During my interview with John Waite last year he mentioned wanting his next album to be an acoustic one. And less than a year later it’s here: Wooden Heart: Acoustic Volume 1. While it’s not a full-length album, the four songs on this EP, two of which were penned by Richard Thompson, are excellent. What makes these songs so enjoyable is the stripped-down arrangement, brilliant lyrics and heartfelt vocals. If I had to pick a favorite track, it would be “The One Who Got Away,” a Waite original that sounds both classic and modern. Autographed copies of this new release are available on John’s site and digital copies can be found on iTunes. If you love music as much as I do, make sure to pick up a copy of this brilliant EP.
On Friday I met KISS’ original drummer, Peter Criss, at the All Things That Rock Festival in Oaks, PA. This was the culmination of a terrific, music-filled year where I met and had my photo taken with all of the original and current members of KISS. I also had the privilege of being in attendance at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony earlier this year where KISS’ original lineup was honored.
This past weekend I went to Monster-Mania 27, a horror convention in Cherry Hill, NJ. This was my second Monster-Mania and I had a good time. My main reason for going was to meet Robert Englund, a terrific actor best known for playing Freddy Krueger in seven Nightmare on Elm Street films and Freddy vs. Jason. While it took six hours for me to meet Englund, I was able to check out the rest of the convention during this time because of a virtual queue the organizers put in place. They did this to prevent people from having to waiting in line all day. As long as you had your ticket – they limited it to 400 people – you were set. I found this to be an efficient way to deal with the demand to meet this horror icon.
During my time waiting to meet Robert Englund I looked at all of the merchandise available – everything from masks to t-shirts, to paintings, to movie posters. Then I walked through the autograph room where the majority of the stars were stationed, including Ernie Hudson from Ghostbusters and Tony Todd from Candyman, as well as various cast members of The Walking Dead. I abstained from spending money on anything other than Robert Englund and food because I’m heading to WrestleMania XXX in a few weeks, so I’d rather spend my money there.
When it was my turn to go upstairs to meet Robert Englund, I headed up the stairs to the second floor of the hotel and was told to wait in a room with approximately 50 people. Then one of the convention volunteers told us that Robert Englund’s agent wouldn’t allow people to take a photo with him – we could only take photos of him, which to me was extremely disappointing because that was my whole reason for going. When I was led into the room with Robert Englund, there were about 100 people sitting in chairs and he was on the far end of the room against the wall. Row by row, people were ushered to the front where they turned in their tickets and paid $40 for an autograph. There were photos available for Robert to sign or you could have an item that you brought with you signed. I opted to have him sign the sleeve of my Nightmare on Elm Street Blu-ray collection.
Despite being told I couldn’t get a photo with Robert, I had the girl in front of me take of photo of him and I with my phone. I couldn’t go around the table for the photo because a bodyguard was there, but I made the most of it and I think the photo turned out quite nice. When we were posing for the photo, Robert said, “Tell me when to look up” as he was autographing my item. The girl taking the photo said, “Look up” and Robert jokingly said in his Freddy Krueger voice, “Take the picture, biotch!” When we left she was on cloud nine that he spoke to her in his Freddy voice and we both laughed hysterically about what a cool moment it was.
After meeting Robert Englund, I grabbed dinner and attended the Q&A session for the twins from The Shining and, of course, Robert Englund’s Q&A, which was fantastic. He had a ton of energy and took command of the stage, like any great actor, and answered questions from the fans with humor and charisma. One thing that became abundantly clear during his Q&A is that Robert’s a lover of classic Hollywood. Being a Shakespearean actor, Robert Englund has a deep appreciation for classic cinema and the stage. It was made for an enlightening experience that everyone enjoyed.
I closed out the night by watching the 1994 film The Crow, one of many movies being shown throughout the day. I hadn’t seen it since the mid-1990s, and I’m glad I stuck around for it because it’s a great movie. From the cinematography to the impressive acting, it’s clear why this film still resonates with people 20 years after it hit theaters.
If you’re a horror fan in the South Jersey area, I highly recommend you check out Monster-Mania. It’s a well-run convention that’s well worth the price of admission. You can learn more details by visiting the official Monster-Mania website.