MASK-FEST Updates and Photos

Started by fmofmpls, March 26, 2010, 02:56:10 PM

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Radioactive Rod Whitenack

Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling well enough yesterday to make the trip, but reports coming from my friends who went almost made me glad I didn't. Not that there was anything wrong with the guests or displays or chance to meet friends, but my understanding is that the Convention SEVERELY underestimated the crowd which led to the Fire Department coming in to control the capacity crowd.

They told me that even though you had paid admission, you had to stand in line and wait for people to leave before more people were let in, and that lines to meet celebrities stretched for hours without much order. They never even got a glimpse of Clive Barker because the George Romero line cut off all access to the area where he was signing. There was apparently a long line ALL DAY just to get into the dealers room! Sounds like a nightmare to me. I don't like conventions that turn out like that, where it's just waiting in lines all day with lots of confusion.

They said the Convention had clearly outgrown the space allowed for it over the last couple of years, and should have been moved to a bigger location. I'm sure the Convention owners are pleased, as they certainly made a lot of money, and the guests will have also raked it in signing autographs, but it didn't sound like a fun place to be.


That is how Chiller and Monster Mania are at times here in NJ.  Also, Saturdays are always the busiest days at conventions. 

Toy Ranch

From what I understand, the crowd this year is far, far bigger than ever before.  They just didn't expect that many, but it seems like at some point you have to cut off selling admissions.

Wicked Lester

I really wish they would push this date into April or MAY. End of fiscal year screws this up for me and I'm sure many others. Sounds like it needs to move into a real convention center next year that can easily handle the capacity of a comicon.


Yes, the same thing has occurred a number of time at Chiller over the years. I gotta hand it to them, in recent years, no matter how crowded it gets they now organize the autograph lines extremely well. While you may indeed have to wait hours for the more popular guests, the crew does their best to keep things moving trying to ensure everyone on line gets their shot. Unfortunately, this is something convention managers and attendees have to learn the hard way at any show in it's early, formative stages. .


Got a couple of my niece Jen's photos from Friday, and am very proud to present--my great-nephew Will Fox, who was celebrating his first birthday by coming to the first day of HorrorHound/MaskFest!  Here we have a photo I call 'Fox Meets Wolf'--Will loved Garou (who doesn't?!), Penny Dreadful's lupine sidekick.  And can you tell I was tickled to see this take place?

And here's one little Will will be proud of when he gets a few more years and a few more movies in him!  Considering the movies they've made, it maybe be QUITE a few more years before he sees them, but I hope he will enjoy them as much as us older folks have!  This is my beloved niece Jen, with Will, George Romero and Greg Nicotero.
Robert in Ohio

"I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses."   Mrs. Patrick Campbell

Unknown Primate

Well, my wife & I made it to the convention around 12:45 pm, Sunday, and I finally got to meet a few UMA'ers.  We didn't take a lot of pictures, but here are some of the highlights, for me, anyway!  BTW, the red mark on my forehead isn't a birthmark, I banged my skull by accident on a brick wall the night before, or something like that!

My eyes are closed in this pic, because I was scared.  After all, I'm standing next to Coffin Joe and Bigfoot (from "The Devil At Lost Creek")!!  The smile is one of those nervous cover-up deals.

I finally got over my fear.

Mr. Raymond Castile walks me through the awesome UMA display.

Yes, I was starstruck when I met Doctor Shocker.  Notice the far-away look in my eyes.

I regained my composure for this shot.

Here's Daniel Roebuck greeting his adoring public.

I met the 2010 Wolfman...

... and Frankenstein.

Back at the UMA display.

Two very scary guys, Timothy Herron (the legendary Baron Von Wolfstein and countless other characters) and the mighty Creepy Jeff Pripusich with a big sweaty, nervous convention goer.

It was an honor to meet Baron Tim.  I watched him host many great horror films many moons ago.  Damn!  I forgot to have him spout some limericks for me!

I got to see many celebrities & cool displays, but I must say the best thing was meeting Ray, Jeff, Timothy & Daniel.  My blood-sugar had dropped (I hadn't eaten all day) and my wife & I slipped out before I really had a chance to bid my farewells.  I'm sorry I missed out on meeting Elder Robert, Andy Williams and others, but hopefully, there willl be a next time!

