Day 5 had very little actual hounding for me...that being said, the results I got were pretty spectacular.
The day started later than any of the others, I arrived in Toronto early afternoon and immediately went to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and got an autograph from author Salman Rushdie.
After that I had a short lunch then went to prep for the next event, the big event. With all the epic names that came for TIFF, there likely was not a single 1 larger than the headliner for this evenings gala event of W.E.
Pop icon Madonna was going to be there to promote the film she directed. To have a shot at the Material Girl, I had to do something I rarely did....go sit on the carpet for hours. I spent 4 1/2 hrs infact, placed close to where I hoped her vehicle would stop to let her out. Some people had spent 10+ hrs waiting, so in comparison, my 4.5 hrs was actually, not bad.
As 6PM rolled by the first of the cast showed up, soon after, Abbie Cornish arrived. I instantly called for her as she was let out right in front of me, and she came immediately to me and started signing. She borrowed my pen for 2-3 minutes, signing for others, then brought my pen back to me and moved on to the press row.
It was not long after that a nice black car came rolling up the pathway. It stopped right infront of me. Immediately behind it was a black SUV full of security. The security detail got out 1st, then out came the talent. Madonna poppped out and instantly acknowledged the fans and media, then made her way over to sign...unfortunately, she walked 50 ft down the carpet to start. I had picked the perfect spot, but the pop diva opted to walk away from where she got dropped off and start further down the row. I had to just stand there and hope & wait that she was coming as far as I was positioned.
Eventually, about 3-4 minutes went by she was getting within range of where I was standing. Madonna would sign a handful, then move on 10-20 ft, then do the same, then move on...so it was a 50-50 chance she might stop in the area right near where I was positioned. As she got closer, she skipped the area immediately to my right. As she approached, she started right where I was positioned, signed my item first and moved on from there. I tried getting a photo of the signed item with her in the same frame, but funny enough I actually blocked out Madonna with the item as I tried to shoot a shot with the crowd clamouring for a look and pushing. Just like that, she was gone, off to sign for others further down the carpet.
After that, I immediately went across the street to attempt Neil Young. The Canadian music icon was not as accomodating as the pop icon was. Young signed 1 autograph outside then hurried in. We passed Geoffrey Rush on the street as he was heading to the Neil Young movie.
From there we went to another premiere featuring Channing Tatum and others. Tatum was quite terrible at signing on the carpet, often ignoring anything that seemed remotely collectible. While he did sign SOME, it was few and far between. His GF Jenna Dewan was a bit better, and his co-star Justin long was phenomenal, coming back out after the film started to greet and sign for all the fans. Worst part was getting the tip that Neil Young signed for fans leaving his premiere while we were wasting our time on mediocre talents like Channing Tatum. But, thats what TIFF is about, making choices...and sometimes, you will make the wrong one.
From there, went for Madona again. She was leaving dinner at an upscale restaurant near the venue, and she signed again, this time maybe 10-20 autographs, my position was not great, so I missed out on her this time.
A+ Justin Long
B Salman Rushdie
B Abbie Cornish
B- Jenna Dewan
C- Channing Tatum
D+ Neil Young
TOTAL autographs 3
Day 4 started for me with a premiere for Dark Horse. I got Selma Blair to sign, but only got 1 as the 2nd photo I had for her she said she didnt like.
With a few hours to kill till the next premiere I walked across town and passed Ezra Miller walking around. Saw a lot of him the first few days.
Next up was Geoffrey Rush and Charlotte Rampling at The Eye Of The Storm premiere. I managed 2 out of Rush, and 1 out of Rampling. Little time was spent there before I was on to my next venue.
We had seen a tweet saying James Franco was at a show over at Ryerson showing support for a film his NYU alum Elizabeth Olsen had premiering Martha Marcy May Marlene. Upon leaving I managed 2 from Franco and 1 from the films co-star Hugh Dancy. Olsen however was quite unaccomodating.
