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B-Fest 2002

From the Back Row:

Confessions of a B-Fest Virgin

24-Hours! 20 Films! One Aching Butt!

( Or Pia & Zen & a Pie Plate to the Head! )

 

     

B-Fest:

2002

 

The Line Up:

The Crawling Eye

Gymkata

What is Communism?

Battlefield Earth

Wizard of Speed & Time

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Coffy

Mystery Short

Can Hieronymous Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe and Find True Happiness?

The Slime People

The Lonely Lady

Test Tube Babies

The Corpse Grinders

Midget Short

Breakin'

Hardware Wars

Message from Space

Tarantula

The Mummy

Godzilla 2000

 

 
Sights &
Sounds:
B-Fest 
2002
 Where:
  McCormick Auditorium
  Northwestern University
 When:
  Jan. 26-27
  6pm to 6pm
 A&O
 Films
 

The 2002

Mix Tracks:

Telstar Man
Puts You
in Orbit.

Courtesy of Tim Lehnerer

& The Unified Meek Theory

 "Saturday Night
  at the Movies"

The Drifters  

 "Western Movies"

The Olympics  

 "The Cockroach
  that Ate Cincinnati"

Rose & the Arrangement  

 "Science Fiction
  Double Feature"

Me First &   

The Gimme Gimmes  

 "Scary Picture Show"

Riot Squad  

 "Killer Klowns"

The Dickies  

 "Bad Girls Go to Hell"

Forbidden Dimension  

 "Surf Trek"

The Rubinos  

 "Mothra"

Those Darn Accordions  

 "Kung-Fu Fighting"

Carl Douglas  

 "Doctorin' the Tardis"

The Timelords  

 "Creature with
  the Atom Brain"

Rocky Erickson  

 "Flash Gordon"

Queen  

 "Rock-n-Roll
  High School"

The Ramones  

 "Shaft"

Isaac Hayes  

 "The Blob"

The Five Blobs  

 "Kung Fu"

Ash  

 "Also Sprach Zarathustra"

Deodata  

 "The Martian Hop"

The Ron-Dells  

 "King Creole"

Los Straitjackets  

 

First off:

A Few Words from the Author

(Thank you all for coming.)

As I sit here, listening to Telstar-Man's B-Fest Mix CD, and type up this memoir, I keep glancing out the window and watch the snow fall as the first blizzard of 2002 hits. A grand total of one-foot of snow fell from Colorado all the way to Chicago in the past twelve hours, and I thank the cinema gods that the inclement weather held off until after B-Fest weekend was over.

This was my first B-Fest, an annual 24-hour film festival / endurance test, held in the frozen wastelands of Chicago's northern suburbs. We got there late, and we didnít get to sit with everyone else, which was regrettable, but we made due. I got to meet everyone and I hope that I didnít appear standoffish. Nothing could be further from the truth. Folks, I was overwhelmed by it and kept to the fringes on purpose, so I wouldnít explode with giddiness -- an atomic explosion of pure, unadulterated joy.

Sad, maybe, but true.

I didnít take any notes, so all of these recollections are taken strictly from memory. Some facts may be skewered, and some things might be slightly out of order, but the overall insanity of B-Fest is still there despite the factual errors.

Enjoy.

Chad Plambeck 

B-Fest Survivor  

T
The Calm Before the Storm
(And Government Cheese.)

So I roll into Omaha around 4:30, Thursday afternoon, and despite my dyslexically challenged directions, manage to wind my way to the Bellevue suburbs and find the home of one Paul Freeland -- anime enthusiast, soccer nut, and top wheelman for 3B Theater -- with little incident. Paul had graciously volunteered his car for our trek to B-Fest -- the premiere get together for bad film fanatics, and a place where the online B-Movie Brethren can congregate and actually meet each other face to face. This was supposed to be my second trip to B-Fest, but the 2001 expedition was scuttled at the last moment due to some work woes. Now, I was already getting pretty jazzed by the prospect of finally making it.

