Sunday, March 8, 2015

Two days of music meets plus some actors

Around mid February I had 2-3 days of meets. Living Color (Cult of Personality) were on tour and Eddie Van Halen was in town. In one venue I heard Living Color set up a table and did combos immediately after their show. So I decided to try for them. The same day Eddie Van Halen had an event, but I had a flight for him the next day and figured I'd take my chances there (the venue has a garage).  

Now the venue for Living Color was one I had never been to. Was it moochable? How strict was security? For that reason I was a bit nervous and kinda regret not going to the one I was more familiar with in terms of mooching. But the situation was what the situation was and this was my evening to try. 

In the previous venue the show was 2 hours long. So I planned based on that. Sadly in this venue it was more like 3 hours long! Despite the cold I found a spot inside a parking garage where it was somewhat bearable and I could hear the music. What a relief it was to finally hear The Cult of Personality song! Wow just wow I thought that moment would never come. When that concert ended it was the moment of truth. Should I have bought the $40 ticket? Or was I smart to take my chances and mooch? Two minutes later I'm in

Immediately after leaving stage, all four members go to the merch table. Wow, why can't all bands be like that? I realize some venues are just too damn huge for that, but for small venues? There really should be no excuse to give your fans a treat. 

Of the four members, three are original. I had two photos for all four, and one photo and one photo for the three originals. 

I got to them, I went behind and got a good shot. The woman taking my photo seemed to struggle with the camera but actually took a good shot. They all signed my stuff no issue. 

Unfortunately I wasn't happy with the way one of the members came out in my shot. He seemed kinda hidden almost like a photo bomb So I went back in line, came to the front, and got a selfie with just that one guy. Now I wanted to try and improve my photo op with the newer member but then at that point they started taking photo ops from a horrid angle. But I got one close to the newer member. Thank heavens I got my original shot when I did. 

All in all a fruitful night scoring some friendly and decent music meets. 

left to right: singer Corey Glover and guitarist Vernon Reid in the foreground, drummer Will Calhoun and current bassist Doug Wimbish in the background

Will Calhoun solo shot

Second (shitty) group shot which can be cropped to (decent) Doug Wimbish solo shot

Overall I'm happy with the photo op results. 

Autographs obtained

Next up was Eddie Van Halen at the airport the next day. I arrive and there are two sets of graphers. One we shall call Neal and Bill, and the other we shall call Moe and Celt. As I arrive I found out news that made me miserable. About 5 minutes before I arrived Moe and Celt got lucky as they both got combos and multi autos with Eddie away from where he was supposed to be dropped off. Neal and Bill did not know that was going on so they missed that chance. At this point we all watched as Eddie was escorted with his entourage and THREE police officers. Really? Three? For him? As he checked his bags he went towards the elevator I begged for a photo op and he said he was late. I then ran down the escalators with all my speed even skipping the moving steps as I went down. I arrived downstairs so did Eddie and his entourage. I then beg for a shot and he goes "quickly" and I managed get that shot I couldn't believe it. Not seconds later police were back (as were other graphers) and started guarding the railing so none of us could access Eddie. I then showcased the photo op I got in their faces just to rub it in. 

At one point of of the police man was actually reaching for his gun, and Neal called him out saying "really, you're getting your gun out for graphers, wow" and then I say "You fire the gun at people getting autographs in front of all these witnesses YOU will get in trouble" 

While they continued to guard, Neal began mocking the police and I would join in. Here's how the conversation went. 

Neal: Honey....what did you do at work today? Oh, I stopped people from getting autographs

Me: Oh wow dear, I'm so proud of you! 

Neal: While a woman got her pursed robbed I was protecting someone from graphers

Me: You go dear, and you did that while the terrorists entered a plane! 

At this point Bill told us to calm down, and this ended the day. 

Sadly my shot isn't perfect as he leaned in a bit too much. And I would later find out that at the event he did photo ops with EVERYONE (the tickets specifically had said no autographs no photo ops), and it sure was a slap in the face seeing the perfect autographs and photo ops that Moe and Celts got. But I guess all in all I'm lucky to have gotten what I got. 

Eddie Van Halen photo op 

I guess the way I can look at it, if he were wearing a cap and shades the photo op would be much worse. 

The day after that I had a goal to complete my combo with Seth MacFarlane. My main item was the American Dad poster signed by all but him at NYCC 2014 plus I also had a Family Guy DVD. I go to the venue and wait. It was horrible weather as there was a snow storm. So I waited inside and would go outside if I thought his appearance was imminent. Finally I'm out and I see him. I ready the poster and a security guard tries to stop me but then Seth says "I'll sign one". He signs my poster in gold. I love how stress free autograph only missions are. Of course this is a venue I frequent so no way I could curse out or mock the security guard there. After this victory I ran to my car in a blizzard of snow. 

American Dad poster

At the end of February both Samantha Bond (Miss Moneypenny in the Brosnan bond movies) and actor Derek Jacobi had a show. Unfortunately the venue is pretty much impossible. Fortunately there was good info at the last minute! So I went to the spot as I awaited their arrival. As they arrived I got Derek Jacobi who was super nice. Sadly I made a rookie mistake as I missed my main want (ie Samantha) going in. This was truly a punch in the face. But I went inside the place they were staying and turns out they were all gathered in the lobby drinking and chilling. I positioned myself far away from them where I could see her. Tucked my camera away from any visibility. 

