PBDG and PBDG DVDs at California Extreme this Weekend

california extreme

This weekend on Sunday July 14 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM I’ll be at California Extreme in Santa Clara, CA, screening both Pinball Donut Girl and Wade Krause: Pinball Artist films.  I think Wade will be there too, and I’m hoping other cast and crew will join us as well.

and I’ll bring DVDs!


If you would like me to bring your DVD to you personally at CAX rather than shipping, please send me a note or fb me or leave a comment here to let me know.  Hope to see you at the show!

Remember Your First Time? Tales of a Pinball Operator

Mark Czarnowski of illini pinball association has reached a time in his life when he’s ready for the ultimate pinball adventure: Operating.

coin-pan-pinballMatt Walsh helps us live that first time all over again…..

There is that magic feeling of doing a collection that people who haven’t experienced it can’t really understand.

coin-door-bee-hiveThere is that moment that you approach the game just before you unlock it. You kind of look it over as if you can tell if it got played a lot. Well, and also you’re looking to see if it’s working because if it isn’t, you know it won’t have much in it.


Then you unlock it. Maybe a latent quarter or two clinks down that was stuck somewhere to greet you. Maybe a little shower of stuck quarters rains down from a coin mech, and you momentarily curse the American stone-age coin mechs that haven’t changed in 50+ years in comparison to the much more reliable Euro ones.

You kind of make your first assessment visually…maybe you shake the coin pan a bit. And then you start counting. Anyone that’s worked in an arcade can grab a handful of quarters and tell you what $10 feels like. So you run your fingers through the money – dirty money, sure – contaminated by countless hands – but money nonetheless – each an anonymous vote by someone expressing appreciation for your equipment. A brother or sister you’ve never met that liked the game you bought and placed in hopes that they would. Maybe someone played one game and walked away. Maybe there are 10 quarters from one guy that plays every day. Who knows! Actually, sometimes you do know when a die-hard fan talks to you during a collection and embarrasses you saying how many of those quarters are ‘his.’ Yeah, right. They *were* his.

first-week-operatingNot to mention, it’s cash – untraceable, pure and simple income big brother doesn’t need to know about and has no way to find out about. Freedom. The way George Washington, whose head is scattered inside, would want it.

Though maybe they’re not all George. Maybe there’s a Canadian quarter in there, and when you see it you get a tinge of insult; fraud’s ugly specter robs your joy for a moment. Maybe somehow a nickel made its way through, though you know it didn’t register a credit. It’s a fallen world; all *have* fallen short of the glory of God, even pinball patrons.

These are the feelings I remember, collecting quarters out of my Target Alpha (and later Space Invaders pinball) in 1988 in college. Average earnings were around $2 a day for TA and $5 for SI. That I could then buy food and drink (or beer) with this magic money I would not otherwise have…wow. –Matt Walsh


photo by Don Starnes
Musee Mechanique at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco

Thank you to Matt and Mark for sharing their experiences. Best of luck to Mark. Stop by Quality in Champaign, IL and play his games.  Don’t forget to tip your bartender!


PBDG visits Pin-a-Go-Go

Associate Producer Lily Achatz and I attended our first Pin-a-Go-Go in Dixon, CA. We got to meet up with lots of Pinball Donut Girl supporters, play great games (there were around 200 pins, I heard), and enjoy some perfect central valley weather.  I will definitely go back next year; I had a really good time.

It’s always the first Sunday after Mother’s Day — mark your calendar now 😉

Lily plays Bowling Queen Pinball

Lily plays Bowling Queen in the back room.

bowling queen backglass

Bowling Queen backglass detail.

I was totally taken with Star-Jet’s art. 

Star Jet playfield

Star-Jet playfield detail.

Flying Saucer Backglass Star Jet

Star-Jet backglass detail.

Star Jet playfield

More Star-Jet playfield.

I also got to see a Palooka Dan Kramer had restored.  Very cool.

Palooka backglass

Palooka backglass.

Palooka playfield

Palooka playfield detail.

Palooka playfield

I love the speed bag with a face!

Pin-a-Go-G0 EM pinballs

The turnout was strong with people enjoying both EM and SS games.eight ball deluxe backglass

Lily and Eight Ball Deluxe.

bounty hunter backglass

Bounty Hunter backglass art.

girl plays pinball

This young lady was part of the fun tournament.

girl plays pinball

And this little guy was making the rounds with his dad and a step stool.

boy plays pinball

I was happy to see Wade Krause and meet Dirty Donny Gillies, the artist behind Hellacopters and other custom art games Wade has worked on. Donny, Wade, and Tanio Klyce were so generous to let us use Hellacopters in the Pinball Donut Girl tournament scene.

Dirty Donny and Wade Krause at Pin-a-Go-Go 2012

Wade and Donny at Pin-a-Go-Go 2012.

pinagogo planetary pinball

Lily and I also got to visit with the folks of Planetary Pinball.

I can’t get enough of taking pinball photos…

foto finish playfield detail

Foto Finish playfield detail.

star pool pinball backglass

Star Pool backglass detail.

star pool backglass detail

Star Pool backglass — seems like this should be a poster!