Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Ending 2014 with a 5 second pose! Plus former markedout.com

My combo hunting year would end with WWE. I decided not go to the airport since most people were not flying in and I really wanted Brock Lesnar. Since this is the time of year I don't want to spend combo hunting cause I'm so sick of it, I decided to dedicate time for when I thought I had a shot at Brock. 

So the day of the show I try a spot where I think might have been housing Brock. But I wait and don't see him. I get word that another spot I know of is a happening spot. So I decide to cut my losses on Brock and head there. That was a good decision because I found out later that Brock wasn't even in town at that point. 

I arrive there and find out I missed The Ascension. Horrible to hear as I wanted a better shot with Viktor. Apparently there weren't too many staying here either. But I also missed JBL.

Shortly after I arrive first person I get is Sandra the Seamstress from Total Divas. First time meet. Then I see Edge and ask for a photo op since I have no shot with short haired Edge. He said "I got you but I lost my wallet". I say ok. While he's finding his wallet I get a combo with Christian. He signed the Edge and Christian entry on the WWE_E V2. I also see Sami Zayn and Adrian Neville but I have great shots with both and nothing to get signed. After that a woman says if we don't have a room we have to leave. I gather my stuff then Edge is back at the ATM! I get a combo with him, defying orders to leave, completing that Edge and Christian entry.  

As I am leaving I also get Edge to sign his single entry on the WWE_E V2. Edge and Christian are then outside. And holy shit! They are doing dual ops! My reaction was this face I quickly get the shot, and it turns out AWESOME! This shot is at LEAST a $100 convention value right there! And quite honestly quality/framing wise it's probably the best street shot ever taken by someone other than myself. Especially when you consider it's a dual shot. 

While waiting outside Eden Stiles exits. I get a full combo from her on her WWE_E V2 entry. Then Dean Malenko is leaving. We try asking he says to hold on. We wait as he puts his stuff in the car. He was expecting to sign but I ask for an updated photo op. I tell him that I already have him on my book. Lillian Garcia exits but I don't bother as I had nothing for her and have several shots with her. Finally Rene Young and I get another photo op. 

As I leave the spot one of the combo hunters waiting comes up to me and reminds me of who he is. He also said he owes me cash from something I shipped to him years ago. Turns out it's none other than markedout.com legend Chris Collector! Wow holy shit! I didn't even know he did this anymore! But there he was.  

I thought about coming back in the evening but without any concrete info on anyone I decided against it. BUT I did have concrete info for Brock Lesnar for the next morning. I get up early and wait at the spot. I've seen big stars use the front door of the spot but sadly there is also a garage people have used as well. I wait and Brock is running late. Finally his plane leaves and I saw nothing, leaving me to assume he garaged it Wow what a great end to the year this would have been if I got Brock. But it was not to be. But getting an Edge and Christian dual shot plus bonus autographs and photo ops in less than a 2 hour time span is still pretty awesome. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

The Final Celebrity Meets of 2014

After the 2 days of horror, this is when I simply want to do nothing else. Unless of course I see a decent chance at a big want of mine. 

First came a shot at The Rock, someone I have a combo with but never managed to virgilize. 
I arrive at the spot and it would be joined by the PA crew. None other than along with non cancer infected Dave plus one other.

We wait for the stars to come out, but unfortunately it would seem like The Rock went out a different way. Hunter Hayes comes out and is as nice as can be. Christina Perri comes out and only stops for kids. Rita Ora comes out and doesn't stop. I already have a photo op with her but this would have been a nice upgrade as she is dressed up. I fail to get a shot but I do get somewhat of a shot via pap photos. Original members of Earth, Wind, and Fire also come out but don't stop. 

Unfortunately our fears came true and the Rock did indeed sneak out another door. I guess Rock virgilization would have to come another day

I consider this trek a total bust.

Hunter Hayes photo op

Rita Ora pap shot

My old Rita Ora shot, for reference

Next up was a shot at lead singer of The Bangles, Susanna Hoffs.

When I tried for The Bangles in Philadelphia I got the other two members but not her. So I wanted to rectify that. 

