There are those weeks… You know the ones where everything just lines up and you have an awesome time, where everything you touch just seems to work out perfectly.
Yep, those rare rare weeks.
Big Mike had one of those weeks last month and even had the good fortune of meeting Jamie Lee Curtis and Kurt Russell in one day. Hot damn!
Check out part one of his recap below!
It’s was quite a first week of May 2013 for your cuddly lovable lil’ autograph collector here. I hadn’t been out much since my last couple of Harrison Ford fails. There’s only so much time at work one should miss for this stupid hobby I’m completely addicted to. That first week of May for me, however, looked like it could be quite a doozy. Entertainment Weekly was putting on quite a spectacular event with some awesome guests.
CapeTown was taking place at Hollywood’s Egyptian Theater. This thing was packed with awesomeness, like an evening with me, but with less crying and no law enforcement involved. The first day would have a free screening of Iron Man 3 for invited EW subscribers only. My invite must’ve been typed on a typewriter and mailed to the internet with postage due.
No matter, I was going to hang back and try and get Freddy Rodriguez on my Grindhouse poster. You may know him from “Six Feet Under” or “Dead Presidents”. He’s quite a fine actor and he was performing at the Geffen Theatre in a play titled “Buffalo Soldiers”. The plan was to stay at work a little late and hang out in Westwood until the play let out. I guess I could’ve headed into Hollywood to see if any of the cast showed up or the security was lax enough for me to ninja my way in. “Nah, best not to take any chances”. I’ve been waiting to get this guy for five years now and this was the first time I’ve known of a scheduled appearance. I was almost to the theatre when I received a text saying that there were fifteen seats open to the public if you get to the Egyptian right away and safely. I was too far away for either of those options. Too bad. I would’ve liked to have seen the movie there. I love that place. I was just going to have to wait out the play which would give me about two hours to kill in Westwood amongst the UCLA college folk. Since the temperature was in the sixties there weren’t too many people around.
Apparently, hypothermia is quite a strong concern amongst the locals in this town and with insurance rates only going up, why chance it? Once I saw that the play had let out I waited outside the lobby for the audience to bear the brunt of a polar-like spring night on their way to their cars. What I didn’t know was that on Tuesdays, there would be a q & a after the play. This town is lousy with q & a’s. It’s one of the coolest things aboot this place. This question and answer session, however, seemed to last for quite a very long time. In fact, it was almost an hour long. I could’ve made to see Iron Man 3 after all, but what can you do? I double checked my paint pen numerous times during the wait and was ready. The rest of the crowd started to exit and I noticed on a monitor that the actors left through a door to the rear of the stage. Rather than run into the theatre like a madman, I walked back out onto the sidewalk in front and hoped Freddy would come out from a door I could see from where I was pacing. Sure enough, he and a fellow co-star exited through another entrance in back and would have to walk right by me. As they came onto the sidewalk I politely asked if Freddy would sign my two posters (one is my honey’s) and he was happy to oblige. There are a lot of actors and actresses in Grindhouse and I’ll prolly never get them all, but I always rejoice when I finally do get one. This was only the second signature I’ve gotten on it all year and he was one of the main cast, so that ruled. I can’t wait until Bruce Willis does a play and races out to sign all my posters and figures. He’s going to be so happy to finally oblige me. Anyway, Freddy couldn’t have been cooler. He signed right where I asked and we had a nice quick conversation before we headed in our separate directions. Mission one of five accomplished.
Mission two of five for the week would actually get me to CapeTown. This was Thursday night and underrated director John Carpenter would be making an appearance to talk aboot his 1982 flick “The Thing”, starring Kurt Russell. I’ve gotten Carpenter at this venue twice before. He was very cool. Between the last two appearances he signed my “Halloween” poster, a Michael Myers mask, a Michael Myers figure, and a couple of DVD’s. Tonight I had a “Halloween II” poster, which he co-wrote with the awesome late great, Debra Hill. This was a reprint poster and is mostly black. I already had one signature from producer Irwin Yablans on it and noticed that the sleeve I was carrying the poster in was starting to rub away at the silver signature. It wasn’t bad enough for me to start panicking, but it was something to be concerned about. You have to be very careful when you get something signed in silver. They take a little longer to dry and the cheaper your pen and/or surface the easier it will rub off. I use DecaColor pens and they seem to be the best, not that I haven’t had a ton of trouble with them. It’s a slippery slope with these painty bastards. Be careful out there. I arrived at the venue to a nice number of collectors and dealers. No surprise there. At least I wasn’t late. Carpenter has done some cool stuff over his career and it was nice to see all the stuff people wanted him to sign. The trick is to watch the door where you think he’s going to come out of and hope no one acts stupid and rushes him. He doesn’t put up with that crap. I wasn’t there too long when I saw the door open and we all started to head over at a reasonable pace. As we got closer to him someone asked if he’d sign for us and he told us to line up and he’d sign one per person. One of the handlers sorta jokingly said John had to get home to watch a basketball game, but as a NBA fan, I knew the Lakers were already out and the Clippers were playing like the Clippers and almost eliminated from the playoffs. (Those are LA’s two basketball teams, everyone!) Nice try, douche! Why does everyone hate us autograph collectors? Oh yeah, the autograph dealers. That’s kind of a good reason actually. We all lined up without issue and John signed my poster. Thankfully he was using each person’s own pen for their item, so I got my black poster signed with a silver and my pen handed back to me instantly so I didn’t have to hear anyone groan about how my pen ruined their item. This was a great get for me. I love Carpenter’s work and think he’s a cool dude. If you ever get a chance to go to a Q & A for him I highly recommend it. Mission two of five for the week accomplished!
