Mewsings from Lowecat (aka Indianacat)

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

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Beyond My Wildest Dreams in Ft Wayne

Irony is an interesting thing. I say that because it's been proven more than once. Irony hit me upside the head the weekend of the SOA Season 4 Ratings Challenge Fan Event in California. That was the same weekend that one of my favorite actors, Kim Coates, was going to be in Indianapolis for a meet/greet at a motorcycle show.

Since I've never learned how to be two places at once, I gladly went to California for the once in a lifetime opportunity to meet my creative writing idol, Kurt Sutter. Despite missin' out on meeting Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi at CycleFest USA in Indianapolis, as you'll see from my other blogs about the SOA Fan Event, I had a wonderful time in LA. If all y'all haven't read about it yet, go to it.

For those who you dear readers who don't know, Kim Coates plays Alex 'Tig' Trager on Sons of Anarchy. I have been a fan since 1987. The only other living actor with more time on my radar is Harrison Ford (1977). Course, I've also had crushes on Humphrey Bogart, Charles Bronson, and Yul Brynner, but they've gone on Home. Ergo, the still living clarification. Theo Rossi plays Juan Carlos 'Juice' Ortiz, and has appeared in many television programs and movies. He and Mr. Coates appeared together in an episode of CSI Miami, called 'Dissolved'.

Figured it this way, when it comes to motorcycle events, it seemed probable that there would be other opportunities to meet Mr. Coates at a bike show. Maybe in OH, maybe IL, maybe KY. And it came to pass that just before the California event, came the news that there would, indeed, be an opportunity to meet/greet Mr. Coates. In Indiana. In Fort Wayne, in fact. In January. Ten days before our 17th wedding anniversary (me and the DH's that is). Mr. Rossi would also be back.

Was I planning to go? Do bears (except polar) hibernate in winter? I would go come Hell, high water, or anything else Indiana's unpredictable winter weather would dish out. I'd hire a team of sled dogs to get there if necessary. So I began to save my spare change and birthday/Christmas money to afford the gas, admission, and parking fees, and maybe - provided I didn't turn into a complete gob of goo - invite the two gentlemen to dinner on me. (Ha! Well, a girl can dream, can't she?).

With the time scheduled off from work, I selected my outfit, gathered the IN swag together, made sure the digital camera and the mini cassette recorder had fresh batteries, and packed them all in my small blue back pack (along with printed pictures to have them sign).

The IN swag for Mr. Rossi was the same as what most of the cast received in CA - an autographed picture of me sitting on my bike (named Tig, in case you didn't know!) and another picture of me with the World Trade Center Twin Towers beams that made up the Indy 9/11 Memorial (an artist's rendering of the memorial was part of that pic with a brief story of the memorial on the back) - plus an uncirculated IN quarter in plastic.

Because of my affinity for Mr. Coates, his swag was a little bit different from Mr. Rossi's. His autographed pictures were in color and framed. One was me sitting on the bike, the other was of the bike on it's own. I decided to give in to a little fun and had the bike autograph it's own picture. It read, "To Tig. Live to Ride/Ride to live. Tig the bike.' along with the date and city and state. I'd also obtained a belated birthday card (his birthday was 2 January), and added his IN quarter in plastic and another gift in the card. The card had my signature, but came from the TigNation and SOA.Net message boards, Twitter, and the FB Kim Coates Appreciation Group

Besides the swag, the equipment, the things to be signed, and some tissues (something told me I'd get emotional), I included a full water bottle. I learned during the last bike show I attended, in Columbus, that bottled water is highly overpriced at these things. Hey, I was a Girl Scout for a year, that taught me to be prepared.

Fortunately, the entire state was blanketed in a mild weather pattern the weekend of 7-8 January. The bike has already been winterized, and while it was tempting to unwinterize and ride up there (maybe even enter him in the vintage portion of the bike show), the wind chill contemplation was just too much of a deterrent. Instead, I drove my PT to Fort Wayne.

Butterflies were runnin' a marathon in my belly. The sense of anticipation fed the nerves, but I managed to make the drive to Northern IN and find the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum with little difficulty. That's when I began to shake like a leaf, and hadn't even paid admission yet! Unlike the vast building where EasyRiders was held in Columbus, it wasn't hard to find where I needed to go at Ft. Wayne's coliseum. I definitely didn't lose sense of where the car was parked this time!

