He Watched It Sober.

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B-Fest 2007

I'll Stop the Fest

and Melt With You

24 Hours! 19 Films! Brains! Babes! Beefcake!

Plus Sanitized Sleaze & a Huge Chunk of Anti-Comedy

( All of that and the Über Map of Doom! )






The Line Up:

The Brain that Wouldn't Die

The Beastmaster

Mystery Short

Revenge of the Creature

Wizard of Speed & Time

Mystery Short

Plan 9 from Outer Space

Savage Sisters

Mystery Short

Invasion of the Star Creatures

Street Trash

The Hypnotic Eye



Teenage Doll

Invasion U.S.A.

Mystery Short

The Incredible Melting Man

King Kong vs. Godzilla


Sights &
  McCormick Auditorium
  Northwestern University
  Jan. 26-27
  6pm to 6pm

The 2007

Mix Tracks:

In 3-D

Courtesy of Tim Lehnerer

& The Unified Meek Theory

 "Hombre Religioso"

Mr. Loco  

 "Wondrous Boatride"

Gene Wilder  

 "Maypole Song"

Paul Giovanni  

 "Horror of Party Beach"

Sloppy Seconds   


Sylvester Stallone  

 "Buckaroo Banzai Suite"

Neil Norman  

 "King Kong"

Big T Tyler  

 "The Cockroach"
   that Ate Cincinnati"

Rose & the Arrangements  

 "Words Get Stuck..."

Kipp Hamilton  

 "Evil Dead"

The Stillborn  

 "How to Be a Master"

Vladek Sheybal  



 "Horror Movies"

Bullock Brothers  

 "Voodoo Mama"

Wade Curtiss  

 "Martian Hop"


 "Hooray for Santa Claus"

The Sloppy Seconds  


Roy Ayers  

 "Graffiti Bridge

Staples & Campbell  

 "Nobody Loves the Hulk"

The Traits  

 "Dream Away"

George Harrison  


A Bad Case of the B-Fest Blues.

(And we all know there's only one cure for that, right?)

It's strange, really, but for five straight years now in late January I've made the 1400-mile round-trip trek to the frozen tundra of Evanston, Illinois, and subjugated myself to 24-straight hours of whatever A&O Films can conjure up to try and kill me with, cinematically speaking: Spawn of the Slithis, Super-Babies, singing monkeys in soiled diapers, Merkin, the horrors of Communism, '50s Anti-Comedies, '80s musical/vanity pieces and Break-Dancing orgies, some vintage toon-porn, and a hardcore version of Alice in Wonderland, to name just a few. And every year, on the long drive there, there is a moment when I wonder Just what the heck are you doing? Every year tickets seem harder to come by, and every year I think -- no, I know -- the money spent on gas, food and lodging could be better spent elsewhere; and I'm getting older, those seats aren't getting any softer, and I have an inkling to hang-up my B-Fest spurs for awhile if not for good. It was a good ride, let somebody else take the slot.

But then, every year, I come full circle; and after immersing myself in that big old vat of cinematic cheese, thoroughly saturated with Nerd Funk, knees popping, ass tingling, buzzing on sugar and caffeine, clothes coated with bits of Pringles and several, large pizza-grease stains, when I and my fellow B-Fest survivors stumble out of the darkened theater and into the light of the lobby, I've already got a major itch and urge to do it all over again -- unfortunately, an itch I can't scratch for about 365 days.

Which brings us to B-Fest 2007. Seems to me that they announced this year's line-up a lot earlier than usual -- and what a line up it was! In my estimation, it was the best, most well-balanced batch of films since '02. And after going through the titles, my usual pre-fest malaise took a look at it, smiled, and said "Have a great time" before withering away completely when I got a look at Mitch O'Connell's artwork for this year's poster. Are you kidding me? This was gonna be awesome!

And this year, we also decided to give a little back to B-Fest, when I and the rest of my traveling partners from the rolling plains of Nebraska -- Mike "Captain Wow" Bockoven and Matt "Hiro Protagonist" Campbell -- decided to sponsor a film all by our lonesome. Mike, being the usual swell guy that he is, ram-rodded this operation, and I knew which movie we had to sponsor if it was still available; an old Sam Katzman turd-burger of a morality play/driver safety video called Hot Rods to Hell.

Well, we got it, and now all we needed was a name for our group -- and it couldn't have been more obvious; it even had a built in mascot. Thus, The Black Hole of Des Moines Appreciation Society Was Born. And while Mike took care of the financial logistics with A&O, I turned my really crappy Windows Paint skills to try and come up with a logo and artwork for the traditional transparency that's projected before the film's screening -- so audience members would know who to blame, and thus, know who to chuck things at.