Planning to debark for Chicago in the following morning, we head into Omaha proper and hit the Suncoast Video, where I picked up a copy of The Man from Planet X, Tombs of the Blind Dead and Children Shouldnít Play with Dead Things. We also hit the Barnes and Noble and I indulged in my other passion -- World War II history, in particular the ETO -- and picked up a copy of The 101st Airborne in Normandy and The Ardennes: The Battle of the Bulge. And after spending entirely too much money, we made our way into the Old Market area of town and settled on The Spaghetti Works for supper. The logical thinking was to pack in the carbohydrates because we wouldnít be eating a whole lot over the next couple of days because, allegedly (-- and more on this later), there was no food or drink allowed in the theater during B-Fest, and while Paul wolfed down some kind of green spaghetti, I inhaled some fettuccini alfredo.

Stomachs distended, we retired back to stately Freeland Manor and watched the new Monty Python and The Holy Grail Special Edition DVD. Man, sometimes you just forget how funny that movie is. Watching the film and all the extras, Paul then offered to pop in The Last Man on Earth, but I declined, wanting to at least try to get some sleep before the big day and the big trip. This was a little after midnight with a wake up call set for 5:30 am. And I should have known better. For when I retired to one of the bedrooms, I proceeded to stare at the ceiling for about four hours. Working a graveyard shift, my day usually runs from 11am to 4am, but I did manage to catch a few Zís before Paul rousted me out.

We hop into Paulís car and I carve out a niche in the back seat, hoping to catch a few more winks. Stopping for gas, we also load up on pop and Zingers; and I also snagged a couple Deli -- eat them at your own gastrointestinal risk -- Express ham-n-cheese sandwiches for breakfast. I apologize to Paul before hand, and then waited, inevitably, for the government cheese on those things to kick in. 

Chicago, here we come.

B-Fest or Bust

(And the Dreaded Black Hole of Des Moines.)

I never could get Paul to pull my finger, but before we even crossed the Nebraska/Iowa border, the back windows were already down. As I stretched out to try and catch some more sleep, Iím jolted awake by a string of profanities from Paul. Glancing out the back window, I see one of Iowaís finest wants us to pull over. Uh-oh, Rollers. Lead-foot Freeland got caught by the Iowa Sky (Nazi) Patrol doing 84mph in a 65mph zone. To be honest, as far as patrolmen go, this guy was pretty nice and knocked the fine down to something more reasonable. And in a strange ironic twist, I told Paul when we started that Iíd spring for gas and his B-Fest ticket but for food and speeding tickets he was on his own.

Now, thereís a funny thing Iíve noticed while driving through Iowa. Right around Des Moines, you run into some kind of ... unnatural phenomenon. Iíve dubbed it The Black Hole of Des Moines, and itís some kind of time/space distortion pocket that sucks you in, where you drive around for 10 hours or so, and then it spits you out in the exact same spot and at the exact same time you entered it. And it moves! When youíre traveling east itís on the east side of Des Moines, and while going west itís on the west side. Be proud, Iowa. You have your very on Bermuda Triangle.

Making it out of The Hole, we stop in Davenport, Iowa and meet up with one of Paulís soccer buddies for lunch. (Who was a really nice guy but whose name completely escapes me. All apologies míman.) And whoíd a thunk it, but Davenport has an authentic Japanese restaurant. Now Iíve had Chinese, Greek, Jamaican and Vietnamese cuisine, but Iíve never had "authentic" Japanese food, and I knew I was in trouble when we pulled up and saw the name of the place: Sayonara. Then, I'm in serious trouble as we find a table and I notice there is no silverware, only chopsticks. Okay: I would probably have a better chance of starting a fire by rubbing those wooden sticks together than eating with them, but Iím willing to try. Ordering some Beef Teriyaki, after the waitress brought it out, my task began in earnest. Harpooning what I could, I soon discovered a nasty little treat called wasubi. And Iíll say it right now: "HOW IN THE HELL DO YOU EAT RICE WITH A COUPLE OF STICKS!" Well, my chopstick experiment ended mostly in failure, and to be honest, for the money, the portions were pitifully small, but I knew in the back of my mind that we needed to gas up yet and a wonderful world of Twinkies, cookies and beef jerky awaited me at the Kum-n-Go.

On Paul's friendís advice, we also make a course change. Instead of taking I-80 to I-55 and getting lost trying to get to Lake Shore Drive -- like the last time I ventured into Chicago (-- alas, another tale for another day), we found I-88, despite the tolls, was a straight shot through the heart of the beast that takes you straight to Lake Shore. And from Lake Shore we find Sheridan Road. And when we find that weíve found Evanston and B-Fest.