After purchasing my ticket and being pointed in the right direction, I found the entries for the chopper raffle, and signed my little form. Didn't win the chopper, but that's OK, couldn't have figured out how to get it from Fort Wayne to Indy anyway. Hope whoever won it enjoys it. Then I turned in my ticket to the man stationed at the main entrance and entered the hallowed hall.

That's how I found the area where Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi were located. My little eyes spied Mr. Coates from across the hall and my heart started racin'. Since it was a little before 4pm, and they were signin' until 8pm, I wondered just how long the line was gonna be. First priority was to walk about the joint, takin' in the vendors. My eyes were peeled for bootleg SOA merchandise. I am happy to report all the SOA merchandise found was legit. Otherwise, Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi would've seen Lowecat in action!

The area where the meet and greet was being held was easy to spot. There was a gigantic poster of the characters Tig and Juice set up with a series of tables and plenty of attention gettin' lightin'. There was also a line. The line was not the traditional feeder line, but a long line that snaked along the very back of the hall. The line was also separated by a large gap. This gap was the demarcation line for those who would get to meet the pair, and those who might have to return the next day.

Before going to the back of the long line, I just stood and watched from afar as Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi greeted the fans, took pictures, and signed autographs. To see them so close, and right in my home state sent a thrill up my spine, and made the butterflies run amuck.

Finally found my way to the end of the line, near some nice lookin' bikes. At least there was somethin' to see pass the time away. The two women standing in front of me were pleasant to speak with. One said I looked a little familiar. I mentioned appearin' with Mr. Sutter on YouTube and she said 'That's it!' (I got that a little that day from other people, especially when I was sittin' in the lounge area later on in the afternoon/evening). There was also a group of people from Indianapolis who overheard my conversation with the group ahead of me. They kinda rolled their eyes about the subject, and returned to their own conversation. Hey, that's OK. I was too excited about meeting the men to care about my own notoriety.

The line moved. Slowly. The closer I got to the gap, the more relaxed I felt. Once past the gap, I felt certain a return trip the next day wouldn't be necessary. Here's some of the sights spotted while on line:

These aren't all the pictures I took, just what's available to me at the moment.

We inched closer and closer to the gap, while the man in charge of the meet and greet, Jimmy Kay of TwoWheelThunder, walked up the line, stoppin' to talk to those of us waitin' for our chance. As luck would have it, Mr. Kay stopped to talk to the women in front of me, and mentioned Season 5. I had already pulled up Mr. Sutter's blog about the winners on my Iphone in the search engine. I didn't realize who he was at first, but saw the microphone in his hand and thought perhaps he was a reporter, or maybe with Fox Home Entertainment gettin' film of the cast meet and greets for the S4 DVD.

Though my hands shook and the butterflies were going at maximum warp, I inquired of Mr. Kay if he were a local reporter. "No, my job is to corral those two comedians up there," he replied.

"Oh, then they might want to know I'm here," I stated, holding out my shaky Iphone and showing him the blog entry from Mr. Sutter that mentioned my name. He read the entire blog, then asked if I minded if he took the phone up front.

"No, go ahead, sir," My voice screeched. "But I'm not tryin' to cut. Just want them to know I'm here is all."

Mr. Kay took my phone up to the very front, and my nerves went into overdrive. The two women ahead of me were intrigued, but happy for me. "Hey, if you get to cut, go for it. I would in a minute," one of them stated. Or at least words to that effect, at least she was supportive. The ones behind me might've mumbled a bit, but I was too excited to notice or care.

Mr. Kay returned with my phone and said Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi were interested in seeing me, and he would escort me to the front of the line. I panicked. "Oh, but, I didn't want to cut, honestly!"

The women in front of me said not to worry about it. Mr. Kay stated that he had the power to make the determination, and just like that, he was walking me to the very table where Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi were waiting. I was closer to them than ever, and my little heart was racin' like Secretariat runnin' for the win in the last jewel of the Triple Crown!

I was also gettin' emotional. While waitin' for the group that was greetin' the pair, I told Mr. Kay about my experience in Columbus and why I was carryin' my own bottle of water. We also talked about the LA event and my missin' the Indy show and of how long I'd been a fan of Mr. Coates. I'm sure that Mr. Kay might've thought he'd encountered one of THOSE fans who didn't know when to shut up, but he was gracious and attentive, listenin' to my rather squeein' fangirl blather and watchin' me tear up like a girl.