So, our sponsorship was set, the line-up was looking positively spiffy, and a large contingent of the BMMB irregulars had committed for the annual pilgrimage/drink-a-thon at the Hala Kahiki for a demon-rum primer, and then back to the hotel, where more booze and a scheduled screening of several people dancing around the re-animated corpse of Mae West in Sextette a-waited to put us out of our misery. We even had complimentary tickets for the Shedd Aquarium for Friday morning, where rumor had it, there be dragons lurking about. Woot.

Breaking With Tradition

(But in a good way. Trust me...)

Now, those of you who have been reading this site for awhile know that getting lost in the Chicago suburbs (-- for the record, my favorite thus far has been Waukegan...), trying to get to and from the Tiki bar, is another B-Fest tradition -- a tradition that I really wanted to break ties with. To accomplish this, I abused the hell out of several office privileges by printing out a six-sheet by three-sheets worth of YAHOO maps showing the most direct route to the bar, and then pilfered about a three yards of Scotch tape to slap it together into the Über Map of Doom. There was no way in hell we were gonna get lost this year -- He typed ominously...

Yeah, things were falling together a little too easily, I thought. I needn't have worried, 'cuz it wasn't long before the wheels on our little operation started coming off, one lug-nut at a time.  Nah, nothing all that serious; more strange than bad. Things began to unravel with the near twelfth hour revelation that the print of Hot Rods to Hell was basically unwatchable and scratched. Well, I didn't have the heart to tell them that even with a pristine print, Hot Rods was still basically unwatchable, so subbing in it's place, a Roger Corman-fueled juvenile delinquent snoozer called Teenage Doll. This I had never seen, and even thought Hot Rods to Hell  is an awful movie, it's perfect B-Fest fodder. Thus I was more than a tad disappointed by it's loss from the line-up. A&O gave us the option to opt out if we wanted, but honestly, we weren't really all that particular -- and we kinda needed the promised sponsorship tickets because, once again, B-Fest had sold out.

Losing our movie was the biggest hiccup, but things got even more weird as B-Fest weekend approached ... On the day before we were to embark, I took some Christmas money to the bank to be broken down into small denominations for my bankroll. Two $100 bills were placed into the receptacle at the drive-up window, only to be taken up by a gust of wind that gassed them merrily down 2nd Street, with yours truly huffing and puffing in hot pursuit, cursing the whole #@*% way. Then, before the butt-crack of dawn Thursday morning, as Mike and I made our way into Omaha to pick up Matt, we were watching the MST3k'd version of Pod People, and as if seeping from that stinky film's climax, an unearthly fog swamped I-80. It was like driving in a very thick broth, Trumpie flatulence we decided, and the landmarks we needed were nowhere to be seen -- hell, the car's hood was nowhere to be seen! Just four lanes of blind traffic feeling their way about at around 85mph. E'yup, white-knuckle time, a wrong exit, rush-hour, and we're lost already.

His Name is Mike
(We gave him one job.)

Luckily, the sun cracked open the fog, searing it off, and we arrived at Matt's place fairly unscathed, where Mike reveals the transparency he made out of my logo for the The Black Hole of Des Moines Appreciation Society. And, in due course, we were across the border and about 150 miles into that very Hole we appreciated before Mike realizes he forgot the transparency back in Omaha. E'yup. Captain Wow strikes again. (We gave you one job, Mike...) Fortunately, a plan was soon hatched to get the transparency faxed to the hotel and then a hunt for a Kinko's to remedy this unfortunate gaffe.

Beyond that, deeper and deeper into the Hole we went, passing the eons by watching the ultimate double-feature of Idiocracy -- where Mike Judge presents a possible dim future of an X-TREME and nut-shot addicted America, and Jack-Ass 2 -- where Johnny Knoxville and his boys push Judge's theory very quickly from possible, to probable, to most definitely. And my GOD! When Preston and Wee-Man were bungie-strapped together and jumped off the bridge in a stunt that would have made Wile E. Coyote proud, I thought that final, fatal stroke was upon me from laughing too hard ... Several centuries later, as we approached Iowa City for our annual stop for food and gas and gawking at He Who Walks Between the Arches -- the Patron Saint/Mascot of the TBHoDMAS -- we began to notice some drastic changes in the landscape. Rumors of tornadic activity explained why we blew past the first exit, positive it wasn't the one we needed. Neither was the next one; nor the next; nor the next ... And then we were out of Iowa City.

Fear the Wrath of He Who Walks

(Well, we would if we could find him.)

Holy @*#%. We missed it.

