Reflecting on the 2014 LDF




Ed. note- A few weeks out and I’ve had some time to reflect on the whole Living Dead Festival weekend experience.  The first part turned into a diatribe about conventions on the whole, but bear with me and you’ll get to hear about halushki.  Yes, halushki.- P.F.



Convention Matters (and How Conventions No Longer Matter So Much)


  • The LDF confirmed for me something I’ve known for a while:  I’m burnt out on cons.  I know I’ve said that before, but look no further than this past weekend for proof:  I passed on Chiller Theatre.  After 10 years, the streak is broken and I’m not even upset.  I’m aiming at taking a year off from cons altogether.  Hopefully this will give me fresh perspective.  For now, the thrill is gone.


  • Even if I were still in full con mode, there’s no reason ever to spend all three days at a con.  I run out of stuff to do even at big shows.  At the LDF, I intended to get 5-7 autographs.  If that were my sole reason for being there, I could have gotten them done within 10 minutes of the con opening on Friday.  Fortunately, I had planned a weekend around the show, so four days I spent in the Pittsburgh area were worth the trip.


  • The sole reason I even go to shows is for interviews now.  Getting autographs doesn’t jazz me up now that I have probably over 500 of them.  I’ve come a long way from that 32 year old guy who was star struck by Hell of Famer Kevin McCarthy at that first Chiller so many years ago.  If only I’d had a website and a recorder then.


  • I sound bitter about cons, don’t I?  More reason to take some time off.



Food on My Plate



  • The local eateries put french fries and coleslaw on top of most sandwiches.  This is sheer genius, and makes for sandwiches rarely rivaled in thickness.   I’m pretty sure the cook at Primanti Bros. put a knife thru it to make sure it wouldn’t attack.


  • Primanti Bros.’ # 2 selling item is the Pitts-burger.  It’s an awesome sandwich.  With fries and coleslaw on top.  I know this because the menu announces it.  It doesn’t announce the # 1 selling item, Iron City Beer.


  • Which shouldn’t surprise me, because Iron City is Pittsburgh’s local brew.  It surprises me, though, because it’s one mediocre beer.


  • I didn’t have enough curiosity to try halushki.  As Dom’s friend described it to me, it’s cabbage and noodles, plus whatever else the cook decides to spin into it.  It’s a Pittsburgh thing, and for this New Yorker, it can stay that way.  Do not confuse it with former WWE wrestler Hakushi, as I initially did.  He was not a surprise celebrity signing at the LDF.


  • Making a 40 minute stop at a Perkins somewhere in the wilds of Western PA may have saved me from hitting something worse than a deer.  After a long weekend, I was starting to fade out a bit, even with the VW’s stereo blasting Slayer and the windows down.  I clearly needed to bolster my internal battery.  Nestled in the hills was a Perkins, and so I sat and ordered a turkey plate with stuffing, gravy and cranberry sauce, and a large pot of coffee.  Unlike much of America, I disdain coffee, but I ordered a large pot and drank every last drop.  And I was awake the rest of the ride.  Which brings us right out of food and into…


The Road Can Be Hell


  • It didn’t start out that way.  I left at 5:30 am on Thursday morning, hopped up on Dunkin Donuts coffee and some egg sandwiches.  I hit so little traffic I made the trip in 7 hours, even with the occasional wrong turn.  The weather was unseasonably warm for mid-October in PA, and the ride was picturesque


  • The ride back, not so much.  Though my Galaxy III’s GPS told me I’d be home in a little over 6 ½ hours, it didn’t account for the Cross Bronx Parkway, or as I commonly refer to it, Hell on Earth.  An accident in the left lane caused a 90 minute delay across the George Washington Bridge and another 30 minutes on the Cross Bronx!  And let me tell you, getting home at 11:30 pm when I should have been home at 9:30, a full 2 hours earlier, is grinding on the soul at the tail end of a long weekend.


  • An orange belt isn’t just a ranking in karate.


  • Throughout my whole round trip from Levittown, NY to Evans City, PA in my rental Volkswagen Beetle, I didn’t hit a deer the whole weekend.


  • Coraopolis derives itself from the Greek for “maiden city.” kore= maiden, polis= city.  I wonder just how many people living in Coraopolis know this?  But hey, you all know I’m a language geek who loves etymologies now.


The End


  • For now.  But the future has plenty of stories to tell, straight from the laptop of Big Evil himself.



-Phil Fasso



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