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Horrorfind 2007 - Hunt Valley, MD
This year, due to a film project Grim is working on, he and I (Kuzibah) were only able to stay at this year's Horrorfind through Saturday. Which was something of a disappointment, since this year's event was a big and wonderful as ever, proving once again that Horrorfind is the northeast's premiere horror celebration.
We arrived Friday evening, and soon caught up with our friends Miss Lori and her daughter Kat. We quickly checked out the vendors' floor, then made our way to the haunted house, which was just about to open. The house's theme this year was dolls and other creepy playthings, and the cast and designers met the task admirably. As always, I was amazed that the crew managed to build a multi-room haunt so quickly and restricted by the hotel's guidelines on the rooms. It was good fun, and enjoyed by all.
Afterwards, we joined Lori and Kat in the "Werewolf
Inn" Café where we
to some karaoke performances.
Saturday we got an early start and checked out the celebrity room. This year's special guests were the cast of the new remake of Halloween, including the inimitable Malcolm McDowell. Obviously, there was no getting near Mr. McDowell if we had any hope of seeing the rest of the show, but we did meet three of the ladies of the cast, Danielle Harris, Scout Taylor-Compton, and Kristina Klebe, and found them most charming and generous to the fans. I wish them all much success.
Another celeb we were quite taken with (and surprised to see, frankly) was Michael Gross, best known as the father from the TV series "Family Ties." But Mr. Gross was there is his capacity as a star of the cult-film series Tremors. He seemed to be as taken with us as we were with him, and we had a very nice chat about some classic literary horror that he might want to check out.
At 1:15 we were off to our own performance--- a storytelling session in one of the hotel's salons. It was a greater success than I'd expected, given the festival's emphasis on adult horror and our emphasis on family-friendly spookiness, but we had a most appreciative audience and enjoyed ourselves immensely. We'd also like to extend our thanks to Nicole for helping us get the salon set up for the show and for starting us off in an appropriately chilling way by becoming trapped inside the room.
Later that afternoon, Grim and I attended a listening party for Monster Genocide [ http://www.monstergenocide.com/ ] which is bringing back the old-time radio drama experience via the podcast. They played two episodes, which we found clever and witty. But don't take our word for it, follow the link above and download for yourselves.
At the end of the evening was the high point of every Horrorfind weekend: The Horrorfind costume contest. There were a number of beautifully made and, in some cases, quite spooky costumes. Notable standouts include an elaborately-costumes witch and her minion, a creepy little-girl doll, the puppet from Saw (on a tricycle, no less), an evil version of one of Maurice Sendak's "wild things," and the "funniest" winner: a portrayal of our friend "Joe Ripple, head of Horrorfind security." (Really, it was quite uncanny.)
The winner? A very impressive "wolf-bat" creature on stilts, which prompted an outburst from celebrity judge Udo Kier that can unfortunately not be recounted in a family website (but a few searches on YouTube using key terms from this paragraph will turn it up.) I can't wait to see how they top it next year!
Horrorfind returns in March for the spring show. Hope to see you there!
We'll be adding essays and other features during the month, but I wanted to call special attention to the 13 list, and our very first CONTEST. Find Moira, and you can win a prize filled with all sorts of fun stuff.
P.S.- More news about Grim's film project will be upcoming. Be sure to watch this space.
Blobfest 2007 - Phoenixville, PA
This past month, Grim and I, Kuzibah, once again traveled to the Colonial Theater in Phoenixville, PA for their annual celebration of that unstoppable amoeba from space, The Blob. This was the eighth year for Blobfest, and the theme was An Inconvenient Blob, a nod to both Al Gore's film about the dangers of global warming, and the film's last line that warns that we'll remain safe from the Blob as long as the arctic stays cold. (Think about that next time you use an aerosol can.)
This year's attendance was bigger than ever. For the Friday night reenactment of the "running out of the theater" scene, the seats were completely filled an hour beforehand, and attendees were entertained by the rockabilly band, The Rivers, while they waited. Our friends Ghoul-a-Go-Go and Dr. Frank N. Stone were also on hand to emcee a very lively tin-foil hat contest and the ever-popular scream contest. By the time the crowd ran screaming into the street, nearly as many spectators as participants had crowded the block.