For this I had the info on where she was staying AND I had her outgoing. On the first night two graphers got her, so my options were the second night and the flight. I arrived at the place to get her leaving to go perform hoping I could be done with her early. But sadly I never saw her. 

So after a nap I attempt to get her coming back. After a long wait her van finally pulls up. She is really petite so one of her handlers made sure to stand in front of her thinking I wouldn't notice but I did. I called for her and asked for a photo op, but got blown off! WOW really after 7 hours total wait THIS is my reward? What a horrible "miscarriage" so to speak. 

To make matters worse, I did see singer Aimee Mann but second guessed myself. By the time I was sure it was her she was inside. She's not a huge want of mine but would have been nice to walk away with something over nothing. 

I wasn't optimistic about trying an early morning flight for her, but I put in this much time and effort into her (between Philadelphia and now) it would be stupid to just forfeit another shot at her. 

So I stayed in town and slept a few hours. I then go to the airport and wait. About 30 minutes later I see someone that looks like her but I wasn't sure. I called for her and asked for the photo op and she said "Suuree! Wow you're persistent" 

Not only did she remember me from the night before, BUT she also felt sorry for me and did the photo op! Wow! I had success with her! I couldn't believe it! 

Additionally, had I not seen her in person the night before I may not have recognized her. So waiting for her the night before was not a total waste for that reason plus for the fact that she felt sorry for me. 

I wanted an auto but she said she was in a hurry. I said I'd wait for her to check in. That took an extra 30-40 minutes but I got her to sign my vinyl then I run after her and beg and plead for a signed photo saying "I got the other two already" and she goes "I'm going to sign it quick" and she did it. I did have one more photo signed by the others but I chose to quit right there and then. 

That sure was more of a struggle than I had anticipated for her. I guess this is why shows like Chiller and Wizard World are gold. Even though you pay with money you get a guarantee. Here I paid with my time and health and almost didn't get it. 

As I drove home, I played some Bangles songs on my phone and they sure were a lot more enjoyable after getting the lead singer. 

Susanna Hoffs

Bangles signed items

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The two days in December that I dread

Around May or June of every year, I start to dread this. Come October, I try not to think about the fact that it's about two months away. Then 1-2 weeks before, I can't ignore it anymore and this horrific nature of this event cannot leave my mind. 

This year I did do one thing different. I wore four layers of socks. And three layers of tops and pants. Sadly the weather wasn't that bad, which sucked. I was rooting for bad weather to weed out most of the crowd. The crowd was bad but I was expecting it would be a lot worse. But having extra sucks sure helped alleviate the discomfort. 

Day 1

This trek starts the day before the weekend starts. My first stop was something unrelated to the main event, namely a Donny and Marie Osmond event. Me and another friend try them going into the event. Unfortunately we see neither one. Big bust. 

Next up is Sting at the train station. Amongst the people waiting is a woman with 4 little girls aged 7-12. We wait and turns out they are sneaking Sting out The woman with her 4 children mooch their way into the restricted area. I almost wanted to go with them but I was afraid to risk it if nothing else because this is a spot I frequent. 

As it turns out they got photo ops and beautifully signed Sting albums, the FULL autograph and not the standard "S~~" that he gives these days. Another bust! Wow I'm batting zero so far and feeling so miserable.

Last attempt for the day is the place where Donny Osmond is staying. We wait and wait and finally see him, and he is nice as can be. Got four vinyls plus the photo op. There was no evidence Marie was staying there so I technically didn't miss her the second time around. But quite a punch in the face that I didn't get Marie when others did earlier in the week. Still a big relief to have success after a pretty bad day. 

Donny Osmond 


Day 2

I get to the spot of misery and the waiting game begins. First score is Verdine White of Earth Wind and Fire. Then Sam Moore starts signing and I try to get the photo op. He goes "take it". After the second attempt where he tries to pose I check the camera he is looking down. When I ask for a third op and finally get it his wife says I got it already I say "he's looking down" and she asks "how do you know he's looking down" and I reply "cause I looked at it"  

I was very lucky to get that shot because he wouldn't do much of anything else for the rest of the weekend. Then I get Herbie Hancock who I already had and actress Laura Benanti.

