It has been a year or longer since we have had live shows and events and now they are making a comeback. The Retro Expo Is happening this weekend at the Plano Event Center in the Dallas area. John Biscardi was fortunate enough to interview the owner/operator Scott Kinney on his show The Geek and I. I was then fortunate enough to ask a few questions myself about this amazing event happening this weekend.
Geek News Now (GNN): First off I’d like to say thank you so very much for taking some time to talk with us today I know you must be really excited about your upcoming show and I’m sure our readers are anxious to hear about it as well. So to begin can you tell us a little bit about the retro expo what does it entail what does it include what can we expect to see here?
Scott Kinney(SK): I’m a pretty hardcore collector of 70s and 80s toys, comic books, magazines, posters, trading cards, board games, vinyl records, VHS tapes, magazines, and the like. So, guess what kind of dealers I invited to my own collector’s show? Yes, all of that! A lot of “cons” today seem to focus more on celebrity autographs, which is totally fine, but I’ve been attending shows of this nature since 1980 when I was in sixth grade. The “stars” of many of those shows were comic book writers and artists and seas of comic book long boxes. As Hollywood has invaded and conquered the scene about fifteen years ago, the smaller dealers of more obscure collectibles have been squeezed out due to rising booth prices. Retro Expo will indeed feature some celebrity guests who will be signing autographs, but we’re definitely attempting to create a balance between cost of celebrities weighed against the cost of dealer booth rental and entry price (our Saturday General Admission price is only $10). We put a great amount of effort and focus on curating our 35,000 sq. ft. Dealer Room so that we have some massive booths and some cats who just rented one table in order to sell their He-Man collection. That’s the kind of variety with less predictability we really wanted. There’s a guy from Austin, TX who will just be selling horror VHS, and another from Dallas who only is selling vinyl records. not something you see at your typical convention today. By the way, the stars who are scheduled to sign autographs for fans at this weekend’s event include: Amy Allen, who portrayed Jedi Knight Aayla Secura in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith; Dickey Beer, a famed Hollywood stuntman who has worked on multiple blockbuster films from the James Bond and Indiana Jones series but is best known to Star Wars fans for his stunt work in Return of the Jedi while wearing the infamous Boba Fett Mandalorian armor; Jason David Frank, Tommy Oliver from The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers television series, a character who “morphs” into the powerful Green Ranger; Jett Lucas, the adopted son of Star Wars creator, George Lucas, who was cast by his dad as young Jedi Padawan, Zett Jukassa in both Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith; John Morton, an actor who had the honor to portray two famous Star Wars characters including Rebel co-pilot Dak in The Empire Strikes Back as well as Boba Fett in a key scene from the same film.
GNN: Is this the only show you do every year or are there other shows or events that you are in charge of is charge of that happen throughout the year?
SK: Retro Expo will return to the Plano Event Center November 12 and 13, 2021and we have lined up our first celebrity guests for a little ALIEN reunion with actors Veronica Cartwright and Tom Skerritt courtesy of Official Pix! Additionally, we will be putting on an event titled RetroMania in Springfield, MO September 11 and 12. Your readers can alternatively check our websites, http://www.RetroExpo.com and http://www.HeritageEventCompany.com for more show updates in the future.
GNN: When did you do your first show? The first Retro Expo show if you will.
SK: This is the first Retro Expo we’ve done. I’ve partnered with Official Pix for the first time to bring in celebrities. Previously, I produced a couple of RetroMania shows, which are not as big with less bells and whistles, in New Braunfels, TX and Dripping Springs, TX. Those shows went really well and evolved into the bigger, bolder Retro Expo in Plano, TX.
GNN: I assume that due to COVID you did not do a Retro Expo at all last year it’s all last year Is it exciting to be back to in person events
SK: The previously mentioned show in New Braunfels was held last February 27 before the mask mandate was lifted in the state. It went off without a hitch, so we never looked back.
GNN: During the pandemic what was the thing you missed most about putting shows like this on?
SK: Shopping for all the goodies! Seeing friends! Talking nerdy all day long! I seriously have the best time at shows. I know a lot of other people feel that way as well.
GNN: Now just for fun what’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen at one of these shows be it a cosplay costume or something somebody was selling
what is the weirdest thing you’ve ever seen?
SK: I was invited to a dinner at the San Diego Comic-Con years back and was seated next to Grant Morrison. That was fun and Grant was a very game conversationalist. I left the dinner to hit the SDCC party scene with an up and coming music video Director. I don’t remember the guy’s name now, but he was Britney Spears’ go to guy for videos at the time. His party hopping resembled similar scenes from Doug Liman’s Swingers. Every party was “lame” (they weren’t lame at all, we ran into Rob Zombie and I had killer conversation with 2000 AD comic artist Mike McMahon, whom I adore) so we would hop in a Taxi and go to another one in search of “the real scene.” If you go to enough conventions and are actually willing to talk to people, well, you just never know where the evening will take you!
Another thing I will say about the value of networking at conventions—the connections I made at shows ultimately led to me creating and producing a streaming documentary series entitled Mark Hamill’s Pop Culture Quest for the San Diego Comic-Con!