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Face Off: Season 5 Episode 3: Mother Goose Whimsy

Published August 28, 2013 by vfdpixie

This Tuesday night, The gang started off with a Foundation Challenge.  Using the movie Insidious as an inspiration, they were to create an original demon, but they had to make their male models into female demons.  The prize for the winning artist?  The director of Insidious and Insidious: Chapter 2, James Wan, relayed that info via video message:  a copy of Insidious…AND a trip for two to the red carpet premier of Insidious: Chapter 2.  How cool is that?!  I personally can’t wait for this sequel and I think James Wan is a talented director.

The artists had 2 hours to complete the looks, with most of them using their fears and nightmares as inspiration.  Horns, old age and possession helped them create their demons, with Roy and Rick coming out on top.  Glenn was judging this challenge on his own, and loved Rick’s graphic looking makeup.  He felt Rick made great use of his time.  I loved Rick’s fading paint job on his demon, but Roy won with his vacuform mask that made his male model’s face feminine in a flash.

The next challenge took them to the Griffith Park Merry-Go-Round where it was rumoured Walt Disney took his daughter and became inspired to create Disneyland.  They had to create a whimsical modern character inspired by Mother Goose stories.  Of course, they had to be in teams, but this time, they got to choose who their partner would  be. Oh yeah, and this would be a double elimination, so yikes!  R.J and Roy, Lyma and Adolfo, Frank and Laura, Tate and Miranda, Alana and Laney, Scott and Eddie, and Rick and Eric all put their heads together to break out the whimsy.

The teams really didn’t have too many issues.  Adolfo and Lyma’s mold wouldn’t open, and Lyma left him in frustration.  I really didn’t like that.  Frustrated or not, you help your teammate.  It was her butt on the line too.  Laura ended up helping him, curbing a panic-stricken moment.

On Elimination Day, I felt like the artists really paid attention to Mr. Westmore’s input yet again to refine their designs.  I keep saying this, but they are so lucky to have such a wonderful mentor!

R.J and Roy chose the Cat and the Fiddle.  I thought it was pure whimsy and they created a really unique design in which the cat was actually the fiddle, and his tail the bow.  The judges really liked it and they thought it was cartoonish.  This team ended up being safe.

Alana and Laney picked Five Toes (3 Little Pigs).  They pulled out the stops and made a pig with a bacon accessories like a bow and bra covering her, um, sagging teats.  I really didn’t like that aspect as it seemed a tad grotesque instead of whimsical, but the judges loved the look.  They felt it had a sense of humour, lots of whimsy, and as Ve noted “gave a new meaning to pulled pork”.  They also loved the eyes, and even though Neville didn’t quite like the white wig (which he felt was too poodle like).  They also thought it was the best work from Alana (who sculpted the face).

Rick and Eric worked on the Crooked Six Pence, or The Crooked Man, which looked scary to me, not really whimsical.  Glenn felt the sculpt was not anatomically correct, and they all agreed it lacked whimsy or fantasy.

Lyma and Adolfo created a Lady Gaga inspired Humpty Dumpty.  It looked really editorial and was beautiful.  The judges thought it looked camera ready and was a beautiful rendition of the storybook character.  Looks like Lyma really paid attention to the judges critiques, but Glenn warned against her use of stencils for paint jobs.

Miranda and Tate did a take on Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater.  The character had a pumpkin head with vines and stringy pumpkin guts and seeds hanging everywhere.  The judges also loved this look, stating that it was whimsical, fantastical, and a complete makeup.  They loved the sculpt and paint job.

Scott and Eddie created a Woman in the Moon that I felt was total whimsy.  She was kind of adorable, had bits of different lunar expeditions stuck on her, and it was a fun makeup.  Neville felt her skin didn’t look quite like the moon’s surface.  I think they should have been one of the top looks, but whatever.  They too were safe from elimination.

