Behind the Green(room) Door
Thanks to everyone for participating in this GH semi-sorta wrap up. Since I’ve been stumped for a good column topic, I appreciate you guys letting me sponge off your post-GH weekend afterglow… there are a ton of us who will live vicariously through your pictures and stories and will appreciate my pumping you for any and all info!! Are you up for it?
SM: Sponge away!
KH: Carolyn said I have a good memory, which totally stoked my ego. Let’s see what the Swiss cheese I call a brain remembers. LOL, most of the time, I have no clue what I remember until it pops into my head.
CA: Sure. I'm up for it. I need the break from reality right now. Can you pass the Tequila please?
What was your first impression of the location? I’m not familiar with the Sportsman’s Lodge, but I know that they host innumerable GH events there. Tell us what you were thinking when you saw the set up? Was it HOLLYWOOD or more like Motel 6?
KR: The Lodge is a very pretty hotel, rustic with dark wood accents and nice cherry furniture. The rooms aren’t really lavish, but they aren’t Spartan either. Sort of the Hampton Inn/Travel Lodge variety. They have a nice pool and Jacuzzi area and their banquet facilities are top notch. There is a swan pond with a bridge and a beautiful water wall (as opposed to waterfall) bar area where they have live music and such. All in all, it’s perfect for large functions such as this.
SM: Hmm…somewhere in between I guess. Studio City is leaning toward Hollywood I’d say (though I’ve never seen Hollywood so I’m completely guessing on that) and the Lodge is very nice but maybe not as fancy as I expected it might be.
KH: It’s pretty much what you would expect in a Hollywood-goes-public kind of way.
CA: Well the Days Inn we stayed at is more like Motel 4 because I don't think it's as nice as a Motel 6, but it wasn't bad! The Lodge is pretty nice actually, but definitely not Hollywood. It's a nice place but not all neon and rich like. I think I could afford it if all the fan club members didn't get the rooms first!
I dream that the weekend is all about hanging around like ‘regular folk’ with the citizens of Port Charles – don’t burst my bubble, but exactly how much mingling is there?
KR: Pop! Very, very little mingling. The stars are under tight security for most of the time. Some of the stars will come out to the pool area, but that’s fairly rare. Dylan Cash will be there 24/7, but otherwise, it’s just a brief sighting here and there. You seldom even see the stars arrive or depart. The contact fans have with the stars is pretty much limited to the time of the luncheon when you are in line to get autographs and a photo taken or at their own events. The events themselves are much more personal and the stars who have them are more accessible than at the luncheon.
SM: Well if you want to mingle with Dylan Cash (Michael), you can find him at the pool. Most of the “mingling” outside of events though seems to be more of the “passing through” kind. But yeah, they’re around. It’s cool to be sitting at the Café and watch them pass on by. During the events, most of them were really interactive and it’s all kind of a “right place at the right time” kind of thing. We heard some of the teens and a few others hung at the pool at one point, but we missed it.
KH: The fans mingle and talk about the actors, does that count? The actors are accessible, but I wouldn’t say they mingle except at their individual events. It’s more that they know the weekend is about meeting the fans so they expect to be surrounded by people wanting a moment of their time or a picture and they respond accordingly. I loved the respect most people showed to the actors. GH fans are a class act, enthusiastic but understanding. Definitely, the actors were around and could be seen coming and going to each other’s events, which was fun.
CA: Keep dreamin hon. There's no mingling. Us escorts scoot them away and tell all the fans to back off! No, seriously, the more 'popular' actors don't mingle. They don't hang out around the pool. Last year Scott Eagen did, which was cool. Dylan Cash is there swimming, but no one really hangs out. They come and they go. During the event it's really rushed and each fan only gets a minute or two with the actors so it's pretty superficial. But it's worth it because you get to meet them and you get a picture.
Are the different events all run by the individual actor’s fan clubs, or is it kind of an all-inclusive ABC deal? I guess what I’m asking is: cost wise, do you get nickel and dimed to death trying to suck up as much GH love as you can in a 48 hour period??
KR: You do pay over and over again and it’s up to the individual to decide what’s worth the cost and what isn’t. The Quartermaine Brunch (when they had it) was always very nice. Tyler Christopher is rumored to have the best event of all. Debbie Morris coordinates the weekend itself, the main luncheon and a couple of the other events. She is the queen bee from which all flows. The smaller events are hosted by the individual fan clubs and coordinate their times and locations through Debbie. You pay for each event separately.
SM: My understanding is that these events are fan club based. ABC supposedly has little to nothing to do with this event. As for cost, it can get very expensive if you want it to. I felt like the ticket prices I paid were worth what I got for the most part, but if one wants to start buying photos, raffle tickets, and auction bids…well, I can’t believe what some people spend at these things!
