About to have breakfast with J.D. Lees and Robert Scott Field at G-FEST XVII in Chicago.
The holidays are a time of reflection, and given that today is Christmas, and I can think of no better time to think about my friends. Of course, those with poor judgment may count "the enemy of my enemy" as their friends, but those who do always find out in the end just how meaningful such relationships are.
With Akira Takarada at G-FEST. I spent nearly a week with this legendary actor and will never forget the experience.
With Damon Foster. Although he and I live hours apart, I got to see Damon several times this year. He's a great friend with a great sense of humor. Love our phone conversations!
With Luciana Paluzzi and Nika Solomon. I've seen Luciana twice this year (including my December 14 trip to L.A.) but only saw Nika once. I always look forward to seeing these great ladies when I'm in the area.
With Dore Kraus, as we attempt Ultraman's Specium Ray pose. I met Dore for the first time in October at a dinner he hosted, and he was just as nice as in our various correspondences.
With Dr. Franklin Ruehl. Dr. Ruehl's Mysteries from Beyond the Other Dominion was a favorite of mine on the Sci-Fi Channel in the early '90s. Getting to speak with him at length in October was truly a wonderful experience.
With Ib Melchior. Words cannot do this man justice, but I'm compelled to say a few. No one has shown me more hospitality this year than Mr. Melchior. Whenever I travel to L.A., I always have a place to stay at Ib's. I stay there so often that his house has basically become my home away from home! I sincerely appreciate the generosity he has shown me.
With Ryan Phillips. Ryan is a high school friend I haven't seen for nearly ten years. He was in the area on business and invited me to have lunch with him. It was my pleasure to reconnect with him and swap stories.
With Justin Dunleavy. I got to spend more time with my cousin this year than I have in a long time. Before getting involved in Godzilla fandom, Justin and I would spend hours talking about the various Toho sci-fi films in the 1990s (and the '80s before that!).
With Paulette Rubinstein and her daughter Liane Curtis. Although I have known Paulette for nearly five years (!), I never got the chance to meet her until very recently. She and her daughter Liane were extremely kind to me, and I was overwhelmed by their hospitality.
With George Chakiris. Although most people would think of Oscar-winning actors as having large egos, I couldn't think of a less appropriate description for George Chakiris. Last week, I met the West Side Story star again in L.A. for a chat, and we mostly chatted about our favorite films this year and of any year. We plan to meet again the next time I'm in town.
I wish all my friends a happy and successful 2011!