I made my way over to Roy Thompson Hall for the premiere for Machine Gun Preacher. When I got there, Gerard Butler was already greeting fans. I made my way into the mosh pit of people and got 1 autograph right away. After that however, the 2 jerk offs that felt it teir lifes mission to stop Gerard from signing pushed items away from the star repeatedly, including mine. Butler greeted a large portion of the crowd, but was not signing a lot at the forced hand of the two minimum wage neanderthals lurching along with him.
I took a walk across the downtown core to go get Ethan Hawke. Only a couple people waited for him, and he willingly signed for those of us that came out for him.
I was given a suggestion to go check out a restaurant by 1 of the people I was sharing info with....and as it turned out, it was a hot place to hang. Saw several people there, but none of them resulted in autographs for me early on. Woody Harrelson went in without even acknowledging the crowd of course, shortly after Ewan McGeregor showed up but I didnt have enough time to react and get him. Rachel Weisz showed up and said "get you after" but of course, we never sdaw her again. I did garner 1 morsel fo luck from there, as I got Glenn Close leaving, she didnt sign much, maybe 3 total?
Shortly after that I got Antonio Banderas going into his premiere, yet somehow I wasnt able to get Elena Anaya to sign.
Went back over to the restaurant that was so busy earlier, saw Gael Garcia Bernal and Diego Luna leave. Bernal was quite rude and cocky, he signed 1 autograph for a girl and then snubbed all the others, Luna at least stopped for a couple photos with before tyaking off.
A- Geoffrey Rush
B+ Selma Blair
B Antonio Banderas
B Ethan Hawke
B- Charlotte Rampling
B- James Franco
C+ Gerard Butler
C Hugh Dancy
C Diego Luna
C- Ewan McGregor
D Rachel Weisz
D ELizabeth Olsen
D- Gael Garcia Bernal
F Woody Harrelson
TOTAL 12 autographs
The 3rd day of the film fest turned out to be my statistical best of this year.
It started with seeing Chris Cornell in the early afternoon, but at that time I didnt have anything for the music star.
Shortly after I went across the street to the Killer Elite premiere. I managed a Clive Owen autograph, but was unable to get to Jason Statham who unfortunately signed very few and all in 1 2-4 foot spot along the 200+ foot carpet. Robert deNiro was also there, and in a horrible cruel joke, I had the same thing happen to me on the red carpet that happened last year at the press conference. he signed beside me, above me and moved on.
I quickly hurried across the street to try and get Pearl Jam going into their fil premiere, but the entire band showed no class by not just ingoring autograph requests, but not even stopping on the short red carpet for photo ops. Of all the musicians in Toronto for TIFF, they were least classy bunch of them all.
Chris Cornell showed up to the PJ premiere, and signed willingly for the small crowd that wasprepared for him. I managed 1.
Next up was the premiere of the hockey movie "Goon".
First to arrive was Sons Of Anarchy star Kim Coates who I had nothing for, then shjortly after the priamry stars Jay Baruchel, Alison Pill and Seann William Scott arrived. I had nothing for Pill unfortunately (never got a chance to make my 3rd batch of photos I intended to print), so the only autographs I got there was 4 Jay Baruchels which were frankly harder than they should have been to get thanks to the inconsiderate morons that populated the Ryerson red carpets this year. Let me get sidretracked here fotr a second to say this....hey dickheads... you are already in the 1st 2 rows, you dont need a fucking chair or a ladder to get a better view you fucking witless fuckwits. I hope next year someone falls of 1 of them and hurts someone. I sincerely do. then perhaps TIFF will ban chairs from the events. using them when you are in row 5, I can sort of udnerstand, but there is no need for them in row 2....even Peter Dinklage wouldnt need them that close up.
Shortly after that I hurried over to my primary target of film fest, the "Hick" premiere with Kick Ass star Chloe Moretz. I managed 3 autographs from Chloe going in, and 1 from juliette Lewis. Considering the set up they had at her theagtre I was pleased with that outcome.
I hustled back over to the previously mentioned retard infested Ryerson theatre for the premiere of Melancholia with Kirsten Dunst and Alexander Skarsgard. Like the previous premiere, it was far far far harder to get autographs than it should of been, thanks to the fucking morons who should be smacked over the head with their charis and ladders till they are unconscious.... of course, then someone would just use their lifeless bodies to stand on to get the extra 3 inches of height that they dont actually need. With retards dominating the theatre, I still managed 5 Skarsgards and a Dunst.
