Monday, January 9, 2017

First report of 2017: The A list and the freezing cold

The months of December, January, and February I normally hibernate and limit myself to indoor combo hunting. But here there was an event where a good number of A listers were slated to show up and of course there's always a chance of randoms above and beyond who was on the list. Sadly, the spot isn't known to have the best access and has multiple points of entry and exit. Furthermore, historically many bigger names get driven in and out. But as they say, gotta play to win. After all, how devastated would I be if I stayed in a nice warm place and then hear that people did well. I had internal tears as I decided to avoid the worst case scenario (ie me staying home and the event going well). 

I had a few flights but most of them got cancelled as the celebs found other methods of travel. That was a bummer. The only flight I had that was still valid was Jordin Sparks which arrived the day prior to the event. I was doing non-combo related stuff and figured I'd check out that flight because 1) I had some 8x10s printed years ago that never got signed and 2) perhaps other people I don't know about are on the flight. 

When I got there turns out there were Masters that had the same idea I did (ie to check for randoms). 
When the witching hour arrived I was told that Cheryl Hines walked by me. But since I got photo ops with her I didn't make the effort to scramble to baggage and look for her. 

Then it was time for Jordin. After talking to TMZ she was nice as can be. Asked if I have another color pen so I gave her black instead of blue. One picture she signed was a photo op from when I last met her and she remembered the event it was from. I told her she had a good memory. After she was done signing she goes "let's take another picture for your collection". I had no intention of asking her as it would be a downgrade from what I have but since she asked I of course did it. After the first shot she goes "I messed it up let's do another" and we take another shot. Wow why can't all celebs be that nice. With this I got my first combo of 2017. 

The next day was the main event. And boy was it a day I was dreading like no other as I knew I would be in for a long and cold evening, possibly for nothing. I put on 3 layers of socks, 2 layers of pants, 3 layers of tops, plus my coat. 

First I go to a spot for Samuel L Jackson. He does one per and I get my Mace Windu figure signed. Next spot for George Lucas. Wait and he shows up but ignores us all. 

Next up I go wait for the main spot and where I begrudgingly planned to spend the next 10 hours or so. A little bit ago I had received a call from a Master who told me that both Tom Hanks and Stephen Speilberg are slated to show up. Luckily I always keep my random stash of stuff in the trunk of my car and was able to pull out my items for both and have them ready. 

Looks like some activity is brewing up and I leave the warm car to stand there. The spot isn't even open and George Lucas arrives as he realizes he is early. I get an autograph and I get a selfie with Mellody Hobson (already have a great photo op with Lucas so didn't bother). I saw someone else get a second auto and I try for a second but to no avail. 

Saw Meryl Streep stand in line to go into the event. We were three asking for stuff and she goes "sorry I'm not doing it, I'm not working". At one point she even backs up and bumps into me and I apologized. That was a pretty crushing defeat as she was right here next to me, even ran into me, and I had nothing to show for it. 

Next up I get photo ops with Lena Dunham (first fresh actor/actress photo op of 2017), get Charles Barkley (upgrade), and producer Jeffrey Katzenberg. Then David Letterman shows up and just because it's easy and a novelty I get a photo op with santa bearded Letterman (I had seen him with the beard in the past but didn't bother cause it was chaotic and not worth fighting for). 

At this point they began to set up barricades and with barricades more people started joining. Dammit! This went from being "decent" to absolutely garbage! Additionally we were not very close to them. 

Some of the names that showed up 

George Clooney
Don Cheadle
Tom Hanks
Gloria and Emilio Estefan
John Legend
Jordin Sparks
Stephen Speilberg
Paul McCartney
Brad Paisley
Jon Hamm
Nick Jonas
Steve Harvey
Sarah Jessica Parker
Matthew Broderick 
Bradley Cooper
James Taylor
Harvey Weinstein

I'm sure I'm forgetting more. All I got was actor Wendell Pierce and an update with Gloria Estefan. Also Harvey Weinstein blew me off for a photo op after signing (he was one that I was able to get up to). Wow 2017 just started and not only punches but multiple BIG BLOWS to face all through!  

So we all go since we don't anticipate any activity for at least a little bit. I go to the car as I have to move it from one free spot to another. Grab a bite to eat, park, and head back to the spot.

Some positive things happened:

1) The wretched barricades have taken down.

2) All the guards that were working earlier are now gone (probably their shift ended)

3) All the non combo hunters are gone (leaving 5-7 combo hunters throughout the night)

Thanks to the combination of the cold and not being in NYC, this was a refreshingly low number ESPECIALLY for the caliber and quantity of potential names. 

