“I dearly love the state of Texas, but I consider that a harmless perversion on my part, and discuss it only with consenting adults.” — Mary Tyler “Molly” Ivins
The reception on the Cell Phone was staticky, with a peculiar whistling in the background. The voice was urgent though… it was my wife, the lovely Realitychick. She was on the turnpike to a nearby town to hear my daughter’s vocal recital. But she didn’t sound happy at all.
“You want to go to this convention tomorrow,” snarled the voice on the other end of the phone “You’d better call a glass place NOW. The Windshield is coming out of the van!”
And thus started my adventure called “The Texas Frightmare Weekend” or “Casher and Mirth’s Phantasmagorical Peregrination”.
Let me catch you up. One of my things on my “Mirth List” to do for this year was to attend a big media convention. Partly for fun, of course, but my main reason was to pick up more work for my day job at Wirewaves, some freelance illustration work for me, and network with potential guests for CathARTic shows. My original plan was to attend the Indianapolis Horrorhound show with filmmakers Leif Jonker and Gary Miller, and Horror Host “Gunther Dedmund” from The Basement Sublet of Horror , but alas time and money wouldn’t quite sync with that trip.
So when I put out the word that I would be attending TFW, my buddy Tim (a.k.a. T.E. Pouncey, a.k.a. Casher O’Neill) said he’d be up for the challenge. After all it had been about 20 years since the last con we had attended. He and I used to be the Hunter Thompson and Ralph Steadman of our college paper, but wives, families and real life got in the way of us being able to collaborate on a regular, post-academic basis.
We were to leave about 9 am on Thursday, April 29th… getting into Dallas early enough to check in and clean up to go see Romero’s Survival Of The Dead and the World Premiere of Tim Sullivan’s wacky 2001 Maniacs. Well, Cash had a work meeting he couldn’t get out of, and now I had a Windshield to get replaced, so the 9 AM start ended up being a Noon departure. And save for the 40 MPH headwinds all the way there, It was a good trip. Never let it be said that journalists can’t make for good conversations!
We arrived at the hotel too late to get to the movies, but who do we see coming out as we go to check in? WIlliam Katt, he of The Greatest American Hero, Carrie, and Pippin! We exchanged brief pleasantries, and I was briefly *just* a bit star struck. This would change quickly as soon there were “celebrities” everywhere we turned. That first night I shared an elevator with Sid Haig of Spider Baby fame, and I think I freaked out Cassandra “Elvira” Peterson (who is probably sick of seeing “Elvira” as her middle name) just a little with my unfortunate natural friendliness.
Oh, I didn’t completely fanboy out on her. I just did my chipper “Good Morning” bit… at 9PM. Well it *is* morning… within 12 hours anyway.
Cassandra and her trainer had just come in from a BBQ joint called Hard Eight which amazed them! They suggested we try it, but we never did get the opportunity to… maybe next year!
Over the next few days, we made all kinds of friends. Finally met Brandon Slagle, and Frederick Doss (who was one of the Soccent guys running the screens we designed for the first Transformers) who I knew through Facebook; filmmaker Mel House and his lovely wife Melanie who had worked with Shannon Lark on Walking Distance; Matt (who could be a young Matthew Broderick) and his buddy, Eric from St. Louis; Mike, the Oklahoma restauranteur; Lauren (who could be a young Ally Sheedy. If only we could have found a young Dabney Coleman!) and her boyfriend Jeremie; Amanda “Elbows Out!” the TFW staff member that was running the John Carpenter line; Leslie from Pennsylvania, whom I call “the Queen of the Ottoman Empire” because she had guys lining up to be her footstool… so many cool people, and I know I’m forgetting a bunch.
I met two of my top five living directors, John Carpenter and George Romero (the latter of which, I got to see through his eyes!). I got face time with Jason Mellon and The Virgin Connie Swayle (Keith Gordon and Alexandra Paul — and yes, McGee, I told them you said “Hi.”), talked cyberstalkers with Debbie Rochon, shared fruity drinks* with Terry Alexander and Jarlath Conroy of the original Day of the Dead, talked F-Troop with James Naughton, chatted with Halloween‘s Charles Cyphers and Martin‘s John Amplas, learned basic Pittsburghese from Buffy‘s Camden Toy, cut up with Kane Hodder, strolled down Rue Morgue, and hung with members of Ghoultown a band that is this amazing amalgam of Rob Zombie and Johnny Cash. I would have gone to see them in concert Saturday night, if it weren’t for something that literally made the entire trip for us.
But that, my friends, is a story for another blog.
*The bar didn’t do fruity enough drinks, so I’m fixing it in post. Pictures soon!