For folks in the Austin area, this is Bunny, the vendor liaison for the Horror For The Holidays event. Please buy her drinks, or whatever she wants, and put them on my tab. Whatever it costs, it’s not enough to compensate for her kindness and professionalism. Thanks to her, Horror For The Holidays was as much fun for the vendors as the attendees, which is saying something.
I’d also like to give a shoutout for Dan and Courtney above: Dan used to be my editor for a while at the long-dead comics activism Webzine Savant (it wasn’t the venue that created the term “Cat Piss Man” to describe the worst members of comics and science fiction fandom, but, to steal from Bette Midler, it certainly brought it to its high level of popularity), and I owe him for not killing me when he had the chance. Courtney deserves the same credit, because of the fact that she was never an editor of my work. They both deserve both deserve free drinks, too, for his taking the bullet she dodged.
One of the reasons I love showing plants at horror shows are because of the kids. Having had 40 years to look back and see the end results, horror movie fan kids usually become the most well-adjusted kids you’ve ever seen, and they become well-adjusted adults. I don’t recommend going for the heavy stuff first (there’s no reason to start out with Dawn of the Dead when The Creature From The Black Lagoon is a great introduction), but speaking as a kid who bawled his eyes out at the end of Alien when the most interesting and well-developed character besides the cat was blown out the airlock, it honestly depends upon the kid. Twenty-three years ago, when The Nightmare Before Christmas first premiered, a few of us watching it had one big issue with the movie’s resolution: if we’d received any of Jack Skellington’s gifts, we’d have shivved Santa if he’d tried to take them back. Nearly a quarter-century later, we’re now parents and grandparents, and our descendants are Just Like Us.
A not-so-subtle peeve about many shows and events is the presence of an on-site DJ. We’re not talking about professional DJs: we’re talking about the friend of the organizer who is willing to do the job for free in exchange for the exposure. This also isn’t a problem, unless the DJ is one of Those. “Those” entail the trilby-wearing twerps with a Macbook under one arm with playlists composed either of high school top-40 hits played “ironically,” or the worst sort of Portland whiner rock. (You can only listen to so many covers of “Waaaaah! Mommy Won’t Let Me Buy Heroin With Her Credit Card!” Before death by tree mulcher loses its sting.) Either way, since the venue isn’t a bar, people are there to converse instead of dance or drink, so they talk over the music, and the DJ gets so peeved at the neglect of his art that he cranks up the music to cover over the background noise. The cycle repeats until the only communication possible is with text, semaphore, or random sharp objects thrown at the DJ, and it only ends when either the venue organizer pulls the plug or random commenters scream a rejoinder enough to offend the DJ’s paper-thin ego. Based on several experiences on this line, any show that advertises “Live DJ” is an automatic rejection, because people can’t and won’t buy plants unless they can ask questions, and they can’t get their questions answered if their screams can’t be heard over the DJ’s theme song, Beck’s “Loser”.
The exception? Horror for the Holidays. A little music to get people into the mood is always welcome at a holiday show, and the DJ here had an excellent list of appropriate music for a dark holiday event, including some choices that actually stopped people to exclaim “I’ve never heard that before!” I honestly wish that I’d been able to break free to tip this DJ (something I have NEVER done at a previous show), because anybody who could play Concrete Blonde’s “Bloodletting” and Richard Cheese’s cover of “Get Down With The Sickness” is someone who deserves someone buying him or her drinks.
To be continued…
The updates on the site may have stopped for a while, but that’s because life continued to surprise us all. A lot of this involved further projects over at the gallery (and no, we don’t know when the mall is supposed to be demolished, but we haven’t heard anything to the contrary), but some involved the first non-DFW Metroplex Triffid Ranch show, down in Austin. The Blood Over Texas crew already had a great reputation with horror-related events in the Austin area, I’d heard plenty of recommendations about them from Texas Frightmare Weekend patrons, and Austin is just far enough to be a good test of travel options and logistics. One straight blast down Highway I-35, and pull into Austin three hours later. Easy, right?
Well, as demonstrated by the last Texas Frightmare Weekend (the lightning hitting my truck while I was in it isthe reason why my nickname among the Frightmare staff is “Sparky”), generally the better the show, the worse the trip getting there. This one involved getting to Austin, finding that the hotel claimed they had no reservation and no way to contact the chain’s reservation support crew (amazingly on a weekend with a big University of Texas alumni function), and having to find a new hotel at 2 in the morning. The biggest worry about shows outside of the immediate area is that of forgetting something important and not being able to go back to get it, and this time it was the tables. Thankfully, both the Blood Over Texas staff and the staff at Grizzly Hall, the venue hosting Horror For The Holidays, had a spare table to borrow. The only final regret? That the show wasn’t two days or longer, because it was worth the aggravation getting there.
Oh, and the customers? Between them and a few chats with organizers at shows in San Antonio and Houston, 2017 may be a very good reason to take the Triffid Ranch on the road. I just have to remember the tables.
To be continued…
It’s ARTwalk weekend, the organizers are encouraging a Halloween theme, and the location is in a classic Seventies-era shopping mall. All we need is an audience-participation screening of this midnight movie classic to make the weekend complete, and sadly, the downstairs movie theater was stripped out decades ago when General Cinema went bankrupt. Blues.