20- Getting Jerry Seinfeld two nights in a row
TV icon & comedian Jerry Seinfeld came to Vancouver for a couple shows this past summer on his current tour.
I have gotten Mr. Seinfeld before, and really, if it were not for hearing a few horror stories from around the continent, I likely wouldnt be including him in my top 20 for this past year.
Jerry had 2 shows here & it was night & day for how he acted after each show. Going in he told us "get me after the show". So we came back after the show & Mr. Seinfeld signed a moderate handful, but got far from everyone. Many went away empty handed as the funnyman signed for a handful before leaving. I managed 1 that night but was hoping for more. So I went back the 2nd night.
The encore night was much better, as Mr. Seinfeld stood outside for about 5 minutes signing, and everyone ran out of items. Another 3 for me the second evening took away the disappointment of the day prior.
It was after me reporting on getting him that I was made aware that several people had been shut out by him in other cities recently. He has apparently been elusive at venues where the option to get in unconfronted is an option. I heard from others at the city right after here, this was the case there as well.... which made me all the more thankful that he played a venue with only outside entrances.
With 2011 just around the corner, a new batch of bests should arise by the end of the year. With the likes of Mission Impossible 4, Twilight Breaking Dawn, Underworld 4 & Superman already slated for here, and the rumour that part of Die Hard 5 might come here, big names will certainly be in stock in Vancity in 2011. But, just like this past year many stars were here, its rarely the case of the big names that garner the best attention. The few times they do, they are worth noting though.
19- Benji & Joel Madden of Good Charlotte at the airport.
This past summer, the brother from Good Charlotte came to Vancouver for some hanging out time.
For a long time they were considered terrible signers, and we had not heard anything recent about them, so we prepared for the worst. My friend who got the tip of them coming in was hesitant to get too many things (which for him is rare), but I hastily raced to various used CD stores to get stuff for them.
Total, there was 5-6 hounds there all with CDs at the ready. All with blue sharpies, and proof cams at the ready. The old GC I had heard about would have snapped at such a scenario. I have heard on multiple occasions in multiple cities, the band arguing & even being physically aggressive towards hounds. So we were prepared for the worst.
Instead, we got a friendly, meek & personable Benji & Joel. They not only signed, they did multiples without complaint. A situation NONE of us expected, but were all happy to partake in.
18 - Getting 3X Olympic Gold Medal winner Hayley Wickenheiser at her tournament
Sure, I know, I got like a dozen Hayley's at the Olympics. So whats the deal with getting her 1 more time thats so special?
Well, first, theres the fact that it was after Olympic photos were out, thus giving us a good chance to get autographs from her on items from the 2010 games. The games that will, because of where they were, always be the most special to me. Second, it is 1 of my favorite athletes of all time, so I am always finding new things I want to get done.
But what topped that was how cool she was about it & how she essentially held up her speaking engagement to sign for the group of us. She had an autograph session in a hotel that was housing her & some of the teams playing in her tournament. It was open to the public, so a handful of us went. Hayley the day prior had told 2 of the hounds to "bring everything tomorrow" & they did. I only came with 5 items and soon felt grossly underprepared as I watched my friends roll about 20 & 50 items each on her.
Hayley did it all, said she didnt care what they were doing with it & even suggested she hoped they got good $ for it, and chatted at length with us in between piles. She took photos with my friends & their kids with her Gold medal.
At the end, my friends both gave her collections, 1 in CD form, and 1 in actual print form of many of her greatest moments. She had apparently told them the day before that she had not seen much or any of the items they had... so they both did different things to show their appreciation to her. As you can imagine, she was thoroughly impressed & thankful.
I dont know how many sports you can find where the undisputed best player of all time in that sport would sit down & sign 50 items for someone, without complaining and expecting nothing back.
17- Vancouver actors going to & coming back from Comic-Con
Every year a variety of Vancouver based shows send a few of their cast to San Diego for the annual Comic-Con event.
This gives Vancouver autographers a good chance to clean up on some of the more elusive of casts. Shows like Smallville, Stargate Universe & Sanctuary, who primarily shoot in studios are easier to find when there is only 1 flight in & out of town (granted some did take connecting flights thru other places.)
A literal plethora of action happened going in & coming out. From Smallville, we got the likes of Erica Durance, Cassidy Freeman, Justin Hartley, and Tower Prep/Smallville cutie Elise Gatien. From Fringe we got Anna Torv, Blair Brown, Lance Reddick & Jasika Nicole (also saw Josh Jackson & John Noble, but neither were too receptive on departures). Supernatural stars Jensen Ackles & Jared Padalecki were terrific on departures, as was Sanctuary star Amanda Tapping returning. We also saw a few others from shows I was not prepared for like Eureka & Psych.
