Djinn's Hellabrew at the 7th Annual Lake Arrowhead Brewfest

Andrew Divoff returned with his Djinn’s Hellabrew to the Lake Arrowhead Brewfest earlier this August. This batch of Hellabrew amped up the heat factor with the habernero pepper notes at the forefront, but still refreshing enough to win over those with an aversion to spiciness. This was the last collaboration between Andrew and Wicks Brewing Co. to produce the Hellabrew, due to Wicks entering a contract to produce another client’s beer for large-scale distribution.

Andrew Divoff and Ryan Wicks of Wicks Brewing Co.
Andrew Divoff and Ryan Wicks of Wicks Brewing Co.

As with last year, it was a special experience for me to assist Andrew at the Brewfest. Andrew is one of the nicest people I know, and he has a genuine care for his community.

Andrew and I before the start of Brewfest chaos.

This year was special, because Andrew raised money at the pour and on his website for a new scholarship benefitting two Rim High School students who wish to pursue a career in the arts. By the end of the Brewfest, Andrew raised more than double his  original fundraising goal, which will allow each student to receive $1,000. As a pleasant surprise, Andrew was recognized by California state senator Mike Morrell for his work benefitting the surrounding mountain communities.

Andrew with Senator Mike Morrell

For updates about the Djinn’s Hellabrew and upcoming pours, visit his Three Marm Brewing page on Facebook.

Spend the Night with Alice Cooper 2016 VIP Experience


As a young person, I grew up in churches that viewed all rock music as inherently satanic, filled with subliminal messages intended to tempt unsuspecting youth into the occult and unspeakable debauchery. With his reputation for onstage chicken-killing (now debunked), sexual ambiguity, and distain for authority, Alice Cooper was considered one of the most disgusting examples of the supposed evils of the genre. The “satanic panic” pervading evangelical Christian culture was one of the most idiotic things I encountered in my youth. So there was a delicious sense of irony when I found out that Cooper is himself a born-again Christian who regularly teaches Bible Study at his church and runs a faith-based nonprofit. If anything, that made his stage persona seem even weirder.

A month ago, I had the opportunity to get a VIP pass for Alice Cooper’s show in Peoria. And thanks to the generosity of a fellow member in the Fans for Solid Rock Facebook page, I was gifted a nearly-front-row ticket. It was already an item on my “bucket list” to meet Alice Cooper. Imagine my surprise when I had the good luck to win the chance to be onstage with him! I was assigned the task of throwing oversize balloons into the audience during “School’s Out.” As cool as the experience was, I had a moment of terror in which I questioned my competence to throw balloons into the crowd. Looking out into the audience was a very different perspective! (Below are pictures of me wrangling an errant balloon and later skipping offstage with a crew member at the end of the song.)


As cool as winning the balloon throw was, I found the regular perks of the VIP pass to be entirely worth the money. (I admit, I was a bit scared when I saw the price online.) The VIP pass itself came with some fun swag, including a personalized “certificate of insanity,” tote bag, T-shirt, and a voucher for the online shop.


A couple hours before the show, VIP passholders were welcomed by members of Alice’s road crew and given a pre-show tour, which included a look at the stage and props. I couldn’t wait to get my head in the guillotine and see up close how the decapitation illusion works. As a bonus, we were introduced to Alice’s boa constrictor, Julius Squeezer, and given a detailed explanation of how those animals are cared for. The road crew were all incredibly gracious and had a lot of great stories about being on tour.


The concert itself was outstanding, filling a solid 90 minutes with both classic hits and lesser-played songs. Alice gave an energetic and captivating performance, but the surprise show-stealer was Alice’s wife Sheryl, who first emerged as the victimized woman in “Only Women Bleed,” in a bloody pink dress complete with massive shackles and a wind-up key protruding from her back. She later reappeared as the demonic nurse who torments Alice in “The Ballad of Dwight Fry.” Creepy costuming aside, it was her perverse and twitchy performance that was profoundly disturbing.

After the show, we were escorted to a room backstage where Alice met us after changing clothes. If I hadn’t already seen several of his interviews, the fact that he was sweet and soft-spoken may have been a surprising contrast to his stage persona. After signing some records from my collection we chatted about horror films for a few minutes, and he shared stories about how difficult it was to keep from laughing  during the “serious” scenes on the films in which he appeared.

