On Saturday July 11th a gathering of Gamera (Japan’s 2nd most famous monster) fans celebrated the giant turtle’s 50th birthday! It was one of the highlights of this year’s G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) as the kaiju reptile was a favorite of mine growing up back in the ‘70s. Though I prefer reliving those films via Mystery Science Theater 3000 these days, I believe his 1995 return, Gamera: Guardian of the Universe, is one of the best in the genre. The “50 Years of Gamera” panel was moderated by August Ragone and Kyle Yount. This was another big draw for me as I’ve wanted to meet Mr. Ragone for some time now. His contributions to both the horror host realm as well as Japanese monster fandom is far too numerous for me to list here. Suffice it to say, we encourage everyone to check out and follow this Rondo Award winning writer/commentator on his own blog, The Good, the Bad, and the Godzilla. Yount moderates his own Kaiju themed podcast, appropriately named KaijuCast which you can check out HERE.
Here are some of the great works of art featured at this year’s G-FEST!
One of the highlights of the Daves Zoo Tour 2014 has been the little side trips we have been doing, exploring other interests outside of the animal kingdom. On my second day in the Chicago area we visited a store that is a dream come true, as it caters to Godzilla fans. The name of the store is Monster Island Toys and though it is kind of unassuming from the outside, the inside is chock full of eye candy for Godzilla fans and toy lovers!
I have to confess that my favorite part of G-Fest is checking out the amazing models created by fans and put on display during the weekend. I had tried my hand at it a couple of years too but found out that I am better off sticking to writing as opposed to model-making. This stigma, however, is a personal issue, as ALL ages and skill levels are not only welcomed but encouraged here.