As I head back to prepare for exits George Lucas, James Taylor, and Harvey Weinstein leave. I get another Lucas auto, James Taylor auto, and blown off again by Harvey Weinstein. 

Shortly after other combo hunters arrive. Stephen Speilberg, someone I still need a photo op with, is spotted leaving. One guy tells us he has no time and has to catch a plane to which a combo hunter replies "these planes won't leave without him". As he arrives we plead he says he will do it. Sadly, he rejects photo ops. He signs one per and as I get him on my ET poster he asks who else signed it. This was pretty crushing as I've seen this guy so many times but have yet to get a photo op. I do however get his wife Kate Capshaw who was in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. So that's a consolation prize at least. 

This would not be the only crushing defeat as Paul McCartney comes out and says he's not signing and I try asking for photo ops he says he's not taking pictures. One Master even begged and pleaded all the way to his car to no avail. As he left he rolled down the window and wished us all a Happy New Year. 

Now comes a huge entourage. Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep, Magic Johnson, and Charles Barkley. I tried begging Meryl as a Master breaks her down for an auto. I beg more and she agrees to the shot! I couldn't believe it! I then score that near impossible A list photo op HOLY CRAP! Didn't bother fighting for a Deniro shot as he had a full beard and it would have been a downgrade. After this I was on my knees thanking the combo Gods for my first A list photo op of 2017 and knowing that my entire ordeal was officially not for nothing! 

Besides this I see Jon Hamm but already have photos with him so I don't bother going after him. I see Common come out but don't bother with him. Other photo ops I got include Rachael Ray (update), Patti LaBelle (update), and basketball player Grant Hill.

After our last photo op an hour passes and nothing happens. Then we see cars pull up to another exit so we run there. Seems exits shifts and we probably missed more names waiting at what was now the wrong exit.

Some things that happened at this stage of the evening.

Saw Steve Harvey and had to break him down for a selfie. He goes "ok c'mon quick" and he cuts it off after like 2 people.

Saw Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus walk but didn't bother going after them as I had them both. Saw Kerri Washington but also had no need to go after her. Sam Jackson again didn't fight for a photo op because he had a beanie on. Got an auto sadly it got smudged.

Got Connie Britton update. Jon Bon Jovi did nothing for no one. Tom Hanks actually signed one per and I got him on my Apollo 13 laserdisc completing my project, finally! I also stood there and did photo ops. I of course took one but the photo op is essentially garbage compared to my older shot as he has a full beard, a beanie, and spectacles.

A Master spots a car with Bruce Springsteen in it. He runs to the car naturally me and others follow. We plead for Bruce for a roll down and he rolls. The driver starts to move but stops. When it's my turn as he is signing my item the car is moving again and I scream "HEEEYYY" luckily the car stops and my autograph looks fine. Thankfully I already have a photo op so had no huge need to fight for a car shot.

Kelly Rowland didn't stop my shot didn't turn out sadly. I got her before but needed another shot. Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis are spotted. I have Jason so many times but upgraded my Olivia to no shades.

Eddie Vedder is spotted he says he will do one per but no photo ops because he "looks like shit" as he put it. I have someone else help me with an item so I got my Peal Jam vinyl already signed by two other members and a CD.

At this point Eddie, Jason, and Olivia are just hanging waiting for their rides. I plead with Eddie for a photo op he laughingly goes "I'm pissed off but let's do it" as he goofs off and does a few photo ops!

Saw Don Cheadle but had no need to bother him. Got up and coming actress Cody Horn. Also basketball player Alonzo Mourning.

Snow beings to pick up. At this point we all decided this was done.

Despite the hardships and the cold, the ups and downs, the punches, the big blows, the pain and suffering a photo op with the near impossible Meryl Streep, combo with Eddie Vedder (who himself is pretty tough), plus many more bonus autographs and photo ops, I'd say my first endeavor of 2017 was a sweeping success

I left my home at 2pm, I returned it was 6am. That was 14 horus well spent.

Some other notes:

This evening was truly a prime example of "gotta play to win". Success was not even close to guaranteed as lots of people usually drive in and out of that spot. This time almost nobody drove in (Springsteen, Jay Z, Beyonce did).

To show you that there are no rules when it comes to what could bring success and failure in combo hunting, who would have thought that between Meryl Streep, Stephen Speilberg, and Paul McCartney, Streep would be the only one of those 3 to actually do full combos! Wow just wow.