Now the hall way I positioned myself in leads to a bathroom. Ideally she goes to the bathroom and I get her in that hall way without anyone from the staff noticing. Worst case I get a photo op as she is going to her room and I piss off the staff but walk away victorious. I didn't really want the latter to happen, cause this place is actually friendly to combo hunters. Even if they know you're waiting for someone they still let you use the bathroom. And it is a spot I semi frequent. But I guess it's a risk I was willing to take. Thankfully I didn't have to! As luck would have it she went out to smoke and I followed her outside. After she was done smoking I asked for a photo op and she was nice as can be. Wow doing this you actually forget some people are nice. I also told her I didn't want to bother her while she was smoking she said she appreciated it. 

Derek Jacobi

Samantha Bond

Friday, March 6, 2015

My first wave of 2015 meets

2015 has sadly been overall unimpressive for me thus far

 If the 2015 awards were held today, I'd be last place. Ahead of me would be the likes of , Darkdefender, heelorton, greg2600, and IF you ignore poor quality photo ops, even my nemesis

This is due to several things. In part due to laziness, in part due to the freezing cold, and in part due to celebrity being bitches. 

That aside, I will present my first set of meets of 2015. 

First outing of 2015 in January I wanted to complete my combos with and virgilize both Bradley Cooper and George Lopez. I have photo ops with them but needed autographs. 

I start out outside the Bradley Cooper spot with some others. After waiting in the cold we find out he is inside no one knew how he got in. After I leave the spot I get word that Joe Biden entered the event. 

After this bust I go to the George Lopez even and wait it out. I mooch inside and get my photo op with George Lopez and three photos signed including a Smurfs 8x10 already signed by Neil Patrick Harris. I then run outside and see actor Carlos Pena posing for photo ops by his car. I quickly grab a shot. Unfortunately this success was met with a punch in the face, because others waited for Bradley Cooper leaving and got him hindsight is 20/20 but in foresight I did feel like the George Lopez even was more of a guarantee plus the luxury of waiting indoors was another factor that affected my decision. 

My next plan was to salvage the evening with a Joe Biden photo op. As I arrive back at the spot I am greeted my two huge and armed secret service agents. 

They ask me what I'm doing and I tell them the truth. One them goes "Bradley Cooper is here, really?" and I say that he's gone now. He goes "wow you know more than we do". They also say that they would like it if I left. I point out that it's a public place and I'm breaking no laws which they acknowledged. They said they still wanted me to leave I said I didn't want to and it's public. I again say I'm doing nothing illegal. I said they could search me, and they frisked me for weapons. I also made it a point to showcase them my photo op with Jimmy Carter on my phone and made sure to say "so I am no stranger to secret service". They complemented my Jimmy Carter photo op. Essentially that was my diplomatic way of telling them that they're not dealing with a novice. They then told me that I can ask but not approach if he refuses, and I agreed. They said that it's cold and would still prefer I leave if nothing else for my health cause they didn't know how much longer the event was going to last. I told them that the event was finishing soon. They again point out "you know more than us". 

I the position myself to intercept Biden when the event ends. And sure enough it ends when I thought it would. I ask Biden and seemed like he was going to take a photo op with me then he goes "sorry they won't let me". This ends a sub par evening. 

Even though I failed to get the Biden photo op, I hope this report is a lesson for all. Next time you all tremble in fear when a security guard tries to strike fear in your heart, just remember that this guy successfully stood his ground against two oversized, overpaid, well trained, and well armed government secret service agents. 

George Lopez

Carlos Pena Jr


Next up was a day in February where I had a huge tip on a Gene Simmons flight. Figured I would try to improve my photo op and maybe get an autograph. Arrive at the airport and there's a few people waiting. When Gene arrives he does nothing in terms of autographs but does take photo ops. I BARELY manage to get one. When it came to autographs he tried to say the airport told him not to. Really ? That's a new one.

Gene Simmons photo op

Two days later I decided to go for Vanessa Hudgens. I already got her multiple times, but one a day when the weather was decent I decided to go for it (also because I heard lots of success stories). I arrive and an 18 year old girl is waiting for Vanessa. Apparently she is a huge mega fan of hers. We chatted a bit, and she gave her dad the camera to rehearse the photo op. I stood in for Vanessa in the rehearsal photo op. I also told that girl I'd take video footage of her meeting Vanessa, which she was very grateful for. 

Vanessa was nice as can be, doing combos with everybody. I got another photo op just because and I got three 8x10s and a poster signed. Also got photo ops with a couple of names. Then I drove another grapher to another spot, and I ended the evening with basketball player Victor Oladipo, another name for me.

It was perfect timing  for me to stop at that Vanessa spot, cause apparently she stopped coming out a day or two later. As for the girl I met at the Vanessa spot, she loved the video I took, and she sent me our photo op.

Full list of photo ops

Vanessa photos