On Sunday, I trekked down to McCormick place for C2E2. It was my second year at the event and I have to say – I wish I’d been able to get out there for Friday’s and Saturday’s panels and features. The event seems to have grown exponentially from last year’s line-up and there was no shortage of great things to do.
I, however, had a specific mission: To gain one of the 100 autograph session slots with John Cusack, who was in town to promote The Raven, which comes out April 27th. I have been alive long enough to appreciate his career from the beginning and have enjoyed watching his film choices change as time has gone by.
As I’ve come to expect, my toddler had a meltdown when I was trying to leave the house. By the time that crisis had been resolved, precious minutes had gone by.
Still, I considered it a good sign when I parked my car and walked past a giant raven.
I headed inside, where the line guard told me no less than three times that I had just missed getting in. (Note to the volunteers tasked with such news: Tell me I missed it because it was mobbed. I’d had no shot. Not that the difference in one traffic signal could have saved me.)
Bummed? Yeah. Big.
And then I wasn’t. Thanks so my press pass, I scored a front row seat for the Q & A session.
I’ve never gone to anything like that before, so this whole celebrity thing? New to me. A number of years ago at the House of Blues, I did randomly run into a band that I loved before a show – I didn’t expect them to be just wandering around. I’d been listening to them for years before a big label picked them up and my friend kept elbowing me to speak.
I turned red. I stammered. She said, “She’s been a fan of yours for a really long time.” I nodded. Stammered. Drank the guitarist’s beer he offered. Walked away, dazed and unblinking.
I’m really cool in these situations.
So the Q & A session? A whole lot of that, amplified on a microphone.
The worst: the woman who read a note from her friend who reeeeeally loves John but couldn’t be there, who wanted his phone number and detailed extensively how they should get together for drinks (she was very specific about what type of drinks – does that up the sophistication factor?) – Really, she’s not weird, of course, and doesn’t want anything from him, but because she really believes that they could have intelligent discourse and that is so rare these days.
Seriously? Why? And the kicker of it being from someone who wasn’t even there? People had to wait in line through that. What did you expect him to say?
My other favorite was the “it’s my birthday” guy. This guy in line with his girlfriend claimed it was his birthday recently, and his only wish was to get a picture with Cusack… He got on the stage, posed awkwardly while his girlfriend’s camera wasn’t ready… and waited… while the security, staff and audience cringed…
Again – Seriously? Why? What are you going to say about that picture? “I totally busted in on a Q & A session, acted like a tool and everyone in the room was annoyed with me at this moment!” Frame that one, for sure.
And on it went.
Cusack was great – Listening to him talk about Edgar Allan Poe, researching his role and his favorite literature was pretty awesome. He was funny, relaxed and was gracious with everyone. My love of all things relating to Lloyd Dobler, Lane Meyer, trench coats and considering kickboxing to be the sport of the future is totally intact.
But given my own celebrity-sighting history, I’m considering it for the best that I didn’t get into the autograph session. I’d undoubtedly have acted 13 instead of 36 and would still be pacing the floor this morning, muttering, “Why did I say that?”
What about The Raven? Reactions at C2E2 were pretty polarized. Personally, I love a good scare and an excuse to reacquaint my inner-lit geek with Edgar Allan Poe’s writing, so I’m sure I’ll see it. If you check it out, stop back here or my Facebook page and let me know what you think of it.
Celebs aside, I’ll have another post this week about my favorite finds at C2E2.
Have you met a celebrity? What are the best – and most cringe-worthy – things you’ve said?