Locals who lament the loss of the late, great Dallas Fantasy Fair have been teased of late with word of a WizardWorld convention coming to Arlington in November. But the gathering, run by Wizard magazine, is more rumor than fact at this point: The Web site lists no guests or exhibitors, only ticket prices--for what, we have no idea. So once more we make do--more than that, actually--with the Sci-Fi Expo, the beloved brainchild of Mark Walters and Ben Stevens, who corral the fanboys and the famous (or semi-famous, depending on which Star Trek: Voyager guest is arriving that weekend) for their semi-annual shindig full of vendors selling collectors' wares and actors selling their signatures.
This Sci-Fi Expo is a blast, no matter what the grown-ups say; never been to a bad one, even when the guests are so B-list Tanya Roberts winds up the top draw (if that, given that her Bond Girls panel, with Octopussy Maud Adams, was attended by about 40 grateful folks). What the cynic might find dispiriting--co-co-co-stars selling autographed pics for $30 a pop--the true believer finds engaging, especially when the likes of Brad Dourif and David Naughton and The Third Cop from Minority Report happily mix and mingle and trip down memory lane with people who genuinely want to hear their stories and tell their own. Adam West not long ago spent 10 minutes with my dad, who used to skip Southern Methodist University classes to watch Batman; he now has the autographed photo, made out to Big Herschel, as a framed souvenir of their encounter.
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This expo brings in a fairly hefty haul: David Carradine (who will snatch $20 from your hand), Daniel Logan (Boba Fett from Episode II), Michael Jai White (Spawn), Jennifer Lien (Voyager) and Adrian and Neil Rayment (the Ghost Twins from the Matrix sequels). They'll meet and greet and sign, of course; White and Carradine will also do a Kill Bill panel chitchat in anticipation of the fall Quentin Tarantino release, moderated by yours truly. And isn't that reason enough to attend?