KH: Debbie Morris, President of the GH Fan Club, organizes the event. Fan clubs set up individual actor events, which usually include goodies from the actor. For instance, NLG gave away a 50’s CD along with smaller items like refrigerator magnets and pens while Steve Burton had signed photos made out to each person attending. Mine said, “Kathryn – all my love, Steve Burton” Isn’t that cool? I have all his love. Of course, everyone else does too, darnit! A lot of money can be spent on photos and unique items at the photo boutique if a person collects glossy pictures or at the tables set up outside before the luncheon where great silent auction and raffle prizes are available, like studio tours and time in the Green Room.
CA: All the fan clubs put on the individual actors events. A lot of the clubs are run by Debby O'Conner and a few are run by Debbie Morris, who is the event organizer and the GH Fan Club President. She doesn't nickel and dime but there are a lot of 'booths' full of pics and autographed stuff. I guess you could be nickled and dimed there but there are a lot of fans that collect that stuff and carry around these huge photo albums or scrapbooks. A few even have to cart them around on rolling carts! It's amazing.
When I read the soap magazines’ recaps of the event (sometimes 2-3 weeks after the fact) I’m struck by how many Ex-GHers attend AND have their own events scheduled. Who showed up that hasn’t been on the canvas in awhile, and who was noticeably absent? Also – who surprised the heck out of you by showing up at all?
KR: Usually, there aren’t many planned returns and mostly you see the current cast. Michael Saucedo was there with Rebecca Herbst and when I saw him, was refusing all photograph requests. Stephen Nichols’ fan club planned an event for him to pimp his new short film (directing, not starring). Chad Brannon had an event for his fans. That’s all I can think of at the moment
SM: Let’s see. Michael Saucedo (ex-Juan) was there with Rebecca Herbst (Liz). He refused pictures with her outside though, saying he just didn’t feel like having his pic taken. He did set up at an autograph table while he was there. Stephen Nichols (Stefan) had an event, as did Chad Brannon (Zander). Absent were Kelly Monaco (death in family), Jackie Zeman (something to do with charity work), Robin Christopher (imminent childbirth), Stuart Damon, and Ingo Rademacher…I’m sure I’m missing some. Oh, Kristina Wagner too that one upset Carolyn because she really wanted to see her. As for surprised that they showed up? I was really thrilled to see Blake Gibbons (Coleman) because I feared since he’s on so little he wouldn’t bother.
KH: Chad Brannon and Steven Nichols both held fan events, which were well attended from what I heard. Several GH actors were absent - Jane Elliot, Kristina Wagner, Kelly Monaco, Ingo Rademacher to name a few. Rebecca Herbst and her husband Michael Saucedo showing up was a nice surprise
CA: Becky Herbst showed up and I was surprised. I had wanted to meet her and was disappointed when I read she wouldn't be there. I didn't meet her though, go figure. I thought Kristina Wagner would be there but she wasn't. That bummed me out. Stephen Nichols had his event but wasn't at the lunch. Last year Marissa Ramirez and Sarah Brown showed up. Marissa came into the luncheon itself which I thought was a bit odd, especially since she was right next to Andrea Pearson but Sarah Brown came for Scott Eagen so that wasn't a big deal. She didn't come into the luncheon. I think she came another day entirely.
Who was the single most person you were excited about seeing – and better yet, did the encounter live up to the hype?
KR: Pick any one of our EOS staff who were there and Debbie Morris and actually, all of them were far better than their hype. For stars, I was excited to see Blake Gibbons, Bergen Williams, Ted King and yes, dammit, “The Jason”
SM: Oh gosh. I’m not sure I can pick just one! What’s weird is that it sort of changed over the weekend…I was excited to see John J. York (Mac) and it definitely lived up to the hype; he was great! I found myself surprised by how excited (lol) I was by seeing Greg Vaughan though…he’s SO much more gorgeous in person and I guess I didn’t expect to be affected as I was by him. I started catching up on GH yesterday and when Lucky came on screen I felt disappointed because Greg is much more dynamic than Lucky is.
KH: For me, it has to be Maurice Benard. I can’t say I was gung-ho about seeing him or speaking with him, but when I did have a couple words and he flashed that smile and winked, my insides kinda went squishy. I had to laugh at myself over my unexpected response
CA: I really wanted to see Ted King again. Imagine that! But after all the fuss, I really didn't talk with him much. I also really wanted to see Alicia Willis and I did, but I didn't talk to her much and it really wasn't that big of a deal. I ended up being more excited about spending time with Blake Gibbons and his parents than anything. I think I may be over the Ted King thing now. Oh well, time to move on, I guess!
