Thursday, January 31, 2013

Days of the Dead Atlanta 2013

Tonight is the unofficial official start of the 2013 Days of the Dead horror convention. Like last year, it is starting away from the actual host hotel with a concert by First Jason – the thrashing metal band fronted by none other than Ari Lehman; the actual first Jason. Once you see First Jason in action, you will believe a man on a keytar can wail. We had a blast at the pre-party last year and will be attending this year’s as well.
            This time around the convention is being held at the Sheraton in Atlanta – the same one that is one of the Dragon*Con host hotels – and the pre-party is at The Earl. The planners have arranged for shuttle buses to run between the two places tonight for five bucks. Cheaper than a cab ride and definitely better than the twelve miles we had to travel last year. Even if you’re not attending Days of the Dead you might want to check out the pre-party. I’m sure there will be plenty of lovely people who enjoy Staying Awake.
Me and the missus have been anticipating this con since the end of last year’s. A horror con is a lot different from anything else; more laid back and yet a little… well, not wilder – weirder. Yes. Weirder than Dragon*Con. You should probably go ahead and check out my recap of last year. What else do you have to do on a Thursday?
I didn’t bother trying to apply for a press pass this year after not even getting a reply last year. This is a good thing, as Mrs. Troublemaker was able to score a free pass by simply writing a flattering e-mail. I am not fucking kidding you. And she didn’t even include a naked picture or anything. She was actually just asking if they gave discounts for local retailers and they just hooked her up with a pass. So if I had sent an e-mail detailing Needless Things and the thorough coverage that I would be giving their show and they couldn’t even spare a moment to type “Not interested” and hit Send, but then showered my wife with passes for typing one vaguely complimentary missive that would have been pretty fucking irritating.
So as it is I’ll be paying full price to get in, which is fine because it’s worth it. While I do enjoy free stuff, as long as I’m getting my money’s worth I’m happy.
The only real reservations I have (other than our hotel room – HA!) are about the location. Last year Days of the Dead was held at the Peachtree-Windham in Peachtree City, which is a weirdo fucking place. Peachtree City is this surreal town where rich people drive golf carts around and there is this eerie feeling of separation from the rest of the world. The atmosphere lent itself very well to a horror convention, particularly our adventures through the Rape Hole. This year we will be in the familiar, if shitty, surroundings of Downtown Atlanta; which isn’t quite the same. Granted, all of Atlanta inside the perimeter is its own Rape Hole of sorts, but it doesn’t have the same provincial creepiness as Peachtree City. Being in such an unfamiliar place definitely added to the feel of the con.
But I do like the Sheraton. I’ve stayed there before for Dragon*Con and it was great. The only reason I would never stay there again is its distance from the Hyatt, Marriot, and Hilton. It’s only a couple of blocks, but when you’re trying to get from one panel to another that time really means something. Even the Hilton feels too far away sometimes. But since Days of the Dead is contained in just the one hotel, I think it’s gonna be great.
Like any con, I hope you’ve been saving your money and putting your costume together for a while now. This thing is gonna be awesome. Let’s get down to business.
This year has a raging shit-ton of guests compared to last year, and last year had plenty. There’s a great variety to the people here, from television and movie actors to wrestlers to local nutjobs. There’s going to be a little something for everybody. I can’t say there is anybody I’m as excited about as I was about Roddy Piper, but the overall quality is better and last year was great, so that’s really saying something.
There are three main groups of guests united by common movies, and then a huge assortment of other folks. This is big, so let’s do it:
House of 1000 Corpses/Devil’s Rejects
Tom Towles, Jennifer Jostyn, David Reynolds, Irwin Keyes, Walter Phelan, Robert Mukes, Bill Moseley, Sid Haig, PJ Soles, Michael Berryman, Leslie Easterbrook, Ginger Lynn Allen, Danny Trejo (Friday & Saturday only), and…
I understand that the last name may not be the same draw for others that it is for me, but DDP was my favorite back in the WCW days. There were plenty of guys I liked, but DDP was the best. His feud with Raven over the US Title is one of my all-time favorites and I can’t wait to meet this guy. Well, meet him again. I’ve spoken briefly with him at The Masquerade when I worked there and at the Pink Pony once, but I was all mumbly and goofy. Now I’m loud and goofy, so things should go better.
I’m debating on whether or not I want to bring my one-sheets down to get signed. I’ve already got Haig and Moseley on the Devil’s Rejects one. But that’s a lot of people and getting stuff signed gets fucking expensive, even if it’s not folks the caliber of the Master of the Diamond Cutter. I do have a Machete figure, but there’s no way my DDP figure will get here in time because sucks fucking llama dicks.
Return of the Living Dead
Brian Peck, Jewel Shepard, Alan Trautman, Beverly Randolph, Thom Matthews, Don Calfa, John Philbin, William Stout, and Linnea Quigley
This is a solid group of folks and I definitely want to see if they do a panel. This was my favorite zombie movie for a very long time. It might still be, it’s just that there are so many more zombie movies now than there were fifteen or so years ago.
Blair Witch Project