I went back for the departing of Chloe Moretz and managed 3 more autographs from Hit Girl.
It was then baaaaack over to Ryerson for the last few minutes of Ryan Gosling arriving for Drive. I managed 1 smudged autograph from him going in. That was the end of my night.
A+ Chloe Moretz
A Alexander Skarsgard
B+ Kim Coates
B+ Clive Owen
B Seann William Scott
B- Chris Cornell
B- Robert DeNiro
B- Jay Baruchel
B- Juliette Lewis
C+ Kirsten Dunst
C+ Alison Pill
C- Jason Statham
F Pearl Jam
TOTAL for the day 20 autographs
Day 2 of the fest started at the brand new press conference venue. The TIFF Bell Lightbox, the festivals own personal multi-purpose venue, held the press conferences this year that hotels did in the past, and in short...it sucks.
The 1st press conference was for Moneyball, and only because they werent sure what to do yet were people able to get anything.
Several of the cast showed up. Only Brad Pitt (who signed about 20 for the 75+ people there) and Chris Pratt (who signed for anyone who asked) signed much of anything. Philip Seymour Hoffman signed a couple, Jonah Hill ignored everyone.
After that, they started taking the people in thru an underground entrance, and that was the end of 1 of the places I often was able to get 20-30% of mt TIFF autographs from,. the press conferences.
After that, I got a text to come down the street, and showed up just in time to get another Johnny Rotten autograph as he left an event at the CBC building.
After a lunch break, I went to a hotel to wait around. Saw Bryce Dallas Howard come out, but in a shocker...she denied. I am stunned still. Used to be all class. A little while later Christopher MacDonald (Happy Gilmore - "Shooter McGavin") came in, did photos with a couple of fans. Then saw Ezra Miller again. He chatted with us for a bit, and when we told him Johnny Rotten was in the building, he got really excited. Clearly a big Sex Pistols fan Ezra is.
Saw Arielle Kebbel arrive for an event, but outside of taking a couple photos with and chatting with a little girl for a couple moments, she did little to acknowledge the small amount of people there.
John Lydon left the hotel, got another autograph. He was being told by his handler to "only sign for the girls" but still signed for us anyways...even though you could see he was maybe getting short on patience with so many photos & albums everywhere.
Went to the premiere for Megan Fox and Jon Hamm, just like last year, I ran out of items for Fox. Hamm I managed to squeeze out 2 in the surprisingly large crowd. A common theme this TIFF has been, crowds are larger all around. I would say 25-30% more people everywhere.
We quickly hustled across to another venue and snagged 1 Juliette Binoche autograph.
Across the street we tried for the back end of the Moneyball premiere letting out. I saw Eddie Vedder leave the event, but he didnt sign for anyone.
I then saw Stacy Keibler arriving for the next premiere that her boyfriend George Clooney was in that would soon start doing their red carpet work.
Cast were starting to show up for The Ides Of March premiere. First few smaller cast showed up, the crowd was massive and impossible to penetrate for such small potatoes. So I let the likes of Paul Giamatti go and was walking away to go check on Pitt again when I saw the row of vehicles still waiting to do the red carpet. First was Marisa Tomei, who no shock (heard multiple reports shes a terrible sginer) wouldnt even accomodate requests from the small crowd of 7-10 girls waiting down there to roll down the window for a picture. Her vehicle then left on its trip up the red carpet.
Next up was George Clooney. The girls asked Goerge to roll down his window. He didnt roll it down though...instead, the aging sex symbol got OUT OF HIS SUV and proceeded to start signing and taking photos.... for the whole line. Must have been 500+ people there, I am sure 300+ of them got an autograph or photo with the star. While he was busy signing, Ryan Gosling showed up and started doing the line from the other end, he too went down the entire line, although he was a little more selective on signing, and for the mostpart just did handshakes. I somehow still managed 4 autographs from each of them, despite the sometimes 6 to 8 people deep crowds of onlookers who for whatever reasons felt compelled to take cameraphone pics of the top of the stars heads, or even worse, pics of the other cameras in the crowd pointed in the stars direction. To these people, seriously? If you arent there trying to get an autograph or a photo with...why stand there, you can find a farrrr better photo of the situation on google the next morning. all you are are doing is clogging up an area for people who have a purpose and know what they are doing.
