Mighty Morphin' David Yost Visits Dallas This Weekend

Categories: Geek-Offs

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Comic and Pop Expo

Playing the Blue Power Ranger was the breakthrough moment in David Yost's career. Billy Cranston, one of the original "teenagers with attitude," was the brains of the group, inventing gadgets like the wrist communicators. Yost, along with Walter Jones, the first Black Power Ranger from the Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers series, will be in town this weekend at the Comic and Pop Expo. We chatted with him on what it's really like having people pay for your autograph, coming out as gay, and playing a ass-kicking hero on children's television.

You've done Comic Cons and Expos before, what is it actually like?

Honestly I try not to process it, because if I do it's really awkward. We go to these cons and we sign autographs and sit on panels, where people will stand up and say things like, "you guys are iconic, icons." The fact that people think that me as a person, or my costars, are icons ... it's hard to even understand what that means. People will come up to you and they will hug you and they will cry. I try to reassure them that I'm just like them and that I'm grateful they want to take a picture with me and I'm grateful that my autograph means something to them.

When you signed on to wear the suit in the early '90s, would you have guessed you'd still be wearing it today?
I don't think any of us really knew what it would become or how successful it would be. For me it was the first thing I landed after moving to L.A. and I thought it would be a stepping stone to some other stuff. But we filmed an entire season and when it aired it went straight to number one children's programming.

What was like to be a children's television star?
As the years have gone, I've heard the stories people tell me about how the Rangers influenced them. My character encouraged people to become technical, scientific people.

Which was different than what the other characters inspired in kids.
My character tried in every circumstance to use his mind, his brain, before resorting to brawn. But when the world was under attack, I had to always step up to attack like the other Rangers. While the other characters primarily inspired kids to take up martial arts or something, I might have a different fan base. Which, really, would be the people that attend comic cons.

When you left the Power Rangers, you struggled with the decision to come out as gay. Can we talk a little about that?
I think it's still difficult in 2014 to be an out and open gay actor. Obviously we are making strides in the U.S. for our rights, but in Hollywood a lot of people still consider it career suicide. There was a period of time when that's all anybody was talking about and even today if you Google me, that's probably one of the first things that comes up: He was a Power Ranger and he came out as gay. It was a difficult decision to stop hiding it, but for me personally I couldn't live that way any more.

This weekend where can we catch you at the Dallas Comic and Pop Expo?
I'll be signing autographs and taking pictures Saturday and Sunday. And I'll be part of a Power Rangers panel Sunday at 2 p.m.

If you're too old or young for the Power Rangers, the Expo has a full roster of celebs and a schedule of fun activities, including Sci Fi Speed Dating and a panel on ghost hunting. The event kicks off Friday at the DoubleTree Hotel in Richardson with a karaoke night hosted by Nicholas Brendan, more commonly known as Xander from Buffy.

Dallas Comic Con Gets a New Owner and Home

Categories: Geek-Offs

Courtesy of Dallas Comic Con
The Dallas Comic Convention will be under new ownership and a new roof when it opens its doors to the costumed masses this May.

The convention group announced on its website that Fan Expo HQ, a division of the Swiss/British company Informa, now owns the Dallas Comic Con. For the last 12 years, C2 Ventures, also known as Official Pix, ran the local fan convention. The Star Wars autograph firm based out of Flower Mound is owned and operated by Ben Stevens and Phillip Wise.

The announcement also included a change of venue for the annual event scheduled for May 16-18. The Dallas Comic Con will move from the Irving Convention Center to the Dallas Convention Center because it needed a bigger place to house all the geek goodies they have in store for the attendees, according to event manager Mark Walters.

"This is the biggest and most ambitious thing we've ever done," Walters said.

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The 8 Weirdest Toys at DFW Vintage Toys

Categories: Geek-Offs

Photos by Danny Gallagher
DFW Vintage Toys owner Jayden Frost with one of his store's mini-minions

DFW Vintage Toys' Jayden Frost has a hard time turning away just about any toy that someone brings into the store. He doesn't just have mainstream vintage fare like unopened G.I. Joe Skystrikers, plastic molded comic book characters and a room dedicated to Star Wars. He has some of the more off-beat playthings you're not likely to see in neighborhood nurseries that aren't run by extreme goths who believe toddlers should learn early just how cruel the world can be.

It's easy to amass such a collection when you have such a dedicated customer and fan base as Frost does. He held a special opening for his Facebook followers last Saturday at his new location on East Rosemeade Parkway in Carrollton and plans to hold an official grand opening this Saturday. He also let us root around his giant toy box to find the strangest things for sale.