Wohoo!

On the [Toll] Road Again...
(So Far So Good -- He Typed Ominously.)

We were actually making pretty good time, and according to my precise calculations, weíd hit the Norris Center around 4:30; plenty of time to meet everyone and get acquainted before the festival started at 6.

I-88 eventually merges into the Eisenhower Expressway, which is kind of a misnomer because the traffic moves anything but expressly around four oíclock on a Friday afternoon -- blowing my arrival prediction to smithereens. As we inched a long, eventually, we got dumped onto Lake Shore Drive, which is as scenic as it sounds. We also found Sheridan Road and all its twists and turns. And as we lost daylight, the map was becoming more and more useless, but luckily, we arrived at the campus right at 5pm with one hour to spare.

Now to find a parking spot.

HA!

Parking

(But I don't Have a @#%*ing Parking Permit!)

For those of you who have never been to Chicago, or any kind of big city, I will tell you right now: Park your car at the airport and take a cab or ride the El to wherever you need to go. There is no place to park in Chicago. Period. Oh yeah, you can park -- but only during certain hours on certain days, and then -- and only then -- if you have a special permit. And thatís only good on weekends. 

Aarrgghh!

After wasting almost an hour, despite our lack of an F-grade parking permit, we gave up and decided to risk the parking garage that is "relatively close" to the Norris Center. With five minutes to show time, weíd go in, get our tickets, and ask around to see if our car was safe. Charging in, I plopped down forty-bucks for both Paul and me, grabbed a program, a nifty B-Fest cup courtesy of my bosses at Stomp Tokyo, then up some stairs and through the double doors of McCormick Auditorium, where Shangri-La, if you will, and our home for the next 24 hours, waited.

Stopping for a moment to take it all in, I already know this going to be great. I also noticed several coolers, and that everyone else has food and drinks. The hell? We had nothing. Oh well, thereís got to be some vending machines around here somewhere.

I hope.

[Too] Brief Introductions
(Hello. My Name is Chad...)

I spot the good Dr. Freex by his trademark cane along the side aisle and decided that that would be the best place to introduce myself to the Stomp Tokyo gang. Handshakes are exchanged, and he introduces me to Staff Sgt. Andrew of Badmovies.org, who called me a Stomp Tokyo pod, as in pod people, which I think is a compliment. Several members of the B-Movie Message Board were there, too. I spot Tim "Telstar-Man" Lehnerer by his spiffy green mo-hawk (-- great CD by the way), and between him and Skip "BBanzai" Mitchell, Iím convinced that our car is safe and will still be where we parked it in the morning. Megalemur was there, too, and I think there were more of you, but in the rush, Iím drawing a blank. (Sorry.)

Barely making it on time, they soon announce that the films will be starting shortly. Since itís pretty crowded where theyíre all sitting, Paul and I retreated to the back of the theater and staked out some seats of our own. On the way up the aisle, I run right into Chris Holland -- one half of the benevolent overlords of Stomp Tokyo, who sponsor my website. I quickly introduced myself again (-- and dammit, I wish we could have gotten here sooner), and I promise to hopefully move closer as the film-fest progresses. Taking some seats dead-center in the back row, we let some other fellows in who are hauling in quite a food stash, including a bucket of hot wings from Hooters, just as the emcee announces with a wink and a nudge that no food or drink is allowed in McCormick Auditorium. All I have is a blanket, and in my bag are my gag papers to give away, some dirty skivvies, my migraine medication, and a small bottle of warm milk in case I had to take them. So hereís to hoping my head stays together. (For the record: it did.)

As the lights dim, I realize I'm about to pop my B-Fest cherry.

Light this damn candle. [Note to self: Next year, bring food.]

Are You Ready for B-Fest?
Click on over to Part II and find out!!

Originally Posted: 01/26/02 :: Rehashed: 11/18/09

Knuckled-out by Chad Plambeck: misspeller of words, butcher of all things grammatical, and king of the run on sentence. Copy and paste at your own legal risk. Questions? Comments? Shoot us an e-mail.
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