I'll post some more pics later.
" Perhaps he dimly wonders why, there is no other such as I. "


We are back from the show and in recovery mode.  It was a lot of work, but it was an amazing weekend.  It is true that the turnout at the show was WAY beyond the capacity of the facility; and if we didn't have passes to get around it might not have been such a fun time at all.  The lines of people were unbelievable.  Thousands of people viewed our display, and thousands of people really enjoyed it.  It was really a great bridge that joined the eras of early Halloween, the classic monster era and modern horror.  It all has a nice flow to it if you think about it, and seeing these young fans come by and really appreciate the classic stuff was very cool. 
One of the most "commented on" parts of our display was the Trick-or Treaters section designed by Elizabeth Haney.  People LOVED it and I really appreciate all her efforts this weekend.
I think the crowd was mostly young fans, and the overall mood was one of partying and celebration.  I felt a little old and out of place at some of the after hours social gatherings, but the time we spent with friends (both old and new) were priceless.  Sitting at the table with Don Post and just talking about life in general and not masks; that was such a great honor.  Finally meeting Danny Roebuck in person; a real treat.  The horror host/Vampira tribute was great.  My daughter Mia loved all the costumes and people that she met, especially her magic partner Danny.  She really loved Elvira and Garou from Penny Dreadful's show as well. 
I think the most important thing to mention here is the level of thanks that we all owe to Creepy Jeff.  It is safe to say that the lion's share of work fell upon him due to our time constraints.  He, along with Elizabeth and Anthony, did pretty much all of the actual construction and disassembling of the display itself.  He hauled it there from Chicago, and stores it there as well.  Jeff does this all out of love for the classic monsters - but I suspect out of an even greater love for this community.  I just want to say that "thank you" doesn't really begin to express the gratitude that I have for Jeff.  We are a lucky bunch to have a guy like him among us. 
So, THANKS to Jeff, Elizabeth, Anthony, Raymond, Danny, Robert, and ALL of the UMA'ers that supported this effort.  Believe me; it was worth it. 

Radioactive Rod Whitenack

Man, those pics are priceless. I hope to see more.


Good to see you made it there, Primate!  I can tell you had a good time (hope your wife did, too!).  There's also too much to see and do, and too little time.  Every convention wears me out--and makes me look forward to being worn out again by the NEXT one! 
Robert in Ohio

"I don't care what they do, so long as they don't do it in the streets and frighten the horses."   Mrs. Patrick Campbell


Thanks for posting the photos guys.  I saw some in another thread too.  I feel sad that I missed it, but glad for all of you!  To the crew of the UMA Display.  Great work gang.  You make me proud to be a member.

"There is something wrong with us, very, very wrong with us"
Bill Murray - Stripes


I'm always kind of speechless after returning from one of our UMA toy tour convention appearances.  It takes a few days to recover and collect your thoughts after such a hectic, overwhelming weekend.  But by then, people have moved on and nobody cares.  So I have to post while my head is still spinning.

As everyone has heard, the HorrorHound/MaskFest convention was incredibly successful.  Thousands of people, shoulder-to-shoulder, bustling activity all day and night.  I've read some online comments complaining about the long lines.  Yes, the lines were long.  But from the floor, my impression was that everyone around me was excited and enthusiastic.  The crowds were happy to be there and having a great time.

It was a party atmosphere, especially at night.  Revelers filled the hotel lobby and ground floor halls, drinking and laughing and cavorting into the wee morning hours.  I'm not sure if they ever quit.  I had to go to sleep sometime.

It was a youngish crowd.  A lot of teens and twenty-somethings.  A lot of people in makeup and costumes.  It was like an epic staging of the Rocky Horror Show, only for real instead of scripted.

As for our display, it was a big hit.  The young modern horror crowd loved it.  In fact, they seemed more animated in their enthusiasm than the audiences at the other conventions we have attended.  Lots of excited faces, pointing, oohs and ahhs, questions and comments.  They were definitely diggin' it.  The best audience response we've had since our first appearance at Wonderfest.  I'm sure part of it was the novelty factor.  This crowd had never seen anything like it.  It was something new and unique.

There are many people to thank, but I think all involved agree that the UMA hero of the weekend was Jeff Pripusich.  He drew the short stick when it came to distribution of burden and responsibility.  Jeff hauled the display from Chicago to Indianapolis, set it up, tore it down and hauled it back without the manpower he really needed.  But he stepped up and got the job done.  Without him, we would have been up a creek.  All of our contributions were important, but Jeff's was "make it or break it."  He made it happen.  There is no way we can thank him enough.

