You've read several other accounts of all that happened ("on that fateful Saturday?") on the Eye on Soaps side of the GH Fan Luncheon, so I thought I'd throw mine into the mix.
I could use the Dickensism of "they were the best of times; they were the worst of times," but I'd be hard pressed to find any "worst" or even "moderately disappointing" aspects of the day, so we'll leave it at just "the best of times."
I was very excited to be introducing some of my staff members to my friend, Debbie Morris. I'd been bragging to her all year about them and I knew they would not disappoint. On Friday, we ambled over to the GH Photo Boutique and found Debbie there. We all chatted for a bit and it was good to connect with my friend in person after being limited to e-mails for so long. I know to completely get out of Debbie's way when she's in Fan Weekend Mode (which is pretty much about 11 1/2 months out of the year), so I got my hug and gave her my cell number and reminded her to breathe a bit.
That evening was the Nancy Lee Grahn event and we arrived early to help set up. By the time we were seated, there were NO PARTY FAVORS at my table other than the sock hop CDs. Since we were the ones who put out the goodies and since I specifically remembered doing that table, it could only mean one thing! Someone had swiped the part favors off the table! WTCF?
We blew out of the event at 10pm as I was nodding off. I never did get to get my pic with NLG (and she didn't make it to the luncheon the next day), but she was many, many tables away when I left. I learned the next day that it didn't wrap up until almost 11:30.
We met early, around 6:45am and stopped at the all night diner (Twain's) between the two hotels for breakfast. The service, for unknown reasons, is always exceptionally slow there, but the food is good. We got to the lodge just before 8am and went into the courtyard to help set up for check in. Although overall, I'm an optimist, I expected there to be more complications with the seating than actually occurred. Since we were the front line, when problems occurred, all we had to do was point them in the direction of the people who could resolve the problems and honestly, on my list, there were really only 5-6 issues that arose and they were quickly resolved. After the line was pretty much petered out, someone told me Debbie wanted to see me, so I went to sit with her for a while and Sherry finished up our few stragglers. I was grateful to have time to spend just sitting and visiting with Debbie. Another thing I appreciated was getting to spend some time with photographer, Jim Warren. I'd heard not very flattering things about him from the net and had only briefly met him once before. After meeting him again and speaking with him conversationally when in Debbie's company, I have to say that I quickly got a better feel for the person he actually is rather than the reputation itself. I'm betting he's an Aquarius. Having a son who is an artist in the truest sense and sees the world through an artist's eyes, I can better understand Mr. Warren's personality having met him and talked with him for a bit. As you can see from his website: http://www.jimwarren.tv/, the man is very much an artist with the camera and artists just live in their own world and see things from a different perspective. Once I started swimming in that direction, I found him to be great company. (Plus I very likely have won some award for using the word "artist" in a sentence more times than should ever be allowed)
But I digress.
I spent time with Debbie and was surprised at how graciously she handed even the dumbest comments and questions from people. Who am *I* to judge "dumb" you may ask? Oh honey, there's dummmmb. Did these people NOT read my GH Fan Weekend For Dummies Guide? Hmmm? (tap tap tap) (Speaking of the Guide For Dummies, I am thrilled to report that there is NO reported sighting of socks with sandals from the fan weekend, but ladies, ladies, ladies! Leave the house slippers at HOME and wear some real shoes, please!!!) Anyway, Debbie was always kind and accommodating and handled issues quickly and efficiently. Pretty soon, Sherry, Kathy and Carolyn came to sit with us as well and Debbie asked me if I had any questions for the stars. I tried to think of some, thinking she was doing the thing they used to do where they took questions from the floor. I was trapped like a deer in headlights. I'm terrible at interviews and have to gear up for them, not because I'm intimidated by the stars (I'm not, even though I admire them greatly), but because I have an inherent distaste for interviews as a rule. It's my opinion that the interviews we get are so sterile and blah that by the time they have made it through all of the approvals, you basically end up with the same polished piece 400 other sites already produced. If I am talking to stars, I want liquor involved and lots of honesty and laughing and all of the veneer gone. That just isn't going to happen and if it did, it couldn't be printed. Whitewash is all that is allowed to hit print. Before I could tell Debbie that I was clueless for questions she could use, she informed me I was going into the Green Room (for those of you who do not know, the Green Room is where the stars hang out between the time they arrive and the time they go onto the stage). Press goes back there sometimes and I didn't realize until that day that I haven't really considered EOS as press. We're just getting together, having a good time and talking about the soaps. The Green Room. Wow. After I recovered, I looked around at the faces of my staff and realized they knew! They didn't just KNOW but had known for a whole day and hadn't said anything. Granted, surprises are nice and I enjoy them. Granted, they were under threat of death from Debbie (a formidable situation, let me tell you), but damn. If I had known, I could have had a list of standard questions picked out. I could have driven out and gotten a hand held tape recorder so I didn't look like an ass. I could have done a much better job for the site than I did. As it was, I was so stunned, it was hard for me to process anything that was happening because I was so busy being shocked that I couldn't even function right. Of course, that NIGHT AFTER THE EVENT, I came up with the coolest questions to ask and wished I could go back in time and give myself the list. AFTER the fact, the perfect questions rattled through my head like psychochatter. >:<
So now we jump to the actual goings on. Things began to happen quickly. We were scurried into the Green Room as Debbie's entourage. I was praying like mad that my girls would also get to do something this special. The prayer went something like this, "pleasepleasepleaseplease" running through my head. We were in the room before any of the stars and Debbie and her helpers (who are also just wonderful people) gave the girls the instructions for being escorts. I got my hopes up at the title of "escort," thinking there might be a bit of ho'in' involved, but sadly, no. They were to wait for the stars to drive up, escort them safely to the Green Room, get them drinks once they were seated at the luncheon signing autographs and escort them to the potty for bathroom breaks. There was one bathroom set up for the stars, so there was no threat of bathroom mobbings or anything. I was so grateful they were getting to have some fun too and in fact, they were able to get much more up close and personal than I was and that was such a blessing. Girls took off and I was left to my own devices (she said, twirling her Snidely Whiplash mustacio). My friend, Nina, from STUSA was there, as was Stacy Lopez, the official videographer for the event, who is just a sweetheart. Soon, the stars began filtering in and the fun began.
