Monday, July 31, 2017


With Barnes and Noble confirming photo ops for the Wesley Snipes book signing (Blade, co starred with Stallone in Demolition Man) I officially set the time frame to make my return to NYC. I also bought the Scott Peterson meet and greet (who I know best form the Saw movies). I thought it was a tad over priced but figured it was good to have an extra guarantee. At least you didn't have to buy a concert ticket for it which was good. 

Day 1

Arrive the evening before the Snipes event with markedout's adelta. Meet up with Vanessa the Jersey Shore stalker and stand at a spot for randoms. The evening is off to a bad start as Matt Smith from Dr Who and Terminator: Genisys blows me off and apologizes because he could get in trouble for taking suited photo ops (he was coming back from filming a movie). He did however give me a time to meet him at that exact same spot the next day. Sadly this evening I only get photo ops with people I had, namely Joshua Jackson and Rose McGowan. Joshua is a slight upgrade and Rose is really a downgrade due to her lack of hair. 

We check another spot for randoms but it was dead. Vanessa decides to treat me and adelta to Domino's pizza. After that I secured my free spot for the rest of my stay as the three of us crashed in the car. 

Day 2

This day starts with a Snipes event that wasn't the book signing. Since they said no extras at the signing I thought I could maybe get that and if I get a decent photo op I could do something else during the time of the signing (and save money on the book). In hindsight, going to this event was a bad move. Going in he was wearing hat and shades and signed. At this point I decided to make my appointment with Matt Smith so I bailed because I figured leaving he would either have hat and shades on or he would blank. Either way I'd have to attend the book signing. And indeed I was right because he had hat and shades and only did a couple of shots. 

Back to the Matt Smith spot. He comes out, apologizes for the night before, and does photo ops no issue. Next up head to Barnes and Noble to secure the book. Then I decided to try for Al Pacino at a movie set. Now Al Pacino is not exactly the hardest celebrity to get. Quite the contrary. For a celebrity of his caliber he is fairly flamboyant and friendly. So he always does events and more often than not takes care of people, even in big crowds. Case in point I have two shots with him have seen him several other times. But getting a GOOD Al Pacino, now that is incredibly rare! Cause he is always rushed and usually has some combination of shades, hat, and beard. But I saw photo ops of Pacino on the movie sets and they were mind blowing. So much that I didn't even realize it was Pacino till I saw the caption. No hats, no shades, no facial hear, nothing! My other option would have been to go for a fresh Stephen Speilberg shot but given that he hasn't been too photo op friendly on set I went for what was more likely to happen (ie I chose a chance at a Pacino upgrade over a fresh Speilberg). 

Arrive at the movie set and the crowd is mild. Sadly it grows. Pacino in and out but does nothing. At another point I get one of the two autographs he signs (on an 8x10). Then he does one photo op and rushes back in his trailer. 

Later on Pacino does combos with all and I upgrade my Pacino shot and get the most beautiful Pacino auto I have ever gotten on my Godfather II 8x12. Even though he wore tinted glasses in the shot, I was ecstatic. Additionally, he was even coach suited. Though this shot is technically an upgrade, much like my Miley Cyrus upgrade this is honestly just as good as a first time shot. As that happened I also got a photo op with director Barry Levinson who directed movies such as Rain Man and Good Morning, Vietnam. 

When it was time for round 3 for Al Pacino I got him to re sign my Scarface laserdisc already signed by Oliver Stone. I had Pacino on it from years ago but it was such a horrid graph as it was done in a huge crowd. So I got one that was a million fold better though not as good as the one I got on the Godfather II 8x12 a little bit ago. When I got home I removed the old horrid mark. But that's not the best part. He sported no eye wear so I got yet ANOTHER shot! This marks the first time in my combo hunting life where I upgrade my upgrade so shortly after I get my upgrade. 

