Tuesday, June 3, 2014

What happens when you're in the same room as your hero

No, I did not charge the stage. No, I did not get arrested trying to sneak past security. No, I did not get to shake her hand or take a picture with her. Despite sort of wishing I did all of these things, I did get to see the Tina Fey in the flesh. Granted, I was a few rows back and a little to the right, but no one needs to know that. I got to see her face (prettier in person), listen to her talk (sounds of angels) and watch her interact with Jason Bateman (they act like siblings).

But what happens when the hero you've built in your head is finally there for your own eyes to see? Honestly, it was kind of like every YouTube video I watched of her get interviewed. You may say that sounds depressing, but actually it was refreshing. It was a relief to see that she actually seems like the the person she is in all those interviews she has to do. And I was secretly fine with not actually meeting her... bum, bum, buuuuum.

To give you some background, I went to the first BookCon event this weekend in New York. It was paired with the BEA conference that has been going on for years, which gathers all the book nerds in the world in one place. The kickoff event for BookCon (think ComicCon for avid readers) was Friday night and it featured the author and screenplay writer of the book and upcoming film, "This is Where I Leave." Along with him (Jonathan Tropper), was the director of the film (Shawn Levy) and some of its stars, cue Tina and Jason. The tickets were $10 and when I saw the event it seemed too good to pass up. Not to mention, the next day was the actual BookCon, which featured a panel of Amy Poehler (who was promoting her upcoming book, "Yes Please") and Martin Short – they basically just had a conversation together and it was glorious (I'll come back to that in a bit).

So, I was sitting at this round table, after waiting in line – the front of it I might add – for two hours. We got decent seats in that I didn't have to look at the TV screen to see them talk, plus whenever Tina talked she looked right at me. So, I'm sitting there, luckily with a Coors Light, and I was oddly calm. Excited of course, but it was kind of a moment of just complete shock. I had actually done it. I was in a place where this person I had admired for the past five years would be talking. It was a feeling of disbelief more than anything.

The overall event was great, and not just because Tina was there. The author would read a passage from the book and then we got to see how that passage translated in the scene – so we got some sneak peaks of the movie that opens in September, which by the way looks hilariously awesome. It was fun to watch the scenes and see how Tina and