Thursday, April 10, 2014

An Array of Street Meets throughout March and April

Fresh off the heels of Monstermania/Big Event weekend, I had one short term goal: MaCaulay Culkin. The day I was going for Culkin, I got a tip for a couple of lower tier names. I figure might as well pick them up to make the most out of my day and to have something over nothing in case Culkin is a bust. 

First off I got a photo op with Rick Harrison from pawn stars at his hotel, then I got a photo op with actress Whitney Port at a store grand opening. Then it was off to Culkin. Sadly at the venue he did nothing for no one. Every time he came out he would still ignore everyone. We were only 3-4 people. 

It didn't help matters that the venue were being by setting their "wet floor" cones further away than they were legally entitled to. 

Thanks to craigslist, I got a cheap ticket to his show in the hopes that he would do some sort of signing, but to no avail.  

After the show, again still nothing from him. And we got into multiple clashes and scuffles with security. For instance one guy told the guard "I'm 1000% sure if we get closer there's nothing you guys could do to stop us" He responded "can't be more than 100% sure" to which the guy replied "ok, then I'm 100% sure" and the guard's response was "as long as we're mathematically correct" 

At one point the head security said we could not yell for the band anymore and that we had to go or he would call the cops. Of course we were on public grounds. One guy cursed the security guard out and after the curse fest I said in a VERY defiant tone, "go ahead, call the cops, we aren't going anywhere." And another guy responded "go call them when they come we'll see what they say about those cones you illegally have here". 

The security guard says he's going to call them and goes inside. Minutes and minutes pass and no cops ever come, and Culkin and his band finally left. As he was leaving it was ever so painful to see him do a combo or two with staff workers. 

We wanted to go to the next spot, but sadly it turns out they left town. So my day was essentially a bust. I can at least say I gave this my maximum possible effort in every shape or form. I really did want that combo so badly

Rick Harrison

Whitney Port  

Defeated and distraught at a wasted day and wasted money, I decide to set my sights low the next day in order to all but guarantee success. Namely, Kevin Eubanks, who I know best from his time in WCW. 

The venue which he was playing at is every combo hunter's dream. One door in and one door out Additionally, the door leads to a very public alleyway. The drawback is this venue is not so easy to mooch into cause you have the same guy always sitting down by the one door. 

The show ends, and I attempt to mooch, but to no avail. So I play the waiting game. 

While waiting we are informed by the venue staff that they're having lunch and they can ask the band if photos are ok but otherwise we can't wait. Total rubbish. Of course I try to be polite and I simply say that I can wait on the side away from the door after which they change their mind saying "ok you can wait". 

Finally, after spending more time by that venue than I had anticipated, Kevin Eubanks comes out! I ask for photo ops and he goes "sure" and is happy to take them. We then say we have items to get signed and I get my WCW book signed. I tell him "bet you don't sign too much WCW stuff" to which he replies "Oh I had a BLAST in WCW". To boot, I even got a handshake! A very rare thing outside of a paid setting. 

As can be seen by the smile in the photo op, he was so damn happy to be doing combos. He made our night, and we made his night. How I wish it were that way more often 

Kevin Eubanks photo op 

Signed WCW book

Next up was a day at the end of March when I had two choices. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith at an airport, or Jimmy Carter at another spot. Even though I already had Tyler and still don't have a Jimmy Carter photo op, since it was cold that day and the Carter spot also had a garage, I elected to go for what seemed like more of a guarantee, namely Steven Tyler. 

It is Indoors, he is a nice guy, and no secret service to potentially clash with. 

I arrive at the airport and two other long time graphers are there. Not too long after Steven Tyler shows up! He says he will only sign if we say how we found out the flight. I quickly say "a pap told me, really" and he replies "there's no paparazzi here" and then one other grapher goes "c'mon Steve just tell him the truth" and proceeded to give a quick statement on the magical research he did to find out. My reaction was this face 

Besides that though, Tyler was nice as can be, signing for everybody. I wish I had more stuff. I got him on two CD covers, my Permanant Vacation vinyl, AND the record itself cause he was signing so much. 

An interesting story regarding the vinyl, I had him sign it once before but it was in black and would barely show up on there. So I declared that a badly signed item, rubbed off the autograph, and salvaged the item. This time I was begging him to do it in gold, which at first he was like "c'mon just take what you can get" but finally agreed to do it in gold, and it came out AWESOME! I even got another photo op with him even though this photo op is a downgrade since he is wearing shades. 

While we were getting combos some random bystanders were gawking and taking photos with their phones. I find it interesting yet strange how they do not give a crap about a photo op and are just content with snapping pictures of. The hard work I put into getting info to go face to face with a celeb, yet these guys get it randomly by chance and could care less. I guess combos are a very acquired taste (as can also be seen by the comments in Joresky's yahoo news video). 

When leaving, me and the other graphers marveled at how easy that was and how it went so well. As one of them so accurately put it "usually you spend 2 hours and it goes bad, here we spent 10 minutes and it went well". 

This sweeping success was sadly tainted with a punch in the face. One guy at the Carter spot did in fact get a photo op with Jimmy Carter although for a reason I couldn't quite find out one other grapher at the spot failed to get him. And the one that did get him did have his child with him in the photo op. So that may have helped him get it. So I suppose it is possible that if I went to Carter I may not have gotten him. Tough decisions, what should you have and have not gone for, just some of the many trials and tribulations of combo hunting. 

Steven Tyler photo op

Steven Tyler autographs

I will end this write up with my first non-convention wrestling meet of 2014. This was a day in April when I had to choose between Hulk Hogan and The Undertaker. Both were landing in different airports at the same time. I decided to go with The Undertaker, since Hulk Hogan is around a lot more. 

This was my best shot ever at Undertaker, cause I was the only one there. Everyone else was at Hogan. He lands and I ask him to sign my magazine already signed by Paul Bearer and he does it. I ask for my CS2p Undertaker/Mankind figure already signed by Foley but he says "I gotta go". 

I persisted a little more, begged a little more, and he goes "did I not just sign, did I not sign" after which I put the figure away and say "ok you're right" then he goes "give me that, give it to me" and I hand him the figure and he signs it  as I thank him. The autograph on the figure turned out super awesome, MUCH nicer than the mag. The picture I took of it does not give it justice at all. 

I did not try for a photo op for a couple of reasons. First off shades and a beanie hat is a downgrade from what I have and second no one else was there to take it and selfies would be hard given how tall he is. Plus I figured I might have been pushing it if I did. 

Undertaker autographs