Meryl Streep

Olivia Wilde

Eddie Vedder

Kate Capshaw

Full list of photo ops part 1

Full list of photo ops part 2

Now to showcase some autographs

Star Wars items

ET poster

Music autographs

Apollo 13 laserdisc

Jordin Sparks 8x10s

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Final report of 2016: Two days of pain and agony

This is the time of year I dread the most. I dress 3 layers from feet to neck, wait outside, tackle a horrid crowd, and get blown off by so many celebs. 

To boot, normally I have the full list of attendees. This year I sadly only had a partial list. So my autograph scores would be limited. This added to the already pain ridden weekend.

Day 1 starts off slow. I get Darius Rucker from Hootie & the Blowfish, Vince Gill who I had, Lee Sklar. Elle King did nothing going in but leaving she did 2 or 3 photo ops. I got one of them. This would be all she did for the entire weekend. 

Eagles did nothing for no one a expected. The exception is leaving where Joe Walsh signed a few on each side and I managed to get one of those. He would do nothing else the entire weekend. Joresky and some others showed him an Eagles item which didn't help matters as this is exactly how you get Joe to stop doing anything. We were expecting Al Pacino but he didn't show up as he flew in later that day.

Martha Argerich is essentially a modern day Beethoven. Not a name I truly care for but got one of the few photo ops she did. It's pretty solid for get if there as it's a nice score for a well rounded collection. Saw James Taylor again and got him on two items (he was doing two per). Mavis Staples signs a few autos but does little else the entire weekend. Sean Penn arrives and as expected doesn't even look at anyone. 

Bob Seger did nothing for no one and would do nothing the entire weekend. Didn't bother with Garth Brooks as I have shots with him. Other scores include legendary guitarist Steve Vai and Jaunes. 

Sheryl Crow went in and did nothing but she promised she would take care of people on the way out. When she did come out most people were gone so she did combos with the few people left, and I got a combo! Wow so much nicer with a smaller crowd.

With this over it was time for evening events. After some nice pizza at Costco I went to a spot which was completely new to me. Over there I would score a Gabrielle Anwar combo, Chris O Donnell photo (could not get him to sign for me though he signed for others) and two members of the band Kings of Leon (one of which is the lead singer). People got Al Pacino at his hotel but I didn't bother to rush there since I have two shots (albeit shades shots) and his autograph is so bad I don't see it as worth the effort. 

Sheryl Crow

Full list of Saturday photo ops

On to day 2 of pain and suffering. Starts off with music. Get drummer Russ Kunkel, also upgrade my Darius Rucker. He goes "how many photos do you need" I say "this is an upgrade you have no cap on" which he scoffs at. Garth Brooks is well dressed so I get a photo op just because. Yo Yo Ma does nothing entering but shockingly takes care of everyone leaving. I upgrade my photo op with him. 

Kevin Spacey showed up and only signed for me on my side as he went to the other side. Already got a picture with him in the past. 

Get photo op with actor Brian Stokes Mitchell and autographs from actor Bobby Cannavale (had a photo op already so concentrated on autographs). 

Ringo Starr did nothing for no one as expected. I Virgilized Chris O Donnell getting another shot and also got another shot with Gabrielle Anwar. 

Don Cheadle who I got a bad photo in the past took care of everyone leaving. Thankfully I scored a perfect shot with him this time! Andra Day was super nice to everyone leaving. Don't know who she is but won't refuse a photo op if there. Also got a great music score in Domingo of the Three Tenors. I'm honestly not a fan of his type of music but I know who he is and know what a great name that is so was happy to get that. Then got the remaining two members of Kings of Leon that I didn't get last night as I took my spot for the actual event. 

Now this is where I go into crisis mode. I go to get something from the car and my car isn't there. I couldn't not believe it! While the meters on the street had a paper saying you couldn't park there at those hours, I was parked in front of the entrance of an embassy that had NO meters and NO papers! All the meters were to the left and to the right of the signs where I was parked in between. Hours on those signs were restricted Monday through Saturday but I was parked on a Sunday. 

I rushed back to my spot but I panicked! I called a million numbers and none said my license plate was on record as towed. Could it be that I had my license plate wrong since after all I was going by memory? Could it be that it wasn't in the system? Or could it be that my car was stolen! And my house key was in the car! I called a million numbers none which gave me any results. It seemed like best case scenario I'd have to pay 3 figures for the tow and as someone else explained to me you get a parking ticket in addition to the tow! To boot, celebrities were coming and I couldn't be very aggressive. I failed to get anything from Kevin Spacey (either auto or photo op upgrade). I only got one auto from Sam Moore, one from Lynda Carter, one from Cal Ripken Jr. Luckily I had photo ops with them all. Most people however did not stop so I didn't miss too much even in crisis mode. But had I been more aggressive could have had something from Kevin Spacey and more autos from Sam Moore. I also picked up repeat photo ops with Lilly Rabe and Trisha Yearwood and a couple of other shots. 

