Cinematic Titanic LIVE! - Chi-Town
Chicago, IL  9/10-12/2009

The casual reader of this page will notice it is much longer and photo intensive than my other live event write-ups.  That's because this is not only a celebration of a fun-filled, three night Cinematic Titanic movie fest, but also I wanted to document the convergence of a large group of CT Forum regulars who welcomed me into their fold for the weekend.  Please peruse my homage to a great bunch of new friends and I hope everyone will not only enjoy the CT related pictures, but also reading and seeing some of our exploits in the Windy City.

First off, thanks to everyone for supplying pictures in order to help make this write up complete.

I had to reschedule some activities at work, but at the last minute I was able to take a couple days off so I could drive to Chicago for the entire three day Cinematic Titanic weekend. 

After arriving at the Days Inn Elk Grove, my home for the next few days, it suddenly hit me that being a newbie on the CT forum I didn't know what a single person looked like nor did I know their real names.

I decided to leave my card at the front desk and told the clerk that if he heard anyone mention Cinematic Titanic to let them know I was here.  About 5 minutes later my room phone rang and I was told a group was outside waiting for me.  I quickly went out, introduced myself and we were off to the theater.
Here is the Lakeshore Theater.  Notice all the window air conditioners.  That should have let us know that it might get a little steamy inside.  A few hundred rabid CT fans have been known to raise the temperature a degree or two.

The folks working at the theater were really cool and made us feel at home.  The owner of the theater regularly roamed the lobby chatting with the crowd.
A nice lady at the theater was kind enough to let me have one of the cool posters used to advertise the show.

Below on the left is another small card I found that is chock full of info about the event.

Finally, here is my ticket from the first evenings feature, East Meets Watts.  Oh, yeah.  Disregard the date and time on the tickets.  The schedule changed a few days before the event, but revised tickets weren't issued.

Actually 9/10/09 at 7:30PM
While waiting for the show to begin I had a chance to chat with Ron Degroot (RAD).  It will be no surprise to any one that he was gracious as always.  On this trip though I think he went above and beyond to make us all feel welcome.
The wait in the lobby was a great time to get acquainted with the CT Forum folks.  Here are Tracey Lee (Euphoriafish) from Kentucky on the left and New Jersey's own Chris Scheetz (Fifthrate) on the right.  Tracey is soft spoken and her smile will melt your heart.  Chris has a heart as big as his personality and as soon as I had met him I knew I had found a kindred spirit.
  Then it was on with the show.  Mary Jo kicked off the evening on a somber note sharing some personal angst.

Dave (Gruber) Allen called on RAD to help display some CT fashions on sale in the lobby.  RAD's seductive turns on the catwalk were a little disturbing, but surprisingly effective since after the show I personally purchased three t-shirt, each commemorating one of the movies being shown.
  Gruber was then joined by Josh for some haikus and at some point Trace was on stage.

Below we see Frank performing an extended stand up act followed by Joel answering some questions from the audience that had been written on green cards, such as the one seen below.
Each evening ended with the usual meet and greet/ autograph session that have become beloved by CT fans.  As always the cast was great to see, but I always tend to trip over my own tongue a little simply trying to say "thank you" and "great show."  I hate to think what I would sound like if I actually tried to say something witty.

With the first show over our group made it's way back to the hotel for a reasonably good night's sleep.  (Don't get me wrong.  The hotel was fine, but I personally was still pretty geeked up to be in Chicago for the shows and had some trouble getting to sleep.)
Breakfast, Day 2.  Friday morning we gathered to make a plan for the day.

l to r: Clay Carver (Mitchellspulloutcouch) and Tina Hendricks (Nummymuffin) both from California, Stephanie Thewlis (Stepharooni) from Illinois and Geoff Whitford (Mr L) also from California, Tracey and myself.

To a person everyone immediately was a new friend, even if I did have to endure the initiation third degree.  (What's your favorite episode?  What's your favorite prop in your collection? etc.).  The group soon learned once I'm with people I feel comfortable with I'm not afraid to share my stories.

By the way, I'd like to thank Geoff and his wife Janis for chauffeuring us around town all three days we were together.

  I quickly learned that Tina is the button master (or mistress).  I proudly wore my new Cult of RAD button all day and to the show that evening.

