Dorkapalooza 2009.

It’s no secret that I’m a big dork when it comes to movies, and I go to various horror conventions when I get a chance (just search this blog for conventions, and you’ll see. Or just click here because I did the work for you).

Having gone to so many cons, there’s not many guests that I get excited for, as I’ve pretty much met all the people in the genre I want to meet that do the circuit, with few exceptions. One of the exceptions was Katharine Isabelle, star of the Ginger Snaps movies, among others. (Should that be “amongst”? I have no idea). So when my buddy Zig shot me a link to the Monster Mania con a couple months ago, I immediately agreed to go, because in addition to some pretty cool guests, Katharine, or Katie as I call her — SUCK IT TOM! — was going to be there. Bonus was the con was only two hours away, and the big money bonus was my other buddy, Kevin, told us that the show was dead the last time he went. Since Kevin was a vendor, that was bad for him, but potentially great for us because it meant no big lines.

Zig and I got to the con about 11ish, and went straight to the celebrity room. Oddly, there was no one collecting money for entrance, and we just walked right in. This wasn’t really our fault because the way they had it set up is the celebrity room was right off the main entrance to the hotel, and where you purchase your ticket was in another room altogether. At the time, they neither had signs, nor security at the door, so it wasn’t intentional. As Zig was talking to one of the actors from Friday the 13th Part V, I finally noticed a staff member (who happened to be eyeballing me, looking for my wrist thingy showing I paid), and I asked them where to purchase the tickets. He was pretty cool, and mentioned that he knew he shouldn’t have let “Talky” watch the door, so he wasn’t surprised that we just walked in. He pointed out where to buy the tix, and I went and bought one. Very cordial staff there, so I give them thumbs up (those who’ve been to a Chiller show know what assholes staff can be).

Anyways, by the time I got back, Zig was just wrapping up with the Ft13th stars and, after some pics, we walked over to Katie’s table. Now, one thing about Katharine Isabelle is that I crush on her. Ever since I saw Ginger Snaps, I’ve been loosely following her career, and I try to pick up (or at least watch) what she’s in. She’s a pretty good actress, but let’s face it, she’s also easy on the eyes. I was mildly concerned I would turn into a total boob when I started talking to her, but she was so damn sweet I felt completely at ease. I should note that I’ve only got tongue tied around one person I met, but it my defense, Tony fucking Todd is just as damn intimidating in real life as he is in Candyman.

I asked Katie a couple questions about her career, begged her for an interview for HorrorTalk (to which she gave me contact info of her manager, which rocks), got my stellar custom Ginger Snaps case (see Paul Champaign’s site for awesome work) signed and got my picture with her. I have to say, she was pretty damn spectacular. She was wearing sunglasses, which I asked if she could take off for the pic, and she was completely cool about it. I think it should be noted that it was evident she wasn’t wearing them to be all superstarry. Zig and I think she was hungover, which is pretty much standard at these cons. If you’ve ever been to one, there is a LOT of drinking by both guests and goers. I can attest to that. 😆


To be honest, at that point we could have left and I would have been a very happy man, but we decided to give the vendor room a whirl. Good thing, too, because I picked up a cool shirt and pint glass on the cheap:

Okay, the shirt is brilliant because it’s the pub from An American Werewolf in London. What makes it great is it just says “The Slaughtered Lamb”. That’s it. So you either know or you don’t. The pint glass is brilliant because it’s the name of the pub in Shaun of the Dead. Like the shirt, that’s all it says (aside from the writing, of course). But it’s still another one of those either you know or you don’t. I am not ashamed of my dorkness.

Also in the vendor room, I got to meet Lloyd Kaufman from Troma. I freely admit I’m not a big fan of Troma movies, but I’m a huge fan of Lloyd Kaufman, one of its founders. Kaufman has done so much for the low-budget horror genre, he is virtually unequaled in his contributions, not to mention Troma is one of — if not the — oldest independent studios. I have nothing but respect for the man.