Joshua Leonard, Heather Donahue, and Michael Williams
These guests are also panel-worthy. I may not be the biggest fan of the movie – something I don’t blame on the movie itself, but rather the circumstances under which I first saw it – but I bet this will be a fun panel if they do it.
Okay, now let’s check out the
Unaffiliated Guests
Ace Frehley – Okay, obviously Frehley is a HUGE draw for a lot of people. I love KISS like you’re supposed to, but I’m not jonesing to meet any of them. Well, except maybe Gene. I’d like to get some business advice from that guy.
Patty Mullen – She was Frankenhooker. Wilson is gonna kill me, but I have never seen it. The VHS cover always creeped me out and I’ve never admitted that before now. I don’t think I want to meet Frankenhooker.
Dick Miller – Miller is a character actor who has been in everything. He’s a solid booking and I bet could do a panel all by himself.
Gunnar Hansen – I want to get a picture of the original Leatherface next to my Leatherface tattoo.
Jake “The Snake” Roberts – For the first time ever I’m really pissed that I sold all of my WWE Classics action figures. I had a hundred or so still on the card and just didn’t have room for them. If I hadn’t sold them I’d have a DDP and a Jake to get signed. Dammit. I want to get a picture with Roberts, but I’m not ashamed to tell you that he scares me even more than Frankenhooker.
Kane Hodder – I don’t have a picture of me in the mask with Hodder. The last time I met him the whole family was with me and we just went for a family picture, which is one of my favorites. This is a guy who has plenty of action figures, but I don’t have any on the card. I wish I had a Jason X for him to sign.
Tom Savini – What a fucking legend. I met him years ago at Dragon*Con. He wasn’t necessarily pleasant, but he was okay. It was a really good experience because it prepared me to meet famous people that might be less than excited to meet me. He was one of the first non-musician celebrities I spoke with. Up until that point I had only met Mr. T and DDP and they were both great. Actually, I could have just stopped there.
Michael Perez – I have no idea who this guy is. He has something to do with Never Sleep Again. I don’t know if that’s a book or a movie or a web show or what.
Ari Lehman – Ari kicks fucking ass and is a super-nice guy, to boot. He chatted with me and the missus last year unsolicited and was just massively friendly. He also absolutely wails on the keytar. Yes – seriously.
Brent Hinds – I’m sure that three out of four people who have ever lived in Atlanta can say this, but Brent crashed on my couch long ago when I had no idea who he was. He was just friends with my girlfriend at the time and needed a place. I thought it was pretty cool later on when I found out he was in Fiend Without A Face, let alone years later when I found out he was in Mastodon (three albums in – I’m bad about liner notes; I didn’t even know Mastodon was from Atlanta). Anyway, Fiend Without a Face is playing at Days of the Dead and I am super-stoked about that.
Eerie Von – Eerie was the bassist for Samhain and Danzig.
Chelan Simmons – The hot chick from one of the greatest movies of the past five years, Tucker and Dale vs. Evil. Yeah, I know I narrowed it a bit with the whole “five years” thing, but I didn’t want to get overly hyperbolic. For a change.
John Dugan – FUCKING GRAMPA! From Texas Chainsaw! Awesome! The first time I ever experienced people having a serious, critical discussion of horror movies was almost twenty years ago. Wilson and Dego were discussing Grampa’s presence and what it meant to the Texas Chainsaw series.
Mickie James – This wrestler has absolutely nothing to do with horror as far as I know, but I don’t care because she is fucking hot and can actually wrestle. Unfortunately, Ms. James is my pick for Most Likely To No-Show.
William Katt – The star of House (the great horror movie, not the irritating TV show) and Greatest American Hero. Awesome.
Clu Gulager – Mr. Gulager has the wildest resume on the guest list, as he’s been in everything from Alfred Hitchcock Presents to The Killers to the Feast movies to an absolute ton of 80’s television. With a career that long and impressive he would be another great one-man panel.
James O’Barr – The guy that created The Crow. And you know – the original comic still holds up. It’s easy to forget how impressive it is after the excellent first movie spawned such wretched turds as sequels. But go back and check it out. It’s still a good read and a massive accomplishment in the medium of comic books.
Diane Goldner – She was in Feast.
John Gulager – Clu’s son and director of the mostly-awesome Feast movies.
Marilyn Burns – The Final Girl from Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Butch Patrick – Eddie Munster. I think he’s a great guest, but not anybody I’ll track down.
Brian O’Hallaron – O’Hallaron was Dante in Clerks, which makes him officially the oddest guest. Some might argue that the wrestlers are more out of place, but me and a whole roster of monsters and grapplers would disagree with you.
Howard Sherman – He played the captured zombie that that idiot scientist attempted to train in Day of the Dead.
People from The Walking Dead – I do not understand how Rodney Hall is not listed here. WHAT THE FUCK IS GOING ON!?!
And MORE! – I’m going to go ahead and lump everybody else in under this heading. My reasons are that I don’t know who the rest are, there are a lot of them, and it’s getting late and I still have more to cover.
The vendor room was both awesome and hazardous last year. Awesome because of the selection of rad stuff, hazardous for the same reason. We discovered an excellent toy vendor called Galaxy of Junk and spent a billion dollars there. They are back this year, so I’m bringing an extra billion.

