The night ended at Fulton Alley with the Creator Pro Am: Drink and Draw where artists and writers could come and compete in a writing and drawing competition.
Today the con opens at 11 a.m. with panels, a variety of movie, television, comic, and cosplay special guests including a new trivia game show, “Last Fan Standing” with Bruce Campbell. Mighty Morphin Power Ranger fans won’t want to miss Jason David Frank’s 3:00 p.m. panel with a Wizard World first appearance by Johnny Yong Bosch. One of the highlights of Wizard World, the adult costume contest, goes from 7 – 9 p.m.
The convention continues Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 with the Wizard World Kids Costume Contest as one of closing acts. Unofficially (no Wizard World pass needed) for those who can’t get enough of the lovely ladies and dapper dudes of cosplay, Xena Zeit-Geist and her ladies and gents of nerdlesque will continue their costumed carrying on at the Eiffel Society opening at 8 p.m. with Harry Potter related nerdlesque performances at 9:00 p.m. and closing with a Yule Ball Dance Party.
For more information about the New Orleans Comic Con and other events, check the official Wizard World website.
All over the world the ending of the old year and the coming of the new year is celebrated. In Mobile, Alabama where they held the first Mardi Gras parade in the Americas, Mobilians celebrate the New Year with their favorite Mardi Gras throw at the Moon Pie over Mobile.
The Moon Pie was created in 1917 at the suggestion of a hungry Kentucky coal miner, but it is also a great pick me up for a hungry, Mardi Gras photographer! It is a delicious treat made with two cookies sandwiching marshmallow and then coated with flavored candy coating. The original Moonpie was chocolate but they now there are several flavors including salted caramel.
Mobilians are so in love with the Moon Pie that, instead of dropping a ball to announce New Years Day, they drop a 12 foot Moon Pie. During the hours leading up to the dropping of the Moon Pie they also serve up the largest Moon Pie in the world to everyone that comes by for a sample.
This year, folks from the Limestone Branch Distillery in Kentucky came down with their new taste treat geared strictly for the adult Moon Pie lovers, Moon Pie Moonshine. Moon Pie Moonshine is 50 proof or so, and is flavored with the taste of Moon Pie. It comes in chocolate, banana, and vanilla Moon Pie flavors but with a Mardi Gras Moonshine kick.
Moon Pie Moonshine is distilled by Kentucky’s Limestone Branch Distillery in Lebanon, Kentucky by Paul and Steve Beam. They are descendants of Case Minor Beam and Steve was on the show “Moonshiners.” They are following the traditional distilling of their ancestors, while also innovating with products such as their Moon Pie Moonshine.
In addition to Moon Pies and moonshine, the Mobile New Year’s Eve celebration had music throughout the evening with The Village People headlining the series. So with music, moonshine, and Moon Pies, Mobile rings in the new year and the 2015 Mardi Gras season. Tomorrow, January 3, 2014, the Go Daddy Bowl Mardi Gras parade, featuring Danica Patrick, will be rolling on the streets of Mobile and Sunday is the Go Daddy Bowl.
Laissez les bon temps rouler! – Let the good times roll!
A beautiful Polynesian princess plunges to a bed of oysters in the depths where she returns with a lovely, precious pearl while a prospector searches for the glitz and glammer of gold. Each is precious but the one is serene and smooth, while the other’s shine sparks excitement and the lust to win. Along the shores of the Biloxi Bay are two such treasures. Ocean Springs to the east, is an old, artistic community, while across the beautiful bay bridge lie the casinos, convention center, and clubs of Biloxi.
In the spring of 1699, French Canadian Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville established a colony on the Ocean Springs shore and built Fort Maurepas to defend the territory. The area natives included the Bylocchy tribe for which the area was named Biloxi. A couple decades later and across the bay, the city now known as Biloxi began to grow and the twin towns were known as old and new Biloxi.
