Pictures of it
The Family Reunion
Near the middle of July, Dale's cousin Tona declared her intention to put together a family reunion of Dale's mother's relatives, which hadn't been done before. It was necessary to go, to show support for her efforts, and it certainly should have been plenty of notice.
Right smack in the middle of the SFX weekend.
So I got up early on Saturday morning, partly to escape the traffic, and partly because since I had to go home anyway, I figured I may as well be there a couple hours. I had to be home before 11:00 am to pick up Husband and his brother and get to the park by noon. Since that meant I wouldn't be able to take in any morning events, there was no point in waiting around.
I had called b-i-l ahead and said that I didn't want to be there any longer than necessary because I would be missing things at SFX. No more than 3 hours at the longest. He said he didn't think he'd be good for that long anyway.
The most interesting thing I can say about the event was that there was a teenager who looked like he might amount to something, and that everyone was tremendously impressed by how well bil plays chess. (He could have been a chess champion; and he now doesn't play *nearly* as well as he used to!)
The Eldest - Hubby's Aunt Sarah with her husband, and bil in the background with his chess.
Oh, and the food was superb! Tona had it catered, and it was the best catered picnic lunch I ever had! (No potato salad, no macaroni salad, no hamburgers, no hotdogs.) (It will probably be topped this weekend though, by the picnic of Hubby's coworker who is retiring from catering.)
Amazingly, it all went off very well, had a good time for two hours, saw bil finishing a chess match at 1:50 and asked whether he was ready to go. He started packing up and I went to tell Hubby that Bro was ready, and we went. Got home by 3:00, and miraculously was back in Toronto at 5:00 and slipped into Henry Winkler's panel *just* as he started to speak!
But I missed Buzz Aldrin, Kate Mulgrew, Brad Dourif, and Brent Spiner (although that was Sunday, but it was kind of a result of missing Saturday). Missing Saturday afternoon means missing more than half of the panels that I want to see. In fact, Fonz and Sean were the only ones I got to.
Handling the Lines
The autograph lines
I mostly covered the configuration of the autograph lines above, but just a couple more words about it.
Each guest handles their space as they wish. They pay a flat fee for their booth and can do with it as they choose. Usually they charge $30 to $40 for an autograph which can be either on whatever you've brought with you or on an 8 x 10 that they provide. They sit behind their table, glance up and smile at you, try to talk you into buying whatever else they have on their table for sale, and sign your stuff. If they don't have much of a line, they might chat with you if you're interesting, and possibly pose with you for a picture if you have someone to hold your camera.
People misuse this, of course. Everyone wants a bigger piece of their favorite star than they can afford to pay for. Everyone tries to get a hug, or the personal pic, and the guests - or their managers - have to get tough about it, or people who are waiting in line will never get their turn. It is really more surprising that there are so many stars who remain personable and kind than that people like Shatner get nasty and stingy.
The panel lines
Some panels get fifty interested ticket-holders. Some get 500. This year there were three of those on Sunday, one after another. What happened on Saturday I have no idea.
First there was Brent Spiner. His line was probably about 400 people long, maybe more. But the room was too small. They cut it off at 250. There were a LOT of upset people, me included. Since I hadn't been around and didn't know very well what was happening, or become familiar to the kid in charge, I didn't slip in after it started. And I would have felt badly about it anyway. The very next person in line who didn't get in had bought her ticket and come to SFX for the sole purpose of seeing him. This is so not fair it just makes me fume; but there was nothing I could do.
In the same room - for the following hour - was going to be Edward James Olmos, and his line was just about 500 people. The most senior staff person went to try to get it moved to the big hall downstairs, and discovered that they were supposed to open the divider between the rooms!!!!! So 200 people missed Brent Spiner for no reason at all! This bothers me a lot.
Sean was to be the third speaker in the same room immediately following. Much as I love Sean, I didn't expect him to have the same kind of crowd; but he did! Filled the room right up, which means about 500 people.
I helped out with the Olmos line a bit, then went to pick up my paid-for photo-op with Sean (as well as Lor's) and took them downstairs. Sean's manager had promised that he would sign them for us before his panel, which was at 3:00. Starting at 2:00 we had to turn people away so that he could finish by 2:30, take a moment to breathe and be ready for his panel. After he signed our pictures, I went back upstairs to help with his line. It twists down a side hall and back up, then snakes around the main hall. People keep trying to get through to sit with friends - I allow that for a while but then cut it off, because it really isn't fair to people who have been waiting for over an hour. Other people are sure that when the doors open, people will rush it and they'll lose their place in line. We absolutely do not allow that, and I might add that Toronto people are more polite about it than we are.
Henry Winkler gave what I considered a wonderful talk for young people - both informative and inspiring, and based on his own experiences. I discovered that he is *not* Italian - he's a German Jew. His parents escaped Hitler, and built a store in NYC. They were unhappy that he pursued acting rather than taking over the store, but that's a common story.
He said, and in many ways demonstrated, that he loves the opportunity to see people from the other side of the camera or footlights.
He said when he auditioned for The Fonz, he was so nervous he was soaked with sweat, so he decided to use it rather than pretend he wasn't. He told them, "This is the measure of how nervous I am."
He is also so dyslexic that he still has difficulty reading. I had no idea that he had children's books out, about a boy who has difficulty in school because he's dyslexic. He himself didn't know that until his son was diagnosed with it.
Notes I wrote down:
"If you will it, it is not a dream."
"Shelley Long is a bitch."
He studied Ouspensky.
"Assumptions are the termites of relationships."
Never put a period at the end of a negative sentence. For instance, don't say "I can't do that." Say, "I can't do that, but I can do this."
"Burt Reynolds is like Shelley Long."
"Let the Cosmos know what it is you want."
Ron Howard is ... hmm ... I certainly can't quote everything he said, I only wrote down 'a powerful old soul'. He admires him extremely.
Henry had a totally different way of handling his autograph line. As I mentioned above, people will overtax the guests' good will by asking too much personal attention from them. At first he acquiesced to requests for pictures with the fans, but his line was long and simply not getting any shorter. His manager made a sign to allow for people to pay for it, $35 for the autograph, $25 for a picture, $50 for both. Then he stood out in front of his booth - unheard of - walked across the red carpet for each fan, shook their hand, asked their name, put his around around their shoulders and walked them back to the table, where his manager snapped a picture and he signed the autograph.
He was so damned *nice!*
He looked at you, listened to you, managed some sort of small talk, for each and every one! I have unexpectedly become a fan.
THEN! (contrast this with Shatner), when I had waited in line and it came to be my turn, I decided I would pay for the whole shebang and get the picture. He did his thing, and as we approached the table and the manager said, "Twenty-five dollars" and reached out for it, he shook his head and said, "No. Not this one."
No, I had not done anything special for him. I hadn't even worked his line. I was just a volunteer and he was recognizing the contribution of that. (I *did* pay for the autograph.)