It turned out that yours truly was not the only person allowed to cut the line. Those who were in wheelchairs or otherwise unable to stand for long periods were allowed to cut. I really thought that was very nice to do. I still do. Lots of events wouldn't make accommodations like that. At EasyRiders, while havin' a platform so Mr. Flanagan could see over our heads and the sights of the show, the steps made things difficult for those less spry and/or mobile. I give CycleFest USA kudos for their thoughtfulness.

Bein' so overcome with emotion, I gave Mr. Kay a very big hug of gratitude. He seemed surprised, but appreciative of the gesture. While I would've stood on that line for five or more hours if it were necessary, he'd made it possible for me to have the moment that much sooner. It was a spontaneous gesture of thanks, and I meant it.

As one of the disabled fans was moving up to meet the actors, Mr. Coates saw me and said "I hear you won somethin'?"

Tryin' to be as suave as possible while turnin' into a gob of goo, I replied airily, "Oh, just Mr. Sutter's Season 4 Viewer Challenge!"

Mr. Rossi called out, "Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! You went to ah

"I saw 410 before everyone else did!" I blurted, cuttin' off Mr. Rossi. (Oye!)

"That was at Kurt's house?" Mr. Rossi added.

"No," I replied

"At the studio," Mr. Coates added, then he turned his attention back to the disabled fan for a moment, while I asked if someone would take pictures for me with the digital camera. That's when I learned they had professional photographers taking pictures for purchase and they would take pictures with our personal cameras.

Then it was my turn to go to the table where they were working. The butterflies were in overdrive. I was shakin' like a leaf. Clutchin' the back pack in my hands, the tape recorder already recordin' since Mr. Kay walked me down the line, I stepped up to meet Mr. Coates. It was nearly 25 years after he'd captured my attention in Miami Vice.

"Here's your winner!" Mr. Kay announced as I walked forward to say hello to Mr. Rossi and Mr. Coates, still shakin' and tryin' not to cry.

Mr. Coates asked me who was present at the event while getting us situated for the portrait photo. I didn't want to name characters so started with Mr. Sutter, and Ms. Sagal, then mentioned Mr. Ornstein, Mr. Rivera, and Ms. Renton. Mr. Coates interjected with the first names in a parody of the Mousketeer Roll Call. Mr. Rossi said, "Just name the characters!" But I persisted in naming their real names.

Then I mentioned that Mr. Johnson had also shown up and that I got to arm wrestle him for all of a part of a second.

"Nice!" Mr. Coates replied, waxing philosophically that I was lucky not to have gotten my elbow broken. Naturally, that led to boasting that the husband took his turn but didn't last as long.

I was shakin' and beginnin' to cry as we posed for the picture. Mr. Coates told me not to shake, but it was OK to cry. So did Mr. Rossi, who added, "I cry every five seconds!"

This is the professionally taken photograph from the TwoWheelThunder website.

Then I pulled out the swag. First was the envelope with Mr. Coates' birthday card and small swag. He asked if he should open it right then. Yes, I gave my standard answer of "If you wish!" (Ugh!) Then passed an envelope to Mr. Rossi, addin', "I didn't forget you! Here's your IN swag!"

I blathered then that I'd been a fan of Mr. Coates since Miami Vice's 'Biking Vikers from Hell' episode.

"Wow! That was a long time ago, baby. A long time ago!" He seemed impressed that I'd been followin' his career that long. Then I told him the card was not just from me, but the fan sites. When I mentioned TigNation, he laughed right out loud.

Not only was Mr. Coates pleased with the card, but with the quarter and the IU keychain included. Now, that keychain had a USB drive on it. And on that flashdrive? You guessed it, every single book and chapter of the SOA fanfic I write and has been published on

"I love that, I love it!" Mr. Coates replied.

I continued to blather and then gave him the package I'd wrapped for him, with the colored, framed autographed pictures and the ribbon Robert and I gave out at our wedding. I gave that same ribbon to all the married cast members in California.

Meanwhile, Mr. Rossi had opened his envelope to find his two black and white pictures, one the autographed me and the bike and the quarter. The other of me and twin towers beams, the 9/11 memorial artist's rendition, and the write up about how the memorial came to be.

"This is that 9/11 Memorial, isn't it?" Mr. Rossi asked.

I responded that it was the very one he'd retweeted the day of the dedication ride I'd been in and learned of winning Mr. Sutter's challenge.

"I want to read all about that!" he promised. "That's very sweet of you!"