On Saturday, The Rivers were back to perform at the all-day street fair that ran for several blocks on Bridge Street. And for the first time, the theater itself opened its upper floors to visitors. The third floor was where the festival's guests, including Kay Linaker, author of the screenplay, and our friend Wes Shank, the "keeper" of the Blob (or at least the silicone material that played the Blob in the film.) Tricorner Publishing, the publisher of our book, Essential Creatures, was also there, so we were able to spend some time talking to the guests.
Another interesting feature of the third floor was the theater's projection booth, which houses the film projector. I have to confess, I had never seen one before, and the projectionist, Ted the Fiddler, was quite amenable to letting us look it over. It was much larger than I expected, about the size of an upright motorcycle. Since The Blob featured a scene where the title creature enters the theater through the projection room, Ted had some fun during the screening by pressing his face against the booth's window and screaming. As he laughingly told Grim, "it's my only scene."
Again, we were judges at the costume contest, and this year's entries were quite imaginative. There was a mad scientist with a remote-controlled blob (we later spotted him and his family wearing blob hats), a two-man puppet show of the blob and its victim, and the contest winner, a model of the Downingtown Diner, which is featured in the film's finale.
As always, we'd like to extend our thanks and congratulations to Mary Foote and her legion of volunteers at the Colonial Theater for a most successful Blobfest, and a very enjoyable time. If you'd like to read more, you can visit the Cinema Slave website, which visited Blobfest for the first time this year. Or check out the online magazine, Slate.com, which also features video of the event, including a brief appearance by our very own Grim Reaper.
MonsterBash 2007 - Pittsburgh, PA
On June 22nd, The Grim Reaper and Kuzibah traveled to Pittsburgh, PA for the 10th anniversary of Monster Bash, a wonderful family-friendly celebration of the classic (and not-so-classic) monster movies of the past. Due to some traffic tie-ups, we arrived too late to attend any of the Friday evening festivities, but were there bright and early Saturday, soon after the doors opened at 10.
One of the special guests this year, appearing for the first time at Monster Bash, was the voluptuous Elvira, horror-hostess and actress. Not surprisingly, there was a long line to meet her, but I kept our place while Grim chatted up the line, and before long we had an audience with the lady herself. First, at the risk of sounding a bit star-struck, I want to say that she is quite lovely, and was most gracious and kind to her devoted fans. When we finally reached the front of the line, she happily posed for a photo and signed my video. Then we congratulated her on her new television programme (coming this Fall on the Fox network) and went out to catch some of the other events.
We took a turn around the dealers' room, which, if you have never been and are a collector of old films, strange films, and really unusual memorabilia, you really must attend. I'm afraid I went a bit mad myself, but I also got some irresistible bargains on used DVDs. Along the way we spent some time with our friends from Castle Blood, who gifted up with the first two volumes of their programme, Midnight Monster Hop, the creative folks at New Illusions Pictures who were very excited about their most recent film, The Absence of Light, and the charming Baron Wolfbane.
We spent some time with the dashing Vlad Tepes, one of the stars of the marvelous Ghoul a Go-Go, and learned that we had unfortunately just missed the screening of their latest episode, but it was good to see him in attendance. We also had a lovely chat with multi-talent Robert Tinnell. Although he is best known to film fans for his films "Frankenstein and Me" and ghost story "Believe," Robert has more recently been working on some wonderful and very well-received graphic novels, including WWII monster story "The Black Forest," vampire-western "The Wicked West," and the online comic "Feast of the Seven Fishes," which includes a cookbook. He also hinted that one of his projects may soon be headed for the silver screen. Stay tuned!
That evening, the traditional celebration (with cake!) kicked off to everyone's delight, and then the bulk of the attendees went around to the back of the hotel, where a field had been cleared and a movie screen erected for a screening of the 1941 classic, "The Wolf Man." Lawn chairs and blankets were spread out under the clear night sky, and as the films hapless title character neared his fateful transformation, the moon rose up over the trees. As a Bash attendee noted, the only thing that would have made the scene more perfect would be if it had been a full moon that evening.