Leaving I manage to get Ralph Johnson of Earth Wind and Fire who remembers he didn't get me on the way in. HCIT. 

Ballet dancer Patricia McBride comes in and is shocked that people wanted combos from her. She couldn't believe some people had 8x10s for her to sign. I got a photo op with her and also her husband Jean-Pierre Bonnefoux who is also a dancer. Country singer Reba McEntire signs one per but refuses to do photo ops. Didn't matter to me as I have a great shot with her. 

Sting comes and signs very few autographs on each side. I was one of the lucky few where I got a horrid auto on my Synchronicity album. Thankfully I got a photo op with him before. 

Tom Hanks does nothing for no one coming in or out. 

When Fonda comes in she does like 5 autographs no photo ops. I was one of the lucky few where I got a work out vinyl album signed. 

Al Green does very little coming out but not on the side I was on. Lilly Tomlin signed for people coming in and I got an autograph but she did no photo ops. While this was happening Sting left and a few people got him to sign. Wow what a fuck up. Would have rather had another Sting than a Lilly autograph but I guess hindsight is 20/20. When Lilly left I was trying to get the photo op and after much begging and pleading she consented to it. I approached for the photo op then the park police stationed there stopped me citing I was going through the ropes when in fact I was stretching it to get close enough to her for the photo op! While I was arguing with park police saying she said I could come get the photo op she left Damn piece of shit bastards ruined my photo op with Lilly Tomlin!!  Do they not realize what they do to us? 

Lady Gaga whom we never saw enter came out, did like 2 autographs and 2 photo ops between both sides. Sadly I wasn't one of them, despite my attempts. For my efforts I even got yelled at by her security guard. 

When Bruce Springsteen comes he signs and I manage to get a Born in the USA album signed. Sadly no photo ops. When he came out is where I died inside. Cause he did MULTI PHOTO OPS in the side I wasn't on. Wow that was so painful to see. 

Besides that I got photo ops with members of Pentatonix, Misty Copeland, Christine Baranski (again), and Damian Woetzel. Bruno Mars and Usher do nothing for no one. 

Then got a first time photo op with David Letterman. Didn't like my first shot because of the way he posed he blocked out some of his head by posing BEHIND my head so when I tried for the second shot he goes "we already did that" and a security guard grabs my arm in an attempt to stop me. But I ignore the guard and continue to take the shot. 

After this we go to Costco to grab some food and print some photos. On the way to Costco one guy honks badly at me because I'm slowing him down. So I fully stop in the middle of the road, turn on my blinkers, and curse the guy out and give him the middle finger. 

When I finally move he comes side by side me and curses me out and I give him this finger again 

Never ever mess with me after I've had a sub par day combo hunting. No Springsteen photo op, no Jane Fonda photo op, no Gaga upgrade, no completing Gaga combo, this made me a miserable person

Tried a spot for Donny and Marie but the rain was just too much. Called it a night to get some much needed rest for an early start. 

David Letterman

Full list of photo ops

My first ever autograph request, HCIT!

Day 3

This day starts where I strike a deal with someone who really wanted to buy both my signed Sting vinyl and my signed Bruce Springsteen vinyl. As hard as it was to refuse the money he offered me the prior day this one was tougher to refuse. In exchange for those two albums he gave me the Sting album he got, which was on his newest album and had a MUCH nicer autograph. He gave me a Charlie Daniels album that was signed at the same event I got him at, and he gave me $400 cash. So the way I saw it I'm not losing a Sting autograph, only a Springsteen autograph, and gaining $400 and a signed Charlie Daniels album. Before I finally agreed to the deal they made the wise move of placing that $400 cash in my hands. 

The first meet was Garrison Keillor. Jane Fonda then comes and this time is more accommodating. I get the autograph and she is signing away but I beg and plead the best I can to get the shot but fail Going out she does nothing. 

Reba McEntire does autographs again and I get one. 

