Friday, February 24, 2017

Some scattered meets throughout February

February is a time I usually chill as spring time is usually when hunting seasons truly begins. But I manage to go to things where I know I don't have to dedicate too much time.

First try is Judy Collins. It was a cold evening so I timed it to arrive as the show was letting out. Her car was parked out front so naturally I stood right there. One woman was holding up two vinyls. I tried to tell her to put away those vinyls so a crowd wouldn't form, but that STUPID IDIOT did not listen and a crowd formed. She is a perfect candidate for the list of Jericho!

Two other graphers also arrived. Despite a small crowd and freezing cold, when she came out she signed for everyone. I got two items done and even got her to change pens. She complemented my gold marker. Sadly, she said no photos and that she doesn't do them. 

Me and the two graphers then rushed to the nearby 7-11 where she was inside buying stuff. We then tried asking her there but she denied us again. 

I did have an early morning outgoing on her, but I figure early morning plus two fresh rejections in a row, this had all the recipes for failure. So I decided against it. 

Judy Collins Autographs

On another day I had an incoming for actress Maria Bello. Also in town was Rick Astley and I figured since I'd be there for Maria I'd go virgilize Rick. Then I get a tip about a Paul Williams flight. He's a known songwriter and also wrote some music for movies and even acted in some movies. So he's definitely a name worth picking up especially since I was planning to go out anyway for Maria. 

He was the first stop. I go and wait and see him. He's nice as can be and I get a photo op. 

Next stop is Maria Bello. We wait and never see her. Upon checking turned out her reservation was cancelled! WTF! I had checked the night before but I had several things going on the day of. Between that and receiving an impromptu flight for Paul Williams and rushing to make that I just didn't think to double check the reservation. $6 in parking down the drain

After that failure it was off to Rick Astley. I realized I had left one of my items at home. PUNCH. He came out late and there and people stretched all the way down the alley. But he took care of every person with both autographs and photo ops. Though I had to go back in line to get my other item done. Wow they truly don't make them as nice as him anymore. I also got a selfie just because.  

Paul Williams

Rick Astley

Rick Astley Autographs

Next up, actor Ashton Kutcher is in town. This is a guy who in NYC would be mobbed plus he's not known to be nice I'd never consider trying for him in NYC. To illustrate, one time he was at a spot which was literally on the street where I was walking and just moved along to try for other things. But when not in NYC, I have a shot. 

I also had his flight both incoming and outgoing. So with the event that gave me a total of 3 chances at him. I decided not to try the early morning incoming. The fact that he is not known to be the nicest combined with coming in pretty close to his event AND being early in the morning was a recipe for failure. Plus good chance he would have hat and/or shades. Also if he's nasty with me at the airport he might remember at the event. I decided I would try the event and if that didn't work I'd have the outgoing as a backup. 

So I go to the event. I see him being escorted with an entourage, holding a glass of water, and media filming him. Also screaming girls were present. I didn't even bother to approach and ask as he went in a room. 

I also saw John McCain and Marco Rubio and improved my photo op with each of them. Stupid me I left my items for them at home! ugh! I haven't been to this spot in forever and forgot that you get randoms like that. 

Then I tried going in the room where Ashton was to see if I could get him inside. As the event ended cops were next to him and didn't look like I'd have access. So I decide to abort mission in the room. 

Try him leaving but again same deal. Huge entourage, cameras, etc. No point in asking. But I did follow him to another room and two cops guarded the room. I waited. While waiting Senator Bob Corker came out of that room and was doing photo ops with some girls so I grabbed a selfie and he thanked me. 

At this point most the crowd had dwindled as I continued to wait. Then Ashton comes out. I politely ask for a selfie and he goes "quickly" and I grab it! I couldn't believe I was just successful. I asked for an autograph but he ignored my request. He then went to yet another room to watch some kind of documentary. I could have waited more but at that point I was playing with fire for parking. My spot was a free 2 hour spot which I can normally stretch a little since there is no meter. Since I was already over the 2 hour mark I decided to stop playing with fire quit while ahead. I walked to my car and thankfully no ticket. I also didn't bother putting more time and effort for the outgoing. 