Laura and Frank took on Little Miss Muffet, and decided to create their own story with a cursed prince turned into a spider.  It was interesting, but the judges thought the sculpting and paint job was not up to par.  They felt it didn’t fit the challenge, missed the fantasy and whimsy, and just didn’t play well.

Rick, Eric, Laura and Frank were all in the bottom.  Rick and Eric ended up going home due to their sculpting.  I wanted to see what Rick had to offer, but maybe he’ll show up again in the future.  I was sad to see Eric go, and I felt that the judges and McKenzie were a little emotional too.  He’s a sweet guy who is told he is too nice (something I hear a lot myself-and it’s not meant as a compliment), and I wish him the best.  I bet everyone there thinks of him as their friend.  The winning team was Miranda and Tate.  Their “killer design” stood out above the rest, and was said to be the best makeup the judges had ever seen.  Miranda won this challenge due to her paint and sculpting skills.  Good for her!  This is her second win, and it’s looking like she’s the one to watch so far.  Can’t wait for next week already!

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Pixie’s Day at FanExpo 2013

Published August 27, 2013 by vfdpixie

So this weekend, I decided to check out the 2013 FanExpo.  Why, you ask? Because I am a nerd? Well, yes, there’s that, but also because even though I am not exactly a groupie, I thought I’d come out of my shell and head out to meet a couple of people, one of whom I might not get a chance to see again, perhaps ever, but more on that later.

I was originally going on my own, as most of my friends aren’t interested in horror or live out-of-town, when I found out that my good friend Nicole’s brother-in-law Henry Shel had a booth there and was promoting his books.  She wanted to go and lend her support,  so I ended up having company, and since she gets a kick out of anything against the norm, away we went!

Let me first say that I wished I had eaten a high calorie breakfast of eggs, waffles, pancakes, whipped cream, and syrup, because the amount of walking we did was insane.  We walked a couple of blocks from the subway to be ushered into a tunnel, (reminiscent of some sort of disaster movie where we line up to enter a bomb shelter) and waited in a four person deep line to buy tickets.  It moved fairly quickly and once inside, we meandered past cosplay enthusiasts, fellow nerds, and giant strollers filled with costumed babies.  Bumping into Henry Shel, we headed to his booth where he was promoting his books Space, Love, Superheros:  The Chronicles of My Secret Identity Crisis on Infinite Earths  and Operation:  DREAMGIRL (The Reluctant Diary of a Lovesick Average Joe).  pretty cool guy and definitely worth taking a look:  www.lulu.com/henryshel  Click on either of the 2 books to see a 10 page preview, or just buy em’!

Since we were in the artist section, where there were scads of talented artists signing and selling their work, I realized that Steve Niles was in the area.  I am a big fan of his and he was one of the two people I really wanted to meet. 30 Days of Night is an incredibly crafted story, and was my introduction to his talent.  I have since followed his work, the latest being Breath of Bones: A Tale of the Golem (which I plan to devour this Labour Day weekend as a treat), and was really jazzed to meet him and get him to sign a copy of my 30 Days of Nights graphic novel.  I would just like to add that I had a Starbucks coffee that morning.  For most, this is not an issue, but for this pixie, it’s a problem.  I just needed a boost, see?  To get me through a long day of walking around.  So I was kind of, um, supercharged.  When I found his booth, I was ecstatic!  Steve Niles!  Creator of the best vampire story around!  Eek!  Well, I really nerded out, spouting coffee fueled babble about the film adaptation of 30 Days, my 30 Days of Night manicure, Danny Huston as the best vampire ever, and turtles, but he was just lovely!  He signed my copy, and took a picture with me.  Worth the sore feet for sure, and who knows if I will ever get the chance to chat with him in person again!  http://www.steveniles.com/

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Pixie and Steve Niles!!

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My 30 Days of Night manicure. Inspired and yes, obsessed!

