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2:11 p.m. - 2013-10-27
Meeting Heroes

I realized recently exactly how superstitious I am. Not about traditional bad luck omens. Nah. I own a black cat, for Pete's sake. 13 doesn't bother me and the only evil eyes I've seen are my own in the mirror on a morning after I'd been up too late the night before. My fear of jinxing good things, however, is enormous. To speak of a good thing as if it's a certainty is to guarantee it won't happen. I could tot up all the good things I've counted on over the years that have blown up in my face or withered away as the money and time for them disappeared into new fuel pumps, unexpectedly high fevers and utility bills, broken promises and appliances, and (ahem) getting knocked up at the ripe old age of 34- a scant six years before the kid I already had would graduate from high school. (That last one sure as hell pushed the restart button and set my life plan back to zero.) When Mick showed up I dared believe my luck had changed. This unexpected man who was everything my previous husband was not. Mick who filled my life with kindness and security and enough love to balance off all the love I'd always lived without a dozen times over. But even Mick wasn't enough to stave off LA's Lousy Luck entirely. The wedding, you see. There's no rotting cake on my table but my Miss Havisham outfit hangs in the closet. The dress, the floral headpiece, the pretty satin shoes (though there's two of them, not one). Every time I get my coat that dress is there. A rebuke and a reminder not to pin my foolish hopes on anything good coming my way. I'd been certain I'd finally have the pretty wedding of my dreams. Right. To be certain is to lose. Always.

So last week when Mick started chortling that I was going to meet Weird Al on Saturday I hushed him with frightened looks over my shoulder and frantic negating hand waving. No, no, no! Do NOT screw this up for me! Nothing is a done deal until it's done, you fool. So stop it. Stop inviting bad luck and another broken dream down on my head. Stop it! Don't you dare say it will happen!

It did though.

Yeah, I absolutely refused to be excited beforehand or speak with assurance of the end result, not aloud anyhow. Couldn't risk it.

But meet him I did. With a handshake, a photo op, an autograph, then a brief exchange of pleasantries and a side hug when I thanked him for making his shows so family friendly. I told him that both of my sons' first concerts had been Weird Al shows at the Poughkeepsie Civic Center and as a mom as well as a fan his hilarious yet clean and vulgarity-free stage show was a Very Good Thing. Al's daughter, Nina, is 10 and I thought he'd appreciate hearing a parent's perspective. That's when he hugged me so I guess he did.

Meeting Weird Al was a blast, but it was far from the day's only goodie.

If you're a longtime reader you've heard about Chiller before. It's a horror/sci-fi fan con held in the wilds of New Jersey twice a year. Obviously not every celebrity guest has a direct relation to the genre. Chiller is where I've met three of the six Brady kids, the Sweathogs, Jason Mews and Brian O'Halloran from the Kevin Smith films, and the recently deceased Marcia Wallace. At my first trip to Chiller she was the very first celeb I approached for an autograph and she was kindness itself. We had a nice laugh together over us both being very tall women with very pointy hair. Several Chillers later and the stack of autographed 8x10 glossies has gotten quite thick, but I've yet to get jaded or blasť about meeting the musicians and actors whose work have made my life better. Each meet-n-greet is special, every handshake and autograph a treasure.

A fan dork I am and a fan dork I always will be.

Wolf's favorite movie is 'Airplane!'. It literally makes him laugh out loud. A belly laugh from an Aspie is a rare and wonderful thing. When I hear Wolf's howls of laughter from the living room where he's watching 'Airplane!' for umpty-hundreth time it makes my heart swell. Snagging an autograph for my kid from Robert Hays was on the list yesterday. The glossy was signed for Wolf but the pic was with me.

No duh, Wolf was at home. Anyhow, Robert Hays was quite friendly and when I told him about Wolf he added a special message to the autograph and an extra hug to pass onto my kid. Nice.

More Kevin Smith fan love. I got to meet Joey Lauren Adams- star of 'Chasing Amy' and 'Mallrats'. Though I had her sign a pic from 'Dazed and Confused'. She didn't have a huge part in that movie but it's one of my all-time favorites. She's a wee bitty person and I had to crouch down to get both of us in the frame.

Dopily enough I walked off without taking my autographed pic with me and like Amy (ha!) she chased me down in the crowd to bring it to me. "LA, wait! You forgot your pic!" She gave me another hug when I thanked her. In case you're wondering her voice isn't quite as high and oddly pitched as it is in her films. Still recognizably hers but softer and lower in person.