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Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew Unleashes a Ton of Behind-the-Scenes Star Wars Shots

Categories: Geek-Offs

Courtesy of @TheWookieeRoars
Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and a big mouthed Harrison Ford in a candid, behind the scenes shot that was just one of many unleashed by Star Wars actor Peter Mayhew over the weekend.

Peter Mayhew, the man who spent three Star Wars movie probably sweating away half of his body weight in a Chewbacca costume, must have a wealth of sci-fi history hiding in his Boyd, Texas, home. This weekend, he dropped a bunch of it on the malleable, easily blown minds of the Star Wars fan community.

According to the Huffington Post, the man who was Chewie released an interesting collection of photos from his time on the set of the first three Star Wars movies on his Twitter feed.

The pictures cover just about every category of behind the scenes footage. They include moments of the mundane like stars Harrison Ford and Mark Hamill spending what appears to be another sleepless night rehearsing their lines and a couple of prop builders working on a scale model of the Millennium Falcon. There's even some that are oddly alluring such as Chewie getting a little too close to Princess Leia played by Carrie Fisher and an "upskirt" shot of R2-D2.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Will Keynote SXSW Interactive. Cosmos Will Screen at SXSW Film.

Young Neil Degrasse Tyson looks like a missing member of A Band Called Death. #Badass

Some big announcements came out of SXSW yesterday.

Supernova heartthrob/astrophysicist/author/educator Neil deGrasse Tyson will participate in a keynote interview for Interactive on Saturday, March 8 at 2 p.m. So for the love of laminates, if you've ever known anyone in a power position at SXSW, now is the time to send that singing telegram and forcibly reconnect.

You'll see Tyson again during the festival cycles. SXSW Film announced it will preview COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey, the Tyson-hosted reboot of Carl Sagan's beloved '80s educational space program. Set to air on Fox later this year, the series comes with built-in panache with Ann Druyan on board again as Executive Producer and Tyson poised to guide a new generation around this pale blue dot.

Unlike the musical portion of South By, lugging gear won't get you inside these special events. You're going to need a badge. Rates increase at end of day today.

See Also: OMG To Infinity: Trailer for Neil deGrasse Tyson's New Cosmos Reboot

When In Rome Singer Jayden Frost Is Moving His DFW Vintage Toys Into a Bigger Toybox

Categories: Geek-Offs

Photo by Stephanie Halovanic
DFW Vintage Toys owner Jayden Frost

Jayden Frost's collection of vintage toys and collectibles has gotten so big so fast that he's moving his toy collection to a bigger retail location in Carrollton.

"We just can't contain the amount of inventory or customers where we are now," Frost said.

Frost said he and his crew at DFW Vintage Toys on North Mill Street in Lewisville are in the middle of a big move to a bigger store at 2515 E. Rosemeade Parkway in Carrollton.

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The Empire Strikes Bucks: A Look at McKinney's Star Wars Store and the Father and Son Who Rule It

Categories: Geek-Offs

Photo by Danny Gallagher
Jeff Durazzo, left, and his son Josh are owners and operators of Order 66 Toys, a downtown McKinney shop that sells nothing but Star Wars toys and collectibles like a vintage Clone Wars Princess Leia statue of which there are only 10 in the entire world.

It wasn't that long ago or even in a galaxy far, far away (unless you count the feeling of trying to get to McKinney during the 5 p.m. rush hour traffic on U.S. 75) that Jeff Durazzo and his son Josh bought a tiny, 500-square-foot place off of East Virginia Street that catered to what may have seemed like a weird and obscure idea for a downtown store: a shop that sold nothing but Star Wars toys and collectibles.

Josh recalls the tiny location that used to be a watch repair shop and looked more cramped than the Death Star's garbage compactor No. 3263827.

"There was no ceiling," he said. "It was just priority mail envelopes that were taped together. That's all the ceiling was."

That tiny store has grown since its beginnings in 2009 into Order 66 Toys, a 4,000 square-foot place on South Chestnut Street that boasts a massive gathering of just about every Star Wars toy, poster, figurine and replication and original movie prop that your pop culture-riddled mind can conjure, most of which are still in their sealed and well preserved packaging.

It's become a booming business for both father and son, but the two didn't start the store just so they could tap into that profitable market of affluent fanboys or girls who are willing to shovel over two week's pay for an unopened Kenner Jawa figurine from 1978 with its own vinyl cape.

