February 10, 2011

Geek Weekly: Celebrities I've been five feet (or less) from.

My very first interactive blog post! I want to hear from you on this one, people...

Here's the rules: it can be anyone you consider a celebrity. I'll go ahead and let you decide who fits the criteria, but a good rule of thumb for me is if I've ever thought “Wow, they're a lot shorter in person.” You must have been within comfortable talking distance of this person. Physical contact is a plus (i.e. a handshake (you pervs)) but not necessary. If they are on a stage and you are not, it doesn't count... even if you were in the front row, inches away, getting sweat/spittle showered on you. If you got your boobs signed after the concert, that would count. Got it? Good.

Me first!

Bruce Campbell broke my celebrity cherry when he did a signing for his first book, “If Chins Could Kill,” at a small bookstore in the D.C. area. He was ridiculously smart and charming, and totally tolerant when I sweatily blurted a request to have my picture taken kissing his cheek. I may still have the picture framed somewhere nearby.

The next I can remember was Taylor Hanson. Yes, that Taylor Hanson. (WARNING: do not click that link unless you want icepick-to-eardrum inducing earworm. You're welcome.) We passed each other as he was entering a restaurant and I was leaving. There was total eye-sparkage, I am not kidding you at all.

I had about a ten-year dry spell in which I met no celebrities at all. It was very sad indeed. Then suddenly, in the past year, I've met a whole slew of famous folk. Mostly at conventions of some sort (because yes, convention meets count. If they didn't, my turn would already be over and this is my blog and that is not on. So yes, convention meets totally count).

Last February I went to the SFX Weekender in southern England, where I met James Marsters, Gareth David-Lloyd, Tom Baker, and Elisabeth Sladen. If it all seems a bit Who-centric, that's because it was a science fiction convention, in England. James was probably the most fun, as he regaled me with a story about how his girlfriend was watching the filming of the scene in “Torchwood” when he makes out with John Barrowman (who was totally supposed to be there too, and therefore would have been on my meet-list, except he has a career or summat so he's not on my list, which is LAME). Also, Elisabeth is ridiculously gorgeous in person (not that she isn't on-screen as well, but in person... woof).

Then in March I went to a much smaller convention called Gays of Our Lives, the focus of which was gay characters and storylines in soap operas. At the time there happened to be only two soaps in the U.S. that had gay storylines (both of which are gone now), and three in Germany. Which means that out of the eight celebrity guests, five flew in from Germany to meet their fans. The American guests were Scott Evans (from “One Life to Live”), Gregory Michael (from “Dante's Cove” and “Greek”), and Hal Sparks (from the American version of “Queer as Folk”). The German guests were Igor Dolgatschew and Dennis Grabosch (from “Alles Was Zählt”), Jo Weil and Thore Schölermann (from "Verboten Liebe”), and Felix Isenbügel (from “Gute Zeiten, Schlechte Zeiten”). Having become a rabid AWZ fan, I was most excited to meet Dennis and Igor, and I was not disappointed. They were completely lovely. Everyone was, really, but those two definitely stand out as my favorites. The smallness of the event (there were only 80 fans there) was great since we spent time actually interacting with the celebrities, rather than waiting in line for an hour to get something signed. It was truly one of the most memorable weekends of my life.

Then in July I interpreted for Paul Cornell, who is a writer for Doctor Who and other BBC shows, at a local science fiction convention called CONvergence. I've seen a few famous folk at that convention over the years, but I'm only counting Paul because he's the only one I can count under the proximity rule. One of the perks of being the sign language interpreter.

By far the most random celebrity meet was just a few months ago, when I accidentally snuck into a horror convention at a local hotel. (As you do.) I was wandering about with no idea what I was going to see, and ended up in what I thought was a typical dealer's room (essentially a room full of kiosks where you can buy books and magazines and crocheted Cthulhus. The usual stuff). It turned out there were some autograph sessions going on as well, and I suddenly found myself face-to-face with Dee Wallace (best known as E.T.'s mom), Brian Krause of “Charmed” fame, and legendary That Guy! Jeffrey Combs, who's been in, like, everything. Ever. I think I might have actually cackled in delight at one point, but it's all kind of a blur.

And that ends my turn. Who's next?

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