Mick had a mission of his own yesterday, besides scoring some 'Creature from the Black Lagoon' goodies for his collection that is. Which he did, btw, a Japanese model kit from the early 1960s new and complete in the box for some stupefyingly low price. I was ready to dicker with the guy but Mick was practically fainting he was so stunned to find this thing so I bought it for him at asking price and had one grateful husband. As for the other errand, Mick had promised one of his school's admins he'd get Lou Ferrigno's autograph. Like Mick, the admin is a former competitive bodybuilder and has some signed glossies of his own hanging in his office. To get one from Lou would be a coup. Mick already has a signed poster from a previous Chiller and we agreed that this time around Lou was much nicer. No, his surliness had nothing to do with his hearing problem and everything to do with being sad and humiliated to be signing autographs for $20 a pop at some lousy fan con in Parsippany, NJ instead of being in the governor's mansion and a millionaire movie star like his former competitor Arnold. Guess Lou's made peace with his life because this time he was very friendly and patient. Still quite buff and handsome at age 61 too. Gave Mick hope he wouldn't turn into some wrinkled droopy mess anytime soon. (As if he could. My Mick is on his bicycle and in the gym all the time. He might be sporting a Happy Hubby tummy these days, but the rest of him as still as bulgy and cut as ever.)

I couldn't find Michael Beck star of 'The Warriors', the organization at Chiller leaves much to be desired. No signage, confusing layout, lousy and incomplete program. Every time I go I itch to be the one in charge of putting this thing together. I'd straighten that shit right out and make sure everyone got to meet the celebs they'd come for. Anyhow, besides Michael Beck I had one other autograph on my hit list yesterday...John Kapelos. Not familiar with the name? I dig that, not everyone is as big a movie buff as I am. I'll lay good money you know this guy though. If you're of an age you'll remember Carl the janitor from 'The Breakfast Club'. Yeah, that guy. Always plays a schmuck, a shit-heel, a twerp, the creep. John Kapelos has made a very nice career being the guy you love to loathe. 'Roxanne', 'Legally Blonde', 'The Craft', 'Sixteen Candles', etc, etc, if there's a smirking jerk it'll be John Kapelos.

It goes without saying I adore this guy. I approached his table yesterday (tucked into an obscure corner without a banner or poster) with a huge smile. "I just know the guy who plays such awful jerks must be a sweetheart in real life!"

And so he was.

A total sweetheart.

He and I shared a laugh over the truism that so many stand-up comedians are total dickheads off stage. That it's amazing how many heroic leading men are slimy cowards in real life. And that the guys who are typecast into villain roles are most often great people in their off-camera lives. It holds true for Christopher Walken and it's the same with John Kapelos, that's for sure. Funny, patient, kind. He spoke of some of his troupe members from Second City and how they fulfilled the expectation of awful people/fabulous comedian (without naming names, he's no gossip or snitch). He also told me about his mom who before she died asked him why he never kissed the girl in his movies. He told her he got to kill the girl and that was more interesting. But I heard the wistful note there. If his face and his luck had allowed him to John Kapelos totally would have been a hero in his acting roles. But you plays the cards you're dealt and John Kapelos was destined to play the creep.

I had a hard time picking which glossy he should sign. We talked about a theater release retrospective of 'Sixteen Candles' I'd taken Mick to (he'd never seen a single John Hughes film!) and how Mick laughed until he cried. Of 'Roxanne' and how nice it must have been to film in his native Canada for once. In the end I went with a screen shot from 'The Breakfast Club' and John was nice enough to inscribe it...'I am the eyes and ears of this institution, my friends.' How cool was this?

I warned him he'd be making an appearance in my blog. While not the powerhouse forum it was a few years ago when my life was a train wreck and oh so fun to mock that this space was still read in almost every time zone on the planet, was this okay?

More than okay he wished me luck and said to say, "Hello" to my readers (and I blush to admit this) that anyone who wanted me hurt and humbled was a fool. In his book LA was a woman of rare beauty and taste.

So to you mean ones who've been waiting, panting, and salivating until the end to jump in and tell me how fat I've gotten, I know. I see this tubby jowly wreck of a former beauty every single time I look in the mirror or try on a pair of jeans or attempt to button a blouse over the obnoxious hooters o' doom. Ain't telling me something I don't know or already hurt over, thankyouverymuch. I'm quite aware of what a fatso I've become and you should save yourselves the effort of trying to humiliate me and make me ashamed. Already there, thanks.

Yet I fatso that I am I still got to speak with, get a pic with and an autograph from, and tender my thanks to several celebrities yesterday. Artists who didn't seem to mind overmuch that I was obese, old, and obscure. Be nasty if you must. I'm still going to be happy about yesterday's adventures and pleasures.

And John? I know you're reading this and am very happy you got to kiss (and not kill) this girl.


Ever and always an appreciative fan. And I do. I do care what you think of me, ~LA


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