He Watched It Sober.

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B-Fest 2004

Agar, Alice & Airline Disasters

24-Hours! 17 Films! 13 Kicks to the Groin!

( Or This Festival is Brought to You By Osco Scotch )

(Osco Scotch: Ask for it by Name.)






The Line Up:

The Brain from Planet Arous

Robot Jox

The Beatniks

The Beast with Five Fingers

Wizard of Speed & Time

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Monkey Hustle

Alice in Wonderland

Spawn of the Slithis

Devil Girl from Mars

Airport '77

The Forbidden Dance

The Beast of Yucca Flats



The Big Brawl

The Magnetic Monster


Sights &
  McCormick Auditorium
  Northwestern University
  Jan. 30-31
  6pm to 6pm

The 2004

Mix Tracks:

In Glorious
Monotone &
Startling 2-D!

Courtesy of Tim Lehnerer

& The Unified Meek Theory

 "Also Sprach

Portsmith Sinfonia  

 "A Song of Santo"

Southern Culture   

on the Skids   

 "No Holds Barred"

John Joyce  

 "Mothra's Song"

Artist Unknown   

 "First Time on
 a Ferris Wheel"

Smokey Robinson  

& Syreeta   

 "Rocket Man"

William Shatner  

 "Darth Vader's Theme"

Cocktails in the Cantina  



 "Theme from Spectreman"

Artist Unknown  

 "Creature from
  the Black Lagoon"

Dave Edmunds  

 "The Innsmouth Look"

Darkest of the  

Hillside Thickets   

 "House of a 1000 Corpses"

Rob Zombie  

 "Godzilla's Song"

The Groovy Ghoulies  

 "March of the Dead"

Danny Elfman  

 "John Shaft"

Sammy Davis Jr.  

 "Nature Trail to Hell"

"Weird Al" Yankovich  

 "Flash Gordon"

The London Philharmonic  

 "The Cockroach
  that ate Cincinnati"

Rose & the Arrangment  

 "The Martian Hop"

The Ron-Dells  

 "Star Trekkin'"

The Firm  

 "Book of the Dead"

The Staggers  

B-Fest Ho-migod...
(...Here We Go Again)

There are three things that I always look forward to in the month of January. First: To break all those stupid New Year's resolutions. (What the hell was I thinking anyway?) Second: Celebrate m'man Elvis Presley's Birthday on the 8th. (Done and done.) And third: My annual pilgrimage to Chicago for B-Fest.

Ah, B-Fest: A&O Films 24-hour bad movie festival; an endurance test of the mind, body and soul (-- and intestinal fortitude, and underarm deodorant, and stamina of your gluteus maximus.) This was my third trip to the annual event held on the campus of Northwestern University, nestled in the northern Chicago suburb of Evanston. Now, for the previous two expeditions, my party drove 10-hours to B-Fest, watched 24-hours of film, and then immediately drove right back ... Yeah ... If you add all that up that’s almost two whole days and 1400 miles without sleeping. And while it made for an epic tale of endurance -- that usually bordered on the surreal [...due to said lack of sleep], when you get right down to it, it's an incredibly stupid and asinine idea. Which is why I finally wised up and got hotel reservations for the night before and the evening after. I’d never been able to stay awake or remain effectively coherent for the whole thing, but this year, with a good night's sleep before, I was bound and determined to make it through ‘til the very end. 

You hear that B-Fest? Here I come, and I'm wearing my cup and crash helmet!

Thursday, January 29

(And Then There Were Two.)

The original plan called for four us to partake in B-Fest this year: myself, Mike Bockoven, and Paul Freeland were all going to make a return trip along with a new victim, Mike's friend, Matt Campbell. But work schedules torpedoed Matt's involvement, and then some idiot never mentioned to Paul that we were going a day early. He couldn't get time off, either, so he bowed at as well. (Sorry about that, Paul.) Down to just me and Mike, we hopped into my mom's Caddy (-- the same Caddy I took to the Lunar Crater; see photo below --) with our maps, survival rations, Mike's laptop and a crap-load of movies, then, with a hearty "B-Fest ho!" we were off like a herd of turtles.

