Monday, October 18, 2010

Actor Danny Trejo admired the work of Westfield, Mass.-based artist Jamie Cross who was tattooing Trejo’s portrait on the foot of a customer.Contact Cross here.

Rock and Shock 2010 or am I too old for this stuff anymore?

So, Mark, Marty and I once again had a table at Rock and Shock and we all made varying amounts of cash. Whether we go again next year is a question, as the rates will probably increase to the point that profitability will be difficult to make.

I’ve been going to conventions of one sort or another – my first was a Boskone science fiction show when I was in high school – and generally they have been positive experiences. For a teen growing up in Granby, Mass. it was always reassuring there were other people who were into the same odd stuff – comics, movies, horror, fantasy – that I was.

It was a lot tougher to be a fan of such things back then. I think I started a fanzine, just to communicate to other like-minded folks.

Attending UMass confirmed there were fanboys and a few fangirls like me, but traveling to conventions in New York City or Boston was especially rewarding to me.

I like Rock and Shock a lot. It’s close to home. It’s organized well by someone who gets it and the dealers’ area is laid out to accommodate crowds.

The DCU center in Worcester, though, is a poorly run facility that didn’t keep the restrooms clean, harassed dealers about outside food and hadn’t properly cleaned up the exhibition hall from the mess the circus animals made. I don’t blame the Rock and Shock management as they were contesting the DCU people over these issues.

Rock and Shock is a young fans’ show. The kids who attend probably barely know who Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing was, much less Karloff and Lugosi.

However if you have something to sell that they can relate to, you can do all right.

At age 56, though, much of the magic of attending a convention, even behind a dealer’s table, has been lost. The best part of the weekend in many ways was simply hanging with two friends.

My buddy Jeff Allard has a great post about his feelings. Check it out here.

A large part of it for me revolves around interactions with guests. I have fond memories of simply talking with people. I didn’t have to buy an autograph and, in fact, they were happy to autograph whatever you had.

That’s not the case any more and hasn’t been for a long time.

I remember at a Chiller Con years ago, Mark Godard, the second male lead of “Lost in Space,” yelling at a fan who had shot some video of him while he sat at his dealer’s table. Now, if he had paid him, I bet it would have been okay.


This show I was asked by my buddy Steve Bissette if I could fact-check something with legendary director George Romero. So, I stood in line. There was a sign alerting me to all the things he was selling and the various costs. I reached the head of the line and had to clear what I wanted to do with one of his assistants – a humorless guy who was pretty unfriendly. I told him I wanted to ask Romero a question. I read it off my iPhone from Steve’s email and as I did another handler came into the areas and was clearly aghast. He asked the first guy what was I doing, what was the question and clearly got worked up about it.

Romero seemed fine answering it. He clearly was used to a more standard interaction – greeting, autograph, photo – but I had no issues with him. Now, with the other two morons, I did.

I was going to try to stake out some interview time with Danny Trejo, but next to Romero he was the most popular and, while he was clearly nice to the fans who ponied up a minimum of $30 for a signature, there was no time for idle chitchat.

Perhaps my time at conventions has come and gone. Or perhaps I need to attend one that has a greater emphasis on older films.

Here are some photos:

This guy was going around going around the show trying to get people to go to make-up artist Cherie Verie to get some custom work done. Contact her here.

Mark at our table. He was busy zombie-fying folks.

Actor and comic Judah Friedlander was hawking his book “How to Beat Up Anybody” at the show.

Posters, posters and more posters: I sold four from my collection – one very reluctantly. I bought none.

Director of a film I will never watch Ruggerio Deodata, the man behind “Cannibal Holocaust.”

Some cool stuff!

© 2010 by Gordon Michael Dobbs


SRBissette said...

Thanks for the pix and post, Mike! We've never discussed this, but the inability to talk to guests is another reason I've given up on cons. It's all flea market transactions, or nothing—a far cry from the fun we used to have at shows.

Jeff Allard said...

Great post, Mike. I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels a little alienated from the con experience these days. My interaction with a fellow blogger kind of put a fine point on my feelings. This person is probably in their mid-to-late twenties and when I introduced myself, the first thing she asked me is if I was there to network. It was an innocent enough question, I guess, but it pointed up the different way that younger people view these events. It's not so much a way to come together with other fans that share a love of the genre but a way to manuveur up the ladder a little bit. Manuveur up to what, I don't know - writing for more websites for free? Kind of depressing, I think.