After this I ran to find a police officer. Luckily lots were around. I went to a cop car, explained my situation, and gave my driver's licence. She called the guy with the crane truck and said he is coming and we can ask him if he took my car. He came, I described my car and where it was parked, even showed the photo how I didn't break any laws. He told me to make a right and go up the street my car is there. I replied "and I can go get it?" and he goes "yes unless you want me to get it". I say "bless you kind sir" I run to my car and there it was! WOW crisis averted! Sadly I had a $50 parking ticket on it, but at that point it was getting off easy. The reason for the ticket was cited as what was on the signs stuck to the parking meters, but I have every single intention to contest this parking ticket with full photographic evidence on how there were NO signs where I parked it and how I was 110% legally parked for the entire day. To boot, after my car was towed other cars parked right where I was. 

After going to bathroom, I go back in position. This time we are only FOUR people as everyone went to rest up. Lo and behold the nasty Sean Penn is out for a smoke break. Says he will come over to sign but NO cameras and NO pictures! He signs one per. Goes to show you the difference between a few people and a crowd! Sean Penn stopped! 

After this the event breaks and no one really comes over. They were even blocking combo hunters from even waiting at one of the doors. A couple of people broke the rules and went inside and got photo ops with Bob Seger, Don Henley, and Timothy B. Schmit. While people that followed the rules ended up being booted off the property. At this point most combo hunters rushed to Al Pacino's hotel but I elected not to as it was raining and miserable. This is a decision I regret cause even getting Picino's horrid scribble would have been better than getting nothing at that point. 

Chris O'Donnell

Gabrielle Anwar

Don Cheadle


Full list of Sunday photo ops part 1

Full list of Sunday photo ops part 2

Here's the showcase of autographs

Autographs part 1

Autographs part 2

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Some scattered meets in late November and Early December

In November was an event where some A list names were expected. Robert Redford, Tom Hanks, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Deniro, Bill Gates among others. 

I arrive and had to run to a nearby hotel in order to take a badly needed crap. When done I am greeted with the first punch. Everyone is in! While it wasn't that huge a punch as the only ones that stopped were Denrio and Redford, and Redford (who I didn't have) did no photo ops (in fact one Master only managed to get a completely invalid shot), starting the day with multiple Deniro and Redford autographs would have been a damn decent start. 

At this point we are just waiting to see what randoms show up. First photo op is Ashlee Simpson. Then Tyler Perry comes in and I get a shot. Would have been a nice pick up but I had him already. 

I then go to Costco to get some food, and come back to wait for exits. We see Robert Redford, and plead, but sadly he does nothing for no one. 

We wait and it comes to a point where it is apparent people are leaving from another door. 

Rush there and apparently just missed Bill Gates and Bruce Springsteen. Gates signed one auto total (no photo ops) and Bruce did a couple. Additionally at the gate there's a whole bunch of random people gawking. Thankfully there was a huge walkway and the graphers are going to chase people all through as gawkers do nothing but still. 

Sadly things didn't get too much better for me. Deniro did nothing then we all ran after him right up to his car. He signed in the car and I got a horrid auto (signed in a dark spot and only the "robert" part). I see Tom Hanks and he refuses to sign. So I try for a photo op upgrade and get invalid shots. I am next to him, talking, begging, he goes "sorry I don't take requests". Since at this point I'm in drunk and salvage mode I got a photo op with architect Frank Gehry and H Bomb inventor Richard Garwin. When getting Frank I get yelled at by a secret service guy telling me "let him walk" but I simply ignore that demand (and got a photo bomb from Frank's wife). After this is done I go to the hotel of Ellen Degeneres in order to try and get something decent out of this day but sadly she is gone. I consider my day a bust. 

Full list of photos

Robert Deniro autograph

Tom Hanks

Behind the scenes:

Begging Tom Hanks

Redford doing nothing for no one

People Gawking

About a week later after thanksgiving I go to the airport at the crack of dawn. My main objective is Ed Helms who I know best from the Hangover trilogy. Wait and he arrives with his girl. He is grumpy about it but stops no problem! Success! 

