Monday, October 24, 2011

ZomBcon II

I went to ZomBcon II this past weekend. Saturday, to be exact. And I had an incredibly good time. So much so that I think next year I should just get a room and really hang out and see more. Why go to ZomBcon?

Now that we've gotten that out of the way....

Swag Bag, I filled mine
I had been at ZomBcon 1 last year with my son and we had an absolute blast. Last year there was Bruce Campbell, Malcom McDowell, George Romero, among others; amazing. Those are three of my biggest favorite stars. This year guests were....

Tom Savini (a favorite of mine). For a guy older than I am, he's in incredible shape. Motivates me to work out harder. But then I was getting Teriyaki last night one the way home and got told by a very cute cashier that I didn't look that old, when I had said I got my first short story published in 1992. What a great end to a great day.

The two Boondock Saints actors Sean Patrick Flannery, one of whom (Norman Reedus) is now on the Walking Dead show. I'm a big "Saints" fan.

Sam Trammell from True Blood.

The terrifying Sid Haig (of Rob Zombies, House of 1,000 Corpses, and others).

Bill Moseley (also of House of 1,000 Corpses), and so many others.

On the way there had a great idea, Zombie Insurance. I found Cal Miller's table, he of "Het Madden", "Zombie's Survival Guide" (if you love your family, you'll be sure there is at least one in your home, be prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse!), and others. I told him my Zombie Insurance idea and he said, "Yeah, great idea", and he pointed behind me at the Zombie Insurance table, Zaico, like Geico, only for zombie flesh eating attacks.

So I went over and talked to them. Very nice people. I suggested to Cal that he strike up a deal with them, they sell his book about what to do after you turn ("Learn before you turn") a Zombie's Survival Guide, and he could push their insurance. He thought it a good idea but we figured they would not go for it. Then I suggested he tell people that every family should have a Zombie survival guide and finally said, "just tell them if you love your family you'll buy them one of these in every home, what a great stocking stuffer".

So he figured what the Hell, and did variations on that for the next few people that walked up to his table. He sold every book on the table one after another and had to get more books out of a box behind under the table. I seemed to be full of good ideas. After lunch, I suggested a movie idea to him and he said, "yeah, I think that would be a great movie." Cal sold a copy of The Undead Nation Anthology that I have a short story in (Gumdrop City and have been drawing up a treatment toward a screenplay) and I got to sign my first book for someone at a convention. Pretty cool, I must say.

Cal took me around to Artist's Alley to meet Jason Kristopher and I ended up buying his book, "The Dying of the Light: End". On the way to ZomBcon on the ferry ride and Light Rail, I was reading Aristotle's "Rhetoric and Poetics". If you write, you read this book, even if you don't, it's simply good for critical thinking. My problem in life however was that I started reading Aristotle too young, around 6th and 7th grades. When I recently started reading this book, it became abundantly clear why I think how I do and it has affected my writing (both for the better and worse one might argue). So, on the way home, I jumped from Aristotle to Jason and found it immediately  fascinating, to say the least. As it starts in the Pacific NorthWest, all the better. I like his historical slant on Zombies a lot, too. Very intriguing and hard to put down and it came with high praise from Cal.

Jason was a very nice guy and had quite a good deal on his book, along with signing it, you could download another of his short stories and I got some signed and numbered art work. What a guy!

When I met Tom Savini, I actually shook his hand and thanked him for all he has given us in entertainment. I know these people meet unnumbered masses of fans over the years and at these gatherings, but it's hard to convey what it means to a fan to meet them. He didn't seem very cheerful at the moment we met, and a little reticent to shake hands, acting kind of neutral really.

But I put my hand out and kept it there, the dude has a beefy hand. Later, I talked with a friend who was at the party the night before and said, "I think Tom had a little to drink last night." Ok, that's reasonable and fully explains how he was acting, no energy; I can relate, I woke feeling that way the next day. So I had to smile about it. I asked him which of his photos he liked the best and he said, "It's which one you like the best that counts."