Shortly after Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie left together, rolled down their windows and gave a wave to the crowd waiting, they then left for their party.
After that, I went to the Brad Pitt after party for a bit, but was outwaited by them, as I had to leave to go back to Hamilton. The day started slow...but decent end.
Total for day 2. - 19 autographs. 2 day total - 32
A+ George Clooney
A+ Ezra Miller
A+ Megan Fox
A Chris Pratt
A- Ryan Gosling
B- Brad Pitt
B- Juliette Binoche
C+ Philip Seymour Hoffman
C+ Jon Hamm
C Christopher MacDonald
C John Lydon
C- Arielle Kebbel
D Bryce Dallas Howard
My film fest started slowly. It was a couple hours of waiting before I saw the 1st person come thru.
Mia Wasikowska was 1st up, and she was not happy. She begrudgingly signed a small handfull of autographs for the crowd of hounds waiting. She was more annoyed with the paps there papping, as she kept burying her head into her assistants shoulder immediately after signing each time. Reports from the red carpet said she was just as terrible there.
Things stayed slow for a bit, till I fluked into Willem Dafoe. Everyone else was off chasing Evan Rachel Wood (whom I had given up on because it seemed she wasnt actually coming in) and instead crossed paths with the movie star. He signed everything I had, and I was finally on the board for myself, as the earlier Mia autographs were for someone else.
Next up was Moneyball star Chris Pratt. He had his girlfriend with him, Anna Faris, which angered me, as I have wanted to get her for a long time, but wasnt aware she was with him. Still, got all my Pratts done, super friendly guy, the both of them were. Chris loved my Moneyball photo so much he gave me an email address so I could send the photo to him.
A common theme of the 1st two days was the next guy. Sex Pistols icon John ( Johnny Rotten ) Lydon came in and signed sparingly, but still enough that everyone who was alert enough to bring him got a couple each. He is quite a chatterbox. Had smart ass comments for almost everyone.
The most miserable of day 1s list was Jonah Hill next. His lackey/friend/boyfriend was lippy, rude and unprofessional and surely did Mr. Hill more harm than good in the PR world. Hill himself was unfriendly , but still begrudgingly did autographs and photos with at least. his friend however was verbally abusive, sticking his middle finger up in the back of peoples photos and confrontational. Most amazing part was the lackey continually saying "we", like anyone gave a shit he was there, hell, most barely cared Jonah was there.
Saw Gerard Butler come in a bit later, but there was so much mayhem around him. A group of highly unprofessional, aggressive and rude American hounds from a couple different places were terrible with their tactics and it de-motivated the film star from signing more than a small handful before walking the rest of the way. Shortly after that was flamboyant Ezra Miller. The young actor was dressed up like a Kid Rock clone, but despite the suspect wardrobe decision, he was super class guy. Wish him all the best.
Looking back, I should have pased on some of the names I got that evening to take the gamble on going for U2. The rock band had a premiere, and Bono & The Edge arrived and signed lots.
Day 1 total 13
A+ Chris Pratt
A Anna Faris
A Ezra Miller
A Willem Dafoe
C+ John Lydon
C Gerard Butler
C- Jonah Hill
D+ Mia Wasikowska
10- Anytime I saw Tom Hardy
Quite literally 6 months ago I did not know the name Tom Hardy. With a role in Inception firmly on his resume now, and a 3 month pit stop in Vancouver to film This Means War with Chris Pine, its hard not to know the man who has already been penned in to a role in the upcoming Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises now.
What makes Hardy so memorable is, he truly likes everyone. He doesnt let Hollywood politics decide who he will & wont be nice to. Some of the people Tom was friendliest with while here were autograph hounds & paps. Always said hi, chatted with us & didnt at all seem phased by the cameras being focused on his work while he was on set.