That there is Lloyd, me (duh), Necropheilia (?) and The Toxic Avenger. For the record, Lloyd is the only celebrity that didn’t charge. Mad MySpace kudos to him.

We decided to walk around the celebrity room once more before rolling, and I broke down and paid for a picture and autograph with John Landis. Normally I wouldn’t, but the man rarely does shows, and I didn’t know if I’d have another chance to meet him. I still do not support actively working celebrities such as Landis charging, but I really wanted that picture with him. 😆


Please note that is not my arm around his. I know how it looks. 😆

I also met the director of such gems like Savage Streets and Friday the 13th Part V, Danny Steinmann. Dude was extremely gracious, and I’m really happy I got to meet him, as he’s up there in age and who knows how many shows he’ll be up to attending. I was happy to tell him how much I enjoyed Savage Streets.

Aside from the traffic up and back (some sort of motorcycle rally was holding us up on the way to the show, and there was a ton of game traffic heading to FedEx Field on the way home) and two of my friends who live up in the area that I don’t see enough sadly couldn’t make it, I had an amazing time. We were in and out of the con in about 2 hours, with virtually no lines waited in for the people we wanted to meet, and some good deals in the vendor room.

I have to give Monster Mania a big thumbs up. My first time was both a memorable and pleasurable one, and there’s little doubt that I’ll hit it again, should they have the variety of guests like they did this year.

The kid has taste.

Okay, so my buddy has an autistic son and rather than explain the video, I’ll just copy and paste his explanation:

My kid goes in his playroom and turns on his CD and will sit in there doing who knows what for hours on end.

Well, I went in and recorded it, so now YOU know what. Here it is:

And you better rate it 5 stars or the autism society will blow your house up.

The video really is fantastic. I guess there’s more talent in the family than just the son.

Artsy fartsy.

So this weekend had the potential to be one massive fuck up for me. Originally, I had tentative plans to go see the Roller Derby with B and the gang, but that was before it was realized that the Derby was on the same weekend as Artscape — apparently one of the nation’s largest free art fair. Okay, no big deal, because the Derby girls play about every month, and Artscape is once a year, so Artscape was on, but I wanted to make it a day, and B and her friends weren’t going to hit the joint until about 5 for some bands they wanted to see — Cake and Robert Randolf & The Family Band. Hell, I certainly don’t blame them, they live in the area, so they’ve done the Artscape thing, so it was old hat.

It so happened that my buddy Zig called me and said that he and his woman, Ann, were giving the Baltimore tour to Ann’s sister, Robin, on Sunday. I mentioned Artscape and told him I was planning to go up Saturday, and he should see if Robin would be interested. It turned out not only was she interested, but she also wanted to see Robert Randolf & The Family Bad, and we all wanted to see Cake, too. (Except, maybe Zig. He seemed indifferent, cool one way or the other.) Shit was coming together nicely. Not only would I be able to hang out at Artscape all day, but I would be doing so with both groups of friends.

Artscape itself was pretty amazing. Zig, Ann, Robin and I spent the first part of the day wandering around checking out the sights. Their were tons of vendors with some pretty fantastic artwork, as well as some pretty cool displays throughout the event. I’m not a huge art fan, by any stretch, but I can certainly dig some of the more contemporary (I guess) work. Like:


I don’t know if you can consider random pictures of graffiti “art”, but they did make me chuckle, so it definitely got a reaction from me.

This one reminded me of the beginning of Se7en:

se7enAnd Lego Toga Man rocked. I used to rock the legos when I was a kid, and the piece called out to me.


After catching some shows — including the Edgar Allan Poe-pet Theatre (the story of Poe, puppet style), which rocked — the concerts were about to start. We missed most of Cake, which was admittedly mostly my fault because I was in the midst of a flurry of texts with B trying to find her.

BandIThat’s B and I. B is a private person, and I can respect that, so I did an artistic representation. Trust me, it’s pretty close. But B brushes her hair. And wears clothes. And is prettier. But she was there and smiled for the pic.