I didn't really want to get the best shots of him because he looked all macho and massively good looking, and it seemed kind of, well, not manly somehow. So I opted for a photo of his head in the middle of a  line on either side of him of famous special effects work he had done. I figured anyone seeing him hanging on my wall may not know his face but might recognize some of this work, so that was the best of both worlds. Either way, I finally have Tom's autograph! Kind of makes up for not getting Bruce Campbell's last year.

I got hungry and headed down to the bar to get some lunch. All of a sudden, Sid Haig shows up with Bill Moseley. You may remember Sid (or not) and Bill, from Rob Zombie's House of 1,000 Corpses where Sid was a horrific clown.

There was also a guy dressed as him in the clown suit walking around today who eventually showed up at the bar and sat down, turned to look at Sid who noticed him and they nodded to one another. I so wanted to take a photo of Sid at lunch, but it's just rude, you know? So I put it off until a possibly more innocuous moment, which eventually, did present itself.

A couple of things happened while I was sitting in the bar waiting on my burger and fries (which were very tasty indeed). A couple of older guys sat next to me, one with a very nice video camera, so I figured he was a professional videographer. At some point, I noticed he was on the phone and I over hear this: "The hotel they put the team at is also having a zombie convention." He said this matter of fact, so I assume the meaning is in the statement, because he seemeed non committal. But something about it struck me as funny as Hell.

Then I noticed that on the other side of Sid's table where he sat with Bill Moseley, another table had a few people at it that I had seen in the convention hall. One was a Zombie Jesus with a Zombie Girl who was maybe a Nazi Mary Magdeline? Oh and yes, you heard me right. A Zombie Jesus.

All of a sudden, Zombie Jesus gets up and goes over to Sid Haig and Bill Moseley's table. Now I didn't know if they knew one another or not, but he stands there talking animatedly for a few minutes, then he squats down and continues talking, or explaining, something.

Then zombie Jesus stands and does a blessing on Sid who is sitting there taking it. About this point I'm thinking I need a shot of this. So I get my phone out and fire up my camera app. While my phone is taking forever to do initiate my cam app, they talk some more and Sid seems to be very nice about it all. I finally take a shot and Zombie Jesus says his goodbyes and heads off.

My burger comes, so tasty, as are the two very tall ales I ordered. After a while Tom Savini walks in and sits at Sid and Bill's table. A few minutes later I notice Zombie Jesus walks up again and starts talking to the table for a while. A long while.

After a while, Zombie's Jesus' girlfriend "Mary" comes by and I take a photo again (I don't know that she was "Mary" I'm just making that up, I have to call her something after all). Then she gently pulls him away from the table. No one at the table reacts poorly, but then they laugh as if they know something, but it wasn't as if ZJ were annoying them, and they go back to their talking.

I later find out from Zombie Jesus that when he walked up, Tom looks at him and said, "Jesus Christ." Which ZJ said he thought quite appropriate.

A little while later Zombie Jesus and his Zombie Mary come back and walk on by Sid, Bill and Tom's table and say nothing. Sid notices as Mary walks by but she doesn't.

After I pay my bill, I head back up to the convention center. That requires heading down a hall, around the corner to the left, past the registration tables, down a long hall past other conference rooms, around a corner to the right, go outside, across a drive way, up a few steps into a small room with two elevators, take an elevator up to the 3rd floor and there is the entrance to the ZomBcon convention hall.

Barbra from Night of the Living Dead
Going out of the elevator straight a head, on the left are tables with the famous: Sam Trammell from True Blood; Tom Savini, special effects wizard, actor and director; "Barbra" from the original Night of the Living Dead; The "Bike Girl" from Planet Terror, which was weird because as I walked up to their table, I was listening to the Planet Terror music on my blue tooth stereo headphones. Rockin'! And the girls at that table were very attractive. I don't know why but Jon Bernthal of Walking Dead cancelled.

Jon Bernthal
I ran into the Code-Z ladies, the Zombie fighting half-Zombie Triplets whom I had met before.

