Yesterday I attended Chiller Theatre at Secaucus, NJ with both my parents and sister.
Was extremely windy when we got there, and ended up waiting for an hour outside before it opened up. Before I get into anything else, this was a damn expensive convention - nobody charged less than twenty bucks for an autograph (even if you had them sign something of yours) and many of them charged separately for photographs (yes, with your own camera they'd charge $20+ for a photo with them even if you bought an autograph). Also, as I will mention below - not the best organization here, I had issues with my previous horror convention experience when attending Horrorfind, actually I think they may have been slightly better than these guys.
Some disappointing news that Elvira had canceled - a few others I wanted to see seemed to have not shown up or were in areas I missed (Robert Beltran, one or two of The Warriors, probably a couple others).
As soon as we got in I sought out The Warriors area - that's the primary reason I attended this convnetion, got a lot of them to sign my big poster: Michael Beck, Deborah Van Valkenburgh, Roger Hill, Dorsey Wright, Apache Ramos, Irwin Keyes, David Harris, and Brian Tyler. Out of all of them, Cleon (Dorsey Wright) was just fucking awesome - he started going into all these stories about what went on in the movie. I mentioned how I was disappointed with how he got killed off so quickly and he was like, well I was doing two other movies but I told them I could come back to do some scenes and they were like sorry but you're 'sssvvvt' and did the line across the throat motion. He also mentioned about Thomas Waites was killed off in the movie and then taken off the credits because he had problems with the director. I mentioned the warriors graffiti at Coney Island, I couldn't find it when I went there this past summer, and he's 'Oh you mean at the Bathouse? Yeah, there was some graffiti for a real gang there but some of our guys from LA were like, wouldn't it be great to write 'The Warriors' here? So they painted over that gang's tag (it was like Homicidal or Hell's something or other)." So he's telling me how during a shoot the real gang shows up, thinks The Warriors is a gang encroaching on their turf and is getting ready to mix it up - they pointed out they're filming and that they're just actors (almost couldn't convince them til they showed the cameramen). And in the end (there were about a hundred of these guys that came to the shoot to mix it up) they got to be in the big gang opening scene.
A little of my fun was deflated a bit when I got to Harris and Tyler, I pay them both to sign my poster and I'm like can I get a picture - I'm posing and suddenly Harris is like, you know it's gonna cost another twenty each for a picture with us right? No I didn't and I told them I didn't have enough to do that, so I walk out and I'm bitching to my sister and then he comes out and he's like, nah we'll do the picture for you. I was pissed but then later on I found a number of the celebs were charging separately for photos - like wtf???
Oh yeah, I asked most of all which version of the dvd they liked better - all of those asked preferred the original version (they hated the comic book transitions from scene to scene) and Cleon went into a whole not understanding the director's vision type thing :P
The next big guy on my list of must sees was Paul Reubens - I actually saw him after a number of other signatures but gotta mention that experience as well. The line set up was poor, they had the majority of us standing outside the hotel (and it was unbelievably cold and windy outside), stood there for a little over an hour as the line... moved... so... slowly. My mom wanted to see him, which meant my dad stood in line with us as well. She got gradually more and more pissed, we get inside and she exploded on the person at the door - who went and got someone higher up on the list. Now, she was completely right with everything she said but I was ready to explode as well because we're like ten feet away from where Paul is signing and I don't react well to be putting in a scene. She blew up at one or two other people at the convention also - someone (who appeared to be one of the porn star guests who got to cut line to get a picture), then she left the line (a couple of the staff people were talking about 'that crazy lady') but then she returns... and tells us she was able to get reimbursed a hundred bucks from the convention. Right after that they revised how the line was set up. Now, what's interesting is that PeeWee seemed to be apologizing to everyone - but he also mentioned that we all weren't so bad off (he was saying this to someone far ahead of us in line) because the day before people were standing in the rain while waiting. Now, you think it's the con's fault right? Apparently when my mom yelled at the staff they had mentioned asking Paul to switch to another room and he refused... so apparently he wasn't so great for the fans as he seemed. We get to PeeWee, I get a autograph and a picture - fifty bucks for it all, thirty for an autograph and twenty for a picture - ridiculous prices but, I paid it so what does that make me? Paul had a long long line at the con, only Peter Criss from KISS has a longer line it seemed.
I should also mention that halfway through this con, right before seeing Paul Reubens I decided to put on my Snakes on a Plane hat which has the black wolf ears catmandux made for me. heh, I actually got a lot of compliments on them.
A number of actors/actresses included John DeLancie, Lance Guest, Gerritt Graham (aother that would've cost extra for a photo), Todd Bridges (nice guy, my parents were talking his ear off about the Celebrity Boxing as well as some other celebrities he knows), Gwenyth Walsh (B'Etor from ST:TNG), Juliet Landau (Drusilla from Buffy, that reminds me that I need to pick up a poster and get them all to sign it one by one), Lori Petty (Tank Girl is an expensive one), and Brooke McCarter (from the Lost Boys, he decided last minute to show up... seemed very, high :P ).
I had a decent time at this convention but as I mentioned, it was very expensive. I don't have much to compare it to however, I've attended Horrorfind three times but that's it for those types of conventions. However, their minimum for an autograph was the high price at Horrorfind. And despite the issues I'd had at HF for their main GoH's with how their lines were set up, thinking it was a good idea for us to stand outside in the cold to see one celeb, and a number of other bits of stupidity (such as having to display your wrist band when entering AND when exiting a room - explain to me, are they going to keep you from leaving a room if you suddenly don't have the wrist band you needed to get in?) - so I'm a little leery in general on how any of these horror conventions are run, they're probably more run by corps trying to get exposure. Also, the hotel setup was a tad strange - instead of having the majority of the celebrities in one large room with the more popular ones being separated for line issues, everyone was separated into small rooms - which is why I probably missed seeing a few people, and which also made it a tad confusing for finding anyone. I will say that keeping tabs on how many are allowed into a room or onto the second floor was a good idea, though imperfectly implemented (some people seemed to get buy without waiting in line while the rest of us waited twenty minutes to get upstairs) and asking to see your wristband when coming down the stairs... well, I already mentioned what I think of that.
I enjoy seeing celebrities, getting autographs, getting pictures with them - I especially love meeting those celebs that are outside the mainstream, less well-known people who were in something that I have loved for a number of years. But the prices they charge, I can't afford to attend these sorts of conventions, at least not more than one a year if that - I skipped Horrorfind this year because of few new celebrities, I may not attend Chiller again for some time when you consider the the celebrity list, cost, and other issues - it may be closer but damn if it had it's own issues.
I can say that this reaffirms the special place Furry Conventions have, they are so different from anything else I've attended (in a good way!). There's a primary theme to all conventions - although they all dip into all categories, the main theme is either: the buying stuff conventions, celebrity conventions, and then social conventions. The first two will crack open your bank to some extent, and the social conventions are only enjoyable if you crack open yourself and allow yourself to meet, interact, and enjoy what's available while taking initiative a bit to go beyond the programming. They all have their own enjoyments and problems.
The Last Starfighter
Now that's what I'm talking about!
And finally... PeeWee!