Everytime I saw him, he made the meeting memorable. Whether it was chatting for 20 minutes about filming stunts on other films, or play sparring with a pap while in fight make up just after a scene, Hardy was always an adventure to meet.
Even with the miserable Reese Witherspoon trying her hardest to make people hate the film, Hardy and his free caring personality likely won over far more people than Witherspoon alienated.
9- Getting Stargate Universe cast going to & coming back from Gemini Awards.
The entire cast (minus 1 or 2) of Stargate Universe went to Toronto for the Gemini Awards & a couple promotional events. Knowing now that the show was going to be prematurely cancelled, I am glad I took this 1 last chance to meet them.
Almost every single member (Alaina Huffman being the 1 exception, as her husband frowned with disapproval) was happy to stop, sign & take photos with all that were out there. Robert Carlyle & Louis Ferreira chatted with us before departing, as did the likes of Julia Benson, David Blue, Ming Na & Brian Jacob Smith.
Upon their return, the group was just as excited. Patrick Gilmore regaled us in how the weekend unfolded. Telling us about stories with cast members in the hotel playing human bowling. Elyse Levesque talked about the show & that her group "Coupla Hot Chicks...Maybe Three" would soon be working on a new video. Julia Benson chatted at length about Canadian television & many of the challenges of it.
Each cast member seemed genuinely happy to see us. It is a rare thing for us to have an entire cast be so great. I am truly disappointed this show was unjustly cancelled so soon.
8- Roger Waters in Vancouver
One of the largest living music icons came to Vancouver this year. Roger Waters, of Pink Floyd fame was here for a show.
Waters just the day before coming to Vancouver made a very public statement on his facebook page telling anyone who would listen, that he would no longer be signing anything but albums, and would only personalize, in an effort to prevent reselling.
With little to no notice, the hounds of Vancouver were ready for this still. Armed with albums, CDs & official tour merchandise, the man who just 2 days earlier told the world he didnt want to sign for professionals, willingly did it every time he was seen. In fact, his only issue was whether the item was something official or not. If it was an album, CD or item from the tour, he would sign it without hesitation. Items that he may not have received any payment for however, he did abide to his newly enforced rule.
Even on his 3rd time stopping, with many of the same faces coming up, neither his handler or him griped about it, he did it with a smile on his face & thanked most people for coming...even though he had to know that most of them were still professionals.
Funny story, I had the chance to go for him in Toronto, and didnt. I admit, it was one of the less smart things I have done in my hounding career...certainly near the top of the list for this year.
7- The 2010 Leo Awards.
Sure, its not the Academy Awards, but in Vancouver, there is probably no larger annual awards event than this. The Leo Awards celebrate TV & Movies in British Columbia, and it actually gets a reasonable list of talent at it.
With stars like Twilight castmates Chris Heyerdahl & Jodelle Ferland, former Smallville star Kristin Kreuk and Sci-fi stars Amanda Tapping, Lou Diamond Phillips, David Blue & others there, it gives local hounds a chance to see a lot of the local actors that you dont always get to see because of their shows being primaraily done in studio.
This year, I did far better than my last endeavour to these awards...mostly, because I was more prepared. Getting lots of autographs from the cast of Sanctuary, Stargate Universe, as well as Jodelle Ferland, Lorne Cardinal & Kristin Kreuk, the day was a big success.
It was also the first time I would meet the girls from "Coupla Hot Chicks.. Maybe Three" (Elyse Levesque, Devon Weigel & Leah Gauthier) so, all in all, pretty great day.
What I really like about this event is that the public is welcomed to stand right up near the red carpet, where the entertainers do their interviews & can get autographs & photos right there. Considering it is at a venue that has on multiple occasions over the years gotten in actual fist fights & called the cops on autograph seekers, it really says a lot about the class the Leo Awards has to essentially tell the staff at the venue "back off its all good".
6- Getting Simon Pegg at the movie theatre
Recently, Vancouver has had some notable names in town for films. While the attention for filming Mission Impossible 4 will certainly be centred on Tom Cruise, his co-star, Simon Pegg made the biggest impression so far with the locals,
On his arrival to town, Pegg signed several items per person at the airport. Later that week, he tweeted he was going to see a movie. The detective skills of the group went to work & 3 of us summarized it was going to he at this theatre & this was the showtime that made sense.
