Day two of our WEIRD family vacation was spent at Omaha’s amazing Henry Doorly Zoo – a place that definitely lived up to its reputation as being one of the world’s biggest and best! It signaled a vast improvement from our previous day and the kids seemed a lot happier which is what I was mostly concerned about. Right next to the zoo was a hamburger joint named “King Kong” that featured a loose interpretation of the “8th wonder of the world” on top of it! I really wanted to eat there (just because) but we opted to wait until we arrived in Sioux Falls for a classier dinner. Being the lone adult traveling with three teens made things rather costly come meal time, but we’d all had it with fast food. We ended up eating at a place called the Roll’n Pin Cafe’ & Grill which was the best food we’d had since the trip began.
On the morning of Saturday July 15th, my son, Luke, and I arrived at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, Illinois wondering what to do first. This was the 24th G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) and my 15th. For me, it’s never been just a convention but more a family tradition. Luke’s been to just about every one since he was born (he’s 13 now) and my four kids together have participated in every G-FEST activity imaginable. We’ve submitted models, participated in the costume contest, Luke won first place in the video game room last year and Alex (my eldest) got the blue ribbon in a Kaiju poetry contest when he was six. My kids and I were so entwined with G-FEST that it was actually painful covering it for this site during the years Alex had outgrown Godzilla, as indicative of the three-hanky sob-fest I posted HERE. Apparently my kids, themselves, weren’t immune to it either. My daughter, Jade, who was more or less dragged to these events growing up said that when she saw the end credit scene of Skull Island (where the existence of Rodan, King Ghidorah, and Mothra were revealed) she was flooded with nostalgia over G-FEST.
I should confess right now that I am not a car person. I remember in my married life that all the men in my wife’s family were definite “gear-heads” making me the odd man out during the holidays. Needless to say, I was happy when our friend, Joan Yingst (who shared my view of cars), covered the George Barris Charity Car Show during our brutal Chicago heat wave last July (see story HERE). Despite the obvious allure of the actual vehicles driven by “The Munsters,” I was still in no hurry to head up north to The Volo Auto Museum. That is until National Horror Host, Svengoolie, made a recent appearance there!
Our blog was scarcely a month old when we had the honor of featuring the work of Jeff Carlson. I knew who he was years before having been a member of the Svengoolie YAHOO group. Jeff had generously shared his talents to the group by showcasing some of his original art featuring the now National Horror Host. I am happy to say that we will be showing some of them in an upcoming post. For now, we’d like to once again point your attention to some of his amazing shirt designs for sale on his RobotMonkeyPirate site! Check them out…
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.
Yesterday I attended an afternoon showing of the new film RISE OF THE PLANET OF THE APES. Before the lights dimmed and viewers were reminded to silence their cell phones, I was immediately struck by the diverse audience this film attracted. There appeared to be equal numbers of black, white, young, old, teen couples, and even middle-aged genre fans (wink). Perhaps the finest example of the generational appeal the APES brand carries was illustrated by a man in his sixties assisting an elderly gentlemen to his seat beside me. He apologized as the older man’s cane fell on my feet and I smiled and asked if he was a big fan of the original PLANET OF THE APES. “Oh yes,” he said. “I’ll never forget the day my father took me to see it and now I’m taking him!”