Round 4 the crowd grew even more and I was sadly not so lucky as I got shut out of an autograph. My Pacino victory was sadly not without a PUNCH as I missed Lily James at a random spot. From there I head to the Snipes event. 

Shockingly there couldn't have been more than 50-100 people at this event. Snipes was supposed to make some kind of speech but thankfully (and much to the dismay of some) did not. Next to him was the co author of the book. Signing went smooth and we all got him no issue. I wish all book signings were run just like that. 

Next head with and  to a spot for some randoms. But we only see Aziz Ansari (who didn't do anything but I had anyway). After this we all head to the Scott Patterson m&g. On the way me and Vanessa run into disabled celebrity hunter Christopher Alvarez and his mother. They wanted to meet Demi Levato but we informed them that she was gone from the spot and that we were headed to the Scott Patterson m&g. They offered to give me and Vanessa a ride to the m&g and we accepted. 

Went to the m&g, met up with Suzanne. I gave Vanessa adelta's m&g ticket at a discount since adelta decided to go for Fallout Boy at the airport instead. Sadly Scott insisted on putting your name on the 8x10 which is a farce because when paying money it should be your decision not his. And I can't even remove my name due to the kind of paper it is made of 

After getting my combo with Scott I point Christopher out to him which allowed Christopher to mooch the photo op after all paying customers were taken care of.

On to the next spot for randoms, but sadly people are chit chatting and no one notices Luke Wilson going in. To boot, after most people leave both Matt Smith and Lily James enter, so that was a double PUNCH. 

Go to the next spot for actor Oscar Isaac. First person out is Anatol Yusuf and we get photo ops. Then we spot Oscar himself who told us no. He leaves the premises and two people chase after him. When I saw he stopped I dashed like a mad man to catch him. I ask and he does the shot but it turns out blurry! No! It can't be! I then plead for a redo and thankfully get it! 

I leave that  spot in victory but sadly missed a random in Alfre Woodard. Go back to the previous spot but there is little to no action. With that me and adelta call it a night. 

Day 3

Wake up, wash up, and go to the random spot. See John Taylor of Duran Duran and get a photo op. 

Go to the next spot where I hope to get actress Lily Collins and an auto from Kelsey Grammar. Initially I wanted to get a better Kelsey shot but after I saw that he had a beard I scratched that off my list. So we wait and Kelsey is first. I get my Toy Story photo signed. Lily Collins is next and sadly only signs. Leaving Kelsey does a couple of photo ops but I had no need for it and Lilly Collins snuck out the back 

My sole photo op from this spot is Justin Chon from the Twilight movies. Go back to the spot of randoms and get actress/model Arielle Vandenberg. Saw Minka Kelly at this spot a few times but she barely did anything. I didn't mind since I got her a few years ago. Lily James is spotted I ask and she does nothing. She is waiting for a cab I see her signing then I quickly beg and plead and score the shot! Was very happy with this as I loved her in Cinderella and Baby Driver! When others start asking she runs back inside then runs to the cab and does nothing.

Sucks Lily James has shades in my shot, but If I have to choose between upgrading to a PERFECT Pacino shot, good looking Pacino autos, a fresh shot with director Barry Levinson, and a shades Lily James VS only a non shades Lily James and nothing from Pacino/Barry, I choose the former over the latter. Always a good feeling when I make good moves! 

After this I decided to try for a movie set with Liam Hemsworth and Rebel Wilson. I knew Rebel would be a bitch but saw lots of Liam photos. So I went with adelta and two other NYC combo hunters, we hopped in my car, set the GPS to avoid tolls, and drove to the set. Once we arrived I let out the two NYC combo hunters as me and adelta found a free parking spot. Now we needed to find the spot to wait at. After a few minutes of searching I found the right street! I informed the others, they joined us, and the waiting game began. We would also be joined by Radioman. 