Sure enough, the Hott Fuzz & Shaun Of The Dead star, came out from the movie & was greeted by 3 of us waiting for him. He happily took the time to sign and do photos with. He joked with us that it was some good detective work.
He thought so much of our skills, he tweeted about it moments later. http://twitter.com/simonpegg/status/10519962170953728
"Kudos to the enterprising young Canadians who figured out what cinema I was in and waited in the lobby. That's quality stalking that is."
I have seen Pegg 1 more time since then, and he againw as all class, signing without hesitation... even with the handler for Jeremy Renner there chirping about people selling. Neither Renner or Pegg seemed to care. Maybe 2011 Pegg can make the list again?
5- Stephen Colbert brings The Colbert Report to Vancouver
Yes, this did happen during The Olympics. I am aware. But this was not an official Olympic event, so it is technically, a different event.
Stephen Colbert, the satirical pundit on the Comedy Central hit show "The Colbert Report" brought his show to Vancouver for 2 days during the Olympics. Colbert brought the show up north after his show & the city of Richmond had some back & forth banter when Mr. Colbert (a major sponsor for the U.S. Olympic Speedskating team thru donations from his fans at Colbert Nation.) attacked the city for unfairly giving Canadians the chance to practice on the Olympic rink and not other nations in advance of the games.
With a setting in the middle of a field in a small park only a couple minute walk from the Olympic Village, Socchi World, Canada Hockey House & GM Place, it was a huge party type atmosphere at the free admission event. Thousands of fans came both days to the event. many came with signs, and some, like myself, came with items for him to sign.
The first day Mr. Colbert arrived moments before his taping in a van & pulled up along the impromptu road to the impromp pathway they had set up for him to get in. Colbert got out of his van & immediately starting signing for fans. With a mob like mentality of dozens of people pushing & clamouring to get their item infront of Mr. Colbert, he never once got annoyed, concerned or upset over the mob like mentality, infact, seemed to perhaps eat it up. He signed his way thru the mob & signed down the fence till he was into his tent where he prepared for the shows. Upon leaving the venue after the show ended, Colbert was less receptive to signing, as he only signed 2 total items (1 being mine) & was soon on his way.
Day 2 he again showed up, with security a little more prepared this time, the autograph chances were more limited upon arrival. But he made up for it during breaks & after the event, as he signed everytime he would go to or come out of his tent during breaks on the backside of the stage where some people chose to stand, since the front was literally 100s of people deep. After the show ended, Stephen did 1 final massive signing, where he went all the way around the back, back across the front, around the back again, along the pathway & off into his van. It is hard to imagine that anyone didnt get an autograph from the man if they truly wanted 1.
4- Getting Jim Beaver to sign his book "Life's That Way"
As a huge Supernatural fan, when I found out the man that plays Bobby Singer had a book out, I was curious. When I found out the material in it, I was eager to find it. I am not a big reader of books. It was in fact, the first book (that wasnt filled with stats or top lists) that I had purchased in more than a decade without the intent of reselling it.
The book is a collection of emails (most of them in the raw form, some revised slightly) to his friends & family over the course of a year updating them on his wifes battle with terminal cancer that eventually would claim her life, their daughter coping with the major changes, and his own feelings & fears. It is a very moving, and real book that makes you cry as often as you smile.
My next goal was to get it signed....but that turned out to be more of a challenge than I ever expected. It appeared after I bought the book, tracking down Mr. Beaver turned into quite the challenge. On no less than 2 occasions, I thought I had him. Even with back up on 1 occasion, he managed to sneak by (not on purpose).
On the last unsuccessful mission, I actually let my friends paranoia get to me & thought maybe Jim was being deceptive in tweets to avoid being seen coming in. What happened next I would rather not get into again...but lets just say, Jim & I had some words in private (not bad, just miscommunication & just dont feel like repeating the details) where I explained how I felt about a situation, he described that he meant no ill will...and it ended with him offering me a time & place to get the book signed.