After the film, little ones were carried off to bed, and the night owls repaired to the auditorium for a performance by Bash favorite, stand-up comedian Don Reese. Don, a gentle giant of a man who bears more than a little resemblance to Tor Johnson, does a wonderful routine peppered with many references to old sci-fi and monster pictures, not to mention self-deprecating humor based on his own frightening countenance. The performance was preceded by a film montage by Basher Charles Henson, a compilation of clips that feature a word Don thinks has suffered from a change in meaning over the years. He suggests in his act that we return to the word's original meaning, as seen in old sci-fi movies. See if you can guess which word it is.
After Don Reese, horror-host and make-up artist Tim Herron presented a dramatic recitation of a selection from Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. It was a truly remarkable performance, and I am pleased to report that the entire audience who had come for Don's show stayed through for the presentation. They were amply rewarded, and I hope Tim returns next year. Afterward, Grim and I retired for the evening.
The next day, we were only able to stay for a few hours, so we decided to catch up with some of the stars we'd missed the day before. First was special guest Richard Kiel, best known as "Jaws," in the James Bond films, but also featured in several other sci-fi films over the years. Charles Henson also produced a montage of his featured roles. Mr. Kiel was appropriately menacing while pictures were being taken, but we were more charmed afterwards, when we overheard him discussing cake recipes with a fellow Basher! We also had a lovely chat with Laurie Mitchell, who in addition to lots of TV work in the 50s and 60s, was in "Attack of the Puppet People" and played the title role in "Queen of Outer Space." I also had a nice conversation with Dee Ankers-Denning, daughter of actress Evelyn Ankers and actor Richard Denning, who, upon hearing my accent, reminisced with me about her time living in London.
Unfortunately, we had to hit the road earlier than we would have liked, so reluctantly we bid farewell to another Bash well done. Next year, the Bash returns to Butler, and the recently renovated Days Inn. Although there was some small amount of controversy about this location, I am happy to be returning there, if only for the much larger dealers' room. Hope to see you there: June 20-22, 2008!
Horrorfind Weekend, Spring 2007 - Baltimore, MD
The first weekend of March we attended the latest Horrorfind Weekend event, a second weekend in the spring to complement the original event in August. This event took place at a new hotel, which apparently caused a bit of confusion among some of the attendees, but fortunately they eventually found their way to the new venue, a lovely place with a very attentive and agreeable staff.
The Patient Creatures arrived late Friday night and made our way to the hotel lounge. We quickly met up with our friends Dave "Ghoul" Christman and Chad Savage, who were being mightily entertained by one of the convention guests (who we shall not name here) who was, shall we say, rather merry. We then found our way to the main registration table. Although it was closed at this time of the evening, we were very pleased to meet up with our friend J.P. (one of the stars of Dead Hunt, the latest from Timewarp Films) who was working the overnight shift on security. But before long the trip caught up with us, and we repaired to our room for the night.
The next morning, after a refreshing breakfast, we took in the lay of the land. Not surprisingly, as this was the first spring event, the crowds were smaller than in August. But we were pleased to see that they were enthusiastic and well-behaved, making the most of the more intimate setting to get close to the guests, get more involved in the panels, and find some unusual merchandise. We were also pleased to see a lot more families than we were used to.
The Art Show, only the second since the inaugural show last August, was again run by Dave and Chad (see above.) The selections were more varied than the August show, and Dave tells us that sales were exceptionally lively.
Then, Saturday night, the centerpiece of the event, the great Horrorfind costume contest. Again the young fans were much in evidence, with not only several young entrants, but two entries taking top prizes: a young Cenobyte (from Hellraiser) and a pair of young ladies as the creepy "elevator ghosts" from The Shining. The grand prize winner was another friend of the Creatures, horror-host Karlos Borloff as a convincing (and very lively) denizen of Japanese Monster flicks.
Finally, on Sunday, we presented the debut of Essential Creatures, our book featuring the best articles form this very website! We sold a number of special preview copies, and gave away our promo bookmarks to a few special fans.
Since we have not been able to update our photo album yet, we direct you to our friend The Zombie Cheerleader's album of the weekend.
And if you'd like to order
your own copies of Essential Creatures, or pick up bookmarks or
button sets, you can at Tricorner
Publishing's on-line store.
Click the link to make your purchase.
Halloween 2006 - The Halloween Opera, Jim Thorpe, PA, The Haunted Barn, Lower Providence, PA, and The Cox's Point Haunted Mansion, Baltimore, MD
Well, it was another very busy Halloween season for us this year, so I hope you'll forgive us if this month's website is a bit reduced. We're updating most of the features, but a few will be resting until December.