By the time Robert Rudolph & The Family Band hit the stage, we we all set. Kind of. I was right up on the rail with my friend Dan and his wife Court, right in front of the stage, and Zig, Ann and Robin had played it smart and found some space on the lawn.

DanandIThat’s me and my buddy Dan right up on the stage. Dan knows a lot about music and is always making me CDs. I think he is trying to break me of my Def Leppard love. I don’t have the heart to tell him that will never happen, but he introduces me to some stellar bands. Win/win for me. I repay him by burning him some old, shitty movies not available on DVD. It’s a good system.


That’s Robin (in the, uh, peach (?) shirt), Ann in the blue and Zig in the, what is that? Brownish? Shirt. That was a good bunch of feet away from me (I completely suck at distance, so I’m not going to try, but every time I turned to see if they were still there, I had to look for them as the crowd was getting bigger). Zig and Ann completely rock. Every Friday I go over their house for dinner. I think they feel sorry for me because the only thing I cook for myself is Chili and Hamburger Helper. I’m comfortable with them giving me pity dinners. I look forward to Fridays.

So, anywho, right before the band started, B said she was going to roam about. I chose to go with her because I knew it was going to be a cluster fuck where I was, for a band I had never heard, and I would be miserable. So I opted to hang with B. Plus she’s a friend I don’t see often enough, so hanging out with her was the winning choice. B, Dan and Court made meeting arrangements in case we didn’t make it back, and we were on our way.

We ended up at her friend’s booth (who did some pretty damn slick work with wire) bs’ing until it was time to go, and headed back to the meeting spot. We said our goodbyes, and I headed off to attempt to catch up with Zig. Since I was riding with him, I had been texting him updates on where I was every 15 or so minutes, feeling like a turd that I got separated from him, especially since it was my idea to come up to the place. He blew it off because they were watching the show, anyway, so I felt relieved about that.

With Ann behind the wheel, we left Artscape around 10ish, but the night was not over yet, as we had one more stop.


All I can say about Vaccaro’s is…wow. All the joint does is sell deserts, and hot damn are they good at what they do. We each picked out a dish, and we each ate from each others.



Those pics in no way do Vaccaro’s justice. But if you are ever in Baltimore, swing by Little Italy and stop in, it’s well worth the trip.

So that was my Saturday, filled with good times and even better people. I’m extremely happy that it worked out that I managed to see most of my friends on the same day and met some new cool people, as well. One day I’d like to arrange it that I can hang out with all of them at once, without having to run around to do so, and I fear the only way that is going to happen if I have a party. Which would mean me having to clean my house in order to have people over. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

Abe Lincoln’s boner.

So a few months ago my buddy James tells me he’s going to be DC in July, and if I was interested in meeting up. Saying yes was a nobrainer. While I had never met James in real life, we had done enough bullshitting on AIM and forums for me to consider him a friend.

Yes, I am aware how dorky that is. Completely aware. But I have met some solid people on the internets, and it’s surprisingly getting less embarrassing to explain how I know someone.  😆

Anywho, Friday was the big day, and via text messages (I hate talking on the phone to people I know in real life, so talking to someone I’d not yet met was pretty much out of the question — I have a feeling James felt the same way) we arranged a time in a place to meet — The Museum of American History. More text messages were required once we arrived there, though, as apparently the museum has multiple entrances. Go figure.

I generally don’t like meeting new people, especially people I generally talk to online because many times their real life persona is completely different from their online persona. Fortunately, James was pretty much the same in person as he was online, and his fiance, Monica, was as much as smart ass him, which made for a pretty pleasant day of making fun of everyone and everything we saw.

As mentioned, the first stop today was the museum (which was a minor disappointment as they opened earlier than planned after their remodeling, and many of their exhibits aren’t up yet — including one James specifically wanted to see). I think Lincoln’s boner made it up for it a little, though. I can’t remember if it was James or Monica that pointed it out.


You see that? No?


Yeah. Something tell me old Abe is chopping wood for his new “special room” for the ladies he kidnaps and getting a little excited about it.