There was plenty to get, and often, you would miss 1 person getting another as they would come & go in groups. But in the end, it was still worth the effort, as there are no less than 5 people from that weekend that I got that I have not been able to get since.
16- Getting Lady Gaga after a show
Lady Gaga did 2 shows in Vancouver this past summer. The first night, she signed for everyone outside after the show.
I am not going to sit here & tell you I was "really excited" or "thrilled" to get her, or even that she was coming. Personally, I think shes grossly overhyped. That being said, I really had to respect the P.R. job she did after her first show here. She signed, signed some more & didnt care what the item was or who was handing it to her.
With the venues security actually trying to prevent me from getting an autograph, she reached for my item with a seeming purpose as to say "I dont care. Just hand it to me". She signed without hesitation for several minutes, and didnt shy away from the flashes of cameras.
Although she was less willing to sign the 2nd day, the 2 time Grammy Award winning artist was still a willing signer the day after her show & the night of the 1st show. For someone of her status, at the peak of her career, to sign 2 out of 3 days is pretty decent.
With 2 autographs on the trip, I consider her trip to Vancouver a success.
15- Getting Tom Welling... TWICE
In the 10th season of Smallville I have gotten Tom Welling to sign TWICE. In the 9 seasons prior- ZERO.
Long regarded as the worst signer in Vancouver, Welling this season has quite literally gone into a signing frenzy.... if you count about 8-10 autographs this season a frenzy. Prior to this season I only knew 2 people who had got the current Clark Kent in this town. Suddenly, this year I know of 4 people who have gotten him now... funny enough, each of us have got him on multiple occasions.
My first epic shocking moment came back in late July, only a week earlier Mr. Welling had outright denied me... as he had many times prior over the years. So I was not expecting a change in results...but this time, there was a good luck charm in tow I didnt know about. See, Tom was coming back from a trip to L.A. with Matt Barr, a cast member from the TV show Hellcats that Tom produces. Matt as I will tell you later, is quite chummy with us. So when I saw him with Tom, I was hopeful that maybe Matt's persona would rub off on Tom.
I broke the ice with "will you sign TONIGHT Tom" *emphasising the tonight to remind him that just a week earlier he turned me down standing in practically the same spot* with a somewhat unimpressed roll of the eyes, he reached over, grabbed the pen & signed. I was in shock for a minute or two. I walked over and snapped a quick photo of Matt & Tom going their seperate ways, then joked with Matt as he left that he was my good luck charm. I got him on a magazine that i had, no joke, carried with me on & off for TEN YEARS.
Proof Matt is my good luck charm would come a bit later in the summer/fall when at an event for the Smallville's 200th episode party, Matt was in attendance and wouldnt you know it, Tom signed for everyone that waited it out that night...all 4 of us. It was without a doubt, the largest "autograph session" Tom has done for any experienced autograph hounds in Vancouver ever.
14- Jensen Ackles, almost any given weekend.
When the biggest star of a hit TV show comes thru an airport, they expect some level of notoriety. Some handle it poorly, some handle it well.
Jensen Ackles, for the mostpart, handles it quite well. The man who plays the sharp tongued Dean Winchester on Supernatural has been quite good about the growing attention this past couple years. For the first 4-5 yrs here, him & his castmates came thru Vancouver with little to no attention on them most days. now, any given weekend, odds are, there will be at least 1 person out there waiting for them.
To top it off, the recently crowned "Best Lead actor in a drama" on the highly popular SpoilerTV polls is not just willing with signatures & photos with, but he is quite willing to give an opinion on most anything if asked. In fact, I have on multiple occasions have opted not to post things hes said, because I didnt know if its something that might come back to bite him in the ass later if the wrong people in the wrong position were to read it.
It was the attitudes of Ackles & his co-star Jared Padalecki that have made me a fan of the show. I started watching it because of them, and found it to be one of the best shows on....but I never would have given it a chance, if it werent for their off screen actions.
13- Steven Segal signing day after day
A lot of actors who are iconic names tend to be grumpy as their star fades. Steven Segal is not one of those people.
The action icon has been in Vancouver for awhile doing a show/series of movies. In the early days of shooting, he was staying at a local hotel, and would be seen at least once or twice a day on average. Every time, he would willingly sign for whoever asked. Even those who he knew he had already signed for.
Since moving to a permanant residence, he has not been seen around much, but for his efforts in the early days of shooting here, Segal earns a spot on the list.
12- The cast of Hellcats around town.
Sure, Ashley Tisdale is a bit unfriendly at times, but she does show flashes of niceness. Her aside, the cast of the new CW show Hellcats is pretty great.