Elizabeth Haney and her friend Anthony were a tremendous help all weekend.  Elizabeth and her friends in Chicago conceived and fabricated the vintage costume diorama that became the centerpiece of the display.  Elizabeth and I discussed this idea months ago, but I didn't see any way we could do it with our limited resources.  But Elizabeth and her friends found a way.  I was kind of skeptical when she was describing this on the phone a couple weeks ago.  But when I saw the finished product, I was floored.  She really nailed what we were trying to accomplish with this display.  Everybody loved it, talked about it, took pictures of it.  It created a lot of buzz.  And this was just one part of her contribution.  As usual, Elizabeth was our "den mother," constantly helping and taking care of us all weekend.

Dan Roebuck made the weekend a real joy with his friendship and generosity.  He treats you like family from the first moment he meets you.  On Friday, he helped us carry the display fixtures and set them up.  Just seconds after meeting him for the first time, he was huffing it with the rest of us, carrying wood and plastic back and forth from the truck.  Because of the work and stress, we were not in the best of spirits Friday.  But Dan's upbeat attitude helped lift our spirits and pump us up.   He is the kind of guy who makes you feel better just because he's standing there.

I rode there and back with Andy Williams and his sweet family.  Andy made some serious sacrifices to attend this show.  He had already gone above and beyond the call of duty before he even stepped foot in Indianapolis.  Once he got there, he threw himself into it.  It seemed like he spent more time chained to the display throughout the weekend than the rest of us.  I would come and go, but he was always there, meeting and greeting.  Andy's a people person.  We were lucky to have him.  He hauled a ton of my stuff in his van, more than I could have packed into my little VW.  And he was a supportive friend throughout the weekend.  And boy do I love his little daughter, Mia.  She is a treasure.  Seeing the convention through her eyes made the event seem like some kind of wonderland.

It was wonderful to finally meet Unknown Primate on Sunday.  He and I clicked right away.  I wish he had seen the Bigfoot window at Wonderfest last year, or the King Kong windows we've done in past years.  But even without a primate-themed window, he dug our MaskFest display.

I had a great time reuniting with Robert, Sara, MissDrac, Uncula, Penny, Garou, Timothy, Monster Bob and many other UMAers throughout the weekend.  I hope I will see many of you again at Wonderfest in May!

And of course, we all owe a big THANK YOU to Eric Austin, the organizer of MaskFest and the man who invited the UMA.  Eric loves the toy display.  He and I have been working for months to figure out how to overcome various obstacles to make this toy tour appearance a reality.  There were times when it seemed like it wasn't going to happen.  Now it is behind us and it feels kind of surreal.  Did it really happen?  It did, and it was a big success in every way.  Eric believed in it and kept pushing to make it work.  At the show, he was awfully nice and friendly.  I know he had a mountain of responsibility on his shoulders and all kinds of ridiculous drama swirling around him.  But he kept it together.  He never lost his cool and never allowed logistical challenges to interfere with the fun.  So thank you again to Eric!

Raymond Castile


To give everyone a sense of how important this display really is, I would like to share one story of many from this weekend.

One of the artists at the Maskfest show came up to me and thanked me very sincerely for all the effort we put into the display.  Nothing unusual until I noticed that his eyes were beginning to tear up.  He told me that it's been hard for him to come over and talk to us about it; but one of Ray's Topstone masks brought him back to his earliest childhood Halloween memory.  He told me the story of his father wearing that mask as they ran around their neighborhood like a couple of kids; having one of the best times he can recall in his entire life.  He had not seen that mask since he was a young child, and that memory was all but forgotten until he laid eyes on the mask again.  As he shared his memories with me, it became very apparent to me that what we do at these shows goes far beyond just displaying monster toys.  We are bringing back these priceless memories to many people.  I can't think of a better way to share our collections than that.  Just that one experience made all the work and effort worthwhile.  And believe me; that was just one of many such responses that we recieved throughout the weekend. 


After seeing these pictures I wish I was there!!

I'm sure pictures alone can't even begin to do justice to the amount of hard work and planning that went into such an event.

Seeing some guys meet for the 1st time (Ray and Unknown)--man that is just the coolest.

Glad you guys had fun!!

--Jealous in NJ.
"I send my murdergram to all the monster kids, it comes right back to me, signed in their parents blood"


At every convention appearance, the UMA members assemble for a group picture.  Here we are Saturday at MaskFest:

Raymond Castile