As many of you know, this project has been a lifelong dream of mine. I mentioned in one of my earliest posts that when my wife, Amanda, and I went on our first date we talked about our dream jobs. I told her then that since I was about five, I always wanted to be a late night horror movie host. That dream never really changed for me. Amanda loved it. She encouraged it. She made sure that it always stayed on my radar, and when the opportunity came up for me to actually start doing live screenings of cult movies, and present them to an audience like a Hoosier Joe Bob Briggs, she bought me a projector, and came to every screening she was able. She even helped me put together my Divine in Pink Flamingos outfit. It was about two months after starting the screenings that she was diagnosed with a breast cancer recurrence. We had already been through this battle once a little over a year previous. Why was it happening again? The answer was, it didn't really matter why it was happening again. We just felt compelled to ask the ether. So, here we were, back at war with an enemy that is far more deadly and devious than any bad guy JCVD ever dropped into splits and nut-punched.
Throughout all of her treatments, Amanda insisted that I keep this going. I think that my passion for cult movies bled over into her through the years, and she was able to even draw a little strength from my enthusiasm for these things. That last part is not speculation, she told me as much. Despite the worst chemo combination ever put together by Dr. Caligari, she would show up to our monthly screenings, even if it was just for a bit. Sometimes she would be so tired and sick from the meds, that she could barely keep her eyes open, but she would always insist on coming by for a bit if I had a screening happening.
Just as we thought that we were on the homestretch, and that she had again kicked cancer's ass, we found out that she had disease that had metastatsized to her lungs and, our worst fear, her brain. Still, she fought. Still, she insisted that I continue with this. Still, she showed up when she could. By December of last year, her condition had worsened to the point that walking was a challenge for her. She did not make it to anymore screenings.
Amanda passed away on March 26, 2019. She was 52. We would be celebrating our 25th Anniversary this coming October.
I have written some about this in the past on here, and how, even when things were at their worst, we would find solace in cult movies (https://wpmoviehouse.ning.com/blog/the-gospel-of-garbage). From John Waters to Jim Hosking to Neil Breen to Godfrey Ho, we would revel in the filthy, disease ridden landfill of cinema, and it would always bring us the peace and distraction that we needed.
Much like the music that has been in my life just as much as these movies, it has been painful to go back to some of those that I loved for years. Now they bring back memories I'd like to keep under wraps for a bit longer. My love for these movies has not been dampened in the least, but my ability to dredge up things both bitter and sweet has had little tolerance for them. I am slowly coming out of that funk. My son and I have been watching movies that have long been on our to-do list, and that has lead to me bringing out some old classics that he has yet to see. (I'm looking at you, Pieces.)
Monthly movie screenings will be picked back up in June, but I beleive that they will forever feel a little hollow for me. I will miss her encouragement, and her enthusiasm for our passions. The emptiness that both my son and I are feeling will eventually start to fill, and we will continue to follow whatever insane dreams we have; however, losing Amanda has left a hole in each of our hearts that will never heal completely. That is the secret power of love, that it elevates just as much as it drops a piano meant for a roadrunner on us. But only if you do it right.
I thank everyone who has reached out to us, and understood that this break was necessary. I do ask one thing of all of you, and please take the cliche nature of this with a grain of salt, if you are reading this, take a moment, a day, a month, a year, whatever, and follow your passions. "I'm too old for that," I already hear you saying. If you are still drawing breath, you are still alive, but I implore each and every one of you to do everything in your power to not just stay alive, but to live. Finally, if the person in your life who is supposed to be supporting your dreams scoffs, find someone who doesn't. I promise that they are out there, and you deserve it.
Don't Piss on Hospitality,
Dylan Donnie-Duke Dali Llama, Editor-in-Chief of Weird