It was early morning & he was heading back to Los Angeles after filming an SPN episode, and sure enough, he came out of the drop off vehicle, instantly saw me standing there & immediately came over to sign my book, my photos & my friends photos. He apologized for any confusion, I apologized for even making an issue out of it. He went on his way.
Most stars would simply shrug their shoulders at your misfortune & would not think twice of it. But Mr. Beaver went beyond what was expected by responding to me, then exchanging messages & offering a solution. You really cant ask for much more form someone.
3- Conan O'Brien in town with his Legally Prohibited From Being Funny On TV tour.
While 2010 saw the end of the shortened Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien, it was a sort of blessing in disguise for his fans in other areas of North America. After a couple months of sitting around & tweeting, the man who has become "Coco" to his legion of fans decided to take his show on the road.
O'Brien embarked on a 32 city tour. The idea of the tour was not for him to get rich, but to give his devoted staff, many of whom followed him from NYC to L.A. when he changed NBC timeslots, work after the sudden firing. Coco had 2 Canadian stops on the tour, 1 in Toronto, and 1 in Vancouver. The Vancouver stop ( a 2 show stop) was the 2nd on his tour & came just a day or 2 after TBS announced they had signed the funnyman to a deal to man a talk show for them.
I was lucky enough to see his first performance here in Vancouver, and from someone who often gripes about the price of live events, the $100 price tag for my last row in the lower level ticket, actually seemed like a deal by the end.
What made the event more special was the fact O'Brien was exceptional with autograph requests, photo ops & even joked around with photographers & fans alike when approached. By the 2nd day of his show, Conan was familiar with me, and still, didnt hesitate to sign for me, or take a 3rd photo with (1st looked dreadful, 2nd had too much light...so 3rd time was the charm). Stories of him signing & taking photos with fans on the patio of the restaraunt he ate at the day after his 2nd show tells you all you need to know about how cool he was.
Shortly before he left town, I saw him 1 last time out with a friend getting into a cab after hat shopping. Most celebs dont go out of their way to acknowledge people they have only seen a couple times. O'Brien however, in a cab on his way back to the hotel, several blocks from where I had just seen him, rolled down his window, gave me a smile & a wave as he drove off to his destination.
2- The 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
If I took the names that were there individually, probably 1/2 my top 10 list would be made up of this event. But I decided it was 1 event, and even though the likes of Sam Worthington & Michael C Hall probably deserve their own spots, they go in with this entry.
Like the Olympics, it was a long, nearly non-stop event that saw me get little sleep. unlike the Olympics, every day started & ended with a 1 hr bus ride to & from to where I was staying. Also, unlike the Olympics, where the amount of autograph hounds numbered in the low teens, this was an event where the hounds numbered in the 20s or more at times.....along with 100s or 1000s of onlookers & fans.
The likes of Sam Worthington & his "I dont care what you are doing with it" attitude, signing everything put in front of him & doing it with a smile, and some smart ass comments, like when he called me a "lying fucker..... I dont care, just curious really, its all good" after I insisted I didnt know what his graph was worth, then proceeded to keep signing, or how a really cute Japanese girl asked him to take off his sunglasses for a photo with & without hesitation he repllied "sure, if you take off your top" & although I am sure he was serious in the trade off, he didnt actually demand the trade off & still removed his glasses for their photo with anyways, made the lack of sleep most times worth it.
It was exciting to get Michael C Hall, who was my top priority going on & see that he was a really nice guy on top of it. Even in the press row of his after party, Mr. hall took the time to answer a couple quick questions for me on camera & posed for a photo with.
With the effort every adventure at TIFF takes, getting ANYONE, at times seems like a small victory. Like the night I got ONE autograph total. Sally Hawkins. She ho was a mere couple inches away from leaving me shut out that night, but came back to sign for me when she realized I was the only 1 standing out there with an actual item of her to sign. Good thing she did, because the rest of the night still goes down as my WORST TIFF night ever. Names like Clint Eastwood, Anthony Hopkins, Matt Damon, Woody Allen & Josh Brolin were out, 3 of themw alked right past where I was, NONE of them stopped to sign. if it werent for Hawkins, it would have been a complete disaster.
