I got pinned in a crowd in Times Square once on New Years Eve and I actually had to elbow some guy in the face a few times to get out. Rest assured I had exhausted all other options by the time it came to that.
When I was covering a pretty big Comic Book / Pop Culture Festival for Geekpropaganda a while back I found myself in one of those type crowds. The doors had not opened yet and I was fairly certain I was going to die if I had to spend another minute pressed against the Cosplayed masses – some of whom were carrying weapons that kept jabbing me every time they moved.
I probably could have gone in with the Press at a different entrance, but the only thing worse than being jammed up in a crowd of anime characters holding plastic weaponry is being jammed up in a crowd of self important “internet reporters”. Blech. I’ll take the jab in the ribs.
Anyway, the doors finally opened and as the entire crowd went to the right I managed to get free of the tide and cut left. I took a few steps down the aisle and suddenly found myself SMACK in the middle of the oddest place I have ever been.
There was a large open convention floor with neat rows of black folding tables. Behind each table were one or two people. Now outside of those people there was no one there but me as everyone else had gone to the right . . . I suddenly realized that all of the people were looking at me. And then I realized they were all celebrities.
Every one of them. Linda Hamilton, Loretta Switt, Todd Bridges, Nichelle Nicholls, Peter Mayhew, Adrianne Curry, many more, some I can’t recall … All there. All alone. All looking at me.
A hand touched my shoulder and when I turned to see who it was, it was Ernie Hudson – the 4th Ghostbuster, the Warden from Oz. He had his hand on my shoulder and for a moment I was certain he was about to toss me out of the place.
“Hey ! How ya doing?” He smiled from ear to ear and guided me toward his table.
“I’m good. How are you?” I noticed he had a collection of head shots on his table all laid out and priced to sell.
The other celebrities followed us with their eyes, trying to get my attention, trying to get me to come over . . . I saw Lou Ferrigno. He waved and smiled. I was still the only person here who wasn’t on the list of “special celebrity guests”. While Mr. Hudson was showing me pictures of his roles in several movies I noticed Supergirl. Not REALLY Supergirl as Supergirl isn’t real but I saw Helen Slater. From the 1984 movie called . . . well . . . Supergirl. Now, Mr. Hudson was an absolute joy to meet and I really enjoyed my limited time with him, but hey – Supergirl ya know?
Bruce Weitz from Hill Street Blues bumped into me and said “Excuse me” as I politely peeled myself away from the very gracious Mr. Hudson and made my way across the aisle.
For a minute it must have looked like I was headed for Edward Furlong from Terminator 2 because I noticed as I passed him he kind of looked hopeful for a moment and then when i just gave him a head nod he kind of scowled and looked down at his own collection of head shots and merchandise for sale, rejected and passed over. I feel badly for this to this day and wonder if maybe he wouldn’t be having so many issues with the law if I had just stopped by and said hello. Maybe I was to be the turning point. Maybe spending 3 minutes with me could have shown him another path. Probably not. Oh well. No sense in living in the past . . .
Helen Slater is absolutely STUNNING in person. By the time I got to her, an older gentleman in a Supergirl T-shirt had already “saddled up to the bar” and was doing his best impression of a Saturday Night Live Level super fan-nerd giving her advice on how she COULD have defeated Faye Dunaway easier and asking why Supergirl never did meet up with her cousin in Metropolis in her movie (Supergirl).
Ms. Slater was very charming and kind to him, answering his questions as best she could and being as gentle as possible to his obvious adoration of the Cousin of Steel. I decided to hang out and talk to her after the guy left. This left me standing next to Todd Bridges of “Different Strokes” fame. We made eye contact so I said hello. He said “Sup?”
He didn’t really care what was “sup” so I didn’t really tell him.
I just stood there blocking his view of the room until Superfan FINALLY finished his soliloquy and waddled away leaving Ms. Slater open to my advance.
The room was still mostly empty save for me and everybody who had ever been in a movie or on TV in the late seventies and early eighties. I stepped up to Helen Slater and offered a handshake – she accepted it and I tried to not sound like a total fanboy tool.
“Holy sh*t – you’re Supergirl!” Total failure on all counts. Thankfully she laughed.
“It’s true! – Who are you?”
“I’m Calmixx – I actually write for a website called Geekpropaganda and I would love to sit down and chat with you some time about your career .” Two kinds of celebrities in the world – those who smile and tell you the truth and those who smile and lie to your face. Telling people I was with Geekprop was always a Litmus test.
“Oh, I’ve never heard of that but its a great name, , this really isnt the place though, I hear it’s going to get very crowded today.” Still just me, Superfan and a bunch of SAG members at this point but at least she didn’t lie and tell me that she had read the site like lots of people do.
“Of course, Of course – here take my card and shoot me an email anytime. We can chat over the phone or if you’re in town for a few days – anywhere you like.” I handed her my card.
“That sounds great – do me a favor though and give the card to my agent.” Felt like rejection for a second . . . yeah yeah yeah talk to your people I get it. Ok. Whatever , I’ll go through the motions. Hide my pain from being shooed away by Supergirl. 😦
“Sure – who is your agent? Are they here?” She shook her head yes and pointed across the aisle.
“She is actually right over there – Erin Gray.” I looked across the aisle. Sure enough. There was Erin Gray standing in front of a poster of herself in the white jumpsuit from Buck Rogers in the 20 Somethingth Century.
“Hey if you don’t want to do an interview that’s cool, but you don’t need to send me off to bother Erin Gray . . .” Helen started to laugh
“No – Erin is my agent. Really.” She smiled and waved to Erin. Erin waved back. I waved a little. Still not sure.
“Cross my heart. Go talk to her and we’ll set something up.”
“Ok.” I walked across the aisle CERTAIN that I was being used by Supergirl to punk Buck Roger’s girlfriend. Erin put her hand out and I shook it.
“Hi ! How are ya?”
“I’m good thanks. You? “
“I’m great! Really great! Are you enjoying the show so far?”
“I guess so – I feel like I may have hurt Edward Furlong’s feelings so I’ve got a little anxiety about that , but Helen Slater sent me over here to give you my card and set up an interview.”
“Who are you?” She raised an eyebrow.
“Oh – I was going to interview her, she doesn’t want to interview me . . . “
“I understand that. Who do you write for? “
“Geekpropaganda.” There are two kinds of celebrities in the world – those who smile and tell you the truth and those who smile and lie right to your face.
“I’ve read that – excellent site.” Lied right to my face. Not that Geekpropaganda wasn’t an excellent site, but Erin Gray wasn’t reading it. If she was she certainly would have sent me away immediately. “So what did you have in mind for Helen?”
“I figured I’d spend some time on what it’s like to do shows like this, sorta like High School Reunion Tours for Sci Fi actors . . . “
“Oh. I thought maybe you’d focus on one of her current projects.” UH OH. I was losing her.
“Oh definitely thats where we would end up… ”
“Good. She has a lot of great stuff coming up.” Erin smiled and looked like an agent for the first time. As it turns out, agents are very intimidating and slightly scary.
Hey you know what? This story is too long for one week. I’ll finish it next week. I have to get back to drawing.