There are some things in life money can't buy...
Those of you who know me or my fic know that I really like the Master Card commercial. I'll use it again here because nothing else does a better job at summing up how my obscenely overpriced visit to the San Francisco Twilight Convention was totally worth it.
General Conference Admission - $25
Photo Op - $35
Autograph Session - $40
Photos for autographing (+ protective covers) - $24
Small Group Meet and Greet - $200
Hugging Pfach after he smiled at me dazzlingly while sparkling his green-gray eyes - priceless
As of the morning of the convention, I wasn't going to go. Sure, I
to bask in the Peach's aura of DILFy hot love, but what would I say when I met him? Number one, I don't like superficial or contrived interactions, so these "fan" events, with their orchestrated photo ops and smalltalk meet and greets tend to rub me the wrong way. Number two, I am too tactful to say what I would really want to say or ask what I really want to know, so I didn't want to make lame small talk, or worse stand there drooling like a St. Bernard.
Still, I got on Twitter circa 8AM to consult my Twi-hard friends. It was at that point that bierbeck, ciaobella27, roselover24, fngrcufs and a particularly adamant mabarberella more or less tweet-shouted back "Of course you have to go get your Pfach on, girl! Are you out of your f-ing mind?!?"
60 Minutes B.P. (Before the Peach)
Fast forward to 1PM. I had arrived at the Burlingame Hyatt. I had shelled out exorbitant sums to get as much Pfach as I could buy, because I'll be 8 months pregnant when ComiCon rolls around, so this could well be my only chance. The conference itself was extremely disorganized so I got a front row seat, stage left (which was reserved for the ludicrously overpriced gold ticket holders, but the person whose seat I was in never showed). I waited for his hour-long Q&A to begin while chatting with a bunch of fans who were there the year before and were already complaining about how bad this year's sucked.
Hellllllllo, Peter :)
Having missed his (earlier) flight, the Peach was right on time for his Q&A, literally out of breath as he hopped onto the stage (wait, was that him or me?). Now, I had brought my good camera, which is how I got yummy shots like this. I basically spent the Q&A listening with one ear but focusing on taking as many delicious commemorative pictures as possible. At this point I should mention that the Q&A was comprised of questions that attendees had submitted the hour before. Poor Peter had to answer a cadre of some of the dumbest questions I'd ever heard (e.g., how do you define success and do you think you are successful? If you could ask Paul Newman one question, what would it be? WTF, people!!?). Unsurprisingly, he was a beacon of grace and class as he answered these inane inquiries, but he did start kind of ignoring the questions and doing some storytelling of his own.
What I learned from this? He is actually pretty funny! Sure, he's used to doing these events and is a pro at entertaining the crowd; he definitely has his schtick and he told enough stories I'd already heard to prove he probably tells the same few all the time. Still, for the times he went off on tangents, he really brought the funny. And the flirty. I hae a sharp sense for these things, and I still walked away with the feeling that the flirty wasn't part of the act :P
Hugging Peter = Pure Love (The Photo Op)
The mere experience of being in line for the photo op reminded me of why I was reticent to come. Literally hundreds of eager fans bounced with excitement as they waited for their few seconds with The Peach. For some people, who didn't spend the $300+ that I did, this would be their only chance to get close to him. Yet, the enormous money-making machine that is the Twilight Convention hustled people through so fast that they were photographing 4-5 people a minute.
All that said, I didn't expect much. Thought I'd barely get a second glance from Peter. As I approached I focused on making sure my hair was straight and trying not looking too fat (though no amount of sucking in my gut will fix the fact that I am pregnant). Yet, when my time came, peter totally made my 12 to 15 seconds with him count. He made really good eye contact with me gave me a beautiful smile and asked me my name and thanked me for coming. He put his arm around me for the picture and gave me a little squeeze when the photographer said there was a problem with the first one and he wanted another. And he gave me a little hug before I thanked him and said goodbye!
Now, I know this seems like a lot for 12 to 15 seconds, and obviously he had the slo-mo effect on me which is why I remember in such detail, but Peter totally dazzled me! What was I thinking as I walked away in a daze? I had forgotten to notice how he smelled!!
The Much-Coveted Small Group Audience with Peter
For the small sum of $200, 10 lucky fans could buy a ticket to spend one hour in a semi-private Q&A with him. So, they took us to the green room where they served us sodas and snacks and put us all around a round table with Peter.
Now, it merits a mention that mabarberella had been kind enough to equip me with questions I could ask if I was at a loss. However, since her questions included "Why did they put so much makeup on Tiff Amber Theissen in FastLane? Were they trying to make her look clownish?" and "Did you wank it while watching 90210?" I worried about coming up with ones of my own...
I needn't have worried. Among the other 9 fans, two of whom were "Guy-hards" (e.g., male Twi-hards), there were two girls in particular who had not problem asking uninteresting or inappropriate questions. At one point I was so horrified by the question that one of the attendees asked, I started laughing--HARD--and was afraid I wouldn't be able to stop my giggle fit! Beyond that, a few girls presented Peter with gifts they had made him and one girl shamelessly usurped his time to get him to sign things for charity. He also showed us some pictures from the Eclipse set and in the picture above, he was showing us an adorable video of his youngest daughter doing a play for him.
At the end of the hour, we took a group picture, his bodyguard taking a turn with each person's camera. When Mr. Bodyguard couldn't figure out my fancy camera and finally commented that "it came out blurry", the Peach insisted he take a second :) Another cool thing--in this picture, I was behind him, but I didn't mind one bit. Why not? My nose was right next to his neck. For a solid 3 to 5 minutes, I took in the wonderful aroma of his leather jacket + him in-between surreptitiously sniffing his hair...
The Autograph Hour
This was his last appearance, and since I didn't have the fancy ticket, I had to wait 'til the end. He signed autographs behind the stage, while onstage the "actors" ::snickers:: from The Hillywood Show did a Q&A panel and a showing of their "film". By the time I got back up to him, he was visibly fatigued, and his energy was much lower, but he was still very gracious. He signed my stuff and I bid him adieu and (by now it was 7PM!) I got in my car and took my ass home!
I had a good time and I was glad that I went. All that said, I still hated the format. The objectification of celebrities by the paparazzi and fans always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, and I was angry, sad, and embarrassed at witnessing fans behaving badly. Though many people were respectful, I saw a fair bit of groping, heard blatant come-ons and inappropriate questions, and was privy to gratuitous in-your-face picture taking. 5 of the 10 people during the small group audience took flash pictures of him at close range THE WHOLE TIME!! Not only was I disgusted by this dynamic, but I could see that Peter was guarded as a result (despite handling himself and the fans with the utmost grace and politesse). Still, I'd love to meet him again, under more relaxed circumstances*.
All of the pictures you see on this blog posting are ones that I took and are not for public consumption or for reposting/reprinting elsewhere. Please don't copy them without asking! I don't want them all over the place.
*mabarberella, get your mind out of the gutter!