Finally the witching hour was upon us. Rebel Wilson is first and they say we have to back up and that she won't come out of the van with us standing there. She sadly but not surprisingly does nothing going in or leaving. She just waves to Radioman. As she is leaving she is chased by everyone (as I lagged way behind as I figured it was fruitless) and adelta gets into a spat with security as Rebel is in her van, but I quickly back him away as we need to live to fight another day here (more specifically we need to still wait for Liam). 

Liam arrives and they say he has to change. He goes in, changes, and does photo ops with us all. As I drop the others back to midtown, we grab some two bros $1 slices of pizza, set a minimal toll route on the GPS, and head out of the city. 

Now to showcase everything:

Al Pacino take 1

Al Pacino take 2

For reference, here are my previous shots with Pacino. The difference is truly night and day on so many levels

Al Pacino 2010 (shades and beard)

Al Pacino 2012 (hat and shades)

Wesley Snipes

Lily James

Liam Hemsworth

Oscar Isaac

Full list of NYC photo ops

Al Pacino autographs

non-Al Pacino autographs

Sunday, July 16, 2017

David Blaine and CSA Show

On an evening I decided to go for magician/illusionist David Blaine. To dedicate the least amount of time I decided to try in the evening. Markedout's adelta tried earlier in the day and succeeded but got a hat and shades shot. 

So I arrive and the show hadn't ended yet. I wait and eventually 2 other combo hunters arrive. There are two buses one on the front and one on the side and two fancy cars by each bus. Adelta did inform me which bus he used, but in combo hunting one never knows so we had to keep a look out. 

We look inside and notice David walking towards the side. So we run there. Then we notice a car pulls up on the side by the stage door. We suspect that this is the car he is using. Security even tells us we can't stand [on the sidewalk] by the car. I wanted to argue but didn't cause the other two didn't want to argue. One woman even told us "David's not getting into this car" but obviously we didn't believe her. So we all stood across from it but could still see everything. I figured if nothing else when the witching hour arrives I can run up to him and completely ignore all security yelling at me. Finally people start getting into that car and we look closely but don't notice him. Like WOW  that woman told us the truth? This may be a first!    

Upon this revelation we run to the side where adelta said he was. Not 30 seconds later we spot him walking to the bus with hat but no shades. I ask for a photo and he goes "let's do it" I get he shot!

The other hunter asks and I take his photo with my camera. When the third hunter asked for an autograph he goes "no autographs, only pictures" which unfortunately meant I couldn't get my 8x10s done  :depressed:  But considering I almost missed him completely, I am so grateful to the combo Gods to have the photo op 

Funny thing is I don't think any of the other bystanders even asked him for a photo op. Perhaps one other person did, the rest said nothing. Odds are he would have done photo ops for anyone who asked as he was in a "photo op only" mood. But after denying autographs and doing maybe 3 photo ops total he went into his bus. 

Couple of notes: 

I didn't think about it till after the fact, but the entourage that went into that SUV, they must have been someone important and/or valid. I couldn't tell who as my focus was on the prize so I was just looking for "David or not David" but they can't have had all that security and come out the side door for nothing. I guess this will forever be a mystery. 

While I was getting David, Adelta did get Kevin Bacon and his wife Kyra Sedgwick. But I already have great shots with both of them so I definitely made the right call going for David.

Next up is the CSA sports show! My top want there was Daphne Maxwell Reid who played Aunt Vivian in seasons 4 thru 6 of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. 

I arrive and I get a huge PUNCH in the face. Not 3 minutes before I arrive, people told me they mooched Jim Brown as he was leaving the show for breakfast. Wow that hurt bad! 

I then go inside and get both Daphne and her husband Tim Reid. I got the combo with both deal since there was no photo op only deal, and I split it with another combo hunter. So that worked out well to cut costs. Then I get actress Loni Anderson. 