*****************************************************************************Superlatives - Carolyn beat me to some of the categories I was hoping ya’ll would answer for me, so I’m going to have to punt:
Most beautiful eyes:
KR: Steve Burton/John J York (couldn’t choose if I tried)
SM: I have to do male/female on this one if it’s okay. Natalia Livingston has beautiful eyes; they’re very expressive; I’ve no idea why she doesn’t let Emily borrow them once in awhile. I could stare in John J. York’s eyes all day.
KH: Wow, that’s a tough one. Tyler Christopher has intense eyes. Greg Vaughn and Rick Hearst definitely win in the friendly category. Really, I was struck by how kind and friendly Bergen Williams’ eyes were when we spoke in the Green Room. Cynthia Preston’s eyes sparkle with fun.
CA: Blake Gibbons
Most able to carry on a conversation with a stranger:
KR: John J York
SM: Rick Hearst, without a doubt
KH: I can’t answer that one. We were all there in a semi-controlled environment talking about a subject we had in common – General Hospital, actors, characters and storylines. Some of the actors definitely appear more gregarious than others.
CA: Blake Gibbons
Person you would most like to have as a real life friend:
KR: Blake Gibbons
SM: Um…I really think I could be friendly with Greg, lol. And Catherine Wadkins seemed like a great, down to earth, person.
KH: I bet fun is Cynthia Preston’s middle name. I bet Ted King, Tamara Braun, Wally Kurth, Nancy Lee Grahn and Rick Hearst would be great in deep conversation. But then what do I know? I’m a fan watching them from a separate galaxy called Texas
CA: Blake Gibbons ok! And Cynthia Preston. Geez. Cut me some slack! I've got a crush on him!
Most likely to spill a GH spoiler by accident after a few drinks:
KR: Nancy Lee Grahn
SM: Nancy Lee Grahn
KH: Nancy Lee Grahn
CA: Not Blake Gibbons because he's only been on a whopping 7 times this year! I'd say Derk Cheetwood. Maybe Greg Vaughan but he didn't drink too much. Derk was enjoying his JD and Cokes...
Actor you were most tongue-tied around:
KR: Ted King
SM: Me? Well I never once spoke to Maurice Benard (and I easily could have) and I must be honest, it was pretty much out of fear of looking like an idiot. It almost hurts to admit that, lol!
KH: All of them at first, but by the end of Saturday, I could have given advice and gone for drinks with Guza, Pratt or Frons without a quiver of unease at speaking my mind.
CA: I've never once been tongue tied in my life. Why start now?
Actor (female and male please) that literally took your breath away when you saw them in the flesh:
KR: John J York, Greg Vaughan (no shit); Catherine Wadkins
SM: Greg Vaughan (there’s also something almost vulnerable about Tyler Christopher that rather got to me) and Nancy Lee Grahn. Nancy was just so much more gorgeous in person and I’ve watched her since her Santa Barbara days so it was just a thrill to see her in person.
KH: It’s sad to say that it happens every time I see him. Steve Burton, of course. Nancy Lee Grahn, Natalia Livingston and Catherine Wadkins are incredibly pretty, but they are easy to talk to so they didn’t take my breath away.
CA: Blake Gibbons. Okay, okay! And Catherine Wadkins. She's absolutely beautiful.
Favorite event attended and why:
KR: The GH Luncheon because of the time in the Green Room
SM: Well for me it was the luncheon, but had I attended it without helping it probably wouldn’t have been since I really enjoyed watching the actors banter with the crowd, etc, and that happens more at the individual events than at the luncheon. Nancy’s event was well organized and fun.
KH: The Patio Café with Katrina, Carolyn and Sherry. Oh wait, that was us and you probably didn’t mean that, did you? OK, definitely the GH luncheon because of the unique perspective we were offered to work behind the scenes.
CA: I only went to NLG and the luncheon so since we worked the luncheon, I'd have to say that one!
Most delicious piece of spoiler/gossip/trash you heard over the weekend:
KR: That Rick Hearst can ballroom dance (rrowwll)
SM: I was most excited over noticing the silly little things that make actors just normal people. I wasn’t really privy to much other than the spoilers already told in the live reporting so I can’t come up with much on that. I can say that Rebecca Herbst frowned her way through a lot of the time up on stage at the luncheon and looked entirely unhappy to be there…she seemed happy signing autographs down with the fans though so maybe she was having a bad half hour, lol.
KH: I could tell ya, but then I’d have to kill ya
CA I'm not allowed to tell because it's not the most positive thing I have been told and I don't want to upset anyone!
