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Since September of 2000, Ken and Pam Kish have been hosting the Cinema Wasteland Movie & Memorabilia Expo in Strongsville, Ohio.  Of course, the genesis of this started several years before where we would see Ken at some other convention and hear him bitching about how poorly run the show is.  Then we would hear those immortal words “One of these days I’m going to run my own show!”.  We would all laugh and think, “silly Ken….conventions are run by promoters.  Not by dealers.”

Then I believe it was in the summer of 1998, at the Wizard World Comic Book convention in Chicago when we went over to talk to Ken who was setting up his dealer booth.  With a big smile on his face, he handed us a flyer for his first show that would take place the following September.  The son-of-a-bitch was actually going to do it!  After all these years of complaining, he was finally going to show us “how a show should be run.”

This April of 2009 marked Cinema Wasteland’s 15th show.  That’s right people, 15th show!  Since that September, Pam and Ken have been putting together the best show in around.  And why is that?  It’s really simple when it comes right down to it.  They know what makes a good show, and more importantly, what makes a bad show.  So they go well out of their way to make sure that they don’t make any of the mistakes that other shows have done over the years, and some continue to do.  They’re main goal is to give the people coming through the door a great time.  No hassles, no hidden charges, no surprises, just a good time.  Seems pretty simply, doesn’t it?  Ken and Pam make it seem that way.  But for some reason, other promoters just can’t seem to copy what Cinema Wasteland has been doing for almost 10 years.  And all of us fans hope that this only the beginning.  Okay, enough of the ass-kissing, since Ken still won’t give me any inside hints as to upcoming guests until they’re official announced.

Let’s get down to the show.  Back in April of 2004, the Wasteland had its first spring show.  And the theme for that show was the 30 year anniversary of Texas Chainsaw Massacre.  He had guests from not only the original film, but from the two sequels as well.  It was a smashing success.  So five years later, the Wasteland brought out the saw once again for the 35th year anniversary reunion.

On a sad note, there were already a couple of guests that were at the 2004 show that had since passed away, art director Robert A. Burns and actor Paul Partain had passed away.  So it was quite a blow to walk into the show Friday afternoon to not only find that Lou Perryman had died the night before, but that he was murdered!  Definitely not a way to start off any show with news like that.  We had met Lou at a couple of other Wasteland shows, and he was a great guy, with plenty of fun stories.  But even with this tragedy, the great thing about these shows and horror fans in general is that even though these people have passed on, we keep their memory alive by keeping the movies alive.

Making the trip this time out in the Kryptic van was Dave Kosanke and Ryan Olsen from Wisconsin, Chicago Creepster Kristin, and the one and only artist Putrid.  We were all set for another great time, and knew we would not be disappointed.  Seeing all our dealer friends again, as well as the same fans that consistently come back to Wasteland, as we’ve said before is like a big family reunion.

And with each show, we always make some new friends.  Set up next to us this year was Terry Callen of Screaming Brain Studio.  With all the different designs of Freddy and Jason and Frankenstein out there, it was cool to see something different and unique.  And Terry brings just that to the table.  Plus, we were really drooling over his home-made “grief-cases”, which are coffin shaped briefcases.  Very cool.  Head over to his site, by clicking HERE and check out his artwork and t-shirts.  I think you’ll find something you’ll have to have in your collection.

Since this was the TCM reunion, there were plenty of guests from the original film.  Returning to the show was Gunnar Hansen (Leatherface), Marilyn Burns (Sally), Edwin Neal (Hitchhiker), Allen Danziger (Jerry), and John Dugan (Grampa).  But making their first Wasteland appearance was Teri McMinn (Pam) and William Vail (Kirk).  I know they’ve done a couple of shows before, but I don’t think they were prepared for what they were going to see at Wasteland.  From the short conversations we had with them, they were both having a great time.

Another stellar guest at the show was Danny Steinmann, director of Friday the 13th: Part 5, Savage Streets, and one of our personal favorites, The Unseen.  He had some great stories from all of those films that he worked on, and even did a live commentary during a screening of Friday 5 during the evening hours of the show.  Plus, as we pulled out some of our own collection to get signed, it’s always great to see their faces when a lot of times they’ve never seen these images before.

Making her first show appearance in the States (possibly first ever) was Christina Lindberg.  While she already had somewhat of a cult following, it wasn’t until Quentin Tarantino borrowed themes from Lindberg’s movie Thriller, where she plays an eye-patch wearing woman out for revenge, for his Kill Bill movies.  I have to admit that while I knew she had fans, I wouldn’t have expected her to be that big of a draw at any show.  So I was pleasantly surprised and even amazed at the amount of people that were in line to meet her.

The rest of the guest lineup featured stars from Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead (the originals, of course).  And long time Wasteland friend Tom Sullivan was back again with his amazing Evil Dead museum, filled with great pieces of history while Tom is filled with great stories.

So recession-be-damned or not, this April show had one hell of a turnout, and people were there to spend money!  It just shows that we horror fans always have our priorities a little different.  Sure, we could use this money to pay bills or even eat, but why do that we can use it to buy a DVD, movie poster, or maybe even beer (right Matt?).  This just shows the kind of people that come back to Wasteland year and year.  These are the dedicated die-hard fans that are going to make sure they come to have a good time.  And with Pam and Ken Kish at the helm, it’s going to be pretty hard not to have just that.  See you in October.


CHRISTINA LINDBERG
           

DANNY STEINMANN
        

TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE 35th ANNIVERSARY REUNION

TERRY McMINN
        

WILLIAM VAIL
        

GUNNAR HANSEN

TERRY McMINN & WILLIAM VAIL

TERRY McMINN & EDWIN NEAL

ALLEN DANZIGER & JOHN DUGAN
  

GUNNAR HANSEN & ALLEN DANZIGER

EDWIN NEAL, MARILYN BURNS & GUNNAR HANSEN

EDWIN NEAL & MARILYN BURNS