Other highlights included seeing  Luis the Suspect Guy from Suspect Video, some of the cast of Bitten and the hosts from InnerSpace, and ridiculous cackling over complete nonsense Nicole and I were prone to as we dodged the crowds.  We also stopped to check out a unique comic called The Black Bastard.  I was familiar with this one because I had met the creator, Matthew Mohammed, a few years ago at a previous FanExpo.  He was cool then and is still just as cool with his satirical take on racial stereotypes.  That site is currently under construction, so check your local comic book store for copies.

On to the “stars” as we kept putting it.  Where were they?  Way over in the North building.  Which meant around 5 escalator rides combined with a fair bit of walking to the main exhibition area.  Just before that was a walkway above the action.  It was here we could look down and see the tables where celebrities were signing autographs and posing for pictures.  However, we were promptly told to move as we were obstructing the flow of traffic, which was moving quite smoothly past us.  Whatever.  As we made our way down, I felt this side of the expo had a weird vibe.  We walked past different booths selling their wares, huge models of Daleks, K.I.T.T. the car from Knight Rider and then past the autograph areas.  Michael Rooker (Merle of The Walking Dead), Ron Perleman (Clay of The Sons of Anarchy and star of freakin’ Hellboy!), Dean Cain (Lois and Clark), Shawn Ashmore of X-Men fame, Laurie Holden (Andrea of The Walking Dead), George Takei (Sulu of Star Trek), and Linda Hamilton of Terminator fame were all graciously signing autographs that you basically had to pay for.  I don’t know the ins and outs of this fan expo business, and I’m aware everyone has to make a buck and bills have to be paid, but a lot of the costs for pictures and autographs were a bit steep.  I would have liked to have seen Norman Reedus (Darryl of The Walking Dead) but a) he was on a 30 minute break, and b) my sixty dollar photo fee did not include a foot massage from him.  Because for sixty of my hard-earned dollars, that’s what I would have wanted, if not more.  I also couldn’t be bothered to do any stealth photos liked I planned.  My contacts were drying out and the vibe was like a party that hadn’t quite taken off yet, with people milling around awkwardly watching the celebrities.

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Trust me, there are “stars” down there. Right Nicole?

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Exterminate! Exterminate!

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Some sort of K.I.T.T hybrid car thingy

great cosplay of Dr. Who's Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint

great cosplay of Dr. Who’s Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint

Anyhoo, after some lunch and a great bevvy, we returned to the fun South Building so I could meet Adam Lopez, founder and director of the Toronto After Dark Film Festival.  I’ve corresponded with him via Facebook and email, so it was finally time to meet face to face.  Greeted with a lovely and warm welcome, Adam told me about some of the exciting sneak peeks coming up in the next few weeks.  He was super nice and super excited about the Spotlight Screening Nights-films being shown before the actual festival to get fans revved up for October.  Check out this link for show times and info.  The cost for tickets are really reasonable, and it’s obvious that Adam and his crew put a lot of effort into this event every year.  Because the festival is being held at the Scotiabank Theatre for the first time, it should be an awesome venue to pack in rabid horror fans.  I can’t wait!!

http://torontoafterdark.com/2013/

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TADFF founder and director Adam Lopez and Pixie!

There were plenty of seminars on writing, gaming, larping, cosplay  and screenings which we unfortunately missed, along with a David “The Hoff” Hasslehoff sighting, but all in all, this pixie had a great time.  FanExpo is a place where all the weird and woolly folk can go to express themselves as their favourite characters, buy all kinds of weird stuff, see their favourite stars, and feel like they belong.  Hope to attend next year!

Face Off Season 5 Episode 2: It’s Alive! Future Frankestein

Published August 21, 2013 by vfdpixie

This week, the bottom newbies, Adolfo and Eddie, lick their wounds after the reality check of the first competition.  It was a sobering lesson in what they have to deal with and the amount of pressure they are under.  It was great of Alana to give them a pep talk as she had been in their shoes just a little while ago.