I had gotten home from just getting John Carpenter on my “Halloween II” poster when I remembered seeing that Jamie Lee Curtis was going to be making a rare appearance at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica at a children’s animation film fest. This was scheduled at the same time the “Escape From New York” Q & A was supposed to be going on and how would I be at two places at once? Also, is it worth the risk? I met Ms. Curtis at this very same venue a couple of years earlier and no woman has scared the shit outta me more than this one.
I’ve heard horror stories aboot this woman and I believe them all. Don’t get me wrong, the day I met her she signed my items, but I wasn’t ready and that is a big NO NO! I had to hit her up three times in all that day and that can be a bit stalkery. (Have all your items ready before asking respectfully!) I had brought out my sick honey, who was also a major fan, to meet her on the third and last attempt. Jamie wasn’t happy to sign, but she did, grabbing the Michael Myers mask out of the honey’s hand and signing it with authority. That’s still one of my prized possessions right there. But enough of that flashback. I didn’t know what to do aboot this pickle. I left the house in the morning with my Kurt Russell stuff and that “Halloween II” poster along with a new mask, because sometimes I’m a whore. By the time I got to work that morning it was posted that the “Falling Skies” season premiere would run before “Escape” followed by a short q & a with some of the cast and Kurt Russell would appear after the showing. “Hey, that could technically work to my advantage. I’m gonna do it!” Why not take a little risk? I expected to get yelled at by Jamie, or the stink-eye, or to at least be stabbed a few dozen times, but I just had to try.
I would try to get her on the way in and then get to Hollywood and try and get Russell on his way in. “Wussy me” would’ve just gone straight to Hollywood and gone inside from the beginning, but playing by the rules in this town usually gets you nowhere. I had prepared my poster and mask at work and ironically had to drive right past Ms. Curtis’ house on the way to the theatre. Torture. I sure hope she’s in a signing mood. I got there in plenty of time and there were only two other fans there hoping to get an autograph from this self-proclaimed recluse. I wasn’t sure how many more people to expect because there was still an hour to go until the film she was introducing would start. It didn’t matter how many people were there or not, I still kept my expectations low. One of the fellows I was waiting with had tried for her four times before today with no success. It would be the first attempt for the other guy. I had two items, guy one had a blank card, and guy three had two items. Jamie could sign five things in a snap. Hopefully, that snap wouldn’t be my neck. I’m just assuming she has that power. With aboot fifteen minutes before showtime I spotted her driving by herself checking out the scene. We got our pens and items out ready to go and waited. And waited. What the hell? Did she change her mind? There was no sign of her. This wasn’t looking good for us. Time was running out and she had the perfect excuse to say no. Was this on purpose? Of course. We take these things way too seriously sometimes. She drove past us to the right and when we finally spotted her she was coming from the left with a small smirk on her face as if she was in on an inside joke. She was by herself, but a couple of people came out from the theater rear exit to greet her. We calmly and politely asked if she would sign for us but she walked straight into the theater with said smile on her face never taking her eyes off the door. That could’ve actually gone worse. I checked the time and saw that I could stay a while longer without putting the Russell appearance in jeopardy. We all decided to stick it out and waited right off the alley with an eye planted on the back door. I decided to hold any feelings until after Jamie left. I was obviously hoping she would just intro the flick and be on her way. Then she’d have plenty of time to head right over to us, admire how hot I look, and then sign any and everything we had. Not long after she went inside Scotty made an appearance to say hello to one of the other graphers there. A pleasant surprise. We all chatted a bit and he was on his way to actually enjoy his Friday evening. The nerve.
After about twenty to twenty-five minutes the back door opened. Ms. Curtis was leaving. I remember the screech of the door followed by an accepting “Okay, boys. Whaddaya got?” She walked across the alley and the shocked three of us happily lined up in happy disbelief. The first guy got finally got his JLC auto on an index card I hear. I wasn’t looking at their stuff. The second guy got one of his two items signed because he was too nervous to ask for the second item, and I got my poster and mask signed in silver. She signed a little off the mask and onto the board that was supporting it, but it wasn’t too much and am very lucky to have them.
