I could easily go on about the issues that I saw- celebrities getting the blame for things out of their control, long lines, confusion- but I decided that if you were looking for a blog post that gave the dark side of the con, there are plenty of them out there. I chose to dwell on the positive.
To begin- let me apologize! The Facebook release party for Phoenix Ashes was on the day I arrived in Louisville…after leaving my home in NY at 2:45 am and driving 14+ hours. To say I was whipped and exhausted would be like saying vodka is for cleaning windows. I’ll be looking into setting something else up at a future date and time.
Ok, that’s out there. Now…to the convention! I stayed at The Galt House, a really…really nice hotel in downtown Louisville. Some of the events for FF were actually held at the Galt House. You could reach the KICC via a pedway (which is a glorified, non air conditioned hamster tube) but often I chose to just take the stroll outdoors to celeb stalk-, err…take in the glorious views of the downtown Louisville area.
By far, the most dapper dressed man at FF was Lou Temple. With his handlebar mustache sharpened to a point that could take out an eye, that man just walked around with a brightly colored suit jacket and a smile all weekend long! Sadly, I was far to chicken to even say hello to him.
I did learn, however, that my youngest daughter Haley has no shame whatsoever! That kid…she walked from the hotel via the pedway to the convention…with IRON E. SINGLETON- T-DOG ON THE WALKING DEAD! Me? I would have hidden my face and walked a few steps behind him! She talked to him about the show, about my books, about the trip… and to his credit; he was king and chatted with her! She is FEARLESS!
Except for John Barrowman. He was also staying at The Galt House (as were most of the celebrities in attendance.) Thursday, after our arrival, I sat out front and watched Mr. Barrowman stroll on past…and I said nothing. I was incapable of rendering speech, frankly, and instead, I stared, slack jawed with my little country girl shining on through. I told Haley about it when she joined me (she is a HUGE Doctor Who and Torchwood fan) and she was also rendered speechless. We chose instead, to have ourselves a fit of star struck giggles. Very classy.
She wouldn’t repeat that error the rest of the trip.
Friday was day 1 of Fandomfest! I sat on my first panel and it went really well, in spite of the butterflies that showed up 5 minutes prior. I swear I hadn’t been a bit nervous until I sat at the white cloth covered table and stared out at the folks who had chosen to attend our informational session! To my credit, I only forgot one question that was asked…
And how did I cap off day one? By getting a photo taken- me, my son, and the immortal STAN LEE! What a gracious guy! I explained to him that this photograph was part of my son’s graduation gift for getting out of high school. Stan’s (yeah…in my mind, we’re totally on a first name basis now) replied that he was flattered and honored. Following the photo, he congratulated Sam (by name!) and wished him good luck at college. Yeah- my son…his chest was puffed out and I think his smile finally faded yesterday…
Saturday was two more panels for me, including the Game of Thrones panel, moderated by the COOLEST chick I have ever had the privilege to meet- LEE MARTINDALE! She was outstanding and made ME look good- a task few ever manage to accomplish!
What did I miss, however? My photo op with THE BOONDOCK SAINTS… yes, ladies and gentleman- I was so close to standing there with Norman Reedus and Sean Patrick Flannery having their arms around me, whispering sweet nothings in my ear (and by sweet nothings, I mean they wouldn’t have said a thing, but damnit…this is my story!) My son and Husband are in the photo however…I *guess8 that makes me happy (but even my hubby’s eyes are sparkling with SPF’s arm around him. Can I blame him?)
My uber cool 13 year old daughter, who is so awesome and she knows it, and who had teased her sister and I for freezing up when Barrowman walked past? Yeah- she learned her lesson that teasing is mean! She had her photo taken with14 year old Chandler Riggs (Carl Grimes- TWD) Riggs had seen her in the ender area and tried to talk to her. Guess what? Cool chick that she is? She totes FROZE, too! Then, during the photo session, when he tried to talk to her again? Yup…she froze. Not so funny now, is it child?
