I suffer from fantabutitus (fan-tab-you-tie-tus). That’s Wonderlonian (One-der-lone-e-an) for being a fan of fabulous people! As of today, I have not had a bad encounter with someone I’m a fan of who I’ve been able to meet in person or have contact with online. My eldest sister pointed out, over a decade ago, that I was blessed with great experiences. Apparently she’s heard horror stories about egos and rudeness.
Me? I always expected awesomeness from those I like, so I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary. I’m a dedicated fan, loyal to those who speak to me even when the spotlight has moved on to newer faces. (Speak to me? Yes, speak to me. I shall blog about that next time.)
True, none of the celebrities I’ve met were athletes or “Hollywood” actors—mine are all music and literary related. I’m not big on starlets and such, though I wouldn’t mind running into Ethan Hawke or Brendan Fraser… But the rock and country musicians/singers and authors—they’ve all been friendly, approachable and even humble at times. Some have even gone out of their way to give back. I’ll keep to three varied examples.
Exhibit A: C.J. Snare
Lead singer of Firehouse (Don’t Treat Me Bad, Love of a Lifetime, etc) opening act for Warrant/Trixter/Firehouse concert hosted by Pauly Shore (remember him?!) at the Great America theme park in Santa Clara, CA. My friends and I made a day of it and enjoyed the rides before the concert. A few hours before the show I noticed C.J. out in the park with his date. I apologized for bothering him, but asked if he’d mind signing a concert flier (had the flier and my own Sharpie—always prepared!) He graciously autographed it and told me he hoped I’d enjoy the show. Then, he was surrounded by dozens more people wanting the same thing, but not being as polite about it, before he could get behind the safety of the backstage fence. (Yes, I stood back and watched the mini-mob. People can be real jerks at times, like the guy yelling “Hey, dude! Sign my girlfriend’s chest, will ya?” Classy.) A few months ago, I saw a comment by C.J. on a mutual friend’s status on Facebook and shared the story of my encounter with him almost twenty years before. He replied back thanking me for the good memory. Awe…
Exhibit B: Terry Brooks
NYT bestselling author for two decades (now more than three) was on a book tour to promote The First King of Shannara in La Jolla, CA. The friend who got me reading Terry Brooks—a HUGE fan, all first edition hardcovers—lived less than two hours away but couldn’t make it to the event. My friend’s birthday was the following week and I told Mr. Brooks about him. I even gave him a slip of paper with my friend’s name and address on it, asked if he could send a birthday note. (Can’t say I didn’t try, though the people in line behind me rolled their eyes and huffed.) Of course, when my friend received a birthday postcard from someone signing himself as Terry Brooks he thought it was a joke. Nope, just the best birthday greeting ever!
Exhibit C: Matthew and Gunnar Nelson
Yes, those blond twins—sons of the late, great Rick Nelson. After a sound check before a show in Biloxi, MS about a dozen years ago, they stopped to talk to my husband and I and signed the old school Nelson poster I’d brought along (which Bobby Rock had already signed a couple years previous—another pleasant meet and greet.) Gunnar sat at our table and talked with us for a while before heading out. Even my husband was impressed with that—but maybe it was because of Gunnar’s skydiving and bungee jumping stories.
I could keep going—have a cache of autographs and stories but I’ll spare you the geeky details. And never get me started on Mitch Malloy or Laurie Halse Anderson unless you want to hear me gush over their talents and genuine greatness. Sigh…
Now, I want to hear your fantabutitus (and not-so-nice) stories!