I can tell it mostly in pictures because I was a mad woman with the camera (I was at least prepared in that respect). So here we go (the pictures are thumbnails):
Jed Allen was the first to arrive and seemed extremely at ease. He has a self-possessed atmosphere around him that is very comforting and not at all ego-ish. He struck me as "every day" people.
I can say the same for Alicia Leigh Willis. She was very sweet and talkative and didn't AT ALL have that "pretty girl syndrome" that is so prevalent among, well, pretty girls, especially in daytime. She didn't know me from Eve, but chatted comfortably with me as if we were friends. I had never spoken with her before and I was really impressed with how down to earth she was and how seriously she didn't take herself or her fame. She was just having a good time, kissing hot men and loving acting. I wanted to party with her in a major way.
Ron Hale has lost a good bit of weight since I last saw him in what, 2001, I guess. He was bummed that there were only fruits and veggies on the food table and seemed restless. He looks a lot more like he did in Ryan's Hope than how I picture Mike Corbin to be.
"The Girls" were all skippity and friendly with one another. If you came upon Lindze, Robin, Adrian and Katie together at the events, you wouldn't know they weren't best friends at the mall. Even with guards down in the Green Room, it was obvious they got along very well.
"NuLucas," aka Ryan Carnes, seemed overwhelmed and a little star struck himself. He shared a laugh with Katie Stuart.
Dylan Cash is remarkably calm now compared to how he was last year (whew!). He was quite a gentleman in his Amish hat. :)
The Curly Boo Twins, Sarah and Emma (Kristina) were a total hit with both the fans and the cast. Everyone loves them and they have what has to be the best set of stage parents ever. They are very in touch with their kids, know their limitations and work hard to keep them happy and safe.
Bluest eyes ever. Please. I beg you. Be my MacDaddy. What a hottie. Oh and the girls are in this picture as well.
And the winner of the award for person most unlike their character goes to Cynthia Preston. She looks about 15 and has the bubbles to prove it. Wow. There is no substance on earth as vivacious as this woman.
Derk Cheetwood (Max the Bodyguard) and Tyler Christopher arrived together on motorcycles and did NOT have helmet head. Amazing.
The Cerillo-Ashton Connection
We call this section, "TV doesn't do them justice."
Katie Stuart talks with Rebecca Herbst, who was not expected to attend, but arrived at the last minute.
I was eager to meet Rick Hearst. He was such a fun guy. As we were going into the "photo hug" pose, Greg Vaughn walked by and flicked his head. In absolute PERFECT Ulysses Everett McGill style, Hearst said, "Muh Hair!" I melted. "You do 'O Brother' lines! You are a GOD!" *sigh*
Waiting to go into the ballroom. There was some confusion when the stars were lining up alphabetically to be called, but John J. York stepped in and took charge, barking out names in order and getting everyone where they needed to be.
At the luncheon itself, I mostly took pictures rather than being in lines. Here are some fun ones:
One thing became very apparent as we moved through the day of the luncheon and that was that Carolyn was after our men. She'd been all about Ted King last year and that was her focus. Sherry has been a John J York woman since day one and I have loved Blake Gibbons since
I mean, Coleman and I go way back. Mmmm hmmm. NOW all of a sudden, she's dumping Ted and in one fell swoop, has added both John J. York AND Blake Gibbons to her "list." I mean really. Doesn't loyalty and tenure count for anything around here??
But I have my own Coleman story. Toward the end of the luncheon event, I was sitting at our table with Sherry, my feet up and my head back, feeling wiped out. I bitched a little about not getting pictures with Ted King (hotter than hot) and specifically, Blake Gibbons. They were in the same line with Cynthia Preston and there was just no getting through. If I stayed in line, I wouldn't have been able to get cool pictures of anyone except the people in that line. Sherry asked if she could see my camera, so I handed it to her and she goofed around with it a bit, then asked me how to turn it on. Behind me, I heard Carolyn Man Thief say, "Katrina." "WHAT, MAN THIEF???" (OK, I didn't call her a man thief, that was an embellishment) I turned around and there, right behind my chair, was Blake "God" Gibbons. (adoing!) I started making not very intelligent sounds and finally managed to stand up. He took two pictures with me while I babbled some kind of madness about how much the fans love him. Ever humble, he said, "I just can't believe that a strip club owner gets that much attention." I said, "I'm just grateful I get to think about Blake Gibbons and a strip show in the same sentence." He said, "So what do you think about when you think of a pool table now?" I fell over, whacked my head on the table and my eyes turned to little X's. The next thing I remember, I was waking up in my room. Alone, sadly.
Ahhhhh. Such is the life...