Steven Spielberg does nothing going in but going out signs, and again I fail to get that photo op! This is horrible as I've been having bad luck photo op wise the past couple of days. Autograph wise I've been doing great but photo op wise not so great. Although in my defense besides Springsteen who did it on the side I wasn't on, no one else was really trying to do photo ops. 

Stephen Colbert comes I get the autograph and ask for the photo op he goes "my hair isn't combed I need to go comb it". When he reaches the end of the line he then takes one photo op  I do manage to get a second item signed as he's still signing but no chance for the photo op again. Bruce Springsteen signs a few coming in, I get another autograph on my "Darkness on the Edge of Town" vinyl but try to beg for a photo op and he doesn't pose!

Lady Gaga comes in and does nothing for no one. Martin Short signs and is being really tough. I only managed to get one from him. Didn't bother asking for the photo op as I have several shots. Meryl Streep does nothing for no one. 

Fearing a repeat for the prior day where Springsteen ignores the side I'm on, I migrate to the other side in the hopes that I can score a shot with Springsteen. After all photo op wise I consider it a bust so far. Finally Springsteen comes out and is lingering about. I take Joresky's spot and beg and plead with all my might and all my heart

Finally he goes "come on in there" as I take the photo op! YES! My reaction truly was this face  as I got my first big score photo op wise! Besides my photo op he did one autograph. Besides me I was the ONLY photo op he did for this particular day (although he did do photo ops the next morning). 

After this victory, I ran across the street away from the event and yelled and screamed in celebration. This was apparently caught in video by some people as I later got a phone call about how crazy I was yelling and screaming. Thankfully no one at the event heard me as I didn't want to get kicked out. 

Unfortunately migrating to the other side came with a price as many of the others who came through did the other side and not on the side I'm in, including the lead singer of Earth, Wind, and Fire. Jennifer Hudson also came in and did nothing for no one. 

Went to grab a spot at the next phase. In hindsight that was a bad move because while we were on the other door Jennifer Hudson stopped for the handful of people still waiting for her to leave. 

Now the next set wave of entries. Most people do absolutely nothing. Jane Lynch for instance did the side I wasn't on. That was painful cause I had a nice photo from Wreck it Ralph and I also wanted a no shades shot. But amongst the sea of nothings I did get a Linda Carter autograph, another photo op with Michelle Lee, and a full combo with Melanie Griffith. YES! Scored another good photo op in Griffith! That felt really good. 

Next we wait for exits. Whoopi Goldberg left early and signed but wouldn't pose for shots. I wanted another shot but I have one already. 

After this it was essentially slim pickings as most would do nothing or leave out another door. Sting and Lady Gaga did the latter. 

Jane Fonda and Bruce Springsteen do nothing but people got stuff by chasing their car! I made the mistake of not doing that myself. Who knows I may have scored that Fonda  car photo op.I did do that for Speilberg but to no avail as he did nothing. 

Meryl Streep did one photo op on the other side (via lots of begging from what I was told). And when walking from one side to the other did one autograph for one grapher who just happened to luckily walk to the other side! WTF? Of course when Streep came to where I was waiting, nothing for no one. 

Throughout the day/night Bruno Mars and Usher do nothing for no one. 

John Kerry showed up and signed. I got an autograph. He wouldn't pose but I had that shot already. Got another photo op with actor Kyle MacLachlan and a photo op with politician Terry McAuliffe.

This ended the evening. I dropped an old lady grapher to the train station, I dropped a friend home, parked in a legal spot, and I just collapsed and slept in the car as I simply could not drive any further. 

Full list of photo ops

Bruce Springsteen

Melanie Griffith

Now to showcase some autographs from the past two days. 

Sting album that I sold/traded

Bruce Springsteen album that I sold/traded

Sting and Charlie Daniels album that I got in the trade

Although the Sting album I got rid of is the better album, the one I got looks MUCH nicer, both in overall look and the autograph. And after all that I still get to have one full combo with Springsteen! 