I go out to intercept Jim Brown as he was coming back for the signing, but sadly did not see him. Go back inside and befriend someone who had a Jim Brown ticket. I go in line with him and I attempt a table op. I even beg and plead and the handler denies me as I fail. This is where you know you're dealing with rookies, cause as the guy was getting his auto and table op instead of quickly switching with me he ASKS "can my friend get a photo" 

After this failure I get boxer Chuck Wepner who was the inspiration for the Rocky movies. I had Jim Brown's flight but sadly something came up so I couldn't make that. But I waited outside for Jim Brown to leave the event and unfortunately it was the same handler at this signing table. I pleaded for the photo op to no avail. I further annoy the handler I did tell him "I'm just going to go the airport now" and gave him Jim Brown's flight info to his face. 

The silver lining is Jim Brown had a beard so hopefully I get another chance at a photo op where he is non-bearded. 

Friday, July 7, 2017

The haul to kick off July

There was an event in early July and I decided to try for some celebs. Most of them I had which is expected when you've been doing this for a while, but there were some photo ops I needed. Most notably actor Jim Belushi who is second billing in the awesome Arnold movie Red Heat plus he's been in a bunch of other things. And second biggest photo op want was up and coming actress Sofia Carson. 

I also had autograph wants, most notably Dan Aykroyd. First off I had some names in the Ghostbusters 1&2 digi book pack, and wanted to add him. And second off I once accidentally ruined the autograph on a Crystal Skull vodka bottle from when I got him the first time. So when I ruined it I rubbed it completely. Wanted to make that one up. 

The day starts in the airport with a flight for the Beach Boys. Already have them so this was mainly for autographs. First get Mike Love who signed but then stopped. Then Bruce Johnston who was shockingly super nice. Usually he is very tough to get a couple from so I only had 4 things with me. Had I known he would be that nice I would have had more. When they came to get him he told them "I'll take the shuttle in 5 minutes I want to take care of thee guys". It truly goes to show you how unpredictable combo can be. I also got photo ops with both just because. 

Next up was actor Jim Belushi. He signed and took pictures but was grumpy about it, even pushing us away. Success on one of my top photo op wants. So far so good!

Mike Love

Bruce Johnston

Jim Belushi


Go to the next spot where I would spend the remainder of the day. Upon arriving I see Trace Adkins and quickly get out of the car to get an autograph. Had no need for a photo op. Was parked illegally at first but then I found a spot that was both free and legal, which honestly was a miracle. Then get a shades shot with Yolanda Adams. Then a photo op with Mark McGrath. Jim Belushi and the Beach Boys do nothing for no one. From then on the crowd starts to grow. John Stamos finally arrives and as he is about to come out and do combos but security intervenes and kills our "baby"  then they threaten us with arrest if we step on the property again. Dan Aykroyd eventually shows up and racks! I get him not only on my vodka bottle and blu ray, but also the box of the vodka bottle and three 8x10s. He almost signed the Bill Murray page of the book but thankfully I managed to stop him. Didn't get a photo op since I have two already. Though I half regret not getting a shot. I have him no hat or shades and I have him over the table with both hat and shades. Could have upgraded to a standing hat and shades as that is technically a blues brothers headed/faced shot. Sofia Carson leaves and says she will do it later when she gets back.

Markedout's adelta arrives. Al Franken shows up does nothing but then does it for all. Get combo and extra with Sam Moore (I already had him this is just a different shot). Then Yolanda Adams exits no shades and I get an upgrade. Others are pretty much inaccessible due to security. 

Most of the crowd clears and security seems to disappear for the most part. We wait and we anticipate a 3 or 4 hour wait before anything happens, even getting pizza. Turns out that 3-4 hour wait is a 1-2 hour wait! Chris Blue comes back and I get a shot. Not anticipating anything else to happen soon I had gone to my car to change phone batteries then I looked and saw action happen. I ran like a rocket and turns out Sofia Carson is doing photo ops! Wow I almost didn't get that luckily she was nice. 