I did miss Robert Deniro while doing Ashton. But since I had Deniro the obvious choice was Ashton.

Ashton Kutcher

Political Photo ops

Next evening I decided to get Mary Wilson of the Supremes, who unlike her former partner Diana Ross is super duper nice. Additionally, the venue she was playing had one door in and out. Cannot ask for a better street setup than that. 

Before that I wanted to stop by a spot for actress Marsha Mason. Waited at the door and saw some other actors from her show. Sadly they all range from invalid to barely valid. The types that cannot believe you want a photo op with them. But as I've learnt from the past (the hard way), always grab the photo op cause you simply never know. Unfortunately one of the actors told us that there is some kind of reception and Marsha was eating orderves and sipping on wine. Since I had no idea what time she would leave I decided to live to fight another day on this one. I then went to the Mary Wilson spot. 

It let out and a Master that was present mooched inside. Shortly after him I decided to try and mooch (I've failed to mooch there in the past) and I was successful. Even though the venue has one door it was a very cold night and while I knew she would stop regardless she would probably be bundled up. Plus it was nicer to get a combo in the warmth anyway. I then found my way into the m&g line. She was right outside her dressing room doing combos for all who asked. When I got to her she held my hand and goes "oh your hand is cold, were you outside" right here my cover was possibly blown but luckily I thought of a quick save I said I went outside and came back in. 

She liked the photos I made her sign saying "oh this is one of my favorites" and commented about the others. Seems pretty effortless to be nice. Sucks more can't be that way. This is likely it for me as far as the Supremes go. Of the other two original members, one is dead, and the other (Diana Ross) is a total bitch. To illustrate, even one of the top NYC Masters doesn't have a valid shot with her. And I know a music grapher who is black and failed on her three times. 

Mary Wilson photo op

Mary Wilson autographs

Barely Valids

Next up, I bought a meet and greet for original member of The Cure Lol Tolhurst. He is a founding member and former drummer and keyboardist. I saw a m&g for $25 so I quickly snapped it up. Autographs and Photo ops were in writing (both in plural form). 

Go to the club where the m&g was taking place, he started with a speech then everyone lined up for combos. 

In front of me was a guy with a ton of vinyls. When it was my turn (I had 6 photos) he accused me of being ebay. Like, WTF? Thankfully he did change pens though one photo and the poster they provided was with his bad sharpie and he asked for a change. The poster was so badly signed I gave it away. I even tried asking him to resign the one badly signed 8x10 photo but he denied me that. Of course I got the photo op as well. 

In hindsight I wish I went to the book signing instead. But when I bought this I didn't know about the signing and just saw a $25 m&g with guaranteed combos. Book signing would have been slightly more expensive but at least you got a signed book for it. 

Still, it was a nice calm setting, multi combos, and even free orderves. In an age where four figures gets you no autographs, group photo ops, bad quality jpegs, or even a photo op with just an empty stage, a $25 m&g with your own camera, multiple autographs, and free food and water is a refreshingly nice change of pace. 

After Tolhurst I went back to try for Marsha Mason again. Waited for it to let out and again snapped photos with some barely valids. Finally she shows up and is nice about the photo op, and I got her to sign a program as well. 

Overall a nice, stress free, short, and successful evening. It wasn't even cold. 

Lol Tolhurst photo op

Lol Tolhurst autographs

Marsha Mason

Barely Valids

Behind the scenes at the m&g


Lining up

UPDATE: For my final meet for February, I went for Dionne Warwick. Sadly she did not do photo ops.


Friday, February 3, 2017

Broken Hardys MCW Report

After an amazing January I decided to end the month on something relatively quick and easy. A Hardy family meet and greet. I decided to do this for a few reasons.