We thanked her and she was escorted to wherever she parked her car. We all parked in the opposite direction and luckily didn’t have to unintentionally follow her. That would’ve been creepy. Holy crap though! She signed! My honey has since taken that mask for herself because I forgot to take hers to get signed and I simply forgot she had one when I left that morning.
I also didn’t think I’d go, which makes the autos even more cool. Plus, I would be pushing it asking for three, and two on the same type of item. That makes you look like a dealer and we can’t ever have that. At least I got her on my poster even if the other two autos on it got badly smeared when I put them in the carrying bag. That poster is now retired and framed. Mission three of six accomplished! Off to the Egyptian!
I had decided that I could not complain if I didn’t get Kurt Russell on any of my items since I just hit a really cool jackpot getting Jamie Lee Curtis. Nevertheless, I headed to the Egyptian to try my luck some more. Traffic was relatively easy, but not too easy, because that’s always been a bad omen for me. I managed to find parking in the same area as the night before and made my way to the theater with my double-rolled “Grindhouse” posters, Stuntman Mike figure, and “Escape From New York” DVD slip and Snake Plisken figure both already signed by John Carpenter a couple of years ago at the same place. There were a few more people than the night before but the crowd still seemed manageable. I was going to have to probably sacrifice the figures or the posters if it turned into a clusterhump. It’s hard to try to do both of those types of things at the same time in a crowd. I’ve learned that the hard way. I was there about forty minutes when Russell pulled his car into the lot. Security wasn’t going to let us dorks crowd him by his car so we rushed behind the fence and hoped for the best. I was able to grab the last remaining half spot to the right and decided to go with the figures. Russell was sporting a nice beard and an even better attitude, as we called him over and he happily obliged. In fact, he headed straight for the guy who was standing on my right. Sweet!
Stars never start on the side I’m on. To top it off, the dude didn’t even have a pen, so Russell started with me and grabbed my silver deco pen and was off! He started with my Snake Plisken figure and even asked me where I wanted him to sign. Dude! Awesome!! He was about to start on the card part but I asked him to sign under John and he did.
He then signed my DVD cover and got the guy on my right before getting some others that shifted their way in front of me. I was pretty covered and couldn’t see much, but I did feel some pressure on my Stuntman Mike figure and a slight chuckle from Kurt as he pointed out the figure to a friend of his. He was still using my pen on everything and started making his way down the line. I grabbed my poster roll and held it out in case he felt like making his way back a little. The crowd was too big for me to try and move around. It was still pretty cool. He then grabbed a black sharpie and kept my silver pen in his mouth to switch off when necessary. I wish I could’ve grabbed a picture of it. The pen held up pretty nicely too, from what I saw. I’m glad he signed my stuff with it first though. You never know how long paint pens are going to last and I’ve lost many a great autos due to shitty paint pens. Never cheap out on those. In fact, I only recommend those on plastic items, as sharpies will fade out eventually as time goes by and the components in the plastic break down and start to turn yellow. Science! It looked like almost everyone got one thing signed at least before Kurt headed inside and his friend brought back my pen. I was extremely happy to finally get something signed by him. I had those figures about two years in my car before finally “meeting” him. Since I had a ticket I made my way inside the theater to catch the q & a.
Since there were no seats to be seen in the dark I made my way to a couch in the lobby that was directly above the area where Kurt was sitting with the theater staff. That was cool to see. If he had been alone guess who’s posters would’ve gotten signed? I wasn’t complaining one bit though. His signatures came out great and I couldn’t be happier about those victories. Kurt Russell is a great American actor whose done some pretty cool underrated work in his career. Check out his IMDB resume and try and prove me wrong, bitches! The movie was ending and the John Carpenter score was playing as the credits rolled before Kurt and company made their way into the theater. I stood at the back and learned a few things about Kurt Russell. I did not know he was a professional baseball player. Thought that was cool. He originally had Rutger Hauer’s part in “Ladyhawke”. He wasn’t “feeling it” about the role a week into filming and told the director he was having trouble with the role and said he could Rutger Hauer on the phone to take over the role. He was talking out of his ass because he didn’t even know Rutger, but as fate had it, Hauer was available and did take over the role. Russell spent the rest of the week holed up in Italy in his hotel with Goldie Hawn. Not a bad way to spend a week. And the last fun fact I’ll share, while on the set of the first “Escape”, which a burnt down St. Louis city was standing in for, near the beginning of filming he was walking from base camp to set in full costume by himself one late night and ran into a gang of some pretty scary looking thugs. If I know one thing, if Kurt Russell says some dudes were scary looking—they were scary looking. As he walked into them there was a pause. Before he could say anything one of the group held up his hands and said “Hey, it’s cool, man.” That’s how Russell knew he had the right look for the part. He was a cool dude and it was a great q & a. When it ended I watched him walk to the exit and then I hightailed it outside and around the block to see if he was signing on the way out. By the time I got back to the lot he was pulling out with his window down and the lot of us there were there thanked him again as he drove home to Goldie. Not a bad way to end the evening. Mission four of six accomplished. Next up: May the Fourth Be With You.
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