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Mel’s Weekend at WSC Nashville

My friend Heather and I doing the tango with Jeffrey Dean Morgan and Norman Reedus

Not a lot of people can say they did the tango with Norman Reedus on their 29th birthday. (Or on the fifth anniversary of their 29th birthday….who’s counting, am I right?) But Walker Stalker con is just out here making dreams come true. For me, WSC Nashville can only be described as magical. As I walked through the doors on  June 3rd (my birthday eve), I felt like a kid on Christmas. If the presents were hugs from Cooper Andrews, selfies with Michael Cudlitz, and kisses from Jeffrey Dean Morgan. (Does this analogy make Norman Reedus Santa Claus?) Here are some of the highlights from my WSC weekend!

Kia and I with Cooper Andrews

 

Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Jeffrey 👏🏻 Dean 👏🏻 Morgan👏🏻  If you’ve been listening to our podcast/known me for five minutes, you know my love for this man runs deep. I had the opportunity to meet him in Atlanta, (You can hear more about our Atlanta WSC adventures here.) but I was so flabbergasted that I completely spaced on what I wanted to say to him.

My photo op with Jeffrey Dean Morgan

In Nashville, I finally got my chance. He gave me his undivided attention and was so gracious, kind, and caring. I have had the good fortune of meeting many celebrities, but there isn’t anyone as sweet as Jeffrey Dean Morgan or any cast member from The Walking Dead. Period. The moment I got to have with him a couple of hours before this photo was taken was priceless. To hear more about this special moment, click here.

 

A tale of two Negans

 

The BEST  cosplayers ever. You may have already seen our interview with Rick Grimes cosplayer “Trick Grimes,” but there were many more fantastic costumes roaming the show floor. Some of my favorites were the kiddos dressed as their favorite post apocalyptic bad guy, Negan.

You know my heart beats for Richonne.

The cosplay contest is always a highlight of any Walker Stalker. The categories are broken down into survivors, walkers, and kids with one overall winner. In Nashville there were many creative costumes, but none quite rivaled contest winner Alexandro Quiles who cosplayed as Jerry. Quiles captured Jerry’s look and adorable personality perfectly.

The cosplayer contest finalists including winner Alexandro Quiles

The People. This part is two fold. Obviously, one of the the main reasons you attend WSC is to meet the actors behind your favorite TWD characters. It is always fun to spend a couple of moments with someone like Ross Marquand and get to hear one of his amazing impressions. If taking selfies is more your style, you will love being goofy with Michael Cudlitz, Josh McDermitt, and Steven Ogg. If Norman Reedus is attending the WSC near you, make sure you pre purchase an autograph (more info on that at the official Walker Stalker Con website), so you can know the bliss that is Norman taking your hand from across the table. He makes sure every fan feels loved.

Amanda and Heather are two of the awesome friends I have met because of WSC!

One of my favorite things about WSC is the family of friends you make because of your mutual love for all things TWD. Every time I go to one, I walk away with at least one new friend. If you are attending WSC in the near future, I fully suggest joining one of the many fan groups on Facebook. Walker Stalker Con Meet Up is one of my faves! There you can connect with other folks attending the convention in your town and coordinate hang outs. Many of the people in the group have been to WSC before so they are also a wealth of knowledge and are happy to help answer any questions you may have. Some of my favorite people on the planet I have met all because of this convention. Don’t be afraid to strike up conversations with other fans in line or stop that person in the badass Michonne costume. It might be the beginning of an awesome friendship!

Katelyn Nacon delighted WSC attendees with a musical performance

The music. You probably don’t think of Walker Stalker and music as two things that necessarily go together. However, if you have ever had the chance to attend you know that Katelyn Nacon has the voice of an angel! If you’ve never heard her sing Radiohead’s ‘Creep’ click here. At some WSC events, you might get to hear Jordan Woods-Robinson perform too! Check out his tunes here.

IronE Singleton putting out the birthday call to everyone and their mama at WSC Nashville

The ‘Birthday Chair’ is totally a thing. When I visited IronE Singleton’s booth on June 4th(also my birthday), he noticed the ginormous gift bag I was carrying around that one of my friends had gifted me with. Mid conversation he told me I would have to get in the birthday chair. Then, we continued our conversation about things unrelated to birthdays, took a photo, got some of those famous IronE hugs, and were about to be on our merry little way. Then IronE says, “Where do you think you’re going? You have to get in the birthday chair!” I said, “Oh wait, so that’s a real thing?” IronE proceeded to laugh at my naivety and say that OF COURSE it was a real thing. He pulled a chair out to the front of his booth and asked me to be seated. He then proceeded to yell out TO THE ENTIRE CONVENTION that it was my birthday and asked everyone to say ‘Happy Birthday’ to me. Have you heard this man speak?! He can project like nobody’s business. Also, when he tells you to take your bow afterwards, he means it. Thanks, IronE for helping make my birthday so memorable and special. Also, embarrassing. 😂

A view of the Skybound booth

The loot. There’s lots of fantastic vendors at WSC. Of course you can always find some unique t-shirts (and I always suggest hitting the WSC march booth for a convention t-shirt), but theres so much more. You will find action figures, tote bags, life size cut outs of Negan (totally thought about purchasing one), and amazing artwork.  One of my favorite vendors was one belonging to artist Kirk Manley. Kirk makes special limited edition prints for each city that you can purchase at the conventions. But he only makes a small amount and once they’re gone they’re gone! The detailing in his pieces is unreal! For Nashville he did a country music theme. You can check out his latest work and the Nashville print on his Instagram.

