Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Wasteland Warriors

Celebrating Greg's birthday in Cleveland was wonderful.  I've been thinking a lot lately about how it makes human beings comfortable to see and be near others who look like themselves.  This clearly must sometimes contribute to racism or homophobia, but I think it's human nature for people to seek out others who feel the same: women hanging out with women, Spanish-speaking people hanging out with others who speak their same language, gay people hanging out with same-sex couples displaying affection openly, elderly people hanging out other elderly, etc.  I suppose it validates your own thoughts and feelings to be with others who have shared experiences, and I think a visual component is an inevitable part of that.

So on the weekend of Greg's 40th birthday we hung out with a whole hotel filled entirely with 30-40 year old white guys with dark hair who were wearing jeans and sneakers and black horror movie/punk band/exploitation movie t-shirts who also had tattoos and, for the most part, were 20 pounds overweight and drinking beer.

Seriously, there were few exceptions to this one guy, the average Cinema Wasteland attendee.  Greg was completely invisible if I walked more than a few feet away from him.

Everybody say Woo!  (You can almost see part of my head way, way, way in the back)

We went a day early and met up with several friends from Canada and Pennsylvania and California that we never get to see, a few we've never met in person before.  Greg got to talk about movies with multiple people, not only other fans but also people in the industry.  One of the highlights for him was sitting on a couch in the lobby talking for more than an hour to a guy who works for one of the distribution companies that send movies to Greg for review on his site.  They talked about the technological aspects of remastering old film footage for re-release, and this guy told the story of how he found the original film of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre that had literally been shoved in paper bags and forgotten in the upper reaches of a storage warehouse.

Greg handed out business cards and bought hard-to-find DVDs and blu rays and t-shirts.  We went to several of the convention's events in the hotel, including a movie screened by the director and stars, and what was clearly a no-budget but very sincere and fun horror-themed burlesque show.  We drank beer and one of us had a martini.  (I love a martini.)

We took up the front two rows at the burlesque show. 

I briefly had a very informal interview with the guy who runs the event.  He started it a couple of decades ago, and it's truly a labor of love for him and his wife.  They labor greatly, their only hired help being a few people they pay to be on the convention floor selling tickets and admitting attendees, and they love picking the right celebrity guests and vendors to celebrate what they call the "drive-in movie" culture.  I had the thought of writing an article for Greg's website about Cinema Wasteland and how it's so different from other movie conventions.  I do have a bachelor's degree in Journalism, for the love of crap.  But I haven't been able to get started on it.  Because I suck.

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