Diary of a Weekend

Brion was my friend.

Just what else do you or can you say? It seems as if I'd known him forever but sadly, only first had the opportunity to meet with him the weekend of May 21-23, 1999. Sure, there had been near misses in meeting before and after following his career for so long I felt as if I had a pretty good understanding of the real thing ... well, hopefully anyway. Brion was appearing at the Chiller Theatre Convention in New Jersey then and it was the perfect time to finally get together. So, I blew off my poor band, Spam Brando over the course of that weekend. We HAD a gig to play that Saturday,the 22nd, but ... come on!! No one in their right mind is going to choose to drive all the way back to Danbury, CT to play a routine gig instead of getting to hang out with a person they'd long admired ...

So, Brion it was. I had already checked in Friday afternoon and was sitting in the hotel bar/lobby when he came flying in, mind and body going in fifty million directions at one time. So, I walked up to him, introduced myself and the next thing you know, he's directing me to the room where he SHOULD have already been set up in, in obvious need of organizational assistance.

"Ok ... ", I say ... "I can see this is gonna be a working weekend for me too, huh?!" So I helped out. And we ended up talking until 4:30 Saturday morning when we decided that if we didn't get our asses to sleep, we'd be functionless at ten o' clock ... five and change hours away. He said he'd give me a wake up call ...

Oh yeah ... 9:30 and the fu*king phone is ringing. "Hello daaahling ... " he says in some damned British accent.My head hurts. I hate him at that moment. But, I get in the shower and feel much better, thank you for asking.
We're there and ready to go by, ok, around 10:30 ... we're a little late ... Another day of "stunning" visual effects(the PEOPLE) and knowledgable fans. ... so many people stopped by the table to talk shop and reminisce over the countless films and television shows he's had roles in. I listened and watched as fans' faces lit up when he posed with them for pictures, when he told them one of his endless hilarious stories from days past. And there were so MANY informed people that spoke with him; people who really knew their stuff when it came to Brion's film career.

What an awesome weekend! Great, LEGENDARY guest appearances, including the not yet recognizable Ray Park,Mr. Nutso himself-William Smith, Bobby Z'Dar, Mark Goddard & Marta Kristen from the ORIGINAL, and best, Lost In Space. Oh yeah, Jonathan Harris, Doctor Zachary Smith was there too but, WHAT A PRICK ... as nasty as his character ... And that's just a sampling.

There was more than your eyes and ears could handle that weekend, guest stars and weirdos all over the place ... The obligatory "Silicone & Leather" set made their presence known throughout. The freaks of nature, the saran-wrapped, the leashed and drawn, housewives, the "I-made-this-costume-from-four-million-thumb-tacks-and-Elmer's-Glue" set, the rock and roll musicians; oh, there were many and, oh, was Saturday night unbelievable. There was The Dead Elvi, Chiller's staples ... great party band. Michael Bruce, Richie Scarlet, Cherie Curry. And me? I got to put down my video camera and sit in with Richie's band on a song. Uhhhh, yeah, embarassed the hell out of myself in front of a couple/ninety thousand people. But who cares? IT WAS FUN!! You never saw costumes such as what I witnessed Saturday night. A ten foot high ... something in white fur. Don't ask me, I have no clue. A great night of music, costumes and Emcee Mark Goddard..that guy is a scream ...

Throughout all this, Brion is in fine form; people are constantly interviewing him for their publication or their cable show and he took time with everyone. Aleks Shaklin, fellow actor, eternal NYC dweller and close friend of Brion's for over thirty years stopped by to spend some overdue time with his bud. Later that night, after the music had ended, we kicked back in the Lobby Bar and talked movies. Next thing I know, Brion is shoving Aleks and me out of the place, saying, "I smell a fight ... right over there ... outoutoutout ... " Yep, no sooner had we gotten out of the line of fire that a catfight broke out. Hahaha, how the hell did he pick up on that? I heard NOTHING.

We all hung out in Brion's room till 4:30 in the morning ... again. Talking and yelling, joking and debating constantly, Brion liked to keep people on their toes. If you couldn't stand up to it and give it right back to him you were dead. He could verbally run you over.

Sunday, final day of the convention. More pictures taken, even more pictures signed. And lots more fans with more knowledge than some of the guests themselves!

Time to go. We packed up midafternoon and piled into my rental car, Aleks, Brion and I. Drove to Newark Airport where Brion had a plane to catch back to California. From there, on Tuesday of that week he was to go off to Africa to work on his next film, work from what I understand WAS completed. I let them out of the car and said goodbye to them both, not really wanting to let this crazy man out of sight. But, with a great big bearhug and giant smooch, he said he'd be in touch.

The last time I spoke with Brion was the beginning of August. On August 7th, I called the house as I had mentioned I would in our last conversation and was met at the other end of the phone by an unfamiliar voice. And that's when I learned that Brion had had a heart attack. He died at home before the ambulance arrived to take him to UCLA Medical Center.

It's still hard to think of him as really gone....almost impossible. Such a bright light in the sky ... burning with talent,with a fiery passion for his craft. He took his work seriously but not himself. He had the most warped sense of humor, something he shares with his two brothers, Craig and Chet. I know all his fans are shocked as well. Thousands of hits from people in discussion groups around the country would not believe it at first due to the very sad fact that the AP or any other news source was not releasing the information. Even after Brion's death was indeed confirmed by the Beaumont, CA newspaper, the Press Enterprise, no one at the AP, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, Entertainment Weekly, E!, etc. would break the story. I only hope that this site is able to serve as a suitable tribute to this very talented, caring and dear man.

Late Thursday afternoon, on August 12 I got the call to come out to California for the service. I could almost believe that I'd get there and Brion would pop out of some hiding place during the course of the memorial service and say, "Jeeeez, you morons really fell for it". But that was not to be, no matter how much I secretly hoped for it. The service was beautiful, with the local townspeople who had known him "back then" attending, as well as, of course, Brion's family and friends. Longtime colleague and friend Tim Thomerson was there; so was Marty Kove, L.P. Brown and director Philippe Mora who had worked with Brion in several films. I found a source of strength in Cliff Morrison, close friend of Brion's. Cliff is the son of the late Jim Morrison and he, along with Waylon Kreiger, son of Robbie, are two of the five members of the band Lizard Sun. These guys are gonna go places in my humble opinion. I include a link for them for you to check out: Lizard Sun Band.


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