The Belligerent Monkey and Galaxy of Junk will both be returning this year and Urbnpop and Jason Flowers will be there for the first time. I highly recommend you spend the bulk of your money with them. After that you can check out everybody else:

PRETTY SPOOKY HANDMADE (handmade jewelry and crafts)
CREATURE SEEKER STUDIOS (custom props, creatures, and more!)
THE ART OF CJ DRADEN (original art)
CINEMA WASTELAND (cult film collectibles and memorabilia)
GALACTIC FORCE TOYS (toys and games)
CHRIS KUCHTA (original art)
THRILLER CONTACTS (specialty contact lenses)
DON'S KNIVES (custom knives and display weaponry)
WESTERN EVIL (original clothing and art for sinners, misfits, and rebels)
LONDON 1888 (original shirts and art)
HORRORMERCH.COM (horror merchandise, collectibles, and memorabilia)
RETRO OUTLAW (original shirts and art)
GALAXY OF JUNK (vintage toys and games)
AVFX (custom poster and picture frames for the serious horror fan)
CURIOUS GOODS (custom made toys and action figures)

I’ve gotta say that the events were a little sparse last year, but you know what? It was kind of awesome that way. The whole weekend was very laid back and relaxed – the exact opposite of Dragon*Con. I’m actually a little concerned that this one will be much more hectic and crowded because it’s downtown. At the very least there will be a lot more hipster douchebags there. Hipsters don’t have cars, so they couldn’t make it to Peachtree City from their converted lofts in Downtown Atlanta last year.