Jane Fonda workout vinyl

Bruce Springsteen vinyl

non-vinyls part 1

non-vinyls part 2

non-vinyls part 3

Day 4

Yes, unfortunately there was a day 4. And this was because of the pesky park police that took away a photo op from me. I had a Lilly Tomlin flight and wanted to get that photo op. If the park police had let me approach her for a few seconds I could have been at home sleeping and did not need to violate her privacy. But thanks to those bastards I had to lose a day and dedicate more time and effort to this. 

After I wake up from my slumber I actually went to check one spot, but most people had left and from what I heard Speilberg did nothing for no one walking from the spot to starbucks and back. 

The head of security at that spot told me and one other person waiting that everyone had left and he's going home. I knew that was untrue since I had the Lily Tomlin's flight info. But I don't think he was really lying he likely meant all the big names. After this I left the spot for the buffet since I had time to kill till Lily. I go to American Buffet and feast on some nice, hot, long overdue food. That felt good. 

Then I arrive at the airport and wait. More graphers show up. We are four total. Finally her limo pulls up and she comes through. Her handler says one each. I ask for a photo op and the handler says "take it while she's signing" but I ignore that request. When she signs one per she happily poses with everyone. It felt good to correct at least one failed photo op from the past couple of days. I even shook hands with her as she went on her way. 

I wish I could say I had quit after this, but I was already in town where Angelina Jolie was rumored to show up, but when I got there it didn't look like a happening spot. So I left. Later on I would find out Angelina had chicken pox and cancelled all appearances. 

Finally I had a spot for director Kevin Macdonald. Figured I might as well put a little extra time and snag that shot before going home. Me and another grapher arrived at the spot. We wait and he was nice as can be. 

Lilly Tomlin

Lilly autograph

Kevin MacDonald

In summary, while this was hard fought, and I did fail on two of my top photo op wants (Fonda and Speilberg), overall I would say it was worthwhile and a success. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Country legend, TV classics, and more

The first day of December I embarked on a two day quest. The first one involved country legend Charlie Daniels. He is probably best known for "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"

He is born in 1936 and has had various health problems. So this would likely be my last chance to get him. Actress Marlee Matlin and actor Gary Sinise are also at that event. I sadly could not make this event going in, which was a punch in the face because everyone including Gary who is usually not very nice did combos! 

So I wait for them leaving. First exit is Kristin Chenoweth who refuses to stop even though out of the four of us I was the only one who asked for a photo op. Next up is deaf actress Marlee Matlin who is nice as can be. Got a combo with her. I wish everyone were that nice. 

My main want Charlie Daniels comes out, he was rushing but took care of everyone. Got a combo with him. 

I knew Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev was at the event. When a hot girl that looked like her exited the event we were all second guessing if that was her. I then call out her name and she is bewildered looking around to see who called her. I then asked for a photo op and she says "sure" as she couldn't believe somebody actually asked her. We then all got photo ops, which her mom took for us. 

Had my Apollo 13 laserdisc for Gary Sinise whilst waiting for him to come out, but sadly he did not want to stop. My evening is not a sweeping success, but definitely a success. 

Charlie Daniels

Full list of photo ops


The next day was an attempt at Wonder Years actors, namely Fred Savage, Josh Saviano, and Jason Hervey. This one would be joined by 

We arrive at the event, after they never show up we wonder if they were already inside. But almost last minute they show up! 

First Josh signs for another grapher while me and Joresky get Harvey to sign. Then I got a photo op with Josh but he says he'll sign for us on the way out after he signs FIVE things for one guy. I then get a photo op with Jason. When Fred Savage comes in andI manage to get a full combo from him. He was impressed with my Wonder Years vinyl soundtrack. 

After the event starts, I mooch my way inside. For my efforts I was given a media folder which included a FREE Wonder Years season 1 DVD 

Joresky is of course too much of a coward to do what I did, but he finds his way in eventually. We wait for the event to end and I go for Fred Savage first. They try to tell me no autographs but I ignore and ask anyway. I get my two photos plus the DVD signed! Success. 

At this point they caught wind of what I was doing, and threaten to call security if I don't leave the room. Now I had a choice to defy everyone and cause a scene and risk getting ejected from the building, or leave the room and stay in the very public building. I chose option #2. Joresky the coward dashing away was another factor in me choosing option #2.