Next up was Peter Noone, the original lead singer of Herman's Hermits (and their singer during all of their hits). He arrives and is super duper nice, signs, takes photo ops, gives full autographs. 

After a successful morning I go mooch a celebratory breakfast. 

Ed Helms photo op

Ed Helms autographs

Peter Noone photo op

Peter Noone autographs

It is December and I have a flight for Joe Walsh, a big want of mine who I have failed on in the past. Arrive and there's two other graphers. We have our Joe Walsh solo items ready. One thing about him, if you show him Eagles items he will not only refuse to stop for you but not even stop if you go "ok, well here's a solo item instead"

The witching hour arrives and it is chaos. We unfortunately have two strikes against us. First off Ringo Starr happened to be on the same flight as Joe, and second there were two people I've never seen before who were stationed behind the gate and waved Eagles items at Joe 

The two other graphers begged Ringo for a photo op but he shot them down. As everyone was walking to the vans and Joe shoots down autograph requests I beg Joe for a photo op and he goes "if you can get it" and I sadly get a valid but blurry shot while walking along with himWhile I wouldn't say it's the delete button, it's perhaps a step above that. I try for a second shot but came out invalid. Then his handler gets physical with me and stops me.

After this failure I go to a spot for Art Garfunkel. Wait for the event to end and he finally comes out. Not being in NYC we are only 3 people. He politely says he doesn't want his picture taken. Otherwise he is nice as can be, signs, changes pens, makes conversation. After all is done I try one last ditch effort to beg for a photo op even explaining that I want a photo op standing next to him but he still says he doesn't want pictures. 

Joe Walsh

Art Garfunkel autographs

Sucks that this is the sad state of combo hunting. It is becoming harder and harder, pulling teeth for mediocrity. 

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rhode Island Comic Con 2016

Since Froggys took their time to send jpegs I had to wait to make this report. 

After my fight and subsequent success with Richard Dreyfuss, me and head out to Providence for RICC. I drop Joresky at the air b&b he's crashing at then go to the convention center parking garage and collapse. 

Though I had little reason to do RICC for two days (given that Gal Godot was now my only day exclusive want) doing it two days did allow me to relax at a con and go through it stress free. This in itself was a nice change of pace. 

Also thanks to Joresky's vendor buddies we were able to possess vendor passes which were worth their weight in gold and they allowed us easy entry and exit and we didn't even have to go through searches. 

The day begins and I start with voice actor Michael Bell who was in GI Joe, Transformers, The Smurfs, and many other things. Then to Shannon Faron who voiced Wonder Woman in Super Friends. Off to the American Pie folks where I add Thomas Ian Nicholas and Mena Suvari to my near complete American Pie collection. 

Video game voice actor Nolan North had quite the line but I stood in it and got him. Then I got a FREE photo op with John Brennan (Mort Goldman from Family Guy) and other stuff. Robin Shelby (who wore the Slimer suit in Ghostbusters II) was free to all VIPs and vendors. First they said free auto and $10 photo op with the vendor pass. I asked if I could just get a free photo op instead of a free autograph. Then the guy went ahead and said free combo 

Then I went to the Legends of Tomorrow actors and got Casper Crump (Vandal Savage) who was nice as be. And then Falk Hentschel (Hawkman). 

Go to the Froggys area and split Frank Grillo with then back to the main area and go for Deadpool actors. Got Stefan Kapicic AKA Colossus and split Brianna Hildebrand with Greg. Then split 90210's Ian Ziering with Greg. 

After helping Greg out by standing in line for Jeffery Dean Morgan autographs, I looked up what artists might be worth getting and got free photo ops with Joe Sinnott, Steve Lavigne, Roy Thomas, and Allen Bellman. The first 3 were actually shocked I wanted a photo op with them and were more than happy to oblige. Tried for a photo op with Jim Steranko but he said he only takes pictures with hot girls. WTF? If I bought an autograph from him I would have been so pissed had I been denied a photo op.

RICC concluded and it was time for the markedout dinner. It was good to hang out and BS with everyone in a relaxing and stress free setting. I bought a $4 appetizer (a plate of sweet potato fries). Met overthetop for the first time. Joining us was Asian Dave, Joresky, Woodmo, Lanza, wewantflair, Greg2600. Asian Dave said AJLe would also attend was disappointing that he didn't. 

