It’s been about a week or so since the Everything Action crew headed to Austin, TX to attend the 3rd annual MondoCon, the celebration of pop culture through the art of Mondo, the Alamo Drafthouse’s art and merchandise company but now, after recovering from either a con or plane bug, we can let you know what we saw and did.
We flew in on Friday morning and had a whole day before the con to hit up some movie nerd meccas in Austin. The very first thing we did was visit one of the Alamo Drafthouse locations, in this case the Lakeline location, to finally experience watching a movie in one of the premiere movie theaters in the world.
It was an excellent experience with great seats and perfect picture and sound and the food and drinks were great as well. In case you’re wondering, we saw Ouija: Origin of Evil and you can check out our review of that here: https://www.everythingaction.com/2016/10/24/review-ouija-origin-evil/
After visiting the Drafthouse, we hit up the other major movie nerd mecca in Austin, I Luv Video, which is just an overwhelming collection of movies that you love, movies you forgot and movies you never knew even existed. Pretty much all of their massive collection is available to rent in both VHS and DVD form, a lot of them with snarky opinions from the I Luv Video staff, and you could spend hours wandering around and looking at all the obscure and bizarre movies on both floors of the store and there’s also a bunch of random toys and pop culture merchandise scattered about as well. It’s definitely a must visit for any movie fan visiting Austin.
We closed out Friday night by going to Pinballz, an incredible arcade that features a seemingly endless selection of pinball machines for everything from Space Jam to Super Mario to Elvira to Metallica.
It’s pretty insane to see all the machines from the 80’s and 90’s heyday of pinball and realize that pretty much every blockbuster movie, regardless of quality, got a pinball machine. Pinballz also had a bunch of classic arcade games as well and some obscure pieces, like a coin-op Typing of the Dead.
Saturday was the start of MondoCon and the first hour is pretty much chaos. People were lining up Friday night for the Mondo Store, where the exclusive items would be for sale and there was also a mad rush into both halls of the AFS Cinema to get first dibs on exclusive prints from the artists in attendance. In the late morning and into the afternoon, things seemed to settle down and you could grab a Con Beer and actually chat with some of the artists, most of whom are extremely nice and willing to chat for a bit about certain pieces or the movies that inspired them.
There was also a room in the Holiday Inn where we were staying where the various collector oriented record labels were setup and a few more of the artists where stationed and this was also where the Mondo Store and the silent auction were going on, where some awesome prints were going for prices that were way too rich for our blood. Most of the stuff at MondoCon is awesome but insanely expensive and we didn’t buy anything because it would never have survived the flight home but seeing some of the awesome prints, it’s very tempting to bust out the credit cards. That’s pretty much the main draw of MondoCon, as there’s not really a lot of other activities besides browsing the three halls and chatting and buying from the artists. There are a few panels every day and some screenings but they require an additional cost and sell out fast, so we didn’t get to check out any of them during our visit. It seems very locally focused as well, since big things like a concert by Le Matos and a screening of Enter the Dragon were on Sunday night as we were flying home.
After hitting up the convention for most of Saturday, we set out to explore more of Austin and we embraced the #AustinWeird attitude and visited two strange museums, Sfanthor and Museum of the Weird. We were actually some of the last people to visit Sfanthor as, by the time you are reading this, it will have closed down as the property is part of some sort of development deal. Sfanthor was a comic book/collectibles store that also features a wax musuem dedicated to the classic horror and sci-fi from the 30’s up to the 70’s and featured things like the Xenomorph, Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman and more. We attended the “after dark” version of the museum so we made our way through in the spooky darkness and got surprised by a live werewolf.
After Sfanthor, we made our way to the Museum of the Weird downtown but on the way, we crossed over the famed “Bat Bridge” aka the Ann W. Richards Congress Bridge where over 2 million bats live underneath the roadway. We hung out for a bit until the bats started coming out to feed at dusk but unfortunately they didn’t swarm like they do during the summer when there’s more bugs to eat but it was still pretty cool to see a couple hundred of them swirling around beneath our feet.
After getting some mandatory barbecue at Ironworks BBQ, we made it to the craziness of Sixth St. downtown, which was even more crazy than usual because Bud Light had taken over the entire street for a Fan Fest in conjunction with an F1 race that was also in town for the weekend. The Museum of the Weird is located in the Lucky Lizard Curio and Gifts store and is essentially a Ripley’s Believe or Notesque collection of weird and random items, like yeti footprints, shrunken heads, jackalopes, a legendary “ice man” and we even got to see an old school sideshow show from our guide the Captain. It’s touristy but fun. After that, we explored a couple of the bars on Sixth Street and the nearby calmer Rainey St. and then called it a night.
Overall, MondoCon is an interesting event that features some jaw dropping art from some of the best artists currently working but there’s not much else there for anyone who isn’t interested in said art or artists but, if you are, you’re going to need more wall space for all the posters and prints you’ll want to buy. It was the cherry on top of the sundae that was visiting Austin, which is an awesome and fun city that we would definitely visit again. Check out more photos from our trip below and also head over to Twitter and Instagram for more as well.