The artists got swept up right away and headed to Universal Studios in Hollywood where they were presented with the Spotlight Challenge.  They had to create a Future Frankenstein’s Monster and his bride.  The winning team’s creations would be featured at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in Hollywood and Orlando.  This was yet another team challenge, with Alana, Laney and Laura; Scott, Adolfo and Roy; Eddie, Miranda, and Sam; Frank, Eric and Rick; and R.J., Lyma, and Tate.  They got a special treat as the guest judge was Kevin Grevioux, writer of Underworld and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans.  He advised them to use technology in their designs but still keep the look of a monster for their creations.

As the artists met minds to make their monsters, we saw who stepped up to the challenge.  Alana, Laney and Laura all seemed to work really well together, especially when their mold broke.  Under pressure, they worked out a solution.  Their concept was based on a monster who builds his bride as a source of energy and can’t live without each other.  They create a great umbrella from a cast of Tate’s hand, since the bride used body parts as accessories.

Scott, Adolfo, and Roy created a concept where the monster is reanimated and he creates his bride.  Adolfo and Scott butt heads, and Mr. Westmore advised them to look at their monster from a different angle since most teams were incorporating an exposed brain.

Eddie, Miranda, and Sam had trouble with finding a concept, and Sam seemed a tad “indifferent” about her contribution.  They hashed out a couple that seek out immortality and unwittingly become part of an immortal army.  They also had problems with their mold as the nose of the appliance broke off.  They ask Frank to help, but Eddie eventually fixed the problem.

Frank, Eric and Rick worked on a monster couple that were created from the D.N.A. taken from their hands.  They seemed to work well with each other, and Rick really went for it with all the mechanical parts.

R.J. Lyma, and Tate had an “after the bomb drops” concept where the monster and his bride were kept alive by the radiation.  They ran into trouble when Lyma’s cowl came out shredded, but they used it as an element in the makeup, and Tate had an issue with Lyma’s painting techniques.

On their last day of the challenge, all the artists raced to get their looks together to present to the judges.  A major oversight was made by Eric during last looks, as he forgot to add bolts to the male monster’s head, a key element in the makeup.

The judges really loved Alana, Laney and Laura’s couple.  As a fashion obsessed pixie, I loved the bride and her gorgeous dress and face.   This was by far my favourite.  It actually looked like it was created for a high fashion editorial.  Kevin Grevioux loved their back story, Glenn thought they made good decisions, and Ve loved the highlight/lowlighting of the makeup.

I felt that Tate’s team’s duo was pretty scary looking, but the overall look of the bride suffered from Lyma’s body painting background.

Roy, Scott, and Adolfo’s couple got pretty good feedback, as the male monster had great articulation with the mechanics, and Kevin liked the bride’s tubing.  I liked the tubing

Miranda, Eddie, and Sam’s looks were pegged as too Borg-like by Kevin, and Ve thought the bride’s hands were a problem.

Eric, Frank and Rick’s duo suffered due to the jawpiece that Ve hated, as well as the forgotten rivets.  Glenn also felt the eye sculpt gave the male monster a confused expression.

The sole top team ended up being Alana, Laney and Laura’s.  The judges felt the look was fun without being silly and the paint scheme was beautiful.  Their team will be featured at Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios in both Hollywood and Orlando.  Alana was the winner of this week’s challenge for the bride’s beautifully sculpted face.

Eric, Lyma and Sam were in the bottom 3.  Sam was the person who went home this week as the judges felt she didn’t participate enough and what she did contribute was not up to standard. And um, speaking of judges, where the heck was Neville Page?!  I missed him and the dynamic he creates with Ve and Glenn, but we were lucky to have Kevin Grevioux as a guest. Not only is he a talented writer, but he is also a seasoned actor.  Can’t wait to see what he dreams up for us on the big screen the future!

Face Off Season 5 Episode 1: Finally, Fantasy!!

