Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

My rants, ravings, and overall 'mewsings' on life, the universe, and everything.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Sympathy for Celebrities

If you're lookin' for part two of the SOA S4 fan event write up, or about my meeting Kim Coates and Theo Rossi at CycleFest USA in Fort Wayne 7 January, you might not wanna read this blog. I will be blogging about those events, but there's something different on my mind today, that needs to come out.

It started percolating in my head last year at Easyrider's in Columbus, then again during the opening gala at Perri Ink Cartel in LA. It came to a boil during the cycle show yesterday. Maybe I'm wrong in the perception, and if so, then I'll apologize here.

Naturally, I went to the CycleFest motorcycle show with the intention of meeting Kim Coates and Theo Rossi as well. However, just like at Easyriders in Columbus last year, I walked around the site, looking at the vendors (and checking for bootleg SOA dvds!), and also admiring the bikes on display.

I wondered if the celebrities that are brought to this events for meet and greets actually get to SEE the sights for themselves and enjoy the fruits of the bike, car, or whatever owner's labors without harrassment from us fans.

Back in the day of the smaller Star Trek Conventions (Derbycon, Ourcon, Benecia for example) , it wasn't unusual for one of the cast appearing at the con to make a walk through - with security, natch - of the art and dealers rooms. The fans would be respectful and allow them to walk around and see the sights. Mainly because they knew there would be an opportunity for a meet and greet later. Also, like I said, these conventions were usually smaller in size, not the gargantuan get togethers of NY and CA.

With the instant access to things on line through YouTube and the celebrity gossip rags, it seems to me that a kind of 'feeding frenzy' mentality has developed where any kind of celebrity is concerned. We fans - and the paparazzi and the whanker gossip shows/rags/bloggers - tend to circle like pirhanas sensing a feast, waiting for the victim to fall into our clutches.

Previously, I wrote about one of my favorite stars being photographed while at his daughter's graduation from college. Likely he didn't know (or maybe he did and was just bein' nice) that he was in the eye of the camera. However, the fan went too far by takin' pictures of the actor's daughter, and then posting those pictures on FB. Don't bother lookin' for 'em. They're gone. At least from the FB page. It's possible they're floatin' around somewhere else on the world wide web.

And that's what made me think about events such as the Perri Ink Cartel opening, CycleFest, Easyriders, and other events. Short of pullin' an ElvisPresley/Michel Jackson and walkin' through an event after hours (or having a heavy security detail), do these celebrities EVER get to just be a visitor/tourist and see the sights?

It HAS to be difficult for a person, even a star/celebrity, to be ferried from airport to hotel to venue and back again, without getting to see anything but the stretch of highway between points
of the city you're visiting. You don't dare venture out of the nice hotel room without some kind of security or escort to protect you. From the hotel you're taken to a convention center where you find yourself shaking endless hands, giving hugs and kisses on demand, signing endless autographs and being gracious and friendly the entire time. It HAS to be draining, especially after multiple hours!
It was also interesting to watch the behavior of the fans getting to meet/greet the stars. The majority were respectful, but some seemed to think it was cute to quote one of Mr. Coates' lines back to him, such as 'Touch me again and I'll kill you' (from Last Boy Scout), or holding their fingers behind Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi's heads. Some people had the gentlemen sign their shirts or pants, putting them in rather compromisin' positions. Frankly, if you want someone to sign apparel, that's fine, but to have it signed while you're wearin' it? It makes me shake my head. It just seems a little disrespectful to the celebrity.
Another example of the way we tend to think we're owed something by the stars. It's understandable to feel a little scared when one has stood in line for an hour or two and suddenly the celebrity leaves the staging area. But to grumble and bitch about the star takin' a small break? C'mon people! If your boss expected you to keep your nose to the grindstone/shoulder to the wheel without a break, all y'all would be callin' the NLRB on 'em!

Yet that was what people standing on line at both Easyriders and CycleFest did when the stars took quick rest breaks. People complained that they had to stand and wait while the stars were gone, as if the stars owed it to them to not relax their hands/feet/bladders for a bit. That the stars didn't have the right to get a bite to eat, to get a drink, or sit down for a moment because there were people waiting!

I saw the same kind of 'you owe this to me' mentality, though to a little lesser degree, at Perri Ink Cartel. Mr. Dayton Callie and Mr. Christopher D Reed attended, as a gesture of support for Mr. Ornstein. This was a small gathering, but it didn't take long for fans to recognize Mr. Callie and ask for a photo opportunity. He graciously agreed to each request, but I felt bad that he wasn't able to just enjoy the party like everyone else.

OK, I know what all y'all are thinkin' right now. Hell, YOU got a picture with Dayton Callie during the gala, so what are you bitchin' about? That picture came about long after Mr. Ornstein had introduced me to Mr. Callie, and also to Mr. Reed. And it came after Robert and I waited for him to complete a conversation he has having with Mrs. Ornstein, and Mr. Reed and his wife. That's when I politely introduced Mr. Callie to my husband, and mentioned that Robert had liked Deadwood. That's when I asked for the photo, and he graciously indulged us. The difference is that I didn't demand, or rush up and interrupt, but waited.