The weather was frigid, but at least the forecasted snow never materialized. As the heater worked overtime, we got the computer going and plugged in Pirates of the Caribbean, a movie I had inexplicably not seen yet, that got us across the river and into Iowa, where we realized, to our horror, that there was a second time/space anomaly around Council Bluffs. That's right, Iowa has two -- count them, two -- Bermuda Triangles along I-80. We spent about three hours in the one by Council Bluffs, and then 37 in the dreaded Black of Hole of Des Moines (-- and to find out exactly what that is you'll have to read last year's recap), but passed the extra time watching the Looney Tunes Golden Collection. While Bugs and Daffy got us through Iowa, South Park: The Movie got us all the way into Chicago with only a minimum of lane wandering and road-shoulder exploration. (Nice stunt driving, there, Mike.) Remembering our disastrous exit from Chicago last year, I paid real close attention to the route in so we don't make the same mistake twice. With only one wrong turn, we find the Best Western and checked in a little after 6:30p.m. The only problem is, I can't remember when we were supposed to meet the other members of The BMMB who were also staying there. The lobby empty, I feared we missed them. Unsure of what to do, we cleaned up, find out a pizza place is nearby, and decide to hit that first and then try and track down the others. 

Lo and behold, when we exited the elevator, the lobby was now jammed packed with our fellow members of the B-Movie Brethren. My people: Telstarman, Osco Sean, Bergerjacques, Marlowe, Nameless Ray, the Grenades (Hen and Jen), Filler Bunny, Professor Mortis and Chicago native Skip Mitchell (-- because, apparently, his lovely wife George had kicked him out of the house.) I know these names may sound funny, but that's all I've known them by for almost three years. We had one stray yet, but El Santo managed to catch up with us later. An evening of high revelry ensued. Many thanks go out to Jen Grenade for taking we collective heads of knuckle under wing and keeping us under some semblance of control. Invading the Prairie Moon Bar & Grill, we started partaking in the local spirits -- and three beers in on an empty stomach and the old Beerman was a very happy camper, and as Telstar liked to put it "Flexed my nerdiness."

After some grub, and a few more beers, the party moved back to the hotel, but not before a quick side trip to the local Osco for more booze. Going native, I picked up a six pack of Old Style, while Mortis and several others contemplate what Osco brand generic Scotch tastes like. And the sheer absurdity of that beverage made Osco Scotch the battle-cry for the entire B-Fest weekend. Walking back to the hotel, we crossed paths with El Santo and brought him into the fold. I think the party wound up in Filler Bunny's room, where somebody bought League of Extraordinary Gentlemen on Pay-Per-View, and the party got into full swing. Then, as two more Old Styles and a very early morning finally caught up with me, we all decided to meet in the lobby the next day around 3p.m. and head over to the Norris Center, together. Mike and I then excused ourselves and headed back to our room. I think I was asleep before hitting the pillow.

Friday, January 30

(Was it Always This Frikkin' Cold?)

At this point, I'm gonna pause and add that during my last two excursions to B-Fest, the January weather was unseasonable mellow and warm for both occasions. This year, that bad weather caught up with us -- with a vengeance.

When I woke up around 9:30 the next morning, Mike was gone, but I recalled something about him working out, so I cleaned up and watched Scooby-Doo until his return. We decided to hit the pizza place we were going to hit last night, and a quick check of the Weather Channel says it's 13-below with a wind-chill of about minus-40. That's damn cold no matter where you're from. Bundling up, we head out onto the frozen tundra of Evanston, where my excellent navigational skills rear their ugly head once more and I turn us left one block too soon. Fate was with us, however, as we found a comic book shop where the restaurant would have been, if we were on the right block, so we head in and thaw out for awhile. After snagging a few slicks, we then press on but find out Chicago Style Carry Out is not a Chicago style pizza place, but an old style deli ... There is utter chaos behind the counter as several workers take orders and scream instructions at each other. And you have to pay close attention or your order will be overwhelmed or forgotten, and the proprietor might kill you for his trouble.

