He Watched It Sober.

Trust us. We won't let this happen to you.

Oh, Hi B-Fest 2010.

You Are My Best Friend

24-Hours! 17 Films! Lingering Quaidiation!

I Love the Smell of Nerd-Funk in the Morning.

Or See what Happens when You bring a Knife to a Bazooka Fight.






The Line Up:

Crippled Masters



Mystery Short

Wizard of Speed & Time

Plan 9 from Outer Space

The Room

Mystery Short

Hard Ticket to Hawaii

Black Shampoo

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension

Troll 2

Live it Up!

Fiend Without a Face


War of the Robots

The Giant Claw


Sights &
  McCormick Auditorium
  Northwestern University
  Jan. 29-30
  6pm to 6pm

The 2010

Mix Tracks:

At Midnight
I'll Throw
Paper Plates
at the Screen

Courtesy of Tim Lehnerer

& The Unified Meek Theory



 "Star Wars Theme"

Big Daddy   

 "Oh, Ugly Bird"

Joe Bethancourt  

 "You're My Rose"

Miladen Milicevic   

 "You're the Best"

Joe Esposito  

 "The Cockroach
 that ate Cincinnati"

Rose & the Arrangements  

 "Snakes on a Plane"

Cobra Starship  

 "Out of the Bushes"

The Traniers  

 "I Sold My Brain
  to Science"

Grover Kent  

 "Howdy Folks"

Sid Haig  

 "Horror High"

Die Cruisin'  

 "Do the Freddy"

The Elm Street Group  

 "The Ballad of
  Harry Warden"

Paul Zaza  


John Carpenter  

 "Man Behind the Mask"

Alice Cooper  

 "Nightmare on My Street"

DJ Jazzy Jeff &  

The Fresh Prince   

 "Flying Saucer Attack"

The Rezillos  

 "Tune of the
  Short Cowboys"

The Outlaws  

 "The Mummy"

Bob McFadden & Dor  

 "Movie Magazines"

The Cal-Quettes  

 "Jail House Rock"

The Blues Brothers  


B-Fest 2010

(Should I stay or should I go now?)

Since 2002, every January, I have made a 1400 mile round trip to the Chicago suburb of Evanston for B-Fest: A&O Film's annual film festival and celebration of all things cinematically challenged, where you're ensconced in a theater for a full 24-hours, locked in a Nietzchien battle of wills with whatever films they drudge up to try and kill you with. No. This is not prim and proper screening venue. If you want that, sorry, look elsewhere. This is B-Movie Nerd Thunderdome. You dig? I dig ... Anyways, by my math, so you'd better double check it, that'd be eight years in a row, and I have the scars of Hieronymous Merkin and Breakin' 1 and Breakin' 2 to prove it. And if you would have asked me six months ago I would have told you, sadly, that there would be no way in hell I could make it nine in row.

It began earlier than that, when my tax return went belly-up last spring due to a clerical error when I reapplied for my job when my company was bought out that left me, at least, breaking even. However, my annual return is an essential nest egg, what I like to call "my stupid money", meaning I stash it away to use for things other than essentials, like road trips to Chicago. I also work for a newspaper, and if you've been paying attention you know the industry is a dinosaur already  fossilizing as I type this up. 2009 saw me endure a pay cut, followed by a series of unpaid furloughs. And to top that off, my house payment inexplicably jumped up about the same time the plumbing went to hell, and things had snowballed so badly that by August going into September I caught myself trolling the yellow pages for a bankruptcy attorney ... Fortunately, the ship has righted itself since then; it's still taking on water but is in no imminent danger of sinking -- and man, is it hard to type with your fingers crossed. Regardless, the forecasted doom has been postponed, allowing me just one silver lining amongst all the number-crunching and creative financing, and, dammit, come hell or high-water, I was going to B-Fest. 