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How a Room Full of Fez-Wearing, David Tennant-ogling Doctor Who Fans Made Me One of Them

Categories: Geek-Offs

Mike Brooks
This past week may have marked the 50th anniversary of one of Dallas' darker moments, but we didn't have to spend the entire time in the shadow of maudlin JFK introspection, thanks to a more upbeat 50th anniversary: the beginning of the adventures of TV's Doctor Who.

Conventions across the nation and the world popped up to celebrate this momentous occasion in geek-dom and Dallas/Fort Worth was no exception, thanks to the people who put together the WhoFest at the Crowne Plaza in Addison. The weekend was filled with all sorts of panels with bizarre titles such as "What Do We Want? Time Travel! When Do We Want It? Yesterday!" and "What to Expect When You're Exterminating." However, not even the most detailed discussion about how a police box could harness the powers of quantum physics without turning its inhabitants into fleshy Jell-O could top what was sure to be the most memorable moment of the weekend: the airing of the BBC's 50th anniversary special The Day of the Doctor.

I confess I dreaded attending another convention of ordinary people wearing more ridiculous cosplay than a Comic-Con sponsored chemical dependency support group. Such conventions have been popping up ever since San Diego made it easier for major metropolises to gather every geek, dweeb, dork and other narrow-minded moniker into one room to celebrate something that would raise the eyebrows of the so-called "normals."

Luckily, the subject of this con was much different from the usual space based, shoot 'em up series.

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The Xbox One Demo Was an Unnecessary Sensory Overload of Lights, Noises and Mountain Dew

Categories: Gaming, Geek-Offs

Photo by Danny Gallagher
DFW gamers take the new Xbox One for a spin at a special demo last weekend on Commerce Street in Deep Ellum.
Game demos, whether they are smaller affairs like Sunday's Xbox One reveal at a Commerce Street warehouse or massive gang bangs of game industry PR, like the annual E3 conventions in Los Angeles, never seem satisfied to be able to assault the human senses with just video games. They are like walking into a danger room for epileptics.

Bright lights dart around the room like fruit flies and eventually into your cornea as if they are looking to build a nest in there. Noises come from 10,000 different directions but never from any of the games you are there to play. Even your taste buds are assaulted as corporately sponsored food stuffs and liquids are crammed into your body. They all form together into a gummy, sticky cotton candy cloud of sensory data and information that your brain has no idea how to process. It's just like being on a low-grade form of acid, except the only deep revelation that comes to you is that your retinas start to smell of bacon if too much light passes through them.

This isn't the unwashed rambling of an old man who doesn't understand why these whippersnappers play video games in the first place. Gamers come in a wide variety of ages, personalities and sizes. Most of today's survivors grew up with some kind of video controller in their hands. But just because we have five senses doesn't mean that all of them need to be engaged in as many ways as possible. We're there to play the games, not test the limits of our brain synapses or cognitive stamina. That's what alcohol is for.

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Dallas Chosen as One of Eleven U.S. Cities For Dr. Who "Global Simulcast"

Categories: Events, Geek-Offs

As the British guy on staff, it falls to me to tell you the Dr. Who-ge (geddit?)* news involving our very own Dallas. The new Dr. Who "cinematic event" (the press release I have is extremely grand), entitled Dr. Who: The Day of the Doctor, is to be the subject of a "global simulcast" on November 23. Only 11 cities in the U.S., one for each of the Doctors, have been chosen to host such a simulcast, and one of those 11 is Dallas, which I'm pretty sure makes us elite. Speculation as to which Doctor Dallas is meant to represent is welcomed. Suck it Austin.

Here's a PR person to tell you more.

In addition to Matt Smith, the 50th Anniversary special also stars former Time Lord David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt. The theatrical events will include specially shot introductions and The Day of The Doctor: Behind The Lens, a 10-minute behind-the-scene featurette directly following the special. The short features Matt Smith, David Tennant and Jenna Coleman with Billie Piper and John Hurt, as well as lead writer and executive producer Steven Moffat, discussing their 50th Anniversary experiences.

Other news is vanishingly small, beyond the fact that the film is 75 minutes long, and that if you miss out, it will also be on BBC America. Furthermore, on November 25, there will be a repeat event, with a one-off screening in 300 cinemas. It's going to be in Cinemark and/or AMC, and tickets for the event go on sale tomorrow, October 25, at 9 a.m. sharp at this here address.

Remember, if a Dalek chases you, run up stairs.

*In case you didn't, that's pronounced "hooj," sort of like "huge."

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