As time has passed, mother and daughter cities have matured with the city of Ocean Springs having a more quiet, reserved, and artistic disposition. Ocean Springs was a recipient of the 2013 Great American Main Street Award and is known for its lovely, old storefronts along the downtown street where Elvis would go to relax in the sunny south. For those artistically inclined there is the nationally recognized, Walter Anderson Museum and a number of art shops, where you can chat with and buy the works of local artists.
To set up your own picnic for the beach, head over to Broom’s Grocery and Catering and fill up in the deli. For more generic fare, just up the highway a bit, there is a Walmart, fast food shops, as well as an Applebee’s for a bit more upscale fare.
For a relaxing vacation, the bay shore is beautiful for laying in the sun, a casual, sight-seeing bike ride, and, of course, watersports in the bay. For a change from walking on the lovely sands of the beach, a nearby park has nature trails and a pond where you can see their old, one-eyed alligator.
Of course, across the bay, the shore of the coast continues with more beautiful, sandy beach for the sun seekers and a lot of action and excitement. At the Beau Rivage Casino, The Hard Rock Casino, the smoke free Palace Casino, and other casinos you will find more fervent, unanswered prayers than in the local churches. In the casinos, night clubs, and other places of entertainment and revelry you can catch performances from old favorites like Gary Puckett and B.J. Thomas.
In addition to importing actors for conventions, there is a developing film industry in the area. The films “The Historian” and “Rites of Spring” were filmed in Mississippi and an upcoming animation, “Juamingo” is in development in Ocean Springs.
While the mother and daughter cities of the Biloxi Bay are remarkably different they share a distinct beauty. They are also joined by a remarkably beautiful bridge that ties the two together for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. The bridge’s lovely curves stretch over a mile, provide bikers and walkers resting points along the way, and add beauty to the sunsets. Tourists and locals alike owe their thanks to Ocean Springs Mayor Connie Moran, who insisted that they build a wide biking/walking path on the side of the bridge when they were planning the post-Katrina reconstruction.
While not as large as Mardi Gras in Mobile or New Orleans, both Ocean Springs and Biloxi celebrate Mardi Gras. Biloxi has a Mardi Gras museum in a beautiful, old, French mansion where you can stop in for a bit of information on their celebration.
So for a quiet vacation in the sun or a hot night on the strip, check out these two treasures and make sure you stop by Slap Ya Mommas BBQ Smokehouse – the best barbeque on the beach!
For more about National Tourism, Art, Music, Celebrity, Steampunk, and Geek Culture Examiner, John N. Collins, find him on Twitter, Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook. Be sure to let him know your thoughts on his articles!
From the frozen north to the balmy south a favorite Christmas tradition is decorating trees, houses, and most anything that doesn’t move (and a few that do) with colored lights. Some flash, change colors, and even play music.
After the lights are up, families will pile in the car and ride around and look ast their neighbors homes, and if lucky, the city park and other public locations will have more elaborate ones for their viewing.
On the Mobile Bay, just outside the city of Mobile, is a beautiful display in the Bellingrath Gardens. Not only is it tops in the Mobile Bay area, it is on the USA Today’s top 10 public light displays. The display has over three million fashioned into over 1,000 displays from Santa’s and sleighs to swans and sea creatures.
It is spread out over the 65 acres of the historic Walter Bellingrath estate in the trees, bushes, along the paths, and even floating in the lake. Visitors will want to make sure they view the aquatic areas, as the reflections add an extra dimension to their beauty.
The Bellingrath Gardens is definitely worth the trip if you can get there between now and January third of 2015, but if not, check out the photos as well as the video with some of the garden lights put to the Christmas songs of the award-winning Los Angeles band, Eyeshine.
The jury is still out on who will be number one so to give them your support, pop over to the USA Today’s top 10 list and give them a vote once a day until the voting is over.
John N. Collins is a writer/photographer/videographer who recently spent a few days in preparation for Mardi Gras 2015 in Mobile, Alabama where Mardi Gras was first celebrated in the America’s. Check back for more photos and fun from this trip and his next stop in Biloxi, Mississippi when he will be !