Some folks already had some plans, but most of the group decided to go see the Art Institute of Chicago.
Hey look!  It's the entrance to Millennium Park right next to the Art Museum.  That's where that really cool, shiny sculpture Cloud Gate, sometimes referred to as The Bean, can be seen.  Surely we'll have time later to go see it.  Maybe...or not.  (Next time for sure.)
Upon arriving at the Art Institute we ran into fellow Michiganders Dan (Dannoutkokennedy) and Kaylene Noutko-Kennedy.  Here they are enjoying some French Impressionist works.

Since I had visited the museum a number of times I became the unofficial tour guide.  I managed to get us lost only once.
Dan had his own method of viewing the art, which immediately attracted the attention of security.
Here's the happy group of museum goers celebrating Dan's release from security, no worse for wear.  In the front row we see Geoff's wife Janis Whitford (Ladyfish) in green and Joe Spence (Turtlemeat) from Pennsylvania.

I greatly appreciate the conversation I had with Janis and the kind word of encouragement from her.  I also appreciate the sharp, yet understated wit of Joe, who I can honestly say is a master of the one-liner.  You should be writing with Joel and the gang.
Directly across the street from the museum was the sign marking the beginning of Route 66, the famous highway that meanders across the country from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA.  Some of us did get our kicks there, but only in moderation.
Of all the times I've been to Chicago this was the first that I actually rode on the L trains.
Kids come runnin' for the great taste of waffles.
At the Golden Nugget Pancake House we were joined by Kelli Pennington (Supergeeky) and Laura Cradick (Apple) both from Minnesota.

Apple's mom Deb (not pictured) was also there and was appropriately assigned the honorary forum name Apple's Mom.

Laura may be the official little sister of the group, but she was a star at the shows.  It was hard to tell, but I hope she had fun.
We were honored to have RAD join us for dinner, although he didn't actually have anything to eat and some of the group may not have ever received their food.  Any way, the conversation was the important thing and it was wonderful.

Actually 9/11/09 at 7:30PM
After dinner, back to the Lakeshore for the next feature The Alien Factor.
Just as we arrived at the theater that evening the always lovely Livia Edwords (Queenshadowrama) arrived from Maryland.

(About three days after returning home it suddenly crossed my mind that since I was the only one in the group that had actually met Livia before (in San Diego and Minneapolis) I should have introduced her to the rest.  I'm still hoping that some day I'll get a clue as to how to be polite in society.)
Here is part of the gang getting into the spirit of the evening while waiting in the theater lobby.

(Photo courtesy of the fine folks at the Lakeshore.)
  That evening's performance was highlighted by Gruber readings items from children's magazine Highlights.  There was also a particularly energetic performance of Convoluted Man by Frank.
Oh, yeah.  Someone asked if Joel would show his calf.  Of course there is no way he would do something like that.

I later learned we can thank Stephanie for that odd request.  I can also thank Stephanie for my permanent hearing loss thanks to the ear shattering screams from Livia, whom I was sitting next to in the front row when Joel "exposed" himself.
With the lobby filled with people to see the 10:30PM show we found the meet and greet line set up in front of the stage.
This evening I decided to have my guide from the Art Institute signed for a keepsake.

After a fun day of site seeing and another great show we made our way back to the hotel.
During our breakfast Saturday morning we had an unexpected surprise.  After suffering through some Disney cartoons we changed the channel on the hotel TV.  We were then treated to a wonderful dubbed, Italian made, B-movie on the local public access EGTV, Atom Age Vampire.  As if by second nature we all began riffing and if I do say so myself we did a pretty good job.  This movie would be perfect fodder for an upcoming Cinematic Titanic show.  (Hint, hint.)
Our group was coming in from all directions Saturday morning so we gathered at the entrance to the Navy Pier.
The Navy Pier has lots of touristy stuff, but it was a perfect place for our needs since it had lots of places that a large group could roam around or just sit and talk.
We decided to have lunch at the Riva Restaurant.  I have no idea what Clay is doing with his fingers in his mouth.  There are times when its just best not to ask.

