My wife Lynne Hansen’s and my adventure began with a 6:15 AM flight on Wednesday, which didn’t seem like a good idea when we booked it and seemed even less brilliant when the alarm went off at 3:00 AM. But with the three-hour time change from Florida to California, we made it to Burbank around 11:00 AM, checked into the hotel, and took a cab to Sunset Boulevard. We wandered around there for a while, stopping at Book Soup (a bookstore so cool that it has a marquee outside to announce author signings) and the world-famous Carney’s to enjoy the gastrointestinal ecstasy of their chili dogs.
At 4:00, it was time to visit the Identity Films office. (It was my first time getting “buzzed in” through a gate, which was pretty sweet.) I got to meet Anthony Mastromauro and John Meckler, and we spent about an hour talking about the PRESSURE movie and various other subjects, such as the hot dogs I’d just consumed. Screenwriter Jake Wade Wall is attached to the project, but he was on deadline and couldn’t be there. Their enthusiasm is incredible, and though it’s all still in the really early stages, things are looking very promising. And they want to take a look at my screenplay for GRAVEROBBERS WANTED (NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY), so….
From there, we wandered around Sunset Blvd. a bit more, freezing to death. Apparently we were in what they call “June Gloom” season, and we’d expected the weather to mimic Florida’s and thus didn’t bring jackets. Slightly poor planning there. We then met with Tom and Audrey Price, who we’d met back in 2005 when I was in the area for EPICon. They took us out to a great Italian restaurant, where I ordered an avocado pizza just because it seemed weird, and it turned out to be delicious. Debbie Gibson was at the same restaurant. I wanted to go over to her and mention that the trailer for MEGA SHARK VS. GIANT OCTOPUS is the greatest movie trailer of all time, but she probably gets a lot of that. We talked horror movies and horror fiction for a while, and not only did Tom and Audrey pay for dinner, but they drove us back to our hotel. They rock.
We got up early on Thursday, still being on Eastern Standard Time, and took another cab to Hollywood, where we spent a while looking at the Walk of Fame and checking out the famous movie theatres. Then we decided to go on the Haunted Hollywood tour. It started out as a reprise of a bus tour we’d taken a couple of years in Grand Cayman, where the tour kept getting delayed because they kept seeking out more people to fill the vehicle, and different people were told that they were getting different tours. When the “Haunted Hollywood” tour added a family with three little kids who wanted to see the stars’ homes, we cried foul and asked for our money back.
Of course, they were never going to do such a thing. Instead, they moved us out of the van, and we went with a different tour guide to the official Haunted Hollywood Cadillac. Which wouldn’t start. When it did start, another car was parked too closely behind it, and it took several very kind people giving directions and milimeter-by-milimeter maneuvering to get it out of the parking lot. Then we were finally on our way! As a “haunted” tour, it was a big honkin’ dud. As a drive around Hollywood in a Cadillac, though, it was a hell of a lot of fun. And we got to see the homes from HALLOWEEN and A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET, so it ended up being a entertaining and worthwhile experience, even if they’re kinda scammers.
(I also don’t see the point of touring around to see the stars’ homes, since they all have bushes so high that you can’t see anything but a front gate. I assume the other tour was “Behind these bushes lives Tom Selleck! Behind these bushes lives Martika!”)
And…back to the hotel for the first Stokers-related event of the weekend! We gathered our booksigning stuff, and met up with Scott Browne, who was kind enough to drive us over to Dark Delicacies with him. Dark Delicacies is the coolest bookstore I’ve ever been to, and the place was packed, less of a signing than a Let’s See How Many People We Can Cram In Here mixer. If you wanted to punch a horror writer, you could have swung your fist at any time and connected with two or three of them. I got to sign a few copies of PRESSURE, reconnect with a bunch of old friends, and meet some online friends (like Joel Sutherland, Gabriel Faust, and Eric Christ) for the first time. As the crowd continued to grow, I squeezed over to a corner with actual oxygen and talked to Sharan Volin (who I hadn’t seen since Necronomicon 1996) for a while.
We returned to the hotel, then walked across the street to Del Taco, where we dined with R.J. Cavender and Boyd Harris of Cutting Block Press, and Eric Grizzle. And then, like total wusses, we went to bed.
To be continued…