The promise of more to come. I love that our friends at Walker Stalker understand that we all get a little sad post convention. You spend months looking forward to the experience and then it flies by so fast. These guys didn’t waste any time putting WSC Nashville 2018 on the books for May 12 and 13 at the Music City Center. It’s not too early to buy your tickets and start planning! Visit the Walker Stalker Con website to see if WSC is coming to a city near you!

 

 

Road to Texas Frightmare Weekend

Purchase tickets online via the Texas Frightmare Weekend website.

Fan conventions are what dreams are made of. They make my fan girl heart flutter. And Texas Frightmare Weekend is no stranger to making dreams come true; if your dreams consist of things that go bump in the night or otherwise freak you the hell out. In just a few days horror enthusiasts will flock to the 12th annual TFW to connect with each other and the masterminds behind some of their favorite works of art.

While picking the brains of past TFW attendees, it was consistently said that this convention is one of the most intimate. Suzanne Rhodes, who has attended larger conventions described, “Other cons VIP tickets are oversold and are outrageously priced. Lines are poorly managed and photo ops are usually chaotic and unpleasant. The celebs are obviously in working mode and are sequestered.” Not at

Tom Payne as Paul “Jesus” Monroe – The Walking Dead _ Season 6, Episode 10 – Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMCs

TFW! According to Rhodes, you can often find your favorites actors walking the halls or having a cocktail at the bar. “The celebs are more accessible and as a result are friendlier and their true personalitiesoften come through. This makes for more natural encounters with celebs and most of [them] are more relaxed around their fans.” This year Suzanne is most excited about the guests from AMC’s The Walking Dead. “I have autographs or photo ops with 80% of the past and current characters on TWD. No small feat I can tell you.”

Brian Huggins, who has now been attending Texas Frightmare Weekend for a decade said, “I was initially drawn to TFW by my enjoyment of the horror genre. I heard a radio spot about it and decided I would go and see what it was all about.” Though sitting in on panels, seeing the screenings, vendors, and other fans in their cosplays are certainly enjoyable, connecting with the guests is Huggins’ favorite part. He has had the opportunity to meet many previous attendees including Matthew Lillard, Robert Englund, Ed Neal, and many more. “They all seem to enjoy meeting their fans and understand the time and money fans spend just to get a signature [on a photo]. They truly appreciate the opportunity to give that personal connection back to their fans.” Michelle Swafford, who has been attending TFW with her husband since 2015 said, “The chance to meet someone that I have watched a thousand times on TV or movies and ask them questions and just chat for a minute is an unforgettable experience.”

Fright Night and Princess Bride star Chris Sarandon

First time attendee Angela King is hoping for precisely this kind of cherished exchange when she comes face to face with her idol, Chris Sarandon. Though she loved him as Jerry Dandridge in Fright Night, it was his role in A Tale of Two Cities that solidified her loyalty as a Sarandon fan. When King was 11, she was deeply affected by the story and life lessons brought to life by Sarandon. After the movie, Angela discussed what she had learned with her mother, who told her she would soon be studying this story in her English class. That’s when King decided she wanted to get a degree in English, so that she could learn more about these stories that were shaping her young mind.  And that’s exactly what she did. She went on to graduate with her English degree in 1991 from Belmont College. “Chris Sarandon is my hero and a mentor to me from the job he did crafting his characters. Growing up during the time I did, there was not really any way for me to locate him in order to tell him how he influenced me. You never know how you can impact another person. I would love to have a photo at my desk of myself and Sarandon. He still inspires me.”

The fan interactions have continued to draw horror enthusiasts in droves. Including TFW devotee Trace Andrews who stated, “I will be going to Texas Frightmare from now on, every year that I am physically able to. TFW seems more like a family affair geared for true fans.” The love and respect for TFW creator Loyd Cryer and the environment he has created is strong. Huggins said, “Loyd does a great job every year of getting terrific guests, having knowledgeable and customer oriented volunteers to cater to the attendees needs.” Many people cited affordability and the family oriented vibe as reasons they continue to return to TFW year after year.

Pro wrestler Sting will be appearing at TFW May 6th.

Guests this year include The Walking Dead’s Pollyanna McIntosh, Austin Amelio, and Tom Payne. Also on the roster are pro wrestler Sting, cast members from Bates Motel, Shannon Elizabeth, a Fright Night reunion, and many more. For a complete guest list, check out Texas Frightmare Weekend’s official website or follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also follow our continuing coverage right here on our blog and social media.

Stars of The Walking Dead head to Texas Frightmare Weekend

Tom Payne will be appearing alongside costars Pollyanna McIntosh and Austin Amelio.

The 12th annual Texas Frightmare Weekend Convention  presented by Arrow Video will be taking place May 5, 6, and 7 at the Hyatt Regency DFW Airport. Scheduled to attend are The Walking Dead’s very own Tom Payne (Jesus), Austin Amelio (Dwight), and new series regular Pollyanna McIntosh (Jadis). This will be the trio’s first time to appear at TFW.  Fright Night stars Chris Sarandon, Amanda Bearse, Tom Holland, William Ragsdale, Stephens Geoffreys, and Jonathan Stark will be also be in attendance.  Other guests include Malcom McDowell (Clockwork Orange, Startrek: Generations), Rick Hearst (Vampire Diaries, Brain Damage), Bates Motel’s Freddie Highmore, Max Theiriot and Nestor Carbonell and many more!

Spend the weekend meeting and greeting your favorite stars, listening in on panels and hitting up all of the TFW parties! For a complete list of guests, events, and ticket information, check out their website www.texasfrightmareweekend.com.