. While he was working at Comic Book Ink, I remember they had figures out before the movie and I saw a Watto figure in the display case. We talked about how cool the figures looked and then I was hooked again. Like any good dealer, the first taste was free, but then I had to buy the rest.
For the next few years I transferred a lot of cash into George Lucas' already large bank account. I slowed down a little when I started dating my future wife and then slowed down even more when we got married. When my son was born, it was either stop collecting toys or stop collecting comics. Toys lost. So now, the only figures I get are McFarlane figures of Pittsburgh sports teams. They only come out once a quarter so I don't spend a tremendous amount of cash on toys, unlike my comics. Thanks again, Brandon!
Anyway, back to the show. The TNA experience was last July, I missed the December show, and then I only went one day to the March show this year. I planned on doing the same for this show. Showing up on Sunday is the way to go because the crowd is dead and you don't have to wait in line to meet anybody. Unless of course you have a lesbian standing in the Wenches line trying to build up the courage to ask them if they like to 'scissor'.
I started off with a tour of the show room floor. There seemed to be less booths this year with high reaching displays. What I mean is, I could look around at any point and see to the other side of the convention center. Maybe vendors are just getting lazy or maybe the ones with high shelves were smart and positioned themselves against the walls this year. Without being in the market for any toys, I really didn't spend a lot of time at any one table, other than our friend Gary's. It was hard not to, considering he had pretty much an entire aisle strictly to himself. I did pick up the new Jack Lambert figures at his table so I actually did get toys at the Toy Show. Shocking.
Did my lap around the floor then headed to the celebrities area. Well, 'celebrities' is being a little kind. You will never find a more wretched...okay, that is too easy. First up, was Anthony Forrest, who you definitely will remember for his griping portrayal as Sandtrooper #2 with his one quotable line in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope". Since I have other Star Wars autographs for my son, and the fact I find stupid shit like this amusing, I had to get his autograph.
He turned out to be a really nice guy. Probably because he is British. I don't know why, but British people are usually polite. That pains me to say because I'm Irish and I hate British people. I was rocking my Fighting Irish shirt at the Con so when he made a derogatory comment about my shirt I informed him that my fist was the fist he was looking for and I knocked his ass back to the Queen. I'm just kidding, he was really cool. He was all about his quote though. He had it posted at his table and asked me if I wanted it on the picture. I almost said "What else are you going to put on there?" but I was still in a good mood at this point.
Next, I moved on to Larry Thomas, better known to the world as the Soup Nazi from "Seinfeld". While Larry only appeared in two episodes of the nine year run of "Seinfeld", he is easily one of the most recognizable peripheral characters in the show's history. He actually went on to portray the character in another NBC sitcom when he made one appearance on "Scrubs". Before his Soup Nazi days, you might recognize him as the casino dealer from "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery".
This was the autograph I wanted for myself because I am a huge "Seinfeld" fan and the Soup Nazi episode is up there with the best. I was a tad apprehensive though because I had heard horror stories from the last time he was at the Steel City Con a couple of years ago. I had heard he was not friendly and was kind of a jerk. That could not have been further from the truth. He was really pleasant and was cool to talk to. Just for clarification, I did not buy the autographed ladle in the above picture. He picked that up for the picture. Take note of my money off to the side, that I threw at him like a cheap stripper.
Sitting next to the Soup Nazi was former WWE Diva Dawn Marie. Dawn Marie started out in wrestling back in 1998 as part of the old ECW, not the current bastardized version that WWE puts out every Thursday. She was the valet of Lance Storm and was part of the Impact Players for years. After ECW went bankrupt in 2001, she bounced around for a while until she landed in WWE in 2002. She had many memorable fueds, including one with Torrie Wilson where she tried to turn Torrie lesbian. Nice!! She was let go in 2005 after she got pregnant. She sued and the case was settled out of court a few years later. And now you know more about Dawn Marie than you did before you read this blog!
The years have not been kind to Dawn Marie. While still semi-attractive, she is nowhere near as good looking as she was just a few short years ago. Her, um, assets haven't suffered however and she had no problem displaying them for all the fans to see. Ok, fan because I was the only one there. She was nice and very personable, walking out from behind the table to sign the autographs. She even cut me a break on the price because I got two autographs. But when I asked to take her picture, the lady behind the table said that would be $10. I informed the woman that I didn't want to be in the picture, I just wanted a photo to put on this blog. She said they had a deal with the promoter and they had to charge me. They had to charge me, but I didn't have to pay, hence the reason for the scan above and not a picture from the show. Nooch.
I lastly stopped at the Wenches Booth where Vanessa Branch and Lauren Maher were located. They played the prostitutes in all three of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies. Vanessa is also known as the Orbits chewing gum spokeswoman. I got a dirty mouth she could clean up. *Cough, cough* They were also there promoting their web site together.
I actually had to come back to this booth a couple of times. The first time I walked past Vanessa wasn't there, and since she was really the one I wanted to meet, there was no point in going over there. The second time, this obvious lesbian was talking to them and she seemed really eager. I'm not one to get in between a lesbian and their fantasy women. The third time I walked over the lesbian was still there but I decided to bust up her cabbage patch and throw my testosterone around. She was obviously overpowered and scrambled off. Both women were really nice and they both signed a picture for my boy for only $20. I wanted to get one of Vanessa for myself (she is really cute in person) but she didn't have any good shots and it would have been awkward with the other chick just sitting there.
A little addendum to that story, while writing this blog, I checked out their web site and I'm now wondering if they aren't an item together. Not that there is anything wrong with that. In fact, I would highly encourage it. And if Vanessa would have had this photo...
...I definitely would have bought one, regardless of anyone else's feelings.
So there you have it. My review of the final Steel City Con at the Monroeville ExpoMart. The next show will be in October and will be held at the Pittsburgh Indoor Sports Arena, which is in Cheswick, about 15 miles from the ExpoMart. As it stands, I doubt I will be attending that show. The guests announced so far are Ice-T, Lou Ferrigno, and C.J. Graham (who played Jason in one of the Friday the 13th movies). No hot chicks, no Star Wars people, no Jay paying at the door.
With this post, I have officially used more words and pictures than the entire blog before I joined. See what you have done, Brandon? Hope you're proud of yourself. I know I am.