With Blair Murphy on a ‘secret mission’ (of a literary nature, possibly leading to something big–and yes, that is all that Our Glorious Leader would tell any of us), I was in charge of the weekly coffeehouse at the Grand Midway Hotel. I was ably assisted by Synthia (in a black promotional t-shirt dating back to when Wednesday was the night we all gathered here for hot beverages and genre flicks) and by Amber (in bright yellow–fairy? bumblebee?–costume). Me, I was in my crazed bellhop costume (complete with fake bloodstains, reportedly a reminder of what can happen when sufficiently generous customer tips are not forthcoming).
We opened the doors at 5 PM, Starbucks dark roast already brewed, a selection of cold drinks, crackers and chocolate bars all also available, plus the usual trinkets and odd gift items (used books, DVDs, voodoo dolls, necklaces, t-shirts, etc., etc.) just waiting to be snapped up.
I also put on the kettle for hot water, starting the evening with a cup of wild berry tea for myself. A pack of cream cheese crackers went quite well with it, thank you very much.
Come 6 o’clock we’d just started the night’s first film, a deliciously nonsensical B-movie that featured an iconic Wild West Gunslinger colliding with the equally iconic Vampire Count. . . .
Need I explain that the cause of their conflict was a cute cowgirl? How about the fact that Dracula was played by old John Carradine? The special effects were laughable when not non-existent and I would’ve loved to take in the whole lovable mess, but such was not to be.
A trio of puzzled onlookers peeked in the door about then, not even certain what was up with this odd 3-story building with people in costumes, a flashing “OPEN” sign in the window and so forth. I sold ’em a couple drinks and took them on a full guided tour, with Syn and Amber minding things in the bar area.
By the time I finished, the booths in the bar area were moderately full of a mix of return customers, friends and a newcomer or two. Syn and Amber had already collected the required fees ($3/person for unlimited hot drinks and the $5 each for two young folks who wanted a full tour). They’d also filled everybody in on the big Halloween Ball Blair is putting together for Saturday, October 26 at the long-abandoned church Mr. Murphy recently bought and is busily fixing up and re-purposing.
By the time I returned from the second round of tours, Billy the Kid et al had run its cheezy course and it was time for another offbeat movie. This one featured Joseph Cotten late in his career, improbably cast as Dr. Frankenstein, with Italian actress Rosalba Neri as the offspring determined to carry on his work. . . .
Oh, boy. It’s directed with low-budget nerve by Mel Welles (yes, the character actor in countless Roger Corman low-budget flicks, including the flower shop owner in the original LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS).
With several new people on hand, I of course took the opportunity to promote Blair’s work (including his self-published novels, fresh copies he has promised to have printed for the Dracula Con Ball, and of course the film Syn and I have small roles as “cultural zombies” (we want to eat your freedoms along with your flesh!): ZOMBIE DREAM (starring Eric Roberts, Butch Patrick, with a cameo by Stan Lee).
Oh, I also got to show off the cover art of one of the two publications that are supposed to be releasing stories of mine any moment now:
The crowd thinned out toward our 10 PM closing time, but that allowed Syn and Amber to take a couple ‘pokemon walks in the immediate area (Amber has gotten Syn interested in the game). Sandy Anderson, an old friend we hadn’t seen in a while, came by late and getting to chat with her rounded out a successful and enjoyable evening.