This cannot, and will not, stand! With the trip's Karmic Balance in the balance, the decision was made to backtrack until we found Him, resulting in three concentric-circle tours of all the exits until we found the right one, of course, the very first one we passed up, harboring the McDonald's we needed. (And for the record, those of you looking for this Pagan effigy, you want the Coralville exit.) After eating, to appease our blasphemous lack of direction, Matt offered a cheeseburger Happy Meal as a sacrifice for our transgressions.

"And Lo, He Who Walks Between the Arches smiled down on these foolish mortals and granted them safe passage out of Iowa City."

From the Book of Eternal Flatulence, 1:6

And I do believe that blessing, when combined with our quick, centrifugal tours of all the exits in Iowa City, slingshots us through the remainder of the Hole -- like how the astronauts used the moon's gravity to slingshot them back to Earth. But it almost worked too well because I think we broke the time barrier -- Wow! Just like Star Trek IV -- evidenced by a quick, off-road landing at the REST STOP OF THE FUTURE: a monolithic structure of odd angles, stone and glass, and a strange, crude, post-apocalyptic language carved into the murals covering the walls; some kind of code-speak about armageddon, or pork-belly futures, that I could not decipher. Back on the road, the time-warp reversed itself as we made it to Chicago and to the hotel in Evanston in almost record time.

Damn. That must have been some cheeseburger.

My Kind of Town
(Chicago Is.)

Checked in, lickety-split, and while Mike and Matt went off in search of Kinko's (-- and I'll let Mike tell that strange tale), I cleaned up and caught a quick power nap before the pre-fest festivities of the evening commenced. It was a quick one, and soon I joined the other BMMB'ers in the lobby. It was great to see them all again -- Tim, Sean, Josh, Jessica, Lisa and Ray. And a B-Fest virgin, Movie Mike, of Mike's Movie Cave fame, took his life into his own hands by volunteering to ride with us to the Chinese Buffet for some grub; what with our Mike driving and me navigating, map or not, I have no doubt that we'll wind up crashing into Lake Michigan at some point -- on the Canadian side! Speaking of the Great White North, Mike made the trek across the border to B-Fest, and he had some funny stories about getting through border security. Seems the guard wasn't aware of this [quote] B-Fest [unquote], and Mike had to rattle off a few of the films they were showing to prove that it was real event. Luckily for him, one of the film's he didn't mention was Invasion U.S.A. ... One can only imagine the international incident if'n he did.

Fully stuffed with egg rolls and Mongolian beef, and stocked up on a six-pack of Old Style tall-boys for the room party later, with the Über Map of Doom locked and loaded, we then departed for the Hala Kahiki. Sure, we missed a few turns (...Turn now, Mike. Turn NOW, Mike. TURN NOW, MIKE! OK, circle back...), but we made it there practically unscathed. I love you ÜMoD! Inside, several more BMMB'ers were waiting, and expecting a fairly large crowd, we started pulling tables together. More BMMB'ers arrived, a ton of them. In total, there were between thirty to forty B-Movie zealots crammed into one section of the bar getting their drinkie on and flexing their nerd-fu with overlapping conversations about a screenplay for a live-action Thundar the Barbarian movie, crappy juke-boxes, the fine art of killing vampires, and at some point I got dragged into an unfortunate conversation about the inherent eroticism of breast feeding ... I answered these question innocently enough but apparently gave the wrong answer. And I think the questioner had a point -- a point that I obviously wasn't getting, hell, I think we were on the same side, and as things spiraled out of control, we were both saved from an ugly escalation as all efforts to withdraw failed miserably by Scott Ashlin's timely intervention, and the noble El Santo from 1000 Misspent Hours and Counting quickly diffused the situation. Thank you, my friend.

And I'd like to take this opportunity to apologize to all who were sitting at the table who witnessed that. I'm still not sure what happened there, so I'll just blame it on the rum.

Shaken but not stirred, we made it back to the hotel in record time -- and is that a pang of regret I feel for not getting lost? Nah. The party is in Jessica's room, and we've got not one, but two, copies of Sextette, but we have no DVD player for the hotel TV. However, we do have two portable DVD players, and by some miracle, we get the film's synch-started. Yes. Sextette -- in Stereo-Vision! Good conversation, good heckling, crappy movie. I polished of the six-pack and the movie, the party breaks up and I sneak back into the room, where Mike and Matt have already long since crashed. Tired, buzzed, and fearing the morning hangover, I crawled into bed, already looking forward to/dreading tomorrow's festivities.

Oh, yeah. My ass is hurting already.

Well, That Sounded Like Fun.
Wanna Know What Happens Next?
Click on over to Part II and find out!!
Take a Gander at Our B-Fest 2007 Photos!

Originally Posted: 01/26/02 :: Rehashed: 02/02/10

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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