The line-up for this year looked fantastic. Dare I say it, but to me, the previous year's line-up was an absolute joy to sit through, a total breeze, and a welcome respite; but this year promised a couple of "treats" that would stretch us over the anvil of Sextette and smite us most verily with the hammer of Heartbeeps. And to help save costs I, and several other regulars, switched hotels to one suburb over, to scenic Morton Grove, and so excited was I by the hotel expenses being cut in half that I almost accidentally booked us a single, which means Mike Bockoven, my constant B-Fest companion, and I could have done a road show of Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

This was gonna be the greatest B-Fest EVER.

We're Off!

(And where the hell is Campbell?)

We did have one casualty as our good buddy and bad-pun quipping fool Matt Campbell had to bow out due to his own financial concerns, but he has vowed that he will make triumphant return. So, it was down to just me, Mike, and Mike's new TOM TOM. Now, if you've read all the other recaps you know that between Mike's driving skills and my navigating prowess we both should be a highway statistic in at least three separate States by now. I was pretty confident in the Google maps I had to the hotel but Mike was determined to use the contraption -- if he could get it to work. This also led to a bet that we would have that thing pulling a Hal-9000 by Iowa City, to which Mike replied, "How will that be any different than you screaming 'What are you doing, Mike' all the way to Chicago?" Well, he had me there, but I'm still convinced that thing will blow me out the van's side door before we reach Illinois.

So, at 4:30 in the AM Thursday, Mike swings by and picks me up and we run into our fist snag already. Apparently, Mike forgot his coat so we have to go back to his house. Which is locked. And he doesn't have a key. After Houdini works his magic, we hit the Interstate where I work my magic on Mike's vintage laptop and coax into playing some DVD's for us. Here, we run into our next snag when all attempts at external sound end in failure, prompting a detour into Seward to hit a Wal-Mart so Mike could get some new speakers. The parking lot was nearly deserted at this early hour except for few other cars. Parking near one of them, I waited in the van. We had been trying to watch Starship Troopers and had reached the point where Johnny Rico is stripped and given twenty lashes for getting one of his men killed. And there I was, watching Casper Van Dien, naked from the waist up, strapped spread eagle, with a leather gag in his mouth, getting whipped when the lady parked next to us returns, sees what I'm watching, and gives me a dirty look. 

Greatest. B-Fest. Ever.

Me and Ronald
(Ronald and I.)

With the new speakers working out swimmingly I finally got to see [and hear] Up! and between that and Star Trek gets us through The Black Holes of Des Moines, that seems to get less and less dreaded with each passing year, to Iowa City, where we take the Coraville exit for our annual pilgrimage to pay respects to our patron saint of B-Fest: He Who Walks Between the Arches.

A couple of snack-wraps later, we were back on the road with Chicago dead in our sights. Now, every year we seem to shave off some traveling time but this year was pretty damned ridiculous when we made it to all the way to The Windy City in a mere nine hours. I'm thinking it's gotten to the point that the Hole sucks us up and then just spits us out at Warp Speed or something. Alas, we don't have enough cigarette lighters to work the TOM TOM but my directions get us to the new hotel without a snag. We checked in quick, the rooms are a tad smaller but will do fine, with two beds, *whew*, thank you. And to toast our successful trip, Mike breaks out The B-Fest Survival Kit, filled with the most obscene liquor known to man. After the toast, having been up since noon the day before, meaning I'd been up for 28 hours already, I decided to take a nap before meeting the rest of the gang in the lobby at 6:30.

Best. B-Fest. Ever. *burp*

Drinkin' with the BMMB

(Two Nerds Enter. One Nerd Leaves.)

At the appointed hour, Mike wakes me up and we congregate with the others in lobby. The BMMB Irregulars Roll Call: Josh, Tim, Sean, Ed, Ray, Jacob, and Brian and Mal Ragnarok. Also on board for the first time, Kevin from Minneapolis and the Battling Rob brothers from New Jersey. After a bit of catching up, the group then scatters to find some grub before heading to the Hala Kahiki to drink some rum through a straw. Chicago native Ed leads a large contingent to find some Thai food, but Mike and I peeled off and decide to follow our noses to a place called Paddy's that was a lot like Al's, a magnificent beef eatery we ate at last hear, only Paddy's was even greasier. And it was awesome. Stomachs distended, we pressed on into Des Plaines, and followed the familiar route to our tropical destination amidst the frozen surroundings.