First, I'd like to thank everyone who came out for the Halloween Opera in Jim Thorpe at the beginning of the month. The event is one of our favorites, as I'm sure we've mentioned, and the artistic offering are more varied each year. Our friend D. E. Christman was there with his Gothic artwork. Hugh Luck, Halloween collector and historian, returned with some of his collection. Our friends from Manifestations returned with more of their elaborate and beautiful work. And we spent some time with painter Tina Imel and her eerie portraits.
Unfortunately, Miss Rebecca, the Opera's founder and most tireless worker, was unable to attend due to illness, but we hope she is feeling better now, and we look forward to next year's event.
Then, on Oct. 21st, we appeared at the Haunted Barn in Lower Providence, PA, an event that benefits the Methacton Community Theatre and the Optimists Club, which sponsors youth athletics. The attraction was divided between the loud and intense thrills of the barn and the close, claustrophobic chills of the nearby farmhouse. A variety of spooks and monsters were on hand to frighten the patrons inside, while we took our post along the path between the buildings to guide the guests along their way. The event put us in mind of our roots at the Haunted Theatre, and we felt rather nostalgic.
Finally, on Oct. 28th, we returned
to the Cox's
Point Haunted Mansion
in Baltimore, MD. The event itself was better than ever, with
elaborate set pieces like the haunted elevator and the werewolf
exhibit, but unfortunately some rather brisk winds (we estimated
them to be a sustained 30 mph, with even stronger gusts) limited
our usual performance. Instead we moved inside the house, and
managed to surprise and delight several of the guests. We'd like
to thank Steve and Joe for inviting us, and we very much look
forward to returning next year.
Horrorfind 2006 - Hunt Valley, MD
On August 10th Grim, Moira, and I, Kuzibah, traveled to Hunt Valley for the sixth annual Horrorfind Weekend. The show has grown over the years to become one of the premiere horror events in the northeast, catering to movie fans, costumers, collectors, and proprietors of haunted attractions.
We arrived late Friday evening, and immediately went to the large dealer floor. Before long we met our friends Miss Lori, her daughter Kat, and Kat's girlfriend Julie. It has been awhile since we'd seen them and we were thrilled to catch up with them. We also ran into a number of friends from past events, and strolled around until they kicked us out at closing time. We then joined Lori and her family in the upper lobby and talked with them while commenting (from afar) on the outdoor movies being screened.
The next day we caught up with our friends at Time Warp Films who were screening their latest film, Dead Hunt (see Grim's June "Raves from the Grave" for a report from the premiere.) Several of the film's stars and production crew were there, and when the film began, there was a respectable crowd in attendance. The screening was very well received, and our friend Joe Ripple, the film's director, seemed pleased.
Afterwards, we went to the "Sanitarium," the on-site haunted attraction. Built by volunteers in one day, some of the effects were very clever, and the actors were quite enthusiastic. One young ghoul, "The Jackal," was especially creepy, staying totally mute as she followed us around. After the Sanitarium, we stopped next door at the Art Show (Horrorfind's first,) which was being organized by our friend Dave Christman. The art was quite varied, from delicate watercolors of strange creatures to large, vividly-rendered photo montages. There was even a collection of ceramic housewares straight out of H.P. Lovecraft's tales (the Accursed Liquid Soap Pump of Aald, anyone?)
That evening, we got in line early for the weekend's premiere event, the costume contest, but even then we were halfway down the hallway. Our friends Curtis and Dr. Sarcophiguy of "The Spooky Movie" soon joined us, and shortly after that The Cryptkeeper from Count Gore's website spotted us. Since the Count was the emcee for the evening's festivities, Madame Cryptkeeper gave us a seat upgrade to the Count's seating area.
The costume contest, as usual, did not disappoint. (See The Family Album for photos of the event.) Several of the creations were quite startling, especially a marvelous aquatic creature inspired by Lovecraft, a pair of futuristic "waste-disposal" workers, and a young "Invader Zim." And when a winner was finally crowned, the award was another surprise: $500 and a large-screen TV! (It makes one wish one wore a costume ) After the contest we encountered other friends, including "Scream Queen" Darian Caine and artist-model Alexxus Young.