Actor you most wanted to smack the gum out of their mouth: J/K!!!
KR: No gum this year. J
SM: Well if we’re talking literally, Tyler does need to be told to ditch the gum upon arrival at events, lol.
KH: Smack? You want me to smack? I can’t even talk smack half the time much less really smack. Let’s see….Steve Burton and Tyler Christopher were chewing gum in the Green Room but I don’t remember them chewing gum while speaking to fans so it was a nonissue. I think. Maybe I just didn’t notice.
CA: Literally? Tyler Christopher. Figuratively? Kristina Wagner for saying she'd attend and then not attending!
Most gracious newbie:
KR: Catherine Wadkins
SM: I have to go with Ryan Carnes (NuLucas) just because I talked to him most of the newbies and he was well and truly nervous, and worried about handling everything right. It was sweet to see the not yet jaded actors. You can tell the difference between the ones that are still using their real personas and those that have a well-honed public persona already.
KH: Catherine Wadkins, hands down. Ryan Carnes seemed very nice also.
CA: Is Blake Gibbons considered a newbie since he was only on 7 times this year? Oh fine! Catherine Wadkins. She was a total doll.
KR: Are you getting here what a Man Thief Carolyn actually IS? Sheesh.
Character you can’t stand but they are lovely in person:
SM: Natalia Livingston. Emily drives me insane, but Natalia didn’t affect me that way at all.
KH: Almost every week I rag on Ric in my column but Rick Hearst seems like a wonderful person. Last year Constance Towers attended NLG’s event and she was kind and gracious.
CA: I can't say I can't stand Coleman, so it's going to have to be Catherine Wadkins, Mary.
After listening to the actors skirt around spoiler information and tease about possible upcoming stories, are there any real surprises on the horizon that we should be on the lookout for?
SM: It really seemed that they don’t have nearly as much info on upcoming story as the might usually. Spoilers were hard to come by.
KH: Pfft! We seem to know more spoilers than the actors. Steve Burton definitely seemed concerned that Maurice Benard might not resign his contract, which is up in December. He said he was going to work on persuading him to stay.
CA: I know a secret! I know a secret! But I'm not telling! Na! Na! Nana! Na!
Just out of curiosity – was any particular fan base more prevalent during the weekend, or is there some hope for those of us who just like the show and want to hang out without being steamrolled?
KR: There’s always hope. The fan bases were less omnipresent this year, I thought.
SM: Well, at Nancy’s event there were many Sexis fans. Chad fans were definitely represented, as were Liason fans. I think the Journey fans were definitely present. There were quite a few Carly buttons wandering around as well. You should have been there though because we had several really interesting discussions about how few “show fans” there are anymore. That was the one thing (having not attended these events before) that really surprised me the most…how careful you have to be if you’re not there in a fan base. You feel like you’re likely to put your foot in your mouth no matter who you talk to, lol. There is hope though, they tell me that it was MUCH calmer this year between fan bases and I keep holding on to the thought that if the show in general gets better, maybe that will become the focus rather than this couple or that couple. I was sad though, that the majority of attendees seemed to have to declare an affiliation.
KH: It’s reassuring that tons of folks show up as fans of the show with individual actors as their favorites. Fan bases pushing agendas didn’t seem nearly as prevalent to me this year, but maybe I wasn’t in the right place at the right time. At the individual actor events, it’s funny how the fan bases cluster together. Steve Burton asked who a person was rooting for if they were wearing a button or badge before he answered their question keeping the agendas out in the open.
CA: Carly and Sonny forever baby! Carly and Sonny forever!
It’s a GH Weekend Comment Card – how would you rate your overall experience? (Win a free dinner from Olive Garden – LOL)
KR: 9 out of 10 (If I’d had a ten, I wouldn’t post about it – wink)
SM: Oh gosh, this weekend exceeded my expectations completely. I suppose there are things that I could say would’ve made it even better but I would feel guilty and selfish for even saying them after the weekend turned out like it did. I would say though, that even had I not had the honor of helping out, I still would’ve really enjoyed the weekend. There’s something really great about the whole thing, in some ways it’s the ultimate girls night out. And yes I’d like freshly ground pepper on my salad please! :)
KH: I LOVE Olive Garden. When do I get my dinner? On a scale of 1 – 5 with 5 being the highest rating, I’d give it a 5-1/2. I can’t wait for next year!
CA: I would have had much, much more fun if I'd worn flats. But overall it was a blast! I just wish I'd have worn flats.
Thanks so much for taking the time to humor me – I am definitely going next year – AND I’m going to wear flats!