Thaina, Thayna, Thaisa and Tom Savini, necessarily not in that order
My son Nik and I met them at Seattle's first ZomBcon I. They were there with Taj Jackson (Tito's son) as he is a part of Code-Z. Michael Jackon's nephew and Tito Jackson's son, was an awesome guy to talk to, but I didn't see him this year. All four of them are just the nicest people you could want to talk to.

As I said (more or less) last year about ZomBcon I (and from their website: "The Sco triplets are a literal and figurative triple threat; a mighty force within the international entertainment industry. These sisters sing, dance, act and speak four languages to boot: Portuguese, English, French, and a touch of Spanish. From a young age, the precocious girls inherently knew they were destined to ignite the world as entertainers. They soon discovered that entertainment would play a dominant and extremely fulfilling role in their lives."

Taj is directing their action-packed, zombie series, “Code Z”. He has previously sold three million albums with the Pop group "The Three Tees" that he started with his two brothers. With Code-Z he is looking to branch into film-making after having attended Loyola Marymount University to study Film and Television.

The Boondock Saints were there as I said, Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery. I couldn't find them, but I saw signs for a $50 photo op with them. I heard they were partying the night before at the Bio Hazard party and they had been hanging around the video game room. I also heard there was going to be Karaoke Saturday night but I had to get home before that.

There was a Walking Dead panel with Norman Reedus and others, that I didn't make it into. I could have but I didn't want to get stuck in any one room. Next time I should get a room and take everything in.

Jenny Spain from DeadGirl was sitting right next to Cal Miller's table (in case you know or are wondering, Alan Gandy had another table on the next aisle over). If you haven't seen this movie, check it out, I was surprised that it was a lot better than I expected. She is very attractive in person, pretty incredible eyes. Speaking of which, there were so many attractive women there, my neck was a bit sore the next morning, but then, it wasn't just from that. There were a lot of bizarre, strange and interesting things to catch one's attention.

I've never gone to a con before, not before ZomBcon last year. I only went to see Cal and Alan because through Cal, I got published in The Undead Nation Anthology and another, Rhonny Reaper's Creature Feature Anthology, both with profits going to Cancer and Diabetes charity, respectively. But now? I don't know, I kind of like it.

I was stopped at one table by some Crypticon people who asked me, "Do you like Horror?" Which I thought was odd, and I just nodded my head around at where I was. She smiled and said she had just asked someone who said they liked Zombies, but not the overall Horror genre. But I like Horror, and come to Zombies late. Actually, I would say I write (as does Harlan Ellison) Speculative Fiction, or more so, Horror / Sci Fi, or Horror. Or Fiction. I get around.

So she said I should check out Crypticon in May. Which I think I may do. She said it will be held at the same SeaTac Hliton convention center. It is a very nice venue and I was not the only one who liked it better than last year's Seattle Center location. At first when I heard the name, having worked in IT for decades, I thought, cryptography, but no, this is more crypt as in cemetary.

Bill Mosely from Crypticon's web site
Bill Moseley got his first film role in Alan Rudolph’s “Endangered Species.” His third role has become one of his most well known; he appeared as Chop Top in Tobe Hooper’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. His next breakout role was the maniacal Otis B. Driftwood in Rob Zombie’s directorial debut House of 1000 Corpses (with Sid Haig, of course). In 2005, he reprised the role of Otis in the sequel The Devil’s Rejects. And that is just the start!

So yeah, I think I might go to Crypticon.

I'm working on a novel, first draft is done. I'm hoping I'll have it ready for one of these conventions soon, because I think that would  be a blast.

So if you have a chance, check out one of these events, even if you're not just or fully into Zombies. Because some strange things happened there and it was all either quite rewarding or pretty damn entertaining.

I had to throw this in, I got my son a four pack of this for last Christmas and it was a big hit. Kind of like orange soda. Too fun....

PS for more, see ZomBcon's 2011 Roundup

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