For anyone who wants to meet Alice and see “behind the scenes” aspects of his show, I highly recommend the VIP experience.





Haunted locale: Hummel Park

IMG_3411In future posts, I’ll be exploring various haunted locales I’ve visited. Recently, I tried some trail hiking at Hummel Park near Omaha, NE. Generally, being alone in undeveloped natural spaces is a calming a serene experience. Hummel Park is not one of those places. While I didn’t observe any paranormal activity during my time there, the ambiance was unsettling enough that I truncated my intended day hike to a mere hour. It felt safer to drive the area rather than walk alone.

IMG_3408The atmosphere at Hummel park is so unsettling that it gave rise to various legends, including that the park had been a Native American burial ground, the site of Satanic and occult rituals, and alleged lynchings. I don’t believe that these stories have been verified, but the park has been the site of at least two murders or body disposal attempts.

I may return to Hummel park at some point in the future, preferably accompanied by the local ghost hunting group. For example, I didn’t stay long enough to walk the legendary”morphing stairs.’ Allegedly, visitors claim that the stairs change and that they are unable to get a consistent count of the number of stairs on the trail leading toward the park shelter.IMG_3409

Featured Artist: Rob Whitus of Drink With the Living Dead



One wonderful thing about horror conventions–aside from meeting my favorite filmmakers–is the opportunity to form friendships with many other excellent people. One such person is Robert Whitus, sole proprietor of Drink With the Living Dead. I met Rob when I first met Andrew Divoff, and Rob had etched custom glassware to promote Andrew’s appearance at the event. Needless to say, I purchased some of his glasses at that event and at subsequent conventions.

[Pictured above: Rob showing off his glassware at Texas Frightmare Weekend; front and 10407786_861692163872002_3051188219104631080_nback images of limited edition barware adapted from art by Mirthquake and based on the film Wishmaster. Pictured left:limited edition barware adapted from art by Mirthquake and inspired by the films of George Romero.]





IMG_3461Rob has collaborated with other artists and brands, including Olivia De Berardinis, Metallica, Rob Zombie, Rue Morgue Magazine, and many others. However, his work isn’t confined to the horror genre and its artists. Rob will also take custom orders and will personalize glassware to suit his customer’s needs, making his work ideal for wedding gifts and other special occasions.

Another thing I like about Rob’s work-aside from the quality of the etching and the glassware itself-is the fact that Rob does EVERY aspect of his business  by himself. Meaning he is the sole proprietor of Drink With the Living Dead, and he is solely responsible for etching his glasses and fulfilling orders. In a culture that is cluttered with corporate jargon about “teamwork” and other equally nauseating metaphors, or that outsources production at the expense of quality, artists such as Rob are a proverbial breath of fresh air.

The official Drink With the Living Dead website is under construction, but you can see other examples of Rob’s work and contact him at his Facebook Page.

Beer Review: Djinn’s Hellabrew

The Djinn’s Hellabrew is a unique beer developed by film actor Andrew Divoff, and named for his malevolent character in the first two Wishmaster movies.




I first met Andrew at a charity event last year. What an all-around great guy! Andrew is a genuinely kind person who likes to “pay it forward” by fundraising for a variety of good causes. It was a delight to volunteer his second pour of his Hellabrew at the 6th Annual Lake Arrowhead Brewfest. Proceeds benefitted Operation Provider.

IMG_3381 - Version 2

I was fortunate enough to experience both the original Djinn’s Hellabrew (poured at Rock and Shock 2014 near Boston) and the new, modified recipe. While I found the original Hellabrew quite enjoyable, the heat from the habanero peppers could be too intense for some beer enthusiasts. The new beer (served on August 8, 2015) dialed back the heat somewhat, allowing more subtle flavors to come forward. The result is an unique Belgian strong golden ale with a mildly spicy aroma, Persian lime flavor, and a habanero finish that warms the throat, yet dissipates quickly enough to remain refreshing. This pleasantly complex ale can also be served as a “bloody beer” with the addition of a spicy Bloody Mary mix.


The Hellabrew was a huge success with those in attendance, with many people coming back for multiple refills and stating that it was their favorite beer at the festival. Word of mouth generated so much interest that the kegs were tapped out an hour before the end of the Brewfest. Fingers crossed that this awesome beer gets widespread distribution soon. For information about future distribution of the Djinn’s Hellabrew and future pours, contact Three Marm Brewing, or contact Andrew at his Facebook page.