Aly Michalka (along with her now guest starring sister AJ) is the real star of the show, and her off screen personality is absolutely spectacular. With the exception of 1 evening recently, she always seems up to the task of signing, chatting or taking photos with whoever is asking, regardless how many times she knows shes seen them.
Matt Barr has been elusive in the past few months, but when he is seen around, he is a willing signer & chatter. Barr is one of the few stars who if he sees a hound or pap will make the effort to give a head nod or a hello before you see him. He also holds the distinction of being at the same place on BOTH occasions where I got Tom Welling this past year.... so hes also a good luck charm it would seem.
Heather Hemmens is quite pleasant. Says alot about her acting that she can pull of the ruthless Alice character after you meet her. Sweet & friendly, Hemmens has been known to be so nice that she was still signing for me, while a driver (not even HER personal driver, but a hired one by Ms. Tisdale) was grabbing at her arm trying to make her go.
Robbie Jones seems to always be all smiles. Recently upon returning from California, he was spotted by a larger than usual group & willingly signed for everyone & joked about how cold it was here & that he wasnt used to the weather.
As a unit, this cast has been great. The few minor souring experiences with Ashley are more than made up for by Michalka, Barr, Hemmens & Jones.
11- Getting Misha Collins on the set of Supernatural
There is an unwritten, enforced rule on the set of Supernatural. Dont ask people for autographs there.
While this rule is predominantly enforced on the regulars for the shows two top stars Jared Padalecki & Jensen Ackles, its implied on everyone with the rest of the cast as well.
So I was more than excited when I had the lucky break of being able to get Misha Collins, who plays the angel Castiel on the show, on set, in wardrobe. It was my first time meeting Collins with items to get signed. I had met the man 1 time prior, the season before, but was not yet aware of who he was, since I hadnt got to that point in the show yet.
Another hound broke the ice, by encroaching into the area where Misha was, and with approval from Mr. Collins, we were allowed to wait for him as he came out of a tent to sign for us. After he signed, he chatted for a bit, and took a photo with me, in his Castiel wardrobe, then went back to the set.
A couple of unamused glares from the security on the set mostly rolled off me as I was sincerely excited to get the 1 main cast member from the show that had eluded me to that point.
Since then I have gotten him a couple more times, but that first meeting with him was the most memorable for the situation & how he dealt with it.
Let me first off say, I am not a fan of Lady Gaga - the entertainer/gimmick. Whether its because I am just too old to be into her genre of music, or the fact that I dont find tattoos sexy, or the fact I think shes trying too hard to be the next Madonna...reality is, I am never going to buy a ticket to see one of her shows...and the odds are pretty good I wont be downloading any of her songs onto my MP3 anytime soon either.
That aside. Lady Gaga did more or less everything a performer at the top of her game could do to coerce me to be a fan tonight as she left the venue after her first nights show in Vancouver at G.M....errr, Rogers Arena.
The lady who is better known to her friends & family as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta spent 7-10 minutes sitting in the back of her SUV signing autographs & letting fans snap pictures of her.
It is rare to find someone that is at the level this entertainer currently finds herself at to take that much time out after a show with a crowd of 30+ people waiting.
She has obtained 9 Billboard Music Awards, 2 Grammy Awards, 3 MTV music awards, 2 Peoples Choice Awards, 3 Teen Choice Awards, and more than 50 other awards at smaller awards shows... oh, she also has 18 more nominations on the go for the 2010 MTV Music awards. She is at least a single platinum selling artist in 20 countries on her first album, and in 10 countries on her 2nd album... and her debut album is barely 2 years old this week. She really has no need right now to do any form of public relations image work...yet there she was, after a show that I was told was "amazing" stopping to sign for her fans, and me.
To top it off...she didnt care who she was signing for. At one point a guard tried to prevent me from getting my second autograph when he spoke to her & said "he already got 1, dont sign for him" which Lady Gaga replied "I dont care, just keep them coming". Thats how it should be. Just do it, and move on...dont worry about who its for, or what they might do with it at the end of the day. Each autograph signed is free promotion. Instead of me sitting here bad mouthing her about not signing and ignoring the fans, I am here telling everyone that she appreciates her fans & thusly, truly appreciates the money & time they invest into her. This is something that more often than not, cant be said about high end entertainers... and trust me, it eventually sours fans, and eventually they stop caring. This 24 year old girl from New York City understands it, and seems to actually like it.
Tonight she apparently was great on stage. She was even more great off the stage. I might never end up being a fan of her work. But I doubt I will ever find myself hating her...which frankly, I was going in thinking might be the case. Because its rare to find someone this on top of their game that still takes time to give back to people, regardless who they are.
Its a lesson other "in the now" stars should learn from in the future.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.