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We’re so excited to welcome Brenda Crichlow back to Nightmare Nights! She was a guest of honor at the first Nightmare Nights all the way back in 2013, and we’re delighted she’ll be returning to Dallas this fall to spend some time with us.

Brenda has been involved in the community since season 1 in her role as Zecora, but her acting career is over two decades long, both behind the microphone and the camera. A graduate of the Studio 58 Theatre Arts program in Vancouver, Brenda has merited guest starring, series recurring and lead roles for film and television, voice-over, (Zecora on My Little Pony) radio hosting, and commercials. Some highlights include working alongside: Kyra Sedgwick (The Possession); Genie Francis and Ted McGinley (Notes From The Heart Healer); Harrison Ford (Firewall), Angela Bassett (The Lazarus Child), Linda Hamilton (Home for the Holidays); and in Vice with Michael Madsen and Mykelti Williamson.

Brenda’s passion and skill has led to work with children to adults as an onset acting coach for shows such as Spooky House starring Ben Kingsley and Mercedes Ruehl, Just Deal, Elf(James Caan, Mary Steenburgen, and Will Ferrell), and as a sub on Things we Lost in the Fire starring Halle Berry, Benicio Del Toro and David Duchovny. Currently, Brenda is one of two onset Dialect Coaches on a show she can’t name. But wait for it!

As a reminder, applications for vendors is now open until June 28th. Vendors will be selected via a jury system, not by first-come-first-serve, to ensure that there is a healthy variety for our vendors and attendees. But the deadline is only a week away, so if you’re still looking to vend at the convention, be sure to apply as soon as possible. Panelist applications are also open until September 9, so submit your panel concepts today!

And of course, what convention would be complete without a ruthless army of volunteers? Fill out our volunteer application if you’d like to help us out. Accepted volunteers will receive free entrance to the convention in exchange for a few hours of work every day. We need folks with a wide range of skills, including security, operations, AV, medical, gophers, helping out in our dealer’s den, and more. Helping at Nightmare Nights is a fun and rewarding way to help make the con a great place for everyone, so sign up now!

Nightmare Nights 2016 is shaping up to be our best year yet, and we still have more guests to announce! As always, you can register for Nightmare Nights at a discounted rate before the convention. And while our top tier sponsor badges are sold out, there’s still sponsor and premium sponsor badges available, so grab one before they’re gone. Be sure to stay tuned here on our website, and on our Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr pages, and we hope to see in you October!

IDW Solicitations for September 2016

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Solicitations for the month of September are here. What are the stories for that month’s comics? Find out after the break.

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According to Entertainment Weekly, season 6 of Friendship is Magic is set to go up on Netflix on July 30th. Presumably only the first half of the season, as implied by “part 1” in the article. However, it raises the question if the original episode 609, The Fault In Our Cutie Marks, will be seen in this release as online distributions tend to follow production orders. As far as we currently know, it’s still included for DVD release.

Preview for Friends Forever #30

Friends Forever #30 cover by Tony Fleecs

Friends Forever #30 cover by Tony Fleecs

A preview for Friends Forever #30 has appeared on iTunes. Since the preview includes a double-page spread, two of the pages have been edited into one image by us. Even though this issue was included in July solicitations, iTunes currently has it listed to be released on June 29th. The date may change later on or it could be released early.

 

Check out the preview after the break.

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These are the type of numbers that will send the MLP fandom (or at least a part of it) into panic mode no matter how many times we in the Pony media say not to and that there are other metrics where MLP is doing really well. That said, “Spice Up Your Life” drew an estimated 143,000 viewers last Saturday on Discovery Family. Of course, that is just Discovery Family and one YouTube channel that showed the episode drew double that in views.

That puts the Season Six average going into the break at 243,333 which is well off the 452,250 average of the first 12 episodes of last season. We honestly don’t know why the numbers are what they are and you can blame the lack of marketing on Discovery’s part, that some in the fandom have gotten tired, or people are watching the show by other means. But we cannot overemphasize enough that TV ratings are not the only metric to judge the show’s performance by.

As for Wander, the pairing of “The Sick Day” and “The Sky Guy” drew an estimated 273,000 viewers Monday night on Disney XD. Recall that this show was once drawing seven figures on Disney Channel before being punted to XD (and in the afternoon at times). The show’s Season Two average now stands at 414,238 with just three episodes left in the show. Two of those air this coming Monday night with “The Robomechabotatron” and “The Flower” at 8pm ET/7pm CT on Disney XD.

Ratings information for this report comes courtesy of Mitch Metcalf and Mitch Salem of Showbuzz Daily as measured by Nielsen Media Research.

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The map is fixed again courtesy of Starlight and Twilight and it sends Rarity and Pinkie Pie to Canterlot to help a father (Coriander Comin) and daughter (Saffron Masala) with their struggling restaurant. It’s an Indian-type restaurant that’s unlike the rest of the restaurants of Restaurant Row. In other words, the food is much tastier and the atmosphere is not at all stodgy.

There is tension between Coriander and Saffron as the stress of keeping the restaurant afloat is getting to them. Rarity works with the former to make the restaurant more like the others in order to woo restaurant critic Zesty Gourmand, whose three hooves rating is a marketing chip on Restaurant Row. Pinkie and Saffron go out on the street to advertise their food—and only net two ponies from Whinnyapolis. (Writer’s Note:  I was at MLP-MSP for a screening of the episode and the Whinnyapolis ponies got massive cheers.)

However, the attempts to woo Zesty are a total disaster and it’s back to Square One. Things turn around when Saffron fixes her Dad a dish that makes them reminisce about how they just wanted to cook their food to ponies. Rarity and Pinkie switch roles and Rarity attracts customers to the Tasty Treat while Pinkie restores the original decor. This time, the Grand Re-Reopening is a success despite Zesty’s objections. Rarity and Pinkie respond by telling her that she’s not one to tell other ponies what to think just because she thinks things should go a certain way. It inspires others on the Row to start making food the way they want to instead of how Zesty feels they should.

With that it’s friendship mission accomplished and we go into the midseason break.

This was a nice way to go into the break as it’s been 16 episodes since the last map episode. Rarity (mostly) and Pinkie were on song again and we got interesting new characters in Coriander and Saffron. The song is one of the better ones in the first half of the season as well. I say mostly with Rarity because her initial advice on helping the Tasty Treat was to adjust the decor to be like the other restaurant on the Row. Maybe that’s Rarity basing things on how Zesty critiques, but that’s in conflict with “Canterlot Boutique” when Rarity insisted on uniqueness for her designs. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a minor flaw though in what was a great episode.

You can’t help but feel that we’re in for something extraordinary for the remaining 14 episodes of Season Six—especially since the map is back in order.

Pluses and Minuses:

  • +  Rarity and Pinkie dynamic
  • +  Interesting new characters
  • +  Song
  • –  Initial advice from Rarity is in conflict from her beliefs from earlier episode.

GRADE:  A-

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613 – “Spice Up Your Life”

Written by: Michael Vogel
Pinkie Pie and Rarity discover a father and daughter struggling to keep their family restaurant open, which is cause tension in their relationship

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