After the dinner we head over to the hotel for some mooching. I mooch Michael Cudlitz, Mark Boone Jr, Theo Rossi, and Travis Aaron Wade. All but Theo are first time shots. Get an update with Melina and an upgrade with Kelly Kelly. I have several Kelly Kelly shots but they are all airport and hotel shots so they're not the best. This shot is night and day compared to what I have I'm glad I never paid for an upgrade all the times I saw her at cons. Then got an upgrade with co creator of Deadpool Rob Liefeld and finally get Arthur Darvill no shades shot (although he has a beanie).

It was painful seeing some people I got at the con walking around that I could have had for free. After this head to the Motel 6 where I split it with Asian Dave and Overthetop. 

Frank Grillo

Thomas Ian Nicholas

Mena Suvari

Casper Crump

Falk Hentschel

Stefan Kapicic

Brianna Hildebrand

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 1

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 2

Full list of Saturday photo ops part 3

Next day I wake up relatively early in order to get a free parking spot. Went to try for some mooching but only got Ming Chen and chatted with NYC combo hunter Leslie while her boyfriend was in the Gal Godot autograph line since he had a Gal Godot VIP ticket. 

Go inside the con and today it would see the presence of NYC Masters (mainly there for the nasty Gal Godot). 

First I go to the table of Guy Gilchrist who claims to be co creator of Muppet Babies and an animator for the original TMNT cartoon. Got a $10 combo with him but I am hard pressed to find online evidence of his claims so I hope I didn't waste my money. 

The table of Michael Koske advertised free photo ops. Though upon further research he seems barely valid I just saw the word "free" and "photo op" then acted upon that. 

Now it was pro op time. I split John Ratzenberger (Cheers, Toy Story) with and both Gal Godot (Wonder Woman) and Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) with 50 Shades of Rey. Sadly we got screwed on Millie Bobby Brown as she made a funny face (she didn't do that for other shots). Wow how unlucky. Gal Godot was actually being super friendly and greeting everyone. I guess she was being fake nice. Millie Bobby Brown, age 12, is both the youngest pro op I ever obtained and the youngest photo op I ever paid for. 

The time at RICC was coming to an end. I picked up a photo op with Kevin Grevioux (co creator of Underworld). I asked him to remove the cap for the photo op and he goes "oh sure, sure!". 

My last get at RICC was Expose member Gioia Bruno. She looks at me and said I look too young to be around in the 80s. HCIT. After the photo ops she goes "hugs are free" and hugs me. 

Gal Godot

John Ratzenberger

Millie Bobby Brown

Full list of Sunday photo ops

RICC autographs

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A bunch of music meets plus a Jedi Knight

It is mid November and there is an event that involves Joe Walsh of the Eagles. The event also included other names I either had or didn't care about. Most notably Samuel L Jackson. Of course I will never bother to venture for Sam Jackson, but since he's at an event where I'm there for someone else of course I will pack Sam Jackson items. 

So I venture and wait. Not being in NYC it is wonderful to only be 3 people at the railing. Myself, one Master, and one music grapher. The music grapher was especially useful as he knew who all these people were.

The event also took over all nearby parking. I found an illegal spot down the street. So I stood across the street from the railings and watched my car like a hawk, then whenever a car pulls up I run to the railing. With only 3 people, you don't have to guard a railing spot so I was able to do that. In hindsight that turned out to be smart cause I paid $0 for parking. 

Sadly as we found out Joe Walsh cancelled the event. This was crushing cause he was my reason to be here at all. 

Got a total of 7 photo ops, one of which was a repeat (Cee Lo Green). And Samuel L Jackson begrudgingly did come over and signed one a piece. The music grapher was given one 8x10 to get done (since he doesn't care about Sam Jackson) and Sam commented "oh, same printer" (it was also the exact same picture, so esems he realized what was going on). Then I asked him to sign my Phantom Manace VHS boxset in a specific spot using my gold and he complied with that. Wow how nice it is to just be 3 people. In a chaotic setting no way I could have pulled that off. Since he had a hat on I had zero reason to  ask for a photo op as it would have been a downgrade, though when he was asked for a photo op he just ignored that request. 

One notable rejection was teenage country star Tegan Marie. I actually wanted a photo op in case she does blow up, though everyone seems to doubt she will. I could have come back after the show but I didn't want to put more time. 

Though I always prioritize photo ops over autograph, the only haul I care about here was my Sam Jackson autograph, since I am not a fan of anyone I got a photo op with. But without Joe Walsh I had to take whatever scraps I could pick up. 

Full list of photo ops

Phantom Manace boxset

Next day there was a concert featuring the original lead singer of Queensryche Geoff Tate, the lead singer of Iron Maiden from 1994-1999 Blaze Bayley, and Tim Owens who was the lead singer of Judas Priest from 1996-2003. My main want from those three was Blaze Bayley because I'm a huge Iron Maiden fan and I also enjoyed the album X-Factor even though it was not well received critically. 