One of the cooler exhibits in the museum (since their pop culture exhibit is currently So Lame) is the old propaganda posters they have on display, including:


I like how the flash placement in that one. It’s as if Hitler is full of sunshine and happiness, and him being your co-pilot wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing.

Remember the old Indian that cried when you littered? We saw his pet eagle:


Yeah. Pretty fucking tacky.

After we left the museum, we aimlessly wandered from one monument to another, partly bullshitting, partly sightseeing. I didn’t take a bunch of pictures (I mean, really, I work in this city), but this guy was begging for one:


I still can’t figure out if the guy is an annoying douche, or a genius. I don’t know what people did to entertain him that day, but I do know a couple of girls were dancing with him when we left, so I have to give him some credit.

We ended up walking around for a couple hours, eventually ending up in the cafeteria of The Museum of Natural History to wind down. Over all, a pretty damn good time. I am a little sad that I didn’t where my Shakespeare threadless t-shirt like James did, but that might have been a little gay.


That there is James and I. The first thing he said to me when he saw me was (in reference to a text message), “Yeah, that hat is pretty stupid.” I love that damn hat, stupid or not. 😡


That there is James, Monica and myself. When I asked Monica if she minded if I put this pic on my blog, she replied with the funniest thing I heard all day. I cannot repeat it here, but I have since repeated it to three of my friends, all of which had the same reaction I did: Shock, then laughter.

Good times.

Jane said.

So B throws out an email a few months ago and asks me if I was interested in seeing Nine Inch Nails and Janes Addiction. I said sure.

Both groups are interesting in the fact that I don’t love either, but I don’t dislike them either. While both have songs I really, really love — hell, I can remember where I was the first time I heard NIN’s “Head Like A Hole” — but NIN never really grew musically and Jane’s Addiction got out of the game after two or three CDs.

Yet $50 for both bands is a gimme, as I like enough songs in each catalog to easily justify the ticket price (which, due to a snafu that was the fault of StubHub, I ended up getting the ticket cheaper than face. Hi kudos to the cats at I highly recommend them.). Plus, the concert was at Merriweather Post Pavilion, a venue I happen to really like. Throw in some sweet company, and, yeah, going is a no brainer.

I took off early the day of the concert to give me time to get home, change and get to the venue. This was Tuesday, the day that thunderstorms ripped across my area. Hardcore, damn near hurricane-like weather. The concert was to start at 7, and at 6 it was absolutely storming. Fortunately, God loves me more than most, and the brunt of the storm passed by 6:30. I rolled out of my house at 7 and got to the show by about 8.

After a little confusion, I met up with B and her friends. She had told me there were “stage left, by the bathrooms” and I spent 10 minutes looking for her. After another text message, I was told I was on the wrong stage left. Apparently, stage left is not the left side of the stage from my point of view, it’s from the performers. Go figure.

I had arrived about 20 minutes into NIN’s performance (and when the hell did Trent Reznor turn into Henry Rollins?? Christ he has beefed up), but I was lucky that I didn’t miss any songs that I really wanted to hear. While the rain had stopped, and the weather turned perfect, the crowd was, sadly, not into the show. There was so very little energy. Luckily, though, most NIN songs don’t require a ton of energy, so it was still quite enjoyable.

Oddly, while I don’t know quite as many songs of Jane’s Addiction as I do NIN, I completely enjoyed thier performance much more. Not only was the crowd warmed up, but Perry Farrell is a helluva showman. I was mildly concerned that they wouldn’t play “Jane Said”, as the concert was coming to a close and I still hadn’t heard it. Not worried, mind you, because I would have been surprised if they didn’t play it. They did, though, as the last song. And it was much better than I expected because it was damn near accoustic. I would love to get a high quality recording of it, becuase it had more emotion than what is on the CD.

Overall, I had a great time. Undoubtedly it was heightend by B and her friends. I know I’m a broken record, but times don’t mean shit if you aren’t with people to appreciate them with.