Thursday, February 08, 2007

B-Fest Wrap Up, Part 1

I'll admit right off the bat to possessing no originality. Chad, the master B-movie man, will grace us all with his write up soon enough on his oh so aptly named "Inevitable Disasters" blog, but to share pictures and perspectives, I'll do my own wrap up in three parts: Getting there, the fest and getting back. Original, no. A chance for me to write with no one bitching at me? Probably.


This is my fifth fest, and as you can see from the entries below, I was a tad bit excited for the festivities this year. B-Fest has always saved me from the post-Christmas let-down. It's almost more fun looking forward to something than actually going, and B-Fest has consistently been one of those rare instances where whatever hype I can build in my head usually lives up to what happens in the oasis of Evanston.

Before we go much further, I'm going to steal a phrase from Telstar Man about B-Fest being "geek Christmas" and expound. For me, it's not just Geek Christmas, but a chance to let the geek out. You can dress oddly, throw professionalism to the wind, drink, make jokes at the aquarium, and cheer when "The Brain That Wouldn't Die" starts. Keeping this in mind, I didn't waste any time after waking up at 4 a.m., showering and hitting the road to Chad's place, a scant 12 blocks away.

Transcribed from my Digi:
Mike: I'm on my way to Chad's, and there's some sort of crunchy piano concerto on the radio. It's...OK, let's get the geek flowing here...I feel like a Star Ship captain. It's pitch black, the dark classical music is blasting and I feel like I'm going on an adventure.

See? Not just geeky, really really geeky. Comparing myself to a Star Trek character geeky. Welcome to the one time of the year where that feels gooooood.

I pick up Chad and begin with my little experiment to ask folks what their first B-movie experience was and what they're looking forward to at the fest. Chad mentioned "Killdozer" as the movie that gently but firmly took him by the waist and introduced him to B-movie pleasures. We loaded up, which didn't take long and went off to Omaha, watching the MST3K episode of "The Pod People" on the way. Trumpy, you can do magic things!

Before we go further it's important to note we sponsored a movie this year, which was an adventure in and of itself. The event organizer, Wyatt Olestad, contacted me a week before the event and told us "Hot Rods To Hell," the movie we wanted, was "Unwatchable" (which I could have told you, but apparently it had something to do with the print), and we needed to sponsor another movie, the Roger Coreman snoozer "Teenage Doll."

IN order to sponsor a movie you should probably make a transparency of your "group," which I underwent many an odd look in order to obtain. So proud, was I, of these transparencies that when we hit Omaha I promptly left them in Matt's living room. We were 200 miles down the road and half way through a movie when I came to that realization.

On the way down, we watched what might be the greatest double feature accidentally conceived: Mike Judge's "Idiocracy" followed by "Jackass 2." We have a movie about the decline of civilization and the perils of not thinking followed by a movie that leads the way into that decline, yet still graphically illustrates the perils of not thinking. At one point, Chad thought he felt "the big one," in the form of stroke coming on, probably after the scene where the little guy and the big guy tie themselves to each end of a bungee chord and jump.

After forgetting the transparencies we devised a plan: Matt's mother would fax an image, and we would make a transparency there, which pretty much worked. Kind of. Back to the trip.

For the past three years we've stopped at a particular McDonalds in Iowa City (Coralville to be precise), with a god-awful piece of folk art on it. It's been overly described, but let's say it's taken on legendary status among the three of us. So we looked for the exit, and looked for the exit as Iowa City flew past our windows. When we were 20 miles outside of Iowa City, we figured we had missed it.

Now here's where the geek thing begins to manifest. There are at least three other McDonalds locations between Coralville and 20 miles outside of Iowa City, but we didn't want THOSE McDonalds, we wanted OUR McDonalds. What else could we do but turn around.

It took us three tries to find "He Who Walks Between The Arches" who we had convinced ourselves we had angered, probably by forgetting the transparencies (I had ONE JOB). To rectify things, Matt bought a cheeseburger and sacrificed it on the alter of the God of the Black Hole. The rest of the trip went without incident, unless you count the actual viewing of Mondo Carne when we hit Chicago proper.

Once in lovely Evanston we checked into the hotel, which has this odd time displacement phenomenon of its own. The second I set foot in the joint, it feels as if we've never left.

We checked in, freshened up as much as three large gentleman can freshen up after being in a car with each other for 12 hours, and went downstairs to check on the BMMB. Now, I always feel somewhat guilty for not posting on the BMMB more frequently, because in person each and every one of these guys and girls are a blast and a half. Josh welcomed us and we made plans. But first...the transparency.

Matt and I trek through the ball-shrinking Illinois cold to a Kinkos. Nice, friendly Kinkos. We went in and asked the clerk how to make a transparency. She was a nice lady. Clueless as a NASCAR fan at a Beckett play, but nice. We struggle with the machines, consulting instruction manuals and cursing like sailors until we give up. We then find another printing place a block down and 2 and a half minutes and $1.25 later, we have our transparency.

The BMMB, many of whom I don't know, hit the Seafood Buffet (Here's Microwave!) and then the Hali Kahiki where Matt and El Santo have a dispute about the jukebox and Chad has the unfortunate experience of being sucked into an argument about breastfeeding. He looked, at one point, as if a cat had jumped up onto the table and begun to sign opera.

We leave, pass on a party to watch bad movies, pop the NyQuil, stuff in the ear plugs and hit the sack.

Morning is quick, we do some shopping at Barnes and Noble where I, quite ironically, ask the clerk about a book called "MisSpeak" which he can't find. Later I found out the book I was looking for was actually called "Unspeak."

We then drove through a building to visit the Shedd Aquarium (construction made for some pretty awful detours) before the fest.

From my digi:

Mike: Matt, describe what's happening now.
Matt: Well, we're literally driving through a building, it's about 30 feet by 20 feet tall, and we're not entirely sure where we are.
Chad: We gave you ONE JOB, Mike!

We saw one fish (with a really long nose), two fish (dolphins doing flips), red fish (more orangish red, but whatever) and blue fish. Some were red, some were blue, some were old (like, the oldest in captivity) and some were new. Not one of them was like another. Don't ask me why, go ask your mother.

We arrived at the Norris Auditorium about three hours before the fest.



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