Additionally, I was originally going to go for them at the venue where I caused the scene with Gordon Lightfoot. But a tour date was added which not only cut my driving time by over 50% but also meant that the venue won't be seeing my face for the foreseeable future (which hopefully means they will completely forget me).

So I arrive and wait for the concert to break. A lot of times they hold meet and greets inside that venue so I had to mooch my way inside as I did in the past. From people leaving I managed to get the proper "insignia" to look like I was inside. Then I looked through the glass door and didn't look like any of the three were at the merch table. To boot, I would find out that they were selling paid meet and greets! $60 per person or $100 for a couple. So I aborted the mooching mission and simply stood by where they were going to come out. In hindsight that was a brilliant move cause they were kicking out people that actually paid for the show but had no meet and greet tickets. 

Two such people would join me in the wait, and their only real goal was Blaze Bayley. As opposed to me who wants to milk every bit I can from the time and effort I put into things.

First they spot is Tim Owens who would have passed right by me. He is nice as can be and does photo ops. Wait some more and we finally spot Blaze. He says he would put his stuff in the bus and come back. True to his word he did, but sadly he put an eskimo hat on. He was nice as can be, telling life stories, signing, and doing photo ops. 

My main goal was accomplished now it was time to wait for Geoff. The other two were satisfied and left, so I was now alone. Luckilly I had the brilliant foresight to view some m&g photo ops from pepole leaving so I knew exactly how Geoff looked like (he has a beard unlike the photos that come up on google images so would have likely walked by me if I didn't know that). 

Wait some more and he shows up. I ask for a photo op and like Blaze he says he would come back after putting his stuff in the bus. So I wait and the bassist in the band (who isn't valid) comes down from the bus and asks what I'm waiting for. I say that Geoff said he would come out. He said he'd remind him but thought he'd come say hi. Since he did come down just for me I took a photo op with him so he doens't feel left out. He then shook my hand as he went back in the bus. 

True to his word Geoff comes out, and nice as can be. Shook my hand, asked my name, did a photo op no problem. Wow how refreshing. I can see why goes for all the lower tier music names he does as they are normally so happy to do combos. Though I should add that Geoff, even though not my main reason for doing this, is no small name as he was the lead singer of Queensryche for 30 years from 1982-2012 (and will forever be their only valid lead singer). 

Full list of photo ops

Blaze Bayley

Geoff Tate

Signed X-Factor CD

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The PRINCESS gave me some WOOD

It was a long and grueling RICC weekend yet there was no rest for the weary as I get a tip for actor Woody Harrelson and director Rob Reiner (Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, When Harry Met Sally). Not too much can make me move after a long grueling weekend, but two great names that I failed on in the past would do it. 

I drive to get to the spot. I am a few blocks away and would get my first PUNCH. The police blocked the road! I waited and waited and the road didn't open up. So I made an illegal left turn and had to detour to the spot! Sadly by the time I got there the Master waiting informed me that I was 20 minutes too late! He showed me his perfect Rob Reiner photo op and an invalid Woody photo op. He also added that he doesn't care that much because he has a perfect shot with Woody from the pre digital age. 

He would leave while I waited in case they would both leave to go to a restaurant as opposed to staying for the whole event. Sadly it became evident they would stay and I was stuck waiting. Wow how crushing. 

The event breaks and the Master returns. He looks around and says none of the cars waiting belong to them. WTF! At this point we're not even sure if they're inside or snuck out but after research seems they're both inside. I attempt to mooch my way inside but to no avail. A bit later one grapher who is a minion shows up. 

Wait a bit more and all of a sudden everyone that is left inside walks out. I first approach Woody and ask for a selfie and he agrees! I couldn't believe it! I got a shot and it is valid! I then take a photo op for the Master but turns out it's still invalid. I then run to Rob Reiner and get a photo op. I ask him for autographs and look for my gold but accidentally give him the blue. And he is nice as can be making sure to sign in the area where the blue would show.

Me and the minion then wait to ask Woody for autographs but he denies us. 

As I was leaving I get a call about the restaurant they were at in case I wanted to attempt for  a Woody autograph, but I decided to quit while ahead. 

Sucks I had to dedicate much more time than I initially had hoped, but the end results speak for itself. And getting two upper tier names I failed on in the past, one of which is not known to be the nicest, that's a pretty damn good end result. 

