In what has now become an annual adventure with good friends, I descended (like a locust) into LA the first weekend of November, to attend Gene Kozicki’s now-legendary “Geek Night” party, which we extend into a “Geekend”, visiting friends, exciting places, and seeing amazing film artifacts. I braved BWI’s security (a very long line for only 5am), then flew into LAX and was greeted by Sean Sides, Sean Corsini, and Ed Minto – all talented model makers. We high tailed it to In-N-Out Burger (as is our custom), and were then met with Rob McFarlane, and then Craig Underwood, both also supremely talented model makers. This was our first time meeting Craig, who drove down from the Bay area (!) to take part in the weekend’s festivities. We then rallied at Gene’s house, all piling into the Suburban (which fit EIGHT). We then went to Propstore, and Brandon Alinger was the most gracious host you could ever hope for. A few “top secret” things were shown and lovingly cradled, and now I can say I have touched Star Wars HISTORY like I NEVER thought I would. We saw the Nostromo (crawling around like a dog taking pictures, lol), an Enterprise made from an unexploded pyro casting set, the big Edgar bug from Men in Black, the door to MUTHR from Alien (!!!!), a “dead Brad Pitt” from Fury, a rare Chaikin print from original art, an original Mark Raats, Yoda heads, and a Ghostbusters original Ghost Trap – all metal and built like a TANK. Quincy Cutshaw had a cancelled flight and was delayed, so we met up with him that first evening, going to dinner at Akasha in Culver City, a.k.a Flynn’s Arcade from Tron. We returned to the hotel, and I took a photo of my door so would remember where I was sleeping, lol!
The next morning we rallied at Dinah’s, where I enjoyed chicken dinner for breakfast (woo), and we visited the Space Shuttle, and had lunch at the Brentwood Country Mart. There was a Unionmade store there – I visited some Aldens and had a killer burger at Barny’s (I got the Chipotle). Now, I should mention this is now Saturday, and Gene was informed that his ENTIRE NEIGHBORHOOD would be without power until 3am the following day! So Geek Night was going to be a “Party like it’s 1899” situation! Thanks to Gene’s LED lights and glow sticks, which then joined forces with cool inflatable lights from Van Ling, it turned out to be a fairly well lit party that had the “high school illicit party” vibe. Sean Sides surprised us with custom shirts using Ed’s official Gene logo! Geek Night is amazing, where the hollywood “vfx royalty” and “muggle model makers” eat and drink until it’s far too late in the evening. We all chatted with Richard Edlund, Dennis Skotak, DC Fontana, Greg Jein, Pat McClung, Jon Erland, etc etc… I got to meet long time RPFers like DaveG and swgeek, finally! Met Dana Gasser from Anovos, and really love what he is accomplishing! Once again spending time with Jeff Bond and Nathan and the list goes on and on – it’s a heady night. Nathan brought his Landspeeder, which kicked ass. Anthony, Bernardo, and Jason from Sideshow brought goodies, and it was great chatting in the flesh – everyone has SUCH a passion for their work. I was really excited to grab Jon Erland over to Craig so he could show off his “small Blockade Runner” replica in progress, and Jon became very animated, explaining how he built it from all aluminum so it would act like a gigantic heat sink – you’ll note in the photo that he was gesturing so much that he’s a blur! That’s what makes Geek Night so special – you can show your work to the guy that built the ACTUAL MODEL and he will not only politely spend some time with you, you will hear stories and anecdotes that just open the history of visual effects up like nothing else. Also, everyone gets pretty hammered. We left around midnight and went to In-N-Out again, sharing the restaurant with a local Homecoming high school class, including the Queen sporting the sash and tiara. There was a fight close to 1am. We all left the surreal meal for the hotel…
The next day it was the general consensus that the party was a smashing success, and Gene deserves accolades all around – how does he do it! We rallied at Dinah’s again at EIGHT AM where I was the weirdo eating caesar salad. We then attended a really productive model kit convention where I got another three donors for my latest project! Craig volunteered to ship them home to me – I am in his debt!! We also popped by Randy’s donuts, spent time at Gene’s studying a screen used low altitude Death Star Tile from the original Star Wars (!!), and of course poured though Gene’s private stash of GOLD reference. Craig made another solid ID on the Death Star Turret, I found some details on Red 2 that I hadn’t had good angles of beforehand, and more…. We hadn’t had lunch so we stopped by the Fashion Mall (?) and I had the shittiest service. Serves me right for picking Persian Mall food, eh? Should have gotten the pizza, which other fellas ordered, ate, reordered, and ate again before I even got my shitty pita wrap. We then visited the old spot where ILM operated in Van Nuys, and then Willie Goldman arranged a tour of ADI where we saw ____________ from the upcoming film ______________. We were allowed to talk about and take pictures of things from Aliens, The Thing prequel, and Starship Troopers, so I’ve included that stuff! We then ate a killer meal at Gaucho Grill, and I flew home the next morning. A package from my father and Angela was waiting – Icelandic death candy and Pousse Rapiére! A celebratory gift for Lisa and I to enjoy! Gordon and Cosmoline were VERY glad to see me, and my office was decorated with sports banner™, lol.
Sigh. Another amazing weekend for the books. Thank you, truly, to everyone I saw and talked to – you are all kind, generous, and talented. I am honored to call you friends. Most of all thank you to my lovely wife Lisa, who enjoyed the quiet time, I am sure.