Geek Girls' Adventures at the Steel City Con

Written by Sharon Eberson and Maria Sciullo on .



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SHARON: Greetings from the Steel City Con, the historically toys and collectibles show that continues to grow in pop-culture scope at the Monroeville Convention Center. Maria Sciullo (you'll be hearing from her soon) and I walked floor today looking not just for the best deal on a Rocket Raccoon or chain mail armor for a dog or cat, but to check out the celebs and the cosplayers and just mingle with fellow geeks.

Maria and I have compiled some scenes from the experience. That's Joshua joining us for a "Live Long and Prosper" moment  and the artist is Ryan Dawson, whose renderings of characters from "Frozen" seemed to be selling well (I preferred the guys from "Sherlock," myself). The celebs we saw signing autographs included LeVar Burton, Penny Marshall, Dean "Superman" Cain (right) and Butch "Eddie Munster" (all pictured here).

Steel City Con continues tomorrow with a costume contest and will be back in December.


MARIA: Steel City Con: where your dreams of taking a selfie with the Batmobile come true.

My trek (ha ha, I wrote "Trek") was more about searching for action figures than seeing the celebs at the autograph tables. That said, it was nice to finally meet special make-up effects icon Tom Savini face to face (left).

(Savini, by the by, had a cameo as himself in "The Simpsons' " well-regarded "Worst Episode Ever.")
There were plenty of would-be Comic Book Guys at the Monroeville Convention Center Saturday.
As the day went on, the crowds increased and it became increasingly difficult to scour the aisles without literally bumping into some manner of space man or beast. Not that there's anything wrong with that, many of the outfits were very impressive.
The ones that weren't, well, Etsy charm counts for a lot, too. 
Check out a PG Video of the goings-on Saturday at




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"Star Trek" parody has "Fun With Kirk and Spock"

Written by Maria Sciullo on .


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Robb Pearlman wrote a book. Write, write write.
It's a "Star Trek" parody: LOL, LOL, LOL.
Pearlman, an associate publisher of licensed publishing for New York's Rizzoli Publications (perhaps an overuse of the word "publish," but that is indeed his title), has achieved that rarity in pop culture. He managed to blend iconic themes in a way that's fresh and, happily, a real hoot.
"For a while, I was just writing them for my own pleasure, trying to think of things that could work. And then something just happened, it was like "two great tastes that taste great together."
His peanut butter cup creation is "Fun With Kirk and Spock," which resembles a hardbound children's reading primer. The pages are brightened by Gary Shipman's spot-on illustrations, some of which recreate obscure but memorable images from the original "Star Trek" television series. 
It's full of inside jokes, such as:
"See the crewman.
What is the crewman's name?
It does not matter.
Why does it not matter?
He is wearing a red shirt
It is best not to get too attached."
Pearlman played with the mash-ups during his daily hour commute, and when he decided they would make a cool book, went straight to CBS Studios, Inc, which owns the rights to the series.
"I said 'What do you think of this idea?' I had a feeling I was on the right track when I got an email back that said 'LOL.'
"They took it and ran with it and they found Cider Mill Press [the book's publisher]."
Many "Fun With Dick and Jane" parodies fail because they cannot catch the rhythm of the original, but Pearlman nails it.
He said he watched each episode two or three times for more ideas.
"What I was trying to do, as any childrens books do, was get to the essence of what's going on. I could talk about Kirk fighting again or the allegory of two people pitted against each other but all that seems a little, boring, really. And it had been done before."
Instead, he wisely chose characters and situations that will strike a nostalgic chord with fans. photo 18 285x380Bringing a sense of the absurd to the project helped.
One of the best offerings -- and perhaps Pearlman's favorite -- involves a lizard-man named "The Gorn."
"See the Gorn.
"The Gorn is tall.
"The Gorn is green.
"The Gorn is wearing a one-piece sleeveless tunic with brocaded accents and matching gauntlets.
"The Gorn is fashion-forward."
"The thing that struck me the most, because he is sort of a silent character, was what he was wearing," Pearlman said, practically giggling. "I thought, 'wait a minute, there's something going on here. Once I wrote 'fashion-forward,' that was kind of it."
Having watched "Project Runway," he realized the description "fit within the vernacular of the parody. It was simple and it was straightforward and it kind of made sense."
It also touched upon how silly sci-fi can be, but in a reverential way. Why would a lizard-man need clothes, anyway?
"Why wear a tunic? And where do you go to get that? The tunic store in the tunic district?" he added.
The book comes out July 29 and retails for $14.95. Pearlman spent the past few days at ComicCon, meeting with some of Rizzoli's licensors but also promoting "Fun With Kirk and Spock."
Next week, he goes where no man (well, he) has gone before: the official "Star Trek" convention in Las Vegas. Having sent copies of the book to the original cast members, he was pleased to receive a response from Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy.
"He seemed to like it; that was a good thing."
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Weird Al, how we've missed you...

Written by Maria Sciullo on .

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The man who brought you "Eat It," "Amish Paradise," "I Lost on Jeopardy" and "White and Nerdy" is back. 

Thank goodness. 

"Weird Al" Yankovic's new album "Mandatory Fun" was released by RCA Records today and Weird Al proves he's been rather busy. Two videos of the new songs are out now -- parodies of Pharrell's "Happy" and Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" with the promise of six more over the next six days.

They can be found at his web site.

Yankovic did an AMA on Reddit Tuesday and was asked if "Tacky" was shot in one continuous take. His reply:

"While it looks like there MIGHT have been an edit somewhere, I absolutely guarantee you, that was all done in ONE CONTINUOUS SHOT.

"That was a bit of a challenge for me, because I start the video on a 5th floor fire escape, and I reappear on street level wearing completely different clothes. That means - for EVERY TAKE - as soon as the camera was off me I had to run down 5 flights of stairs WHILE CHANGING MY CLOTHES so I could be on camera again at the end. Definitely got my workout THAT day!"

"Tacky," with guest appearances from friends including Eric Stonestreet and Jack Black (did he really have to twerk?) is funny, but "Word Crimes" is a real hoot. It's been a trip, reading online comments that violate the exact rules of grammar the song calls out.




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