Like the swallows of Capistrano, every year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend since 2009 starts and ends the same way. After spending weeks getting ready so nothing goes wrong, Friday morning opens and then EVERYTHING goes wrong. Grumble, grouse, contemplate going back to bed and not coming out until Monday morning. Rise above it, open up at 5:00 Friday evening, and then spend the entire weekend wishing that the party could keep going for the rest of the week. Come home and collapse, making plans for the next year as unconsciousness slides in. Repeat as necessary.
If there’s one big reason why I’m so enthusiastic about Frightmare, it’s because this show has one of the most interesting audiences I’ve ever seen. Quite literally, there’s no telling who may show up and say hello at the Triffid Ranch booth. Biology majors. Dentists. Stilt walkers. All of them come screeching to a halt and look surprised when they see a carnivorous plant vendor at a horror convention. I repeat: they’re the ones who are surprised.
By way of example, below is my dear friend Mischa Jordan, having left Jet Girl, Sub Girl, and Booga at home for the weekend in order to pose with a Nepenthes arrangement. Not only was she surprised to see an N. alata up close, but she was even more surprised to see the big stein it was in. (For obvious reasons, this arrangement was named “The Mullet of Metal”.)
Other than the initial difficulties of getting to the convention hotel and getting back out, thanks to ongoing road construction around DFW Airport, the only issue the whole weekend came from the lighting in the hall hosting the dealer’s room. Combine that with getting familiarity with a new camera, and I’ll state for the record that I plan to leave photography to the experts. Even with that aggravation, and lots of frustration with light levels and autofocusing, just look at the expressions on everyone’s faces.
As always, talking with the kids at shows is one of the great joys of setting up booths at said shows, and I had a real surprise. Among other guests was Madison Lintz, best known for playing “Sophia” in the cable series The Walking Dead, and she took a break on Sunday from signing autographs to wander around the dealer’s room. Not only was she intrigued by the plants in the first place, but she had no idea that the Atlanta Botanical Garden has a large carnivorous plant collection, including a Nepenthes collection. Since she mentioned that her teacher back home was offering her extra credit if she came back with interesting science information from Texas, I gave her my last spare copy of the May 2011 issue of Reptiles. If she becomes the Tippi Hedren of carnivorous plants when she gets older, well, it’s all my fault.
As of last check, the crew at Texas Frightmare Weekend still doesn’t have a complete count of the attendance, but I’m glad nonetheless that we were in a much larger space in a much larger hotel than in 2011. Between the Czarina and myself, when asked if we were going to be out for 2012, our simultaneous response was “Oh, HELL yes.”
More photos to follow…