I’ve only been to Austin, Texas twice. Once thirteen years ago. And again this past October. The first time around was with the Ohio University, School of Film for the Austin International Film Festival. I got to meet film icons like Richard Linklater, Shane Black, Eric Red, Jeb Stuart, Christopher McQuarrie and the main man himself, Lawrence Kasdan. I also got to see great films like Waking Life, Brotherhood of the Wolf and Novocaine among others. I thought I would never have an experience like that again.
Truth be told, MondoCon II did not come close to that first visit, but I’ll be honest, I never expected it to. It did, however, come a lot closer than I thought it would.
I’ve been to a lot of conventions in that last few years. Most of them are overly crowded affairs that mainly consist of waiting in lines. They involve a ton of walking and typically include a lot of panels that I have no interest in or would have to camp out in lines overnight in the hopes of getting in on the action. No thank you.
MondoCon is a different kind of convention. It’s run by and developed for people who love movies and poster art (and, in my mind only I’m sure, to a lesser extant vinyl, toys, pins, etc…). Artists and vendors set up booths in a way that it was very easy to just chat. Sure there were some lines but even at that, it was very easy to chat with the poster nerds in the lines, which moved smoothly and quickly. In fact, literally the only problem I had all week was self inflicted. I pulled an amateur move and didn’t check my camera settings before conducting interviews. I know better, but was lazy. Audio settings had been changed and I shot a lot of soundless interviews. Pissed at myself, but like I said, self inflicted.
Oddly my greatest ISO (In Search Of) for the weekend wasn’t a poster, but rather signatures. In all honesty, I had no intention of buying a poster all weekend. I did, however, bring my treasured Star Wars Bounty Hunter set by Ken Taylor. I made it my mission to get his autograph six times over on the exquisite 12″ x 36″ pieces of paper. His attendance day one was delayed by some odd circumstances, but when he finally did arrive, it was achievement unlocked! Now my Star Wars quest is down to obtaining Olly Moss’s signature on his trilogy set. But that’s another story.
Anywho, remember when I said I had no plans on buying new prints? Well, best laid plains and all that. The only screening I had bought tickets for before the convention was Halloween. I was stoked to see the film in the theater for the first time and I love Jason Edmiston’s style, so win/win. The screening itself on Sunday night was amazing. I’ll be honest, the print was not great as it displayed an extreme oversaturation of red tones. The movie almost came of as ridiculous given some of the not so scary anymore moments that once set the standard in the industry. But to see the film in a theater with fellow enthusiasts was glorious. And of course the screenprint was absolutely beautiful.
As luck would have it though, that’s not the only screening I went to. I was able to snag tickets to The Goonies at the last minute. Ok, I’ll be honest. I enjoy the movie as a genuine child of the 80s, but it’s not my favorite. I was, however, curious to see it in the theater with an nerdy audience. Not to mention all those rumors of the latest Tyler Stout print. Both experiences were better than I could have hoped for, even if I still haven’t witnessed the deleted octopus scene. The film was great to see in the theater and of course Tyler’s print turned out amazing. So glad he’s back on the poster scene.
All in all, the weekend was a giant success. I had heard all the complaints about Mondo’s efforts last year. I have to say, they did overtime and fixed everything. I had zero issues. Kudos to them for putting on a fantastic event. Also great work to all the artists who showed up. I had great joy in talking with Oliver Barrett (hometown Cleveland shoutout!), J.J. Harrison, Jock, Gary Pullin, Kevin Burke, N.C. Winters, Dana Lechtenberg, Stan & Vince, Florian Bertmer, Kevin Tong, Daniel Danger, Mike Mitchell, Rob Jones, Ken Taylor, Jason Edmiston and so many others. I also got to meet so many other poster nerds that I have only known digitally. Specifically it was great meeting fellow Nerdlocker Nerds Bryan Rose and Adam Sanders (Salty Winters). Nerd4Life of course.
MondoCon. It really is something to behold, a world where you can talk about posters to your heart’s content without once getting a glazed look or eye roll. Try that with your “average” friends. They think you’re crazy for spending $50 on a poster.
I cannot wait for MondoCon III. I’ll be honest, when Mondo first announced this endeavor, I thought it was a showcase in self gratification. With year two, and seeing the effort in first person, I see it really is a convention for the fans. And I, as a long time poster fanatic, appreciate all the hard work.
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