9:00 PM - Days of the Dead Atlanta Pre-Show Party with First Jason at The Earl – We’re not going to be able to party quite like we did last year on Thursday. We don’t have a room for Thursday night and have to get Lil’ Troublemaker to school on Friday morning. But we’ll still be hanging out and shooting some video of the incomparable First Jason.

I actually feel bad that we’re not going to be able to help Monkey set up this year. That was a lot of fun last year. As it is, we’ll probably be arriving right before the events get started.

5:00 PM – Doors Open – No actual events at this time, but you will be able to enter the Vendor and Guest rooms. I actually recommend you plan on arriving an hour or two earlier so you can check in and be ready when the doors open. We were there for the opening last year and there was nobody else there. We got first pick of all the merchandise and I knocked out most of my autograph needs (“needs” – ha) immediately.

6:00 PM – “Best of” Buried Alive Film Fest – I’m not entirely sure what this is. I mean, obviously it’s screenings of some sort, but I don’t know of what. It lasts 4 hours. I’ll be busy in the Vendor and Guest rooms.

11:00 PM – Monsters Ball with DJ Tre – I kind of liked this guy last year. He did his best to mix horror samples with music, but it just didn’t quite work. It was a cool vibe though, and I’m willing to give him another chance. I just hope they don’t bring back the horrendous opening DJ that played nothing but douche rock. Here’s the event blurb:

Its here.AGAIN...Time To Dance With The Dead!!!
Now that you know whether your coming to Days Of The Dead Atlanta or not...and if your answer is YES..Then do NOT miss the most deadly dj set at any horror convention. Brought to you by none other then The Rockstar DJ TRE!!! DJ TRE is known to bring elements of horror, music, visuals and energy that will wake the dead and pummel the living!!! Friday Night's MONSTER BALL is known for its sick costumes, beats and alcohol fueled fun!!! DO NOT MISS THE MADNESS!!! RSVP, Share and BE THERE!!! your love and support of these afterpartys keeps them going and getting better and better!!! Celebrity Appearances, Giveaways and Silly Fun Times PERIOD!!!!
Costumes Strongly Encouraged!!!!
11pm- TIll????

12:30 AM – Karaoke – Oh, Hell. I wasn’t aware there was going to be karaoke until just now. I need to figure out a song. You have no idea how much preparation went into my horrible performance of “Falling to Pieces” at Dragon*Con.

Not only is Saturday likely to be the busiest day as far as attendance, there are two hours of must-see panels right after the con opens. This is another good reason to get your Guesting and Vendoring done Friday evening. Last year I was concerned about how close together the panels were scheduled, but they were pretty good about letting them go a bit long if needed and then just working around things. It wasn’t a rigid schedule, more like a suggestion. I think that’s easy to do when you don’t have eight thousand panels scheduled across five hotels.

11:00 AM – Doors Open – The Guest and Vendor rooms will be open to the public. VIP attendees get in 30 minutes early.

12:00 PM – Return of the Living Dead Panel – I like the fact that the panels start at noon. I think we can assume at least a couple of the guests affiliated with the movie will be on this one. Should be good.

1:00 PM – House of 1000 Corpses Panel – This is a can’t-miss for me. Whatever else is going on, I will have my ass planted in a seat for this one. I hope it’s in a big room because I think it’s likely to be the best-attended of the weekend.

2:00 PM – “Best of” Buried Alive Fil Festival – Still don’t know what this is, but it’s going to have to be something special to get me to watch a movie for two hours while at a con. 
4:30 PM – Tattoo Contest – I don’t have tits and a vagina, so I’m not going to bother entering. I know how these things work.

6:00 PM – Wickedbeard’s Costume Contest – I won’t be entering because the costume I do have planned isn’t exactly something that will have a broad appeal. I probably won’t be attending, either, because unlike Dragon*Con this one is small enough that you’re going to see everybody’s costumes out in the halls anyway. I guess if I was an actual journalist or if somebody was paying me to cover this thing I’d go.