We snatch our food, in the nick of time, and find some seats. I swear, the restaurant is actually colder than it is outside. Icicles have formed in my goatee, and we're inside! Filled up with food, we head back into the teeth of the icy wind to warm up, where I yell at Mike to stop using my mighty girth as a wind break. We then enter a holistic dog food store so Mike can get something for his dogs, Max and Cole. We've got a lot of time to kill yet, so we head in to a convenient Barnes and Nobles. I find two compilations by the impeccable Tom Weaver, where he interviews several B-Movie genre veterans. I wanted to buy them both but they're kind of expensive. Fortunately, since we have enough time, I buy a cup of hot chocolate and read all the interviews that I'm interested in the more expensive book, then put it back and bought the other one for the ride home.

Back to the hotel, then, and we started  packing up. Since we'd be at an all night film-fest, I didn't bother to book a hotel room for Friday night, figuring we'd save a little money. But Mike is worried about leaving his laptop in the car in the cold. But Bergerjacques saves the day by letting us stash our stuff in his room. Thanks, m'man, we owes you big. With that taken care of, we headed down to the lobby to wait for the others. The wait is passed with a stimulating conversation with a woman who claims to work for the IRS. Her specialty? Tracking down and arresting tax evaders, and she's here in Chicago on a case. Amazing. We get a few nice tax tips, but the conversation starts to turn a little ugly when it veers toward politics, so I take the opportunity to roust everybody up, and out, to head over to the Norris Center.

Frozen Food

(I Meant to do That. Yeah ... That's the Ticket)

Holey-snikeys, I can be a real idiot sometimes. Having left all my food in the car, I discover that all my soda is frozen solid. The other food is rock hard but okay, but I'll have to be very careful when opening the bottles or it'll be soda-shower for everybody. What a flipping dunder-head.

We get to the Norris Center lickety-split; and props to Telstarman, who tuned us all in to staying at the extremely close and convenient Best Western. Gathering up my frozen digestibles, we head inside to McCormick Auditorium, B-Fest Ground Zero, which isn't open yet, so we vegged-out in the lounge area, where I finally get myself a piece of pizza. When we get the OK to move our stuff in, Mike and I stake out an area for ourselves and fellow Board Members. That's right, this year, we moved down from the back row and sat amongst the Brethren. (And don't worry, ya'll, I doubled up on the deodorant.) As H-Hour approached, concern grew at the absence of the Stomp Tokyo gang, my bosses and beloved sponsors. Okay, okay, I really just wanted several of their spiffy B-Fest cups. I'm kidding! I'm kidding! Soon, Chris and Scott were there, with Tuber and the always affable Joe Bannerman, head honcho over at Opposable Thumb Films, and I finally got to meet Ken Begg, the patron saint of B-Fest and the brains behind Jabootu Nation.

Now on the way to B-Fest last year, when Mike asked me about tickets I told him not to worry and we’d buy them at the door. He then asked But what happens if they’re sold out? Well, I answered, That would really suck. Again, we played it smart this year and reserved tickets online. A good thing, too, because word quickly spread that there were only 19 tickets left to be bought at the door! I've only been to three B-Fests, but the audience has grown, exponentially, since I started coming. It was inevitable, then, that it was going to sell out one of these years due to it's growing reputation. And here, I also began to worry with that mass of humanity packed into the auditorium, along with all the stuff clogging the aisles, I hoped a Fire Marshall never got wind of it -- or we're all screwed.

When Mike and I got our tickets, I told the organizers that the other two reserved seat holders were still on the way -- in case another B-Boarder needed them. And sure enough, they did. I gladly turned them over to Megalemur and his party, who put them to good use. (You're more than welcome, buddy.) It was getting close to six o'clock in the pm, so we wandered down toward our seats. I took the aisle, Mike beside me and Bergerjacques beside him. Marlowe, Mortis and Bunny were in the row ahead of us as the lights went down and The Amazing Colossal Movie Marathon finally wheezed to life.

Rested and Confident, Our Hero is Ready to
Battle B-Fest's Line-Up. How Will He Fare?
Click on over to Part II and find out!!
Take a Gander at Our B-Fest 2004 Photos!
And Be Sure to Check Out Our Poster and Program Archive!

Originally Posted: 02/09/04 :: Rehashed: 12/03/09

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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