This week I had a chance to sit down and chat with Days Of The Dead co-founder Adolfo Dorta about the upcoming Louisville show, the recent addition of the Hall of Fame and more!
Adam Holtzapfel – With each show the crowd seems to get bigger, but the show maintains the community feel and vibe of a smaller show. Is that something you attribute to the success of DOTD?
Adolfo Dorta – I’d like to think that’s a big part of the appeal for DOTD. We don’t really set out to do anything except put on the kind of show we would love to attend as fans and do it to the best of our abilities. It’s definitely grown significantly since the first one in 2011, that’s for sure. We always strongly encourage the social vibe and try to nurture the idea that it’s more than just an event to come out and get autographs at. We’ve always been more partial to the idea of a genre convention being a big family reunion of fellow weirdos and enthusiasts and that’s the mantra we carry into each one we do. I think everyone from the fans, to the celebrities, to the vendors picks up on that at our shows and create the vibe collectively.
AH – In Indy you had the inaugural Hall of Fame class. How hard was it to pick and do you have the inductees for other cities narrowed down?
AD – It wasn’t very hard to pick at all, to be honest. There’s about a half dozen celebrities off the top of my head that I think have been very important in the success of the show throughout our first 7 years and those will all make up our first year’s worth of inductees depending on when we can get them to attend. I dont think many fans will be surprised by who the first six or so classes will be comprised of as it will mostly be those fan favorite guests that people have come to associate with DOTD. As far as the indie inductees go, I have about the same amount of recipients in mind and a general idea of when we’ll be honoring them. We’ve been very lucky to work with such an amazing cast of individuals through 23 shows and it’s great to be able to pay tribute to them.
AH – Going into Louisville, then Chicago, Atlanta, and the first Charlotte show, what can fans expect?
AD – We have alot of guests that are first timers to DOTD that I’m very excited to start announcing in the coming weeks – I think folks are going to have a very hard time making the claim that they’ve seen a guest list remotely like that anywhere before. We’ve also got a pretty big name already locked up for Atlanta and we’ll be diving head first into both that one and Charlotte as soon as Louisville is in the rear view. We’re looking to hit 2018 swinging hard and taking the DOTD shows that everyone knows and loves to a whole other level.
AH – DOTD prides itself on the after hours events, panels (now with the black & blue tracks), fx and costume contests, and films in addition to the celebrities and vendors. How have you seen those grow since 2011?
AD – It’s been great to see not only the show grow with each consecutive event, but all of the stuff within it grow as well. I’ve always been of the mindset that it isn’t a success unless everyone involved can claim it. The costume contest and tattoo contest have become standing room only events with so many entrants that we’ve started to have to screen people diligently ahead of time. In just about a year, the FX showdown has become one of the most anticipated things on our programming schedule, and the film festival is consistently packed from front to back (which is a far cry from the first few years when you’d have been lucky to catch more than 3 people in there at one time. The Blue Track has, in just two outings, been very well received and we look forward to that being just as much a part of our convention as everything else. We’ve always wanted to be more than just an autograph show and we’re always looking for new ways to give people things to do without spending more money.
AH – You’ve added James O’Barr to Louisville, can fans expect to see more comics guests to fit in with the horror, metal, and wrestling guests?
AD – It’s an idea we’ve thrown around in the past. Gary Pullin has become a frequent guest at our shows for a couple years now and we’re hoping to add more artists and maybe a few writers in the future to represent that aspect of the horror subculture.
AH – What’s the hardest aspect of being one of the show promoters for DOTD?
AD – I think the separation of my personal life and the convention life has definitely been one of the greater challenges over the past year for sure. It’s a great gig, but it’s definitely one that is able to consume your every waking moment and overwhelm you mentally pretty easily. It’s hard to shut it off, even when you want to given the nature of the work. I’ve also noticed over the past year an increase in folks wanting to pry into my personal life for some reason – I don’t know if it’s on account of the show growing and people being intrigued by the goings on behind the scenes or just that some people get bored and need something to talk about, but I make it very much a thing to separate my private life from the work as much as possible. Outside of the con Im a pretty quiet dude. I go to shows on occasion, I stay in and watch movies with my fiancee, I hang out with my cats, I drink coffee. That’s about it. I’m not a terribly exciting guy when not involved with DOTD. Managing the noise is an ongoing process.
AH – Being an avid music fan what’s the best concert you’ve seen in 2017?
AD – Man, that’s a tough one. The recent Unsane/Fashion Week tour that saw War Brides on the Chicago stop was pretty phenomenal. The Whores./Wrong/Bummer tour was also pretty top notch. I’d have to say those two probably stand out the most for me as I would gladly have ponied up the price of admission just to see any one band on either of those bills. Anyone looking for some great, noisy, aggressive music should check out all of those bands. They’re all so good and definitely deserving of a much wider audience than they have.