|With Raven White at an L.A. sci-fi convention in November 2009.|
It's being reported on social media today that the fixture of the Southern California convention circuit known as Raven White, Rajar Shy, R. E. Shy, and more recently as Valentino Frankenstein has passed away. According to his friends, he was fully vaccinated against COVID but, after helping a friend of his who was infected with the virus, he came down with a breakthrough infection and was later admitted to the ICU. The news of his passing started to circulate within the last few hours.
I first met Raven White (which is the name he went by when I knew him) in March 1996 at a film festival he had organized in the San Diego area. It was the first time I'd ever gotten to see classic Japanese monster movies projected onto the big screen in 16mm. I'd attend more of his film festivals throughout the years, but we'd eventually had a falling-out in early 2001 that kept me away from any of his future screenings.
The last time I would ever see him in person was by coincidence in November 2009. We happened to be at the same convention together where he had set up a table selling some of his videos. I was happy to see again him, despite our differences, and did my best to bury the hatchet. I thought everything had been smoothed over, so you could imagine my disappointment that he never responded to my social media requests after that.
We did have one more correspondence in mid-2011, but, given that he was upset about something that was a complete misunderstanding on his part, it was clear to me that we were just never going to get along, so I ended our communication after that. Little did I know, I'd never see see or communicate with him ever again, and I regret that.
Rest in peace, Raven White. Those film festivals in the 1990s are still some of my fondest memories.