Woody Harrelson

Rob Reiner


Pre Rhode Island Comic Con meets in two cities

Prior to going to RICC, me and  headed to NYC. We arrived a little later than we had hoped but the event we were going to ended up having no access. With that revelation we went to a spot where was waiting. As we arrive turns out we missed Jon Voight by 10 minutes though I already had him. We end up getting actress Skyler Shaye and waited for JK Rowling but turns out she went through the back of the building.

With a rather uneventful evening we commandeered a free parking spot and readied to get some shut eye. Vanessa the Jersey Shore Stalker decided to to crash in my car in order to get up early and try for Ryan Phillippe of Cruel Intentions. Since he is a want of mine I decided to join her at the spot. 

Wake up bright and early and go to the spot. Unfortunately for Joresky who is still fast asleep we find out Voight already left. 

So we wait and wait and Ryan finally comes out and is nice as can be. Sadly he's wearing hat and shades but at least that's a fresh photo op for me. 

Next up I go for Priyanka Chopra. I got her before but the shot I have is pretty bad. She is wearing shades, she is in a car, pose is bad, and the sun is shining. Rather than shoot for an upgrade Joresky preferred to go eat breakfast at McDonalds citing that she'd have shades on (and by the time he got back the railing was full so he could not wait). 

The crowd is sizable, she arrives, and starts signing. I tell her I have nothing to get signed and want a photo op. She pulls a Moses/red sea on all the graphers' extending hands and stands next to me as I selfie it. Though she is wearing shades it is still night and day compared to my old shot. MUCH better in every respect. Even the shades she is wearing you can see through them. Based on my old shot I almost considered I didn't have a photo op with her. 

Next up I try to break the long running curse I have with Jennifer Lopez. Go to the spot but I see nowhere to wait. Turns out she is in a building that has a garage. Abort mission, the curse lives on. 

Go to the set for Pierce Brosnan. I have a shades shot with him so this would hopefully be an upgrade. First get is Tate Donovan who I missed out on in the past so I was happy to get that. See Wallace Shawn and I figured why not get another shot. He also said that today he's a celebrity doing photo ops and no one knew who he was yesterday. I replied "really? That's inconceivable". Joresky took my shot but it was invalid. No biggie as I got him so I didn't fight for a retake. Next picked up shot with Cynthia Nixon (update) and Debi Mazar (upgrade). 

Also got in a spat with another grapher who made a threat. I cursed him out and dared him to make the threat while I recorded him. 

Finally time for the main event with Brosnan and he is swarmed by graphers. I get an auto and he does one photo op. The graphers leave and the guy who I had a spat with apologizes to me. I accepted his apology and shook his hand. Me and Joresky then wait for round 2 with him and in a rare NYC moment we have a huge name 2 on 1! He signs, takes photos. Sadly the photo was overexposed and Joresky didn't notice or take another for me (after I took a perfect shot for him that he relished when he saw). 

This ended our time in NYC as we then head for Hartford. 

Pierce Brosnan

Ryan Phillippe

Priyanka Chopra

Full list of NYC photo ops

Brosnan autographs

For reference, my old Chopra shot

My main want in Hartford is Richard Dreyfuss, and my secondary want is Roscoe Orman from Sesame Street. 

First stop is Dreyfuss. It breaks and we wait. We get a photo op with actress Christa Scott-Reed. Finally the witching hour is upon us. In order to increase my chances at a photo op I hold up my program and my camera, keep all my merch in a bag, and ask for a photo op. He goes off on me and says "you're a pro autographer, you're a pro you're a proooo" and I ask him how am I a pro if I'm only asking for a photo op. He attacks me and grabs my bag asking "what's this, what's in there, merchandise, you're a pro". 

This marks the first time a celebrity physically assaulted me. 

He then goes to a restaurant, and I decide to wait for him to finish. Before doing that I go to the next spot for Roscoe Orman and Cleavant Derricks from Sliders who is get if there for me. We are by the front and Cleavant dashes out the other door. But we manage to catch Roscoe Orman. He sees us and looks at us with a mixture of this face and this face  but when we explain what we want he is nice as can be. We each get a combo no issue. 

Back to Dreyfuss and I confirm that he is still in fact inside. Wait a little more and him and his entourage exit. I plead some more and his wife goes "ohh you've been waiting all this time, c'mon take a picture with him" as I grab a selfie! Wow success when I didn't expect it. My reaction was this face

I decided not to push my luck with an autograph as we head for Providence. 

Richard Dreyfuss

Full list of Hartford photo ops