Published August 15, 2013 by vfdpixie

Yaaay!! The wait is over!  Season 5 of Face Off starts off with a masquerade ball at the Park Plaza Hotel.   This is where we get our intro to the “newbies” as they entered the party one by one, stars in their eyes and hungry to compete.  Adolfo, Rick, Sam, Tolin, Eddie, Laney, Scott and Lyma assembled eagerly as the lovely Mckenzie Westmore greeted them.  The newbies eyes widened as they saw their competition, the “vets” from past seasons, revealing themselves among the masked guests.  And then they’re off!  The first Foundation Challenge happened right at the ball where the artists had to choose a guest and create an original character inspired by their costumes.  This gave them a chance to show who they were as artists and their style.  The guest judge was none other than Hollywood bigwig Catherine Hardwicke, director of Twilight, Red Riding Hood and Thirteen.  The top looks were created by vets Roy, Tate, and Laura.  I agreed with Catherine’s choices, as the newbies didn’t really do anything that stood out.  The winner was Tate’s cursed princess, which won him immunity.  Katherine loved the brow bone appliances and the overall powerful and creepy look. From this challenge, it is evident that the newbies have to step up their game.  Regardless of whether they are competing with veterans or amongst their peers, they need to pull out their inspiration books, tear sheets, and sketch books and bring their A game.

After exploring their new digs, where the newbies must share one bedroom (a nightmare in my eyes-where’s my underground bunker!) complete with pictures of past artists’ creations and Warhol inspired prints of the judges, they headed off to the Dolby Theatre, home of the Academy Awards.  Here, they got the first Spotlight Challenge of the season:  to create fantasy characters from a hyper-stylized world in the tradition of films like The Chronicles of Narnia and Pan’s Labyrinth.  Better yet, it was a team challenge:  Team newbies vs. Team vets.  They had specific characters to create:  An ogre, fawn, troll, witch, and say what now?  A pixie??!!!!!  Represent people, represent!!  All’s I’m sayin is, they’d better get the pixie right.  Yah hear me!

Anyway, the guest mentor was makeup artist Bill Corso, whose work can be seen in X-Men 3: The Last Stand, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  He stressed that collaboration and cohesiveness were key in a team setting.  I think this team challenge was a great way to see everyone’s personalities, both the good and bad.  The newbies decided to go for a crystal chest piece to tie their characters together, and the vets went for a blind witch who sees through the other creatures.

Of course there was the usual frenzy of sculpting, molding and trouble shooting.  Rick the newbie noticed a “wall of clay” as the veteran team went for broke with the sculpting, showing a touch of intimidation as he justified his team’s angle to go “beautiful”.  The assumption of the vets’ talent and know-how cannot make newbie confidence waver while they share the lab.   Among the problems were Adolfo’s mold cracking which meant he lost precious time with his troll, vet Eric panicking after Laura’s mold falls apart, and Scott and Sam butting heads over techniques.  I loved Mr. Westmore’s astute critiques which probably saved the newbies some grief.  They must know how lucky they are to have his incredible eye and knowledge in the same room!

After the scrambling during last looks, the teams showed their creations.  I particularly loved Laura’s witch, Tate’s disgusting troll, and Alana and Miranda’s pixie (they did me proud!).  From the team newbie, I loved Rick and Laney’s fawn.  She was actually pretty.  I think Laney is going to show that she has some talent in the coming episodes.  Judge Glenn Hetrick loved Laura’s witch with fingers protruding from her spine. All the judges thought Alana and Miranda’s pixie sculpting was refined, and Laney and Rick’s fawn because of the clever application of hair on the face.  They were not happy with Eddie and Tolin’s ogre.  It was a rough sculpt and disproportionate, and Adolfo’s problem ridden troll could not hide from their scrutiny as well.  Team vets suffered with their ogre made by Frank, Eric and R.J., having similar proportion issues.  Ultimately, the rough sculpt along with Tolin’s inability to admit his shortcomings got him a ticket back home.  The vets scored as the winning team, and the winner of the challenge was Miranda who executed a great sculpt and paint job.  The newbies better remember to be a bit more humble when they know they’ve screwed up.  It worked for Adolfo, and I think he can, and will, do better next time!

So glad this first episode was action-packed and I can’t wait for next week!

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