Towards the end of the meet and greet session at CycleFest, I noticed a group from the local MC hanging around the meet/greet area. Some of them were pretty drunk (yes, beer was sold at this venue). The 'old ladies', especially, were rowdy in their carrying on. I moved to stand along the wall near the staging area to watch. Once he was ready to depart, Mr. Coates was verbally acosted by the old ladies. Possibly because of the role he plays, he walked over to them and took pictures with them. As he tried to make his way to the exit, and would've passed right by me, individuals who had NOT waited on line surrounded him for pictures. The security person stepped in, blocked me, and helped him get to the nearby exit.

Yes, I did call out to him. Respectfully, referring to him as 'Mr. Coates.' He had said during our brief time together "See you later. I know I will." Which is why I returned to the staging area towards the end of the meet/greet time. I did call out to him, "Thank you, Mr. Coates. I did wait around for you as you mentioned," With all the uproar from the MC's old ladies, and the other people carryin' on, I doubt he heard my wee small voice, or could see my presence with the security guard blockin' me from him. It must've been alarmin' to be in a mob scene like that and have one lone security guard to protect him. His only thought was probably 'I need to get outta here!'
This is not to cast aspersions on the security force. Mr. Kay, of TwoWheelThunderTV.Com had it planned out to have more than one guard available to both Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi. When Mr. Coates detoured to be gracious to the MC, it seperated him from the security detail, and the sharks began circling.

I felt bad for him and for Mr. Rossi as well. As much as I did when Mr. Coates' private moment of seeing his daughter graduate college was taken from him by a paparazzi. I thought of the many times that celebrities go out to dinner and have flashbulbs go off in their face as they're tryin' to drive away safely because the photogs feel they're owed somethin'; of othe fact that a performer can't enjoy a meal or a movie without acquising to the demands of the fans for photos/autographs; of the number of times that on - the - street filimin' is interrupted by people seekin' a photo/autograph/meeting opportunity.

I thought of the speech Gene Roddenberry gave at OurCon at Michigan State in 1974 or 75. The auditorium was filled, and there were several cast members in the audience. I could see 'em from our seat in the balcony, but like the stars, just wanted to be there to hear what the Great Bird of the Galaxy had to say. At one point during his speech, Mr. Roddenberry pointed out the presence of the cast, and sure enough, during the remainder of his speech, people surrounded the cast to get pics and autographs.

Have you ever listened to 'Song Sung Blue' from Neil Diamond's 'Love at the Greek I'? All y'all should. He calls out to celebs in the audience, has them joini him on stage, which is cool, but then you know the celeb is bein' hounded for the remainder of the concert!).

Earlier this week, another of my favorite actors, Gerard Butler, was on the Tonight Show. He mentioned a fan meeting that left him very uncomfortable. He was in an airport, and needed to use the facilities. A male fan followed him into the men's room, and slipped into the stall next to the one Gerry went into. This was makin' him uncomfortable, then he heard the man yell "This is Sparta!" from 300. Mr. Butler has mentioned that people have thrown that line at him numerous times since the movie came out. The man then implored Mr. Butler to say it back. Mr. Butler demurred, but the fan insisted. Poor Mr. Butler had to wait in that bathroom until the fan gave up. The audience laughed, but there was really nothin' funny about it, IMO.

As I write this, people are standin' in line in Fort Wayne, waiting to meet and greet with Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi. This one is scheduled for three or four hours. A much more reasonable amount of time. Still, there will probably be those people who feel when the session ends that they are owed somethin' by Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi, and will demand that debt be paid.
Granted, as fans, all we see is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet/greet/get somethin' to prove we met our hero/heroine. Not everyone gets an opportunity like Mark and I had in 2011 to have as much time as we wanted to talk to and get to know the actors and actresses for our favorite show. It's doubtful we'll ever have such an opportunity again. So I can understand the feelin' of 'I'll beat myself up the rest of my life for not followin' through on this chance encounter!'
Guess all I'm sayin' is think for just a moment how you'd feel if it were YOU on the other side. YOU are the one at dinner or an event with your family, and fans approach you. YOU are the one on a telephone call and someone is tryin' to listen in with monitoring equipment. YOU are on an errand, and suddenly are surrounded by a throng of people wanting to have you sign somethin' and/or pose for a photo. Just walk a mile in that person's shoes for a moment.
I just have to wonder, what ever happened to common courtesy? The stars are no different, and deserve it as much as anyone else. When you have the opportunity to meet a celebrity, be polite, be nice, be real. Don't quote their lines at 'em, don't call 'em by their character names. Be respectful. Ask, don't demand. And respect their privacy if they are with their families. They'll appreciate that much more than rememberin' y'all for all the wrong reasons.
Thus endeth my rant.



Blogger Ms. S. said...

Very nicely said. In this internet age it's clear that people seem to have a sense of entitlement when it comes to a celebrity and that's sad to me.

The celebrities are human too and deserve to be treated with the same common decency that everyone else wants to be treated with. I for one cringe at the sight of "casual" photographs of celebrities. It's such an invasion of their privacy. I know damn well I don't want anyone taking my picture while I'm trying to do something as boring as getting a coffee.

I'm sure that Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi appreciate fans like you who treat them with respect and aren't full of demands.

January 11, 2012 at 12:09 AM  

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