4 Tops comes back. There is only one member that is valid, namely Abdul Duke Fakir. The other three are barely valid. He invites us to go INSIDE with him and he is nice as can be. Kellie Pickler comes and ignores us at first but then caves in and is nice as can be. Stage actress Laura Osnes arrives and is also nice as can be. There were others I already got earlier or in the past and barely valids around, but I didn't bother going by the door and asking if I didn't have to.

Finally after a little while the final score of the evening arrives, namely John Stamos. I got him to sign two Full House cast photos I started. Sadly in one of them he signed over DJ and Stephanie. And I was only missing one more (Joey) before declaring it complete! Ugh so damn upsetting! (Olsen twins may as well be dead so no need to factor them in).  

While others are getting John I get his wife Caitlin McHugh who is a barely valid actress (as I will never forget past mistakes). When that is done I get an upgrade with John. Last time I got him no shades was in 2009. 

Regarding the photo on the right, I'm thinking perhaps I can remove the DJ autograph and get that one again? 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Some scattered meets to end June

For various reasons my spirit was broken and I was feeling down, therefore focused on meets that were either a guarantee or one hair short of a guarantee. Plus things where I knew the time dedicated, the pain, and the suffering would be minimal. 

First stop one evening was singer Aimee Mann, the lead singer of 'Til Tuesday (Voices Carry). I arrive and hit some bad traffic due to an accident, but thankfully make it in time as I run into markedout's adelta. 

She eventually comes out and is nice as can be, as expected. 

I was about to go home but then a music grapher recommended a spot for Jazz guitarist Pat Martino. Don't know who that is but apparently he is known within Jazz. Since I knew I wouldn't have to dedicate much more time and the venue has one door that leads to an alleyway, I decided might as well make my time a little more worthwhile with an extra photo op.

I arrive there and apparently the show ended 30 minutes ago. So I wasn't sure if he was still in or not, but I figured most likely he was. I wait for about 20 minutes and this really dingy car with NY plates pulls up. I'm thinking "no way this could be for someone valid" but then I saw a guitar being loaded in the trunk. Minutes after that sure enough he's getting into the car. I ask for a photo op and he is more than happy to oblige, even thanking me. 

Aimee Mann

Pat Martino


On another day I go to a John Grisham signing. Thankfully I pre ordered the book because it sold out. I got a photo op at Book Con a few years back but it wasn't a very good shot. So I wanted an upgrade. Photo ops were in writing, but they said no extras. 

Arrive there and wait in the back to see him but never did. He probably arrived early. Then went inside. One friend of mine decided to bail on the event (he had already paid for his book) so I was able to give his wristband to someone else so he can get the photo op. 

The event included both a signing and reading, 5h in total. So I had no interest in waiting for him to leave to get extras. I decided to try for extras while in line. Get up to him, secure the combo, then when the guy behind me was done I put a book on the table and he signed it! No one said a thing! I actually had two more books but I was afraid to put three and freak the staff out. I though with just one I would have a better shot as they would figure it's easier to just let him sign it than make a scene (and indeed that's what happened). Plus I got the books in a free bin anyway so no big loss. I also sold the event book to another grapher thus cutting my costs. 

Later that evening I was done with a movie date and decided to for Joey Molland, the lead guitarist of Badfinger. He is the last surviving member of the principle line up of the band. Some of their known songs include "Day After Day" and "Without You" the latter which was covered by many artists. I arrive and sadly miss his meet and greet by 5 minutes. So I wait for him to leave and he is nice as can be, even saying thanks for hanging out. 

John Grisham

Joey Molland


The next evening I decided to try for members of the band Heart. More specifically the bassist Steve Fossen and the drummer Michael Derosier who were on all the hits. Wasn't planning on this but since an engagement I had was moved to the next evening I figured why not since they are known to come out after the show. So it falls under the "all but guarantee" umbrella. To boot, the concert was free. 

I arrive and time it to catch the tail end of the concert. When it's done about 10 minutes later they setup a merch table. I manage to get photo ops with my two main targets and all the barely valids. 

Full list of photo ops