We wait and as they all leave the room we then ask Josh for autographs but he does nothing 

In hindsight I should have chosen option #1 

Since I had the train for Josh Saviano, this was my backup plan. He was due to leave at 5pm. We wait, the train leaves and we don't see him. WTF? Surely someone like him didn't sneak in the train. We leave the station in defeat, but not deterred I do some magical research and find out he changed his train to the 6pm one! YES! After all that we have a shot.  

So we wait again. And again, the departure time approaches and still no Josh. It was looking like a repeat episode! About 5 minutes before the departure time he and his wife and child are rushing and as we ask he goes "guys" and his wife goes "oh my God, we have a child, get out of the way" and they continue to rush. I guess someone like him is not used to people waiting at his trains and planes. While this was a success it was quite a punch in the face to get no Josh autographs on my items 

We wanted to go to another spot for Ashley Judd, but sadly we had the timing wrong and the event was over. I dropped off Joresky to the train station so he can leave. I then think about attempting for Donny and Marie but it was raining so I called it quits. 

Fred Savage

Josh Saviano

Jason Hervey

Wonder Years autographs

TNA program signed by Jason Hervey in gold

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Tale of Three Billies in December

In a span of two days I would venture for Billy, Bill, and Billy. Let us see how this panned out. 

The first day was an event with Billy Joel and a train for Bill Nye. Venturing for Billy Joel at that venue in the cold wasn't the smartest idea, but I had Bill Nye's train coming in. And he is known to be nice. Additionally, Bill Nye had a book signing that day (in addition to the next day). So if I fail for Nye at the train station I had the book signing. 

I start at the Billy Joel venue, and there are two doors he could possibly come in from. Both in opposite side of the building. I am waiting with another grapher. From a distance I see SUVs pull up on the front. I quickly run as fast as I can. The other grapher is trailing behind. 

I then see the back of a short man wearing a beanie and ask him for an auto! YES! it's him. His people see me and say "oh my God". As I am getting him to sign a woman from the venue says "sir, SIR" and of course I completely ignore her as he finishes signing and by the time she gets to whisk him away I already scored. 

The other grapher catches up but at that point they block anyone from approaching Billy! I already have a decent photo op with him but wanted an upgrade. However he was wearing shades and a beanie so this would have been no upgrade. 

Since I have time to kill till Nye I enter the venue to try for him inside so I can get more autographs. Other graphers are also there. Unfortunately Billy is escorted and does nothing. 

I check on the Bill Nye train and turns out his train is arriving earlier than originally scheduled. WTF! I now have to rush to the train station and sacrifice another attempt at Billy Joel. I rush there, we wait, and no Nye. Could it be Nye snuck out? 

I leave the station so as not to get raped in parking costs then do magical research. Turns out that my original checkup was in error. He did have an earlier train, but his reservation was changed to the NEXT DAY To boot I missed Billy Joel leaving and one grapher got a full combo from him. 

I then went to the event where Nye was scheduled to do a book signing and asked if he cancelled turns out he did. So this info was in line with my magical research. There were other authors at the event, but the only worthwhile one was Ralph Nader and I got him before. So I went home. 

Honestly, if you told me in advance I'd leave with a Billy Joel success and a Bill Nye failure I'd have laughed at that scenario. Really goes to show you how random combo hunting can be. 

I arrive home and later in the evening, ZZ Top front man Billy Gibbons is spotted in town! Holy crap! Did some magical research and find out he is due to his event around 11AM. 

So now I can attempt for Gibbons whilist having Nye as a back up. 

I arrive at the place where Gibbons is staying. Couldn't find legal parking so I parked illegally across the street and I wait. In this hotel you unfortunately have to trespass to get people but I've had good luck there before. 

About 10 minutes after illegally parking I see Gibbons and rush out of the car and ask for a photo op! One of the employees says I can't be here it's private property but I ignore him as I get the photo op! I then rush back to the car and go away! WOW! I couldn't believe what a huge score I just got!! I didn't even have to wait too long. I felt like a Master right there and then. Additionally he wasn't even wearing shades! Billy Gibbons day time photo op with no shades? I should have played the lotto that day 

Now back to the train station for Nye. Unfortunately this would be my only shot at him cause I couldn't make the book signing. Plus his book signing was $40 to get in. It included the book but I had two books on me which I got for $50. I like my potential deal better. 