We also had a few more additions to our group.  Across from me, and partially hidden by Chris, is Janelle Vreeland (Spookychick) from Michigan.  Her brother and sister also joined us for the day and are seated at the end of the table. 
At the opposite end of the table is Dawn Jones (Beautiful Mind) from Illinois.  Both Janelle and Dawn were fun to meet and I wish I had more time to get to know them.

Oh, yeah.  And I'm glad to see Livia is finally getting over her camera shyness.
After lunch the group indulged me and strolled to the end of the pier where there was a great view of the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse.  (Some of you know I'm a great lighthouse fan and try to visit them whenever possible)
The ladies take a break in the shade.

l to r: Deb (Apple's Mom), Laura, Stephanie, Janis, Livia, Kaylene and Dawn.
From this area we also got our best, yet still hazy, view of the John Hancock building.
Back near the entrance we gathered near a statue of famous Chicago psychiatrist Bob Hartley (performed by Bob Newhart).
We took the opportunity to get a picture of most of us in "group therapy."
Unfortunately, the therapy wasn't completely successful for everyone.
We also all took turns getting our picture with Bob.  Is it just me or does Bob seem to be enjoying Janelle's attention a little too much.  Maybe sometimes a pencil is just a pencil.
The group split up from here, with our little band deciding to take the architecture cruise of the Chicago River.  Below is just a small sampling of the incredibly diverse styles that can be seen on the tour.

After the cruise it was off to dinner at Giordano's for classic Chicago stuffed pizza.  Not only was the food great, but this was perhaps the most fun I've ever had waiting for the pizza to arrive.  I won't get into the topics of discussion, but for those in attendance I'm sure you'll remember.  Ah, the sites and smells of Chicago.
We drove to the theater and parked a few doors down in what I call The Parking Garage of the Damned.  This place looked like where the St Valentine's Day Massacre may have occurred or for that matter the Arbor Day, Columbus Day and the Feast of St Stephen Massacres.  I also like to refer to this picture as "Last Known Photo."

Actually 9/12/09 at 10:30PM
We had decided to attend the 10:30PM show the last night to close out the weekend.  The whole gang was there, as well as a few others that were also attending the event, such as Matthew Duhan (Fringe), James (Anglagard1) and Chuck Herbst (Chuck).
For some reason Joel did not select this question for the Q&A session that evening.  Perhaps if it were written on a green card...
  Danger on Tiki Island is an amazingly dopey movie and the CT gang was all over it.  I can hardly wait to hear what the next film will be.
Graphic demonstration of why they REALLY say no flash photography allowed during the show.
After the show the gang gathered and began the process of saying goodbye.  No one wanted to leave the theater, but eventually, and after some prodding by the theater staff, we made our way out.  (By the way, that's James (Anglagard1) standing in the middle with his arms crossed.)
We had one last chance to thank the cast for three great shows and a fantastic weekend.  Here Ginger Hoesly, a friend of Livia who attended with her boyfriend Tom, got to pose with Trace and her very own Dr. Forrester plushie.
We hung around outside the theater for a very long time sharing stories and starting our goodbyes.

Clay also took the opportunity to officially pop the question to Tina in front of his new extended family.  A wonderful moment that we were all proud to be part of.  Sincere wishes for a happy, healthy future together.
Not to be out done Dan proposed to the first person he ran into.  RAD declined even though he said he was flattered.  Of course he also said the restraining order should arrive at Dan's house within a few days.  Dan seemed all too familiar with this procedure.

Despite this rather uncomfortable scene our last moments together were very emotional and heartfelt.  Some of the cast, especially Josh and Trace, came out and spent some time with us while waiting for their cabs.  We must have been preoccupied since not one of us thought to take a single picture.  I guess it's OK for some events to remain only in the mind's eye.  (The picture at left should be another example of this.)

As you can see this was a very fun-filled, eventful weekend.  Speaking as a newbie to the CT forum this is an amazingly warm and friendly group of people.  I'd like to thank each and everyone of them for making me feel so welcome.  I look forward to seeing them all again at another Cinematic Titanic event or any other time they would like to get together.  Even back during the MST3K days I always felt that the special camaraderie between the fans is what makes these shows so special.

Oh, and just in case any one was thinking I made this trip without doing any research for my website I have a little something extra to add.  A very nice lady at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL helped me find the following photos of 1974 senior Kevin Murphy, including one decked out in white shoes and a sweater vest.