I was pleased and surprised that he actually remembered my request for the RT (retweet in twitter speak), much less about the memorial itself. (That Sunday, I tweeted the link about the Project Indy 9/11 Memorial. You can also learn more about it by clickin' on the link below).

Unfortunately, the original website lost it's domain page just a few days ago. It was very informative and included the artist's rendering of the memorial.

Mr. Coates had opened the wrapped package to find the two pictures. He laughed as he read the inscription from Tig, the bike. "Thank you very much!" Mr. Coates then embraced me and I totally and completed melted into a big pile of sniveling goo. Definitely glad he had his jacket on, or he'd have had a very wet shirt!

Mr. Rossi was so sweet, giving me a hug as I turned to him, my nose as red as Rudolph's and tears still streakin' my face. While Mr. Coates was lookin' over his gifts, I pulled out the poster purchased from the TwoWheelThunder table before joinin' the line.

Some of you regular readers of this blog know that a fellow SOA fan, former FB friend and former Twitter follower who lives in the next county offered to get autographs at the Indianapolis CycleFest event. I'd replied that she should just go and enjoy for herself, but she later posted to my FB page that she'd gotten a signed poster for me. It was a very sweet gesture at the time that I greatly appreciated. Unfortunately, the poster never got to me.

This is a pic of the poster that never reached me. It was posted on my FB account.

I explained to them that I greatly appreciated that they'd signed a poster for me in absentia, and why, without going into great detail, it never reached me. "It got held up in a bit of internet skullduggery involving my support of an the owner of SOA.Net."

Mr. Rossi seemed to immediately understand what I meant. Both gentlemen immediately rectified the situation by signing the new poster.

There was still a lot of people waiting to meet and greet them. I had been the beneficiary of a great amount of their time, and while I wanted to ask them both about dinner, was too tongue tied to do so. Mr. Coates indicated that he would definitely see me later, and maybe I mistook what he meant. But I returned to the area close to the 8pm hour, when the session was scheduled to end.

The nice thing that both Mr. Coates and Mr. Rossi did that night was to stay at the autograph area to meet and greet the people who'd made it past the gap, but were still in line after the 8pm end time. They could've easily left right at the top of the hour, as they'd spent some eight hours (minus breaks) talking to their fans. I can't think of many people that would go the extra mile like that. My respect for both men grew by leaps and bounds from that small gesture of theirs.

I also forgot a very important item to give Mr. Coates. I'd put together a print out (not very good cause our printer is cantankerous) of some artwork drawn by Kim Sisk, who made my fanfic artwork. I'd included a small thank you card and self addressed stamp envelope with her address, placing both the print out and the card/envelope in a plastic protection sheet.

However, Mr. Kay took that from me and promised to get it to Mr. Coates for me. Kim, I hope you get the card back sometime. Don't you think her artwork is awesome? She teaches art to public school students in Michigan and also writes some damn fine SOA fanfiction of her own!

(This next portion is taken from my blog 'sympathy for celebrities' and bears repeatin' here). I noticed a group from the local MC hanging around the autograph 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 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.

Mr. Rossi did see me standing beside the wall. When he walked towards the exit, I waved goodbye to him, and was surprised that he gave me a hug to say goodbye. It flabbergasted me, so I didn't get a chance to issue the invite. Instead I said "Be safe, darlin'!" Mr. Rossi had his envelope and promised he would read up on the 9/11 memorial, then he disappeared through the emergency exit doors.

Mr. Coates packed all his swag in a plastic bag (with my job's logo on it!) that I'd provided for him to carry it all in, so he lagged behind Mr. Rossi. So I did see that he got to take his presents with him.

Now, it's been asked of me why I bothered to invest time and money to present gifts to all these stars. The person actually told me "They get so much crap from fans that they just throw it away!"

The reason is simple. These people have given of themselves to us, their time, their talent, on and off screen. They are constantly asked for pictures, autographs, time, attention - even when they're with their families. The purpose of those gifts was to show my appreciation for all that they do. To give THEM something instead of just askin' for somethin' of them.

That's the whole purpose of a gift. The joy of givin'. It gave me joy to see how much they appreciated the gesture. What they do with the gift once it's in their hands is their business. The fact that none of the recipients their gifts behind or in the hands of assistants warms me.

Other than behavin' like a complete and utter fangirl by breakin' out in tears in front of them, I hope that Mr. Rossi didn't feel that he was a third wheel. He was very sweet during my time with them. I was in awe of both of them.

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.