  • It wasn't that expensive, would be lots more money at a con
  • I never got both Matt and Jeff in the same photo op
  • I don't have any great shots with Matt Hardy (he has shades in all my shots)
  • I never got Reby Sky, King Maxel, or Senor Benjamin, all of which were advertised 

So I pick up and we head to the MCW arena. To our delight all the participants were fully suited for the photo op. Additionally, they had an awesome background, great equipment, and used flash (they initially said no flash). And unlike other 3 and 4 figured meet and greets, the photographer was actually checking for validity and doing retakes (except for the child, obviously). Me and Joresky got the shot no issue and went back in line for autographs. 

Luckily we were near the front of the line because as the photo ops progressed there came a point where the baby couldn't take it. So both Reby AND Maxel left the photo op! Wow I can see Maxel leaving but Reby? Sure someone needed to stay with the child but they couldn't have a worker do that while Reby stays in people's photo ops? After all 5 people were advertised, not 3. But it wasn't my battle to fight, thankfully. My battle would come later on. 

For now though, it is time for autographs. While waiting in line for them to prepare I notice Senor Benjamin standing around and I get a solo shot with him. We go through the line and I get the Hardys on an attitude era WWF mag. That went smoothly. 

I then wait for the signing to end since I could try for a Reby Sky solo shot. I figured [correctly] that while leaving all security would be on Matt and Jeff leaving Reby for the taking. To boot, since she was pushing the baby on a pram that slowed her down and she traied behind everyone else. So I get a selfie with Reby but sadly it's blurry I then run after her for another. At this point staff is yelling at me telling me "we're not doing that now" but I ignore them and get a second shot with her. Unfortunately in hindsight that effort was for nothing because later on she went to the food stand to buy overpriced food 

Unfortunately at this point I received horrifying news. Apparently the photos are uploaded on FB! WTF! So I found one of the top guys on MCW and explained my situation, he said to email and he would provide me with the jpeg full rez. 

I wait till intermission to try and score some "you never know" names. I avoided those that had a table setup because I didn't want to be charged. But I got those that were standing around doing free photo ops. I then left the place and went clubbing. 

The next morning the photos were uploaded to FB. So now I had to commander the full rez shot. There is where my battle begins. 

I sent an email and FB message to MCW. Got no response. Then I found the photographer, PM'd via FB, explained what I wanted. He said he can't email because the file is "too big". I suggested other methods he said he would do FB PM. But sadly that reduces quality as well. So I suggested a site where you can upload files up to 5GB and implored him to do it that way. After all it's just as quick to select a file via that site as it is via FB PM. He accommodated me but said he wouldn't do it for me in the future. 

I then again send an email to MCW telling them what transpired. This is what I sent: 

Since you didn't respond back I tracked down the photographer and got him to send me the photo in full rez, which he did and I am now satisfied and thankful to him. However he also told me that he would not do that for me in the future. 

Due to this I likely won't buy another pro photo op at MCW since facebook uploads are really low quality. 

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE use something else like dropbox, flickr, or any of the other services that don't destroy the photo when uploading. We are after all in 2017. Or even upload to one of these services AND upload to facebook. 

I finally got a reply back: 

I sent him a message and I was waiting to hear back from him. You went and got it done before I could get it done for you. I apologize it took longer then expected. As for anything in the future. That gentlemen works for me and if I tell him I need a photo in hi Rez then I will get it. I own the company. I just sent him a message to let him know not to tell anyone that again. You have my word that you will always get what you need from MCW. I told you that you could get the photo and I would of made sure you got it. We appreciate your business and don't want to see you not support us in the future. If you have any other questions or concerns please let us know. Thank you. 

Then I sent this: 

Thank you Dennis I appreciate both your response and your reassurance. Given that if I see anything I like on MCW's site I will definitely come out and support it in the future. 

Broken Hardy photo op, full rez

Full list of photo ops

Signed Magazine