Comic Con 2008: The Night
Saturday night will go down in Webcomics history as The Night.
For the Halfpixel gang (Scott Kurtz, Kris Straub, his intern Magnolia Porter, Dave Kellett and me), it started with a brilliant idea by Kellett. He figured that, instead of fighting the crowds in the Gaslamp District, we’d pile into his vehicle and drive out to one of his favorite fast food places, The In & Out Burger. For a little more on that, check the second half of Scott’s video, embedded below.
After that, we found a parking spot right outside the Westgate Hotel, where Jonathan Rosenberg has invited us to join in an informal, annual Comic Con meet-up. As we entered this very cozy (small) bar area, we could see a baby grand piano with a woman signing show tunes. At a couple tables, a few civilans are starting to realize that they’re being overrun by a very strange element. Included in this group is a man — beard, middle-aged, distinguished — who suddenly gets beckoned to the piano.
He grabs a microphone and starts belting out Ain’t Misbehavin’. And the guy has pipes. I’m looking around, having just secured a whiskey sour (there was no fresh mint for mojitos, alas), and I’m noticing that everyone’s jaws are scraping the floor.
“Kris,” I whispered, “Who is that guy?”
Doing an excellent job at hiding his disgust, Kris whispers back, “That’s Jonathan Frakes… ‘Riker’ on Star Trek TNG.”
“Wow!” I whisper.
Don’t believe it? Maybe Rich Stevens can convince you.
So… now a man walks up. He’s bald, wearing a white shirt that hangs like a lab coat on his frame, with small, circular sunglasses and a little tuft of chin whiskers. This guy walks up to the piano and convinces the piano lady to leave her post so he can sit down.
He starts playing chords. They don’t really seem to go together in any logical progressing, but then again, most modern jazz is lost on me, so for all I know it was impeccable. And he’s singing. No lyrics; just syllables. Notes. Do bee doo bee doo kind of stuff.
Me? I’m flummoxed. Again.
And I look around and notice jaws agape once more.
I lean down to the stalwart Straub once more for an I.D. check.
His disgust is slightly less disguised, “That’s Sisko!”
I was never a regular watcher of Star Trek Deep Space Nine. My introduction came with reruns of the original, and then TNG. So, I have to admit, some of the magic of the moment was lost on me.
But the look in everyone’s eyes — especially Kris’ and Scott’s — really brought it home for me. A few more moments into The Night and Avery had grabbed Kris by the arm and led him to the piano, where he, Kris and Scott belted out At Last. I grabbed Scott’s recorder and got a few bars taped.
The afterglow found us all sprawled in comfy leather couches in the lobby of the Westgate, kind of in this “Did that really just happen” state of mind.