When he arrived he was nice as can be, doing multi combos with everyone waiting. He even told one grapher "I hope you make good money selling those".  I got a photo op, an 8x10 signed, and he took out his own pen to sign my books as he inscribed "celebrate science". I even told him how I failed to mooch into his book signing line at NYCC. One of those books I sold for some good money. Essentially I got back the cost of the books and then some. Damn I wish I had invested in more books, how stupid of me not to. 

I also find it funny how the security at NYCC who prevented me from a Nye combo a couple of months earlier was the driving force that caused me to violate Bill Nye's privacy and get the combo at a train station. I guess for me that was a blessing in disguise cause of not for that fallback it's possible I would not have been brave enough to venture for either Joel or Gibbons. 

Overall a successful couple of days.Additionally I was victorious against forces that prevent you from combos. Directly in the case of Joel and Gibbons, and indirectly in the case of Nye (since NYCC staff prevented me from getting him there). 

Now to showcase. 

Billy Gibbons

Bill Nye

Billy Joel autograph

Bill Nye autographs 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The long quest for Metallica

Metallica is a band I thought I would never have a chance at. But as they say, never say never because a chance at them (along with many other stars) came along. 

Day 1

I find a flight that is carrying three members of Metallica. James Hatfield, Kirk Hammett, and current bassist Robert Trujillo. Of those three, the only one worthwhile going for is Kirk Hammett. Because Robert is not considered a major member of the band and James is not known to stop. But Kirk has a reputation of being nice. Had Kirk not been on there I would not have bothered. 

I arrive and wait. Robert and James come out and are getting papped. Sadly James refuses to do any combos saying it's his "day off" and his handler was yelling at us. While this was happening I get a photo op with Robert while the handler is still yelling at me and I of course ignore him. 

No signs of Kirk and we wait more but see nothing After leaving I do some magical research and find out Kirk did not get on the plane. He didn't even cancel his reservation, just didn't get on the plane. Wow, what a big bust and waste of time day 1 is. 

To add insult to injury, I would find out after the fact the flight of Lars Ulrich. And he is the nicest one of them all. So I would have definitely had that if I tried.   

Robert Trujillo photo op

Day 2

This day starts where tons of stars are staying. As I arrive I find out Jamie Foxx just left but did nothing for no one. When he returned he came over did photo ops with a few girls and despite my best begging/pleading I got nothing. When he left again he also did nothing. 

The band Black Keys took photo ops with girls but nothing for anyone else. One guy even cursed out the dealers. He then went to a nearby Starbucks and me and about 4 others waited there. He came out and would do nothing saying they make money off his autograph. I pleaded with him saying that I have nothing to get signed and just wanted the photo op but he still ignored me. 

Jennifer Hudson, Rihanna, Jessie J, are amongst other names that we saw but did nothing. Although Jessie J apparently racked the day before when I wasn't there. Some black girls even got offended when I told someone that if Rihanna does come over she will probably only take photo ops with them. It was kinda humorous, cause while I'm not shy when it comes to offending, I was simply stating Rihanna's habits here. I fail to see how that was offensive. 

Let us take a look who did stop. 

I got a John Oliver photo op, updated David Grohl photo op, full combo with Jack Black (updating photo op, he is not looking in the first shot had to do retake), another Robert Trujillo photo op, and a George Lopez photo op. Was happy with my first time George Lopez shot because he was someone I wanted to get a photo op with but never felt he was worth going for by himself. He was super nice which was so refreshing, even retaking my photo op due to a photo bombing bitch. 

When Metallica left, James as expected did nothing, but neither did Lars. Who came over? Kirk Hammett!! I gave a friend my Masters of Pupper CD to get signed for me, and I got him on a Ride The Lightning vinyl. While doing so I ask for the photo op he says I have to be quick. I SCORE! YES! First major photo op! 

