I don’t know what it is about loss that compels me to write, but here we go again. Hell almighty, I’ve been experiencing a lot of loss lately. Looking back at my last five blog posts (including this one), three of them have now been about loss. First, it was the loss of my actress/muse, which led to the loss of my TV show (Let’s finally discuss what happened with my show and Jamie Lee Curtis). Next, it was the loss of a close friend (My buddy Sam Simon). And now, it’s the loss of something that on the surface seems benign, but to me represents the loss of something larger. Here, I’m talking about the loss of the Jumpcut Café/home of numerous cult film events, specifically Dead Right Horror Trivia night.
Wait, what? I’m mourning a cafe? I know many of you are furrowing your brow right now, but before you judge, let me explain. You will understand.
First, let me put something right out there. I was NOT a regular to this café. Hell, I was far from it. I live clear on the Westside, almost an hour’s drive away. Furthermore, I’m not even really a regular to the very close-knit independent film/horror community that thrives inside. I can never go to screenings. I’m a father of two, and husband to a wife that travels quite a bit, so I’m on kid duty usually when there are a lot of these awesome events taking place. But there was one thing that I would always hire a babysitter for each month, and that was Dead Right Horror Trivia Night at the Jumpcut Cafe. It was something that, even though it seriously pissed me off sometimes, I utterly thrived on attending.
When I did go to the Jumpcut, because I was never really established within this community, I became more of a fly on the wall within this crew. I didn’t speak up much, outside of the few awesome fellas of my horror trivia team – The Slaughtered Lambs. Shout out to Chuck, Casey, Clay, Ari, Marc and Den! But what I was on the outside and the inside are two very different things. I’m an extraverted introvert, or an introverted extravert. Whatever the hell you want to call it. And what I loved about the Jumpcut Café, and Dead Right Horror Trivia Night, besides the obvious centralized location for a lifelong independent film/horror freak like myself, was that whenever I went there, it was FILLED with people just like me. Sure, it may not have always seemed like it, since there were always so many very vocal and outgoing folks inside each event. But I knew deep down that most of them were only that outgoing because they were comfortable WITHIN this community. This was their home. Their sanctuary. The Jumpcut Café procured that. And hat’s off to Elric Kane for building and cultivating that.
When I first moved to Los Angeles years ago, I always envisioned hanging at a place like the Jumpcut Café. Places where they’d show screenings of 16mm films, cult favorites, even had directors come to speak. I know there were a few other places around this city that provided that, but none seemed to specifically hone it to the horror genre as much as the Jumpcut. I grew up on horror. I worshiped horror. I thrived on being that weirdo kid with Tom Savini posters on my wall, or carefully placing a hundred pushpins into a doll’s head then hanging from my bedroom door. I loved being the only kid in the entire goddamn state of Utah that had an unrated VHS copy of Dead/Alive, forcing everyone I knew to watch it. But I was usually pretty alone in my obsessions. It wasn’t until much later that I started to find other people just like me that shared my demented brainwaves. And whenever I entered the Jumpcut, I felt like all of those other people were sharing the same air.
This is why I feel loss at the Jumpcut shutting down. Even though I wasn’t there as regularly as I’d wished, it still symbolized a place where this shared mentality took place. And this is a true loss. Sure there are places like Dark Delicacies, The New Beverly, and of course the Egyptian and/or Aero, but the Jumpcut had a slightly different, more cozy feel. And it just felt very honed into my exact mentality.
Here are a few random awesome memories of the Jumpcut:
- My first horror trivia night a few years ago when I sat close to Neil Marshall, one of my absolute idols and favorite directors. I was a giddy schoolboy.
- My one place I bought delicious bottled Mexican cokes.
- Discovering the Killer POV podcast existed (still one of my favorites.)
- Winning our first round and obtaining my Fangoria coffee mug I still use every morning.
- Answering “bonus round” questions from both Stuart Gordon and Tom Holland.
- Spelling Takashi Miike’s name wrong in the goddamn spelling bee round. Sigh…
- Making a mummy out of Clay Cobb in the toilet paper mummy round.
- Admiring fellow teammate Marc Andreyko’s awesome Mrs. Voorhees drawing.
- Jeff Lieberman’s oddly homophobic slurs during his questions.
- Losing in my one tiebreaker appearance up in front of everyone (I still can’t believe I forgot “Ding Dong. You’re Dead.” was the tagline for House! One of my favorite movies from the 80’s, AND I was even working with Steve Miner at the time! Sorry, Steve.)
- Listening to the sadness of two of my gay teammates after doing so horribly on the “famous naked cocks in horror” photo round.
- Always looking around and realizing that I’m in the room with countless horror screenwriters, producers, artists, and directors. That feeling never got old.
- Being packed in like sardines, losing time and time again, and still having an absolute blast doing it.
To end this post, here is the sad note on the door of the Jumpcut Cafe right now.
I know I’m not saying anything that hasn’t already been said. Everybody loved the Jumpcut. Everybody loved the community it provided. But I just wanted to give a little shout out to Elric, and the rest of those involved with the Jumpcut, from those of us that maybe weren’t as vocal on a weekly basis. Weren’t as tied into the very close-knit community. Maybe we’re even some of those “casual acquaintances” mentioned in the note above. But we still felt as home there in our brains whenever we walked in. And we really thank you for these past years.
Long live the Jumpcut Cafe.