Friday, November 24, 2017
Events

Billy Dee Williams leads a celebrity invasion for Tampa's Fanboy Expo

RECOMMENDED READING


A short time from now in a hotel very, very near you, actor Billy Dee Williams will be meeting fans and signing autographs at the FanBoy Expo.

The Saturday and Sunday convention at the Grand Hyatt Tampa Bay in Tampa will also feature Q&As with the actor who made Lando Calrissian a household name. Tbt* caught up with Williams before he arrives to find out what he's up to now and how he hopes to see Lando portrayed in the future.

How do you feel about traveling the country to attend conventions like the Fanboy Expo?

The really nice thing about it is it gives me the opportunity give me a lot of people who have supported me throughout my career. It's a very nice experience.

How do you feel about people's affinity and animosity toward Lando?

I always try to keep Lando alive forever by doing all these shows and conventions. I also do the parodies and animation that keeps him alive. I always want to use my voice rather than having someone else impersonating me.

If you could write a role for Lando in the new Star Wars franchise, what would you want him to be?

My idea is to have Lando not surrounded by a lot of women, that's always the first thing people think about when they think about him. I think now maybe he's got a daughter who is a Jedi. That would be cool.

Lando is seen as the consummate ladies' man — just like Billy Dee Williams. Are you doing anything to change the perception?

I think I'm going to have to live with that one forever. (Laughs)

What are you looking forward to most out of the convention?

We usually do the Q&As and I always to look forward to that. I get a lot of good questions but every now and again you get someone who comes up to the mic to ask why I betrayed Han Solo. So I spend most of my time trying to explain that whole situation. Especially when it's a little kid who's 10 admonishing you or chastising you about that. I'd tell the kid, "Get out of here." (laughs) Actually I've been doing it a long time, since my daughter was little, I'd drop her off at school and have to explain to little children why I didn't betray Han Solo. It gets pretty funny.

What's a day in the life of Billy Dee Williams like?

Right now, I'm going to prepare myself for my granddaughter to come over. We do a lot painting and reading. My grandkids are real important to me really big in my life. I have two grandchildren, a boy and a girl. I do my workouts and then with my grandchildren, painting games and watching a lot of cartoons on television. And having discussions about what's being presented. I like to discuss with them how they reacted and how they feel about it.

What sort of cartoons are you watching?

I've been watching a lot of Pokemon, which is really good. It really just talks about good and evil and when people join together to conquer evil, that's a good thing. We'll sit and watch it. I watch it a lot with my grandson. I always want to see where he is coming from and how he sees it and have a discussion.

Comments
5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

5 things to do under $5 Nov. 23-30: Craft festival, License-Free Saltwater Fishing Day, Snow Bash

1. Gem, Jewelry and Bead Show and Sale: Check out these rocks when more than 50 dealers from around the United States sell crystals, minerals, beads, gems and jewelry. $5. Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N, St. Petersburg. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through ...
Published: 11/22/17
Updated: 11/23/17
This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

This week’s best Tampa Bay concerts: Brian Setzer, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith, 21 Savage, more

SWINGIN’ AROUND THE CHRISTMAS TREE: Brian Setzer OrchestraWhen you spend 13 straight Thanksgivings on the road, you build some traditions with your crew. "We get a big ballroom," said Brian Setzer. "I don’t know how many turkeys we go through, but ev...
Published: 11/22/17
Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Some ways to celebrate Thanksgiving that aren’t Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day!Or is it? Sometimes life just doesn’t come together at 2 p.m. on Thursday.Circumstances mean it’s not always possible to sit around the table on Thanksgiving, a family in a Publix ad smiling over a glistening bird. Maybe family is ou...
Published: 11/22/17
4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

4 art exhibits to check out with family (or on your own) over Thanksgiving weekend

Perhaps you have relatives in town for the weekend, and you’re running out of ways to entertain them. Or maybe you’re wondering what to do with your long weekend. There’s a perfect solution for either scenario: Go see some art. There’s plenty on vi...
Published: 11/22/17
Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

Top things to do this weekend: Lindsey Stirling, Faizon Love, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Live

PULLING STRINGS: Lindsey StirlingDubstep violist Lindsey Stirling shot to fame as a quarter-finalist on America’s Got Talent in 2010 and she has been rocking the spangles on Dancing With the Stars this season as the last woman left . But on Friday yo...
Published: 11/22/17
If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

If you’re going to see ‘A Christmas Carol’ redo, make it ‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’

The last thing this world needs is another rendition of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, likely the most remade, reimagined and ripped off literary property ever. At the same time, the world would be poorer without seeing Ebenezer Scrooge i...
Published: 11/22/17
Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday deals at Legoland, SeaWorld, Disney and more

Black Friday isn’t just for stores. Many theme parks and attractions in Florida are also offering up deals that could make a nice gift or family splurge. The smaller the park, the bigger the deal, so Legoland, Gatorland and SeaWorld are toutin...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/23/17
Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Plan your weekend: Indie shopping, Lindsey Stirling, ice skating, Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith

Shopping Black Friday: Avoid the madness of the malls at a variety of indie shopping experiences this weekend. Skatepark of Tampa has one of the best sneaker selections in Tampa Bay and free skating all day Friday to celebrate. They’ll open at...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay the day after Thanksgiving

Top things to do in Tampa Bay the day after Thanksgiving

Here are our editors' picks for things to do on Nov. 24, 2017. St. Petersburg Tree Lighting: Mayor Kriseman flips the switch to illuminate the city’s Christmas tree at this celebration with live entertainment. 5 p.m., North Straub Park, Fifth ...
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17
Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 25

Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Nov. 25

Shopapalooza: 150 vendors, artists and local businesses. 10 a.m., Straub Park (Center), at Beach Drive and Fifth Avenue NE, St. Petersburg. Free (items individually priced). (727) 637-5586. John McLaughlin: One of music’s most influential guitarists....
Published: 11/21/17
Updated: 11/22/17