The lines and crowds on Saturday made navigating the venue near impossible. The autograph line for Norman Reedus alone was hundreds of people long- yes…I said hundreds.
Saturday evening, I was lucky enough to hang out with Jennifer Malone Wright and her sister. We bumped into JH Glaze, too. Our plan had been to attend fellow author Amy McCorkle’s release party held at the Galt House, but Stan Lee’s panel ran long. JMW & I, along with her sister and my husband, opted to take a stroll out in Louisville to grab some drinks and a bite to eat. During our excursion, I learned a few things.
1. No matter how many alcoholic beverages I may consume, I am still unable to shoot webs like Spider Man from my wrists, even when pointed at a church van while I’m crossing the street.
2. Not every Irish Pub plays Irish music. Some go with extremely loud rap and dance music.
3. Michael Rooker is a great guy to run into on the street when you’ve had waaaay too much to drink.
4. I live in New York, but had never realized how awesome Long Island Iced Teas was… better yet, how delish 3 of them are.
5. Not every man in a top hat is Abe Lincoln.
6. Should you be walking at night and you happen upon a closed street with a live band playing, $5 is not too much to pay to get in. Also- take the moment to ask who the band is. (Seriously…it was Buckcherry)
Sunday morning was spectacular (after my headache passed) I got in line for a SPF autograph because damnit, I would not be denied! When I met him, I produced the photo of my husband, son, and the pair of Saints. I explained (pointing to my husband) that that should have been ME! I asked him to sign the photo for my son (stupid parental guilt) and he even offered to get Norman Reedus (who was in the booth beside him) to sign the photo. I declined, as his line was so long I didn’t want others who’d been waiting to be upset. I asked Flannery if he’d be willing to have a photo taken with me. HE AGREED! I melted… ahhh, Sean…my dear, sweet Saint… call me?
I had 3 photo ops on Sunday, beginning with THE DIXON BROTHERS from TWD (Norman Reedus and Michael Rooker.) Ok…yes- I did get a photo on the street with JMW and Rooker Saturday night, but we really wanted a rather sober one, just to prove it happened and we could savor the memory for…like…ever. How did the op go? Well, JMW and I entered the photo area and what fell out of my mouth? “Ummm…I am so sorry about last night…” Smooth Lisa…really smooth. Norman Reedus asked what happened last night and I let him know that we *may* have accosted Rooker on the street.
Yeah…Rooker remembered. Even in spite of his memory of the evening before, I had me a Dixon Brother sammich! I may never wash that shirt again… And yes- I WILL milk those 30 seconds until the day I die.
The other two photo ops for Sunday were very special ones for my Haley. She was all decked out in her TARDIS dress and met Colin Baker (the 6th Doctor Who.) What a great man! We walked in and he said to Haley in his British accent “’Ello TARDIS!” She was all smiles as he held up the photo line for a few minutes to talk to her. That alone made the 14 + hours worth it! A few hours later, Haley and I had a photo taken with John Barrowman, redeeming out ice Queen features. He was fantastic, and of course, Haley and I lamented after the photo was taken about all the things we should have said to him…
I think the coolest part of Fandomfest was celebrity watching. Jason Momoa just walking around the hotel…Michael Rooker taking a late night constitutional around Louisville…my word! They REALLY are just like you and me! Well, except for Momoa- that dude is HUGE and scary! Security was super tight Sunday as Gene Simmons (of KISS) had joined FF, but it was still an excellent day.
The FandomFest experience was spectacular. Yes- there were venue issue, confusion, lack of maps, etc…but this family/work trip was so very worth it. My kids are still beaming and will now carry the memory of this trip with them forever.
If I ever questioned the hard work that goes into being an author was worth it- this weekend, seeing how happy my kids were and having the chance for them to experience these events and chat with these celebrities that would never have happened had I not written a few books- put that debate to bed.