As he is leaving I call him back over saying I have his book from his cancelled book signing at Chiller (which was true). He hears that and turns back and signs it. Another person profits from what I did and I got another item signed. 

My next plan was to come back to this spot after the event. But wait, GEORGE LUCAS spotted in town! So I go wait at where he was staying. While waiting there I get a photo op with Paul Tagliabue  . When George Lucas goes in he sadly does nothing for no one. sucks as I had my Star Wars laserdiscs handy. 

Back to the original spot most people were already inside. But no one came over, not even Lars Ulrich. So I didn't miss much. Bryan Cranston comes over and I get a combo. The photo op isn't really an upgrade though as he is wearing a cap. Sadly I consider the evening post Kirk a total bust and waste of time. A Bryan Cranston autograph wasn't worth all that time and effort.

lead guitarist of Metallica, Kirk Hammett

comedian George Lopez

Full list of photo ops

Day 3

The outgoing of Metallica! This is where I had the chance to get Lars Ulrich. I see James Hatfield again, ask for the photo op, and get rejected as expected. Didn't even try to plead as I knew the effort would be in vain. I then see Lars and ask for the photo op, he nods. I score the photo op! I then ask if he could sign my vinyls and he does so no issue. Got him on the Ride the Lightning vinyl which I got Kirk to sign the day before, and the Masters of Puppet vinyl which I got Krik to sign at NYCC a couple of years ago. 

As I left I realized the guy standing next to Lars was Kirk Hammett. But I was so focused on spotting Lars I didn't even notice at the time. To think I could have had the double shot. Oh well. 

Lars Ulrich

Now to showcase some autographs: 

Metallica autographs 

Those vinyls may as well be declared complete. Because Cliff Burton is dead and James Hatfield won't sign them. 

Bryan Cranston and Jack Black signed photos

While there were many ups and downs and lots of wasted time, this had the potential to be beyond epic! Unfortunately it wasn't beyond epic due to celebrities acting like total bitches. But getting combos with two main members of Metallica plus several bonus autographs and photo ops, I'd say this was surely a success 

Monday, December 1, 2014

Old school A list, current A list, and future A list in early November

Hardly getting any significant break after RICC, I set out in early November for some meets. And they were all basically impromptu meets.

First, I set out for Willie Nelson. I had him before but got some vinyls for him to sign. 

I arrive at the spot and park my car. After I park my car I run to the spot and as I run I see him getting out of his SUV from a distance! I ran faster! As people are getting him I manage to get two vinyls done! WOW JUST WOW!
Literally two minutes from missing him. And if I hadn't had the good sense to run I would have missed him. And given his age how many more chances of Willie Nelson will present themselves? Thankfully I didn't have to worry about the photo op. 

Willie Nelson autographs

A day later there was an event with Christopher Nolan, Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, and Jessica Chastain. Never got Nolan or McConaughey, needed to virgilize Annie, and needed some Jessica autographs (and could use a better photo op). 

But wait, the venue has a garage they could use. Unfortunately this was the risk. I arrive at the spot and stood with other graphers. Not too long after an SUV pulled up and lo and behold, A list director Christopher Nolan comes out! And he is nice! I manage to get a photo op and my Dark Knight Trilogy blu ray set signed. He signed it in blue so I was concerned it wouldn't show up, but it shows up fine. I also manage to get the booklet that came with it signed. I told him "I already got David" referring to David Goyer whom I got at NYCC last year. I handed him my gold and he signed it. 

Sadly, the others all garaged it, but I got a combo and extra with my top want of the four, the greatest modern day director! So I would say a successful evening right there! 

Nolan photo op

Nolan autographs

Couple of days later I had a flight on up and coming actor Eddie Redmayne. He played Stephen Hawking in "The Theory of Everything" so he is quite possibly a future A lister. 

I waited at the airport and 40 minutes later he came out of his car. I ask for a photo op and he is nice as can be, removing is glasses and his handler took a photo op. I then shook his hand, a rare treat outside of an organized signing or convention. Wonder how much of all this will change when he makes it big. 

Redmayne photo ops