Sarah: What were you going to write about before?
Richard: Last weekend.
--The Big Chill (1983)
I have decided to forego reviewing thrilling and/or chilling metal discs this week in order to describe my latest excursion to Los Angeles, City of Monsters. I do this in a naked attempt to make readers jealous of my laugh-in-the-face-of-death, jet set lifestyle.
The genesis of this trip was simple. I missed my son. I was going to fly into Burbank Airport as an experiment, to see if it was cheaper and less of a hassle than the Bataan Death March that is LAX. Flying out the weekend of September 14th would ensure that I could see my son, who is not a monster, AND attend the annual Son of Monsterpalooza convention, which is full of monsters.
But then LA Doug, who (as his name implies) lives in California with his delightful family, informed me that he had sold his soul to the Devil and procured tickets to Hollywood’s famous Magic Castle. I have read about the Magic Castle all my life. It is impossible to get into the Magic Castle; a sorcerer must invite you. I have seen grown men melted into goo just because they broke the infamous Magic Castle dress code. (How rigid is this dress code? A week before our trip, I e-mailed the Magic Castle’s Head Sartorial Wizard a picture of my shoes to insure that they passed muster.) Doug invited us to go to the Magic Castle! Now the trip to Burbank was becoming infinitely more interesting.
The last time I attended Son of Monsterpalooza in Burbank, all I could do was gripe about the line. This time, I awoke early, had a lovely breakfast, and was in line at 8:30 am. Doors opened at 11:00 am. I am retired and have nothing else to do with my time! I was 25th in a line that eventually stretched around the building. I figured that getting through the turnstiles at rope-drop would afford me about an hour of walking around before the venue got too crowded. Everyone talks big about waking up early and getting there when the gates open, but very few people actually do it. IT WORKS.
Although I sold the majority of my monster collection a few months ago (Don’t cry for me; I have plenty of monsters left—I only parted with the least important sixteen boxes’ worth) I still had fun walking around the Dealer’s Room, quietly chanting my new mantra, “I no longer collect. I no longer collect. I no longer collect.”
But that doesn’t mean I don’t still BUY things. My favorite purchase at SOM this year was a fez. I am ashamed to say that I made it a full 56 years on this Earth without owning a fez. I put that right last weekend, thanks to the lovely people at Fez-O-Rama. They helped me find the correct size for my pumpkin-sized noggin. They let me choose from an assortment of tassels. I am now officially a “Loyal Lord of the Lagoon.” If this paragraph finds you, gentle reader, weeping over your own fezz-less (and, dare I say, feckless) existence, hie thee hence to fez-o-rama.com. Winter is coming!
NOTE TO SPOUSE: I wish to be buried in my fez. (EDITOR’S NOTE: Got it! Naked except for the fez.)
Only it’s not, because this “Alec” was actually Academy Award Winner Alec Gillis of the famous special effects house Amalgamated Dynamics, Inc. Alec wondered if Jan, Jake, and I would like a tour of his workshop.
Alec Gillis is the nicest man on Earth.
It. To our left, a full-sized Alien fighting with a Predator; to our right, a maquette created to help with the monkey make-up application on the original Jumanji. Alec walked us through the showroom and the fabrication workshop, offering fascinating backstory and answering all our questions.
This bears repeating: Alec Gillis is the nicest man on Earth.
Tremors, various fighting insects from Starship Troopers, villainous gigantic toy soldiers from Santa Claus 2, and even a disembodied horseman puppet from the recent Sorry to Bother You.
here and tell your friends!
I am goddamn lucky that I love monsters so goddamn much.
(Thrilling when you travel by airplane and that crazy thing actually lands.)
CHILLS: OFF THE CHARTS
(Touching some of my favorite monsters at ADI literally gave me chills.)
(I believe I may have spilled a little Mai Tai at Damon’s Tiki Bar.)