As time ticks down until FanX: Salt Lake Comic Convention’s 2019 April convention, the guest list is multiplying almost as much as the ticket sales and fan enthusiasm for the two-day spring event.
According to event founder Dan Farr, he and co-founder Bryan Brandenburg are constantly “trying to make our event broader.”
“We want to add new experiences, not just keep it being the same thing,” he continued.
With that sentiment comes the Monday announcement of two new guests pegged for the convention: “Wonder Woman” Lynda Carter and “Shock Rock” godfather Alice Cooper.
Carter has an impressive history with the big screen and even on television, with a recurring role on “Supergirl” and lead roles in “Sky High,” “Super Troopers” and the 2005 film “The Dukes of Hazzard,” not to mention her time as Diana Prince, Wonder Woman herself. But that’s not all Carter, a former Miss World USA, has to bring to the table when it comes to talent — her time at FanX will center on a concert, with a limited number of photo ops and autographs available to fans in conjunction with it.
“(Alice Cooper brings) a nice dimension — we like to add variety to our event and kind of go outside the norm,” Farr said in an interview with the Daily Herald on the announcements. “He absolutely is somebody that adds a new dimension, just like Lynda does with her music. Wonder Woman fits right in … (then) you add the dimension her music brings.”
According to Farr, it’s been at least four or five years since he first reached out about getting Carter to the Salt Lake fan-centric event, but conventions aren’t usually on the schedule for the actress and musician.
“She’s not somebody you see typically out there doing these things,” Farr said. “One of her challenges is when she meets fans she wants to spend good time with them and doesn’t want to do anything where she feels her fans are being shortchanged at all. She’s starting to learn that even if fans only get a moment with her, it means so much to them … just a brief moment they wouldn’t have if she hadn’t put herself out there.”
One really special thing about Carter, according to Farr, is the fact that her heart is truly in her music, which is why her time at FanX is focused on her concert, which also will include some question-and-answer time tentatively set for Friday evening during the convention.
“We will have a lot of very affordable tickets,” Farr said of the concert event. “The idea is we want to give people a chance to see her. … It’s almost like sitting in the front room with her – she’s kind of sharing her story through music with a Q&A.”
According to Farr, concert plans should be finalized within the next week or two with tickets on sale shortly after.
“If you’re a Lynda Carter fan this is a chance to see who she really is,” Farr said.
As with all guests scheduled to attend FanX, according to Farr, Carter is truly in it for others, citing as an example her response following the national tragedy on Sept. 11, 2001.
According to an article posted to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website written by retired Navy Public Affairs Officer David Gai, “Hundreds of ‘requests’ to volunteer or offer support were received from the public, celebrities, politicians, religious leaders and others. Most were declined as not being in the best interest of the families. The exceptions were those viewed as fitting the ‘Lynda Carter’ model.”
Gai went on to explain that Carter approached the Pentagon’s Family Assistance Center (PFAC) offering her help.
“She wanted to be there with the strict stipulation that there be NO PRESS, and no open recognition, notoriety or public awareness of her being there. She volunteered at the PFAC day after day for the better part of three weeks, meeting with the family members of the victims, consoling, hugging, crying and often just listening to them. In Lynda’s eye, she was doing it because it needed to be done. She was a true bedrock for the families as they faced the unimaginable.”
Though by outside appearance Alice Cooper may not fit the same mold as Wonder Woman, Farr was quick to comment on the true nature of Cooper as well. “I do think that these are two wonderful, caring people that we’ll get a chance (to meet),” Farr said.
“It’s fun because we decided to do the double whammy,” he continued, discussing the joint announcement. “Lynda Carter was what we were planning on announcing, but we had some back and forth with Alice Cooper and finally got word over weekend that we were good to go. They wanted to get the word out as soon as possible, so we were happy to do that.”
According to Farr, he actually met Cooper a few years ago at another comic convention where he was able to witness firsthand “as a fan the excitement around him.”
“Something we really don’t know is how people are going to respond to different guests, but they were excited about him,” Farr said.
After that, he was able to take some time sitting with him in the break room and really understand more the depth of the acclaimed singer and actor.
“He is a very religious, Christian person, and that is a very important part of his life,” Farr said. “You picture heavy metal rockers as not into that sort of thing, but he makes that a priority in his life. He’s just a really much more grounded, down-to-earth person than you would expect to see when you meet a big rock star like him.”
One big thing Farr said he’s hoping will come from FanX is allowing fans to see the depth of these celebrities they idolize.
“I think sometimes we see people as one dimensional – we see them on TV and kind of see them in a certain role, but when you start looking back, you see what’s behind the curtain and there’s so much more to them – you can see them as so vibrant,” Farr said. “You see how really talented these people are, that’s why they’re so successful – they have so many different talents.”
The ultimate goal for the event is to offer a true fan experience, hence the slogan “The Ulitmate FanXperience.”
“I met (Cooper) and he was so nice — I had a great experience with him,” Farr said. I want to add that experience to people’s lives and want them to have those bucket list-type meetings with celebrities that mean a lot to them for one reason or another.”
The current lineup for FanX, set for April 18-19 at the Salt Palace Convention Center also includes Paul Bettany (“Avengers,” “A Knight’s Tale”), Clark Gregg (Marvel), Brian Baumgartner (“The Office”), David Bradley (“Harry Potter,” “Game of Thrones”), Warwick Davis (“Willow,” “Harry Potter”), Tom Ellis (“Lucifer,” “Miranda”) and Casey Cott (“Riverdale”), with Aimee Garcia (“Dexter,” “Lucifer”), Seth Gilliam (“The Walking Dead,” “Oz”), Adelaide Kane (“Reign,” “Teen Wolf”), Val Kilmer (“Willow,” “Batman Forever”), Billie Piper (“Doctor Who”), Ricky Schroder (“Silver Spoons,” “Lonesome Dove”), Joonas Suotamo (“Star Wars”) and Tony Todd (“Candyman,” “The Flash”).
“Once again, thanks to the fans, we’re a prime choice to be able to announce these things and bring these guests to our events,” Farr said. “The fans here are so passionate and supportive of guests that come in that the word on street is you want to go to Salt Lake, and they do. We have inquiries all the time from people that want to come to our show, and the credit goes to the fans.”