You have run the Cinema Wasteland festival in Cleveland for several years. How did it get started?
Honestly enough, it was because I set up at conventions around the country for about 15 years selling movies and
collectibles before I started the Cinema Wasteland Movie and Memorabilia Expo and thought that the majority of conventions
didnít offer their attending fans anything for their admission money except a few guests and a vendorís room.
As a fan, I wouldnít attend 99 out of 100 cons I set up at because I didnít think it was worth paying the price of
admission. After bitching to the friends around me that also set up as vendors at various cons for so many years, I figured
Iíd set out to run a weekend movie convention that I would actually pay to attend myself.
You have brought in several big
It depends on what you mean by ďbig
namesĒ. When I started to think about running the Cinema Wasteland
Show, I wanted to
celebrate the films I grew up watching at the drive-ins around
Cleveland and those were always B movies. Horror movies, spaghetti
westerns, black cast movies or ďblaxploitationĒ movies as they are
called, and exploitation films. The Cinema Wasteland Show is the only movie convention
in the country that has stuck to its guns after 22 shows and has never
wavered from its original vision. By choice, itís the only movie
convention running in the U.S. today that celebrates the drive-in era of
films made primarily between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s when
drive-in movies died off. Weíre primarily known as the movie
convention that has held more first time movie reunions than a show that
gives a shit about big name actors, but weíve had some big names in
the B movie market and a few A listers who have made B movies during
their career over the years.
Were any difficult to deal with?
Yes, there were a few, and itís
never the people youíd expect to be a problem. Unfortunately for
anyone reading this interview, I wonít name them. I donít hold a
grudge or talk shit about anyone. They simply will never be invited back
to another Cinema Wasteland Show, and thatís good enough for me.
What is the webpage for this
You can simply head to
www.cinemawasteland.com and the convention pages are right there on our
Do you still deal in film
Absolutely. I just rounded out 25
years of buying and selling B movies, posters, autographs, and
collectibles. I specialize in movie merchandise from the same B movies I
celebrate at the Cinema Wasteland Show.
You also collected and sold
wrestling memorabilia for years, but do not now?
Itís a business so I go with the
flow. And wrestling is basically just a bad B movie with atrocious
acting that Iíve watched off and on for my entire life, so when
wrestling is popular, Iíll sell wrestling merchandise. When it sucks
as much as it has the past few years, adults tend to quit watching it
and kids donít work or have money their parents donít just hand
them, so I donít carry it.
Why have, in this case, the
demands for such material changed?
The current wrestling product sucks
as much as 99.9% of the horror movie remakes that Hollywood is pumping
out lately, and both are currently geared towards kids. Kids donít
work like I did when I was delivering papers at nine years old or
working in a greenhouse at thirteen, so demand to me is based on who
will buy it. Nobody is buying wrestling stuff these days.
Have you ever been in any indie
Yes, Iíve been the ďmonsterĒ
and/or a ďheavyĒ due to my size in a few no budget productions over
the years, and Iím in more little documentaries and DVD featurettes
than I can count as myself, but Iíve done more work as an artist,
editor and sound man.
What do you have planned for
Your guess is as good as mine to tell
the truth. Iíve pretty much done everything I could within the
confinements of a convention setting that I ever set out to do and more.
Itís not that new ideas donít pop into my head, and Iíve got a few
great, creative people that are always there to help make sure the shows
go off without a hitch, so Iím sure between us weíll think of
something else new and exciting to present to our attending fans before
long. Until then, Iíll go with the formula weíve been presenting for
12 years and 22 shows now and always offer fans more than any one person
can do over the course of a three day weekend. I just posted the entire
weekend schedule of films and events for our October 5-7, 2012 show and
I jammed roughly 62 hours worth of movies, panels, guest talks, and live
entertainment into three days. And it all comes with the price of
admission with no hidden fees or extra charges to do or see anything we
What advice would you give others
for promoting similar festivals in other towns?
My advice to anyone would be youíll
have to be different and set yourself apart from the pack or youíll
just be another generic horror convention nobody will remember two hours
after it shuts down on Sunday. The convention market is so incredibly
saturated with horror movie conventions the past couple of years that
there isnít a chance in Hell Iíd ever start one myself right now.
When I started the Cinema Wasteland Show 12 years ago, there were maybe 6 or 8 horror
movie conventions running around the country every year. Currently,
thereís so many of them I canít keep up with them, and they all drag
the exact same guest list from town to town and show to show with zero
originality to tell any of them apart. The market is completely
saturated with conventions I canít tell apart from one another right
What would be the most rewarding
feature of running events like you do under the Cinema Wasteland
Happy fans. To me, Cinema Wasteland is a brand and Iíve spent 25 years of my life creating that brand. You
talk to Cinema Wasteland Show regulars, and to them, a Cinema Wasteland Show
is like a family
reunion twice a year. Like-minded movie fans all gathered together to
have themselves a great time. We attract fans from not just all over the
USA, but the world, and most of our attending fans attend other
conventions in their areas of the country, but Cinema Wasteland will always be
ďfamilyĒ to most of these people by what they tell me.
The most discouraging?
The long hours of trying to watch
movie submissions, scheduling so much into the weekend, and promoting
two shows takes its toll. Itís a full time job to run two movie shows
a year, and I already run a full time business and do a dozen other
movie conventions around the country as a vendor, so the long hours to
get everything right is the hardest part for me. Still, I enjoy
presenting my show to attending fans, so somehow Iím always ready to
go come show time and look forward to having myself just as much fun as
any attending fan through the doors, and that makes it all worth the
effort to me.
Any other interesting stories to
tell involving your promotional efforts?
I can tell a book full of stories
about doing this for over 25 years, but promotional efforts are just
that and promotion either works or you try something else.
On a personal level who would be
your favorite actor of all time?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
Hard to answer when Iíve watched
over 20,000 films in my life, but as a kid I was always into Boris
Karloff movies [Boris Karloff
bio - click here], and still enjoy all of his films to this day. Iím a
guy whoís never gotten onto lead or A list actors and always prefer
the character actors, or unsung heros of film and television. My
favorite stooge (from The Three
Stooges) is Larry so what does that tell
you? Currently Iíll watch anything guys like William Forsythe or Gary
Oldman are in. They envelope a role no matter how small and make it
their own, unlike actors like Keanu Reeves or Nicholas Cage, who suck in
pretty much role they give him, but still command the big dollar for
some reason Iíll never in my life fathom. I wonít watch anything
those two guys are in because they suck in everything they are in and
bring a movie down to me no matter how good the film is when they are
not on the screen.
Too many to count, but I could
probably give you a list of fifty or so of my favorites as long as you
donít want me to rank them from one to fifty in any kind of order.
Iíd just like to thank all of the
fans who make the Cinema Wasteland Show a regular weekend in their life
once or twice a year. Without them, the show wouldnít happen and Iím
eternally grateful for all of their input and support over the years. A Cinema Wasteland Show
isnít my show at all. Itís the fans' show and as the promoter
of their show, they deserve the best effort I can give them every time I
Thanks for the interview!