When we walked into the bar, a waitress immediately asks if we're part of the movie group -- are we that obvious? Answering affirmative, we're led to a private side room, where we find Paul (-- you need to get back on the board, man --) and Skip, who once again served as our ground agent and secured our tickets. Thanks, m'man. More folks started trickling in, including Scott and Dripdry, whom I didn't recognize without his glasses and whose name I've forgotten again. Much drinkin' and volcano lighting ensued, with rousing talk about the ball-breakers in this year's line-up, B-Fest line-ups past, the re-watchability of Paranormal Activities and, well, Godzilla's sexual organs. 



Photos courtesy of Josh Berger, Mike Bockoven and Yours Truly

Several rounds later, we headed back to the hotel. Mike's finally got the TOM TOM working but we ignore it's suggestions to "Turn left now" and just retraced our steps back home. I seem to a recall a room party, where I drank too much, on top off all the rum already consumed. It had been a really long day, I was pooped, so I bowed out early.

G'night folks.

Field Trip
(Sponsored by Smakowski's Bakery.)

The original plan was to sleep in late Friday morning and then tour The Field Museum before heading over to the campus. I say that was the original plan because some idiot decided to text Mike at 7am and his phone's chirping woke me up; and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fall back asleep. [Note to self: Remember to kill Sheard for sending that text.] And if my faulty math is correct again, if I managed to pull another 24-Hours at B-Fest, that means I will have been awake for 42 of a 48-hour period. Wonderful. [Sheard, you're a dead man.] Still, it was nice to lounge in bed for a few hours. We checked out around 10, and after I did a Snoopy Dance in response to seeing the cheaper bill, we loaded up and headed downtown. But first, a slight detour. Seems Mike needed a football for a skit and I remembered seeing a K-Mart on Harlem that we passed the night before. We found it, and a football, and a Pot-Belly Deli for lunch. Then, to get to Lake Shore Drive, we took Belmont, which led us through several scenic ethnic neighborhoods, which had us doing Blues Brother's riffs with each colorfully named shop passed.

Aside from one highly illegal U-Turn we made it to the Field easy enough, but parking was another story. And after a 30 mile hike back to the museum, once I caught my wind, I could feel myself regressing as we took in the exhibits, including getting shrunken down to get a bug's eye view of the world. But the highlight of the excursion was the trip through time that tracked the evolution of life on planet Earth. OooOOOoOo ... dinosaurs!




Photos courtesy of Mike Bockoven and Yours Truly

I was very impressed with the layout of the Field. The place was like The Tardis, seemingly bigger on the inside than what appears outside. And after we had pretty much seen what we wanted to, with our allotted time running out, Mike hit the gift shop for some souvenir for his kids. While waiting, I looked over the Museum Map and spotted an exhibit on the Lions of Tsavo, which had served as a basis for Arch Oboler's 3-D classic Bwana Devil, and later, Michael Douglass' Ghost in the Darkness. We were on the right floor, and according to the map, near the exhibit, so when Mike returned we decided we had enough time to check it out. Barely, turns out. Our misadventure began when we first entered the wrong exhibit and got lost in a Pyramid mock-up, whose catacombs took us up one floor and then down three and dumped us out in the basement. We hit the elevators and tried again. This time we wound up in an African exhibit, seemed logical, but several wrong turns finds us going through the same slave ship exhibit twice, which provided a new slogan for The Field Museum: Come for the Lions, stay for the White Guilt. Finally working our way out of that exhibit, we officially gave up and returned to the main hall for the nearest exit and passed a HUGE sign [pictured above] pointing us right to the display. *sigh*

Where the hell was that TOM TOM when we needed it? Anyways, with that small victory notched, we needed to get going. We gots us some movies to watch.

Well, that's it for the Pre-Fest Warm-Ups.
Are You Ready for B-Fest?
Click on over to Part II and find out!!
Take a Gander at Our B-Fest 2010 Photos!

Originally Posted: 02/16/2010

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.
How our Rating System works. Our Philosophy.