Of course TIFF has all sorts of cool 1 off fluke hounding ventures. Like when I got Jill Hennessey on a street corner after her & her sister had done an impromptu busking performance infront of a building for a TV interview. Or meeting Yeardley Smith at 1 party, while waiting for people coming to another party across the street. But at the end of the day, its the premieres, the airport & the parties where success is had mostly.
While all anyone really cares about at the end of the day is how well the Eastwoods, DeNiros, Springsteens & Hopkins of the festival were, its the small little victories that make the Fest fun & rewarding. A 4 hr nightmare trip thru Hamilton & Toronto transit inconveniences that shut you out of 2 other events can be redeemed slightly by 1 great outing at the Easy A premiere & running out of items for Emma Stone... an event that I didnt originally think I would be doing because of scheduling conflicts. Or the night that I got over 20 autographs from two A list celebs at 1 premiere, Megan Fox & Mickey Rourke both were exceptional signers that night & I did so well with them, I started helping out other hounds with their stacks.
My stats this year were up from my first TIFF. While the quantity of elite names I got was smaller than I really hoped for, it was still IMO a great success, a lot of that can be put on the shoulders of Sam Worthington, Michael C Hall, Mickey Rourke & Megan Fox.
1- The 2010 Winter Olympics.
I looked forward to this for 8 years, and it lasted less than a month. Now almost a year has gone by & I have had a chance to reflect on it, it was pretty awesome....even with the severe foot aches, lack of $$ & occasional lack of sleep.
How many times in your life do you get to experience a massive worldwide event in your hometown? For most, MAYBE once? Maybe. For me, its been twice now, Expo 86 was the first major event in Vancouver I experienced. It wasnt a hounding venture, but it was a major building tool in my youth. Now the 2010 Winter Olympics. A combination of hounding & elite sports in my town for 17 days? Its as if Christmas came 17 days in a row for a sports fan & autograph hound.
For every Lindsey Vonn, Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky & Katerina Witt I hounded during the games. The names people know & idolize, there was the likes of Shiva Keshevan, Britteny Cox & Slovakian Womens hockey team, who in many cases, probably wouldnt be recognized in their own countries, let alone Vancouver with 2000 other notable names roaming the streets. They were often just excited that someone recognized them & I loved that rarely seen humility in an athlete. They truly appreciated anyone that noticed them, they didnt scurry away into an awaiting vehicle, or look for an alternate pathway to avoid people, they ate it up. It was those experiences that overshadowed the Jaromir Jagr, Shawn White & Steve Yzerman's of the games.
I got to experience hounding the Gold Medal winning mens & womens Team Canada hockey teams...on their home turf the day they won their medals. Theres literally a handful of people & I really do mean a handful, in the entire city who can claim the same. It is certainly an experience that might never happen in Canada again, at least with the elite of the elite in the tournament.
My totals during the games were far less than I had envisioned (budget had a lot to do with it) but I got a lot of cool items signed, some were profitable, some were clearly for keepsakes, and the best thing of all is, 75% of them I got less than a 10 minute walk from my house.
With 2010 in the books now, 2011 will be full of new experiences that I probably never expected to have. The only real sure thing I knew going into 2010 was that the Olympics were coming, but I did not know how good or bad they may be. Everything else on the list... was an unknown surprise before the eyar started. Can 2011 be better than 2010? Unlikely. But, I also didnt think 2010 would be as good as it was either. I guess we'll see in 12 months just what was worth talking about.
A few pics of the cast of John Carpenter's "The Ward" at TIFF. Lyndsy Fonseca, Amber Heard, Laura Leigh
John Carpenter had a film at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival, unfortunately, he wasnt able to come to promote it.
Instead, a gaggle of hotties were there to promote the film.
Amber Heard (Zombieland), Lyndsy Fonseca (Kick-Ass), Mika Boorem (Dawson's Creek), Danielle Panabaker (Shark) and Laura Leigh were there to promote the film & they did a splendid job.
Especially the likes of Heard & Fonseca who drew the vast majority of the attention.
Below are a few pics of Heard, Fonseca & Leigh at the premiere.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.