Even later Moira and I went to a midnight lecture by paranormal investigator John Zaffis ("A Haunting in Connecticut") who presented a slide show of his most unusual cases. Some of the images were quite strange, and Moira lingered to discuss Mr. Zaffis's work with him.
The next day was Sunday, and we went early to take in the "lights-on" tour of the Sanitarium. It's always interesting to see how various effects are done, and the designers and builders were more than happy to explain their work. Afterwards, we paid our final visits to the dealers' room, the many guests in the VIP room, and the art show, now selling the works at clearance prices. We bid our farewells to all our friends (a somewhat lengthy process, I'm happy to say) and headed home.
In all, a most enjoyable weekend. We hope to see you all there in 2007!
Blobfest 2006 - Phoenixville, PA
July 14th and 15th found Grim and Kuzibah at this year's "Blobfest," in Phoenixville, PA, a celebration of the 1958 movie, The Blob, and the town where it was filmed. This was the seventh annual event, and it has certainly grown from its first year, where the festival consisted of, well, a showing of the film. Now it is a two-day street fair along several blocks.
We arrived Friday evening, just after dark. A fairly sizable crowd was strolling Bridge Street, browsing at some of the shops that had stayed open late. We made our way to the Colonial Theater, where key scenes were filmed, to find nearly every seat filled, and local "oldies band" The Rivers entertaining the crowd. They were playing popular songs from the year of the film's release, accompanied by a girl group called The Cosmos. They ended the set with the number one song of 1958. Can you guess what it was? No, not Elvis. Not Buddy Holly. No, it was our old Halloween favorite, "Purple People Eater." (Luckily, Grim and I knew the dance.)
Then it was time for the centerpiece of the evening: The re-enactment of a scene from The Blob, where panicked moviegoers flee the theater. Master of ceremonies Doctor Frank N. Stone gave the signal, and off we went, screaming in mock terror. Local and national news cameras were there to capture the scene, and afterwards we all milled about, congratulating one another on foiling the Blob.
At this point, who did we happen to meet but an old friend from our days at Six Flags, Miss Jennifer! She's quite grown up, and was visiting with some relatives she had brought along to the festival. We were so pleased to see her again, and several photos were taken. Unfortunately, we had to cut things short, as we were due back early the next morning for Saturday's festivities.
Saturday began with the annual "fire extinguisher parade" (it makes sense if you've seen the movie) followed by the costume contest at which Grim and I were judges. Some of the strange creatures crossing the stage included a pirate, two "yip-yips" from Sesame Street, a couple of "lady blobs" vying for the star's attention, and our friend Jennifer as a cuter version of MoC Dr. Stone (and a quite uncanny likeness it was.) There was a bit of confusion about the scoring, but ultimately the winner was Ms. Babette Blob (read about the controversy HERE.)
Following the costume contest we judged a hula hoop competition, again accompanied by the music of the Rivers. All the participants did a great job, but we were especially impressed by a young lady named Charlotte, who hooped through a lengthy surf number without a pause. We were pleased to crown her Hula Queen.
Then it was time for the first airing of the film, so Grim and repaired to the theatre to join a packed house in a raucous viewing of "The Blob." We cheered and laughed along with the crowd, but afterward we found that while we were enjoying it, the weather outside had turned decidedly violent, and heavy rain had unfortunately brought the street festival to a premature end. We stayed a bit longer, even did a bit of shopping in the historic downtown area, but sadly it seemed that Blobfest had come to an end.
Many thanks to Mary Foote and all of the staff and volunteers at the Colonial Theatre and throughout Phoenixville who worked so hard to make this year a success. See you there next year!
See pictures from this year's
Blobfest at The
Read more articles from the local paper: Return of the Blob and Annual Festival Continues.
MonsterBash 2006 - Pittsburgh, PA
Hey, everyone, Kuzibah here.
The weekend of June 23-25 saw Grim and I returning to one of our favorite film festivals, MonsterBash. Run by Creepy Classics, the Bash is a celebration of the classic (and not so classic) horror films of the 50s and 60s. The Patient Creatures have a long history of appearances at the festival, and it's one of our favorites. Because the emphasis is on films with a low gore quotient, families with even very small children can enjoy the films together, and we get to meet parents and kids (and sometimes grandparents) who come to the Bash together.
