I was working in Los Angeles today when my wife Geri texted me from Chicago to let me know that amazing author, editor and all-round good soul Bob Weinberg had died. It has weighed heavy on my mind these past few hours as I finished my day working here.
Bob was one of the first and best writers I met on the “Chicago” scene when I first began publishing my own work in the ’90s. He was an inspiration, and I was privileged to design a book of his short fiction (The Occult Detective) for Twilight Tales and later to publish some of his stories on my own Dark Arts Books press (When The Night Comes Down). Bob was a prolific author, co-founder of Chicago Comic Con, and an editor who compiled dozens of horror anthologies with Stefan R. Dziemianowicz and Martin H. Greenberg in the ’80s and ’90s.
I always wanted to see Bob in person more than I ever got to and some day tour his home “genre museum.” Once when I did a library reading near his house, we had planned to do that… but then health got in the way. He lived just a few miles from where I grew up, and yet, somehow I never saw his fabled collection of books, posters, and horror/sci-fi memorabilia. And now never will.
I was honored to have been able to know him, and sign books near him more than once, including at World Horror Convention 2002 (where the first photo of us hails from – the other is from a panel at World Horror 2001). I will always remember him, and dream of Mars in his honor. When we land a manned mission there, I will speak his name.
What does that last sentence have to do with anything? Read Bob’s essay from just over a year ago called “A Dream of Mars” on his Facebook wall:
Rest in peace, Bob. And thanks for all the amazing stories. I’m glad to have known you, and gotten the chance to work with you, if even just a little bit.
But, this year, since Samhain is closing down their horror line at the end of the year, they didn’t end up sponsoring a table. So, there was not going to be any “author-fest” this time around. Nevertheless, since I’ve enjoyed the convention a lot, despite Samhain’s absence, I opted to pay for my own solo author table and go anyway. For me, the convention is a great opportunity to talk with some fans, and hang out with my friend Jerry Chandler from Synapse Films as well as with my old neighbors, Diane and Troy Horn, who moved out to Indianapolis last year.
I go to a lot of horror conventions… and honestly, I rarely leave my table of books to get autographs. But… when I saw that “Dave and Chainsaw” from Carl Reiner’s SUMMER SCHOOL film were going to be there… I instantly had a mission. I love SUMMER SCHOOL. My wife Geri and I have seen it umpteen times since it was first released in 1987. To meet Chainsaw (Dean Cameron) and Dave (Gary Riley) was a total kick. And they turned out to be super cool dudes. I ended up giving them a couple of my horror books, which I hope they get 1/100 as much enjoyment out of as I got out of their performances in SUMMER SCHOOL.
Another key moment for me at Horrorhound 2016 was meeting Lynn Lowry – she’s been in some of my favorite classic 1970’s movies, from David Cronenberg’s erotic horror classic SHIVERS to George Romero’s THE CRAZIES to Radley Metzger’s arthouse SCORE to Lloyd Kaufman’s SUGAR COOKIES…. not to mention CAT PEOPLE and I DRINK YOUR BLOOD. She was incredibly nice, and also received a Best Actress Award at the HorrorHound Filmfest for a new movie she’s in called TRINITY. Can’t wait to see it!
I also got to enjoy an awesome dinner at one of my favorite places in Indianapolis: Scotty’s Brewhouse with Geri, Shaun and the Horns. (And I also stopped there on my way home on Sunday for a Southwest Burger with some Mofo Hot Sauce and ghost pepper cheese and a Dogfish 60-Minute IPA… gotta take the opportunities when you can!)
Already looking forward to HorrorHound 2017!