8:00 PM – VIP Party – VIP attendees (people who paid a lot of money for special passes that grant certain benefits) get two hours of guaranteed partying with an unspecified selection of Guests.

10:00 PM – Concert – Bozarth, Fiend Without a Face – I’ve never heard of Bozarth, but I am definitely stoked about seeing Fiend Without A Face. It’s been a long time since I saw them play. The last time was probably at The Point over fifteen years ago. Somebody told me they still play around town from time to time, but I can barely keep up with national acts coming through town. It’s tough keeping up with local stuff.
My concern here is that they’re only giving this thing an hour. I don’t know how you have two bands play in one hour. Unless Bozarth is some kind of dancing monster that’s just going to be hanging around and dancing while Fiend Without A Face plays. Which is possible, I guess.

11:00 PM – Chambers of Horror Murderball and Sideshow Party – Last year this was the event where Mrs. Troublemaker invited herself onstage and mooned everybody. So stay tuned for that. Other scheduled entertainment likely includes another game of Wheel of Death, which was a lot of fun last year. Here’s the event blurb:

This year at DAYS OF THE DEAD: Atlanta 2013 Chambers of Horror will be throwing the MURDERBALL and SIDESHOW party in the Sheraton Saturday Feb 2nd.
Performing live on stage is Brent Hinds of Mastodon's side project Fiend Without A Face!
Also helming the stage is:
Captain Stab-Tuggo and Maybelle's Sideshow
Chambers of Horror Themed Burlesque show!
Costume contests!*
prizes and much much more!
And of course lets throw in Rotnee(for those Cleremont regulars) as your host!

Prizes of Costume Contest include
Custom TCM 1974 Leatherface Mask ($250)
by Addison Morarre Masks

Tattoo Gift Certificates from
Southern Star Tattoo


Tickets to shows at the Masquerade

Vans Skateboard & Merch

And a very special Walking Dead gift!

We were originally going to stay Sunday night as well, but things seemed to get pretty sparse on Sunday so we cancelled that last night. On a side note, I have made two calls to the Windham to alter our accommodations and they have been incredibly helpful, pleasant, and swift each time.

12:00 PM – Blair Witch Project Panel – I’d like to see this one, but I’m not sure we’ll still be around. I can’t remember when check out is, but I think we’re planning on heading over to the Atlanta Comic Convention. Just so I don’t seem like I’m totally dickwalling Days of the Dead’s Sunday plans, I’ll wait until the end to talk about that.

12:00 PM – Atlanta Zombie Apocalypse Show – Professor Morté will be putting on a live makeup demonstration as well as performing live kills right there on stage! Expect all the humor and showmanship of the Silver Scream Spookshow combined with the gruesomeness and horror of the AZA!

1:00 PM – Texas Chainsaw Massacre Panel – I bet this will be a really good one, but we’ll definitely be gone by this time. 
I know I was a little snarky about a few things up there, but the bottom line is that every single person in our group – indeed, everybody at the con – had a fucking awesome time last year. I would go so far as to say we had more fun than we do at Dragon*Con if only because it was so much more relaxed and actually felt like a vacation. Days of the Dead is an absolutely awesome time and if you’re into horror and anywhere near Atlanta it is a must. Right now regular passes (VIP is sold out) are $45 and they go up to $60 the day of the show. Either way it’s totally worth it. There’s not a single Hooligan that was there last year that wouldn’t agree with me.

If you can make it, I’ll see you there. 
Okay, now a bit about Atlanta Comic Con, which is at the Marriot Hotel-Century Center. It’s my favorite one-day show and is always even more of a treat because they are so rarely scheduled on my off days. There’s a great selection of regional dealers and a nice little group of guests. Super Bowl Sunday is always one of the bigger shows, so we want to be sure and pick up Lil’ Troublemaker in time for the whole family to go.


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