This year's unofficial theme seemed to be "a change of perspective" with guest of honor Bert I. Gordon, who directed both giant ("The Amazing Colossal Man") and shrunken ("Attack of the Puppet People") heroes, and special guest Yvette Vickers, who played the scheming floozy in "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." Also on hand was Bert I. Gordon's daughter, Susan, an actress in her own right, and legendary Horror Host, Zacherly!
We first arrived early Saturday morning to catch the latest episode of "Ghoul A-Go-Go," the New York-based show featuring Vlad and Creighton. It featured the Japanese girl group the 5-6-7-8's (also seen in Quentin Tarantino's film "Kill Bill") and lots of Japan-themed film clips, and, of course, the young fans dancing their favorite dances, like "The Monkey."
Afterward, we checked out the lobby, where a silent auction was going on to benefit a young "Monster Kid" named Noah, who is suffering from a rare genetic condition. Collectibles and original art was on the block, with all proceeds going to the child's treatment, but the big bid-grabber of the day was an original framed drawing by Paisley, daughter of Creepy Classics owners Ron and Ursula Adams, which ultimately brought in $200.00 for the charity.
At midday, we took in a screening of the above-mentioned "Attack of the Puppet People," hosted by writer/director Bert I. Gordon, and stars Susan Gordon and Kenny Miller. Bert I. Gordon told a charming story about how his daughter was "introduced" in the film. It seems he had cast her Brownie Troop in a scene in the film, when the actress set to play a little girl in the movie became sick. As the time to begin filming approached and a new actress could not be hired, Gordon approached his daughter and asked if she thought she could learn the lines for the part. "I already have," she informed him.
After the film, we were able to catch up with our friend Curtis, moderator of the Horror Host Underground. We talked about the other Hosts on the lists, who was taking time off (Dr. Sarcophiguy and Doctor Gangrene,) and how the collaborative novel he was working on with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, "Underpants of the Dead," was nearing its finished form. Then we filmed some footage for Curtis's ongoing documentary on the history of Horror Hosts and where the medium is headed for the future.
That night we joined our fellow bashers for the traditional reception, where cake was served, and friends and fans enjoyed one another's company. We caught up with "Night of the Living Dead" actress Kyra Schon, Nikki the Zombie Cheerleader, the orange-shirted army of Bash volunteers, and several new friends, as well. Afterwards, we grabbed our seats for the hottest ticket of the weekend, comedian Don Reese. In addition to being very funny, Don is also as big a fan of the old films as any of the attendees, and he used his time to reminisce in his usual skewed way on favorite Bash memories. Soon all the audience was laughing out loud.
Afterwards, we were treated to a special video. You see, the festival moved this year from its long-time home in Butler to a smaller hotel near the Pittsburgh airport, but we soon learned this site was only temporary because next year it will move to the sprawling St. Vincent's College, where it will be able to take advantage of the gymnasium (200 tables of merchandise), a 700-seat theatre (no standing room for Don Reese's show), and the sports fields (where they'll project movies on a big screen.) The video showed the large, modern campus and all the amenities we'll be able to take advantage of.
Then it was a sing-a-long of the "Song of the New Wine" (from Universal Pictures' "Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man") and the great swag giveaway, as Ron and the rest of the Creepy Classics Crew threw toys and other fun things to the fans. We ducked a few frisbees (and snagged two, one to later be given away to a friendly hotel staffer for her son) and then said our farewells for the night.
We returned Sunday, where I found I'd won my bid on a pair of handmade Frankenstein earrings, and then we were off to the guest rooms to talk with the Bash featured guests. All were most gracious and friendly, and we were pleasantly surprised to be greeted by Famous Monster artist, the legendary Basil Gogos, who remembered us from past appearances.
Then we attended a screening of the B-classic, "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman." It was most enjoyable, and a wonderful indication of where most bashers' sympathies lay, for when the titular character burst through the roof to go in search of her cheating husband and "that woman," she was given a round of applause. Afterwards, there was a Q & A with Yvette Vickers, still lovely and charming.
By then the bash was winding down, and we said our goodbyes, promised to see them all again at St. Vincent's college, and left for another year.
Thanks so much to Ron and Ursula, and all the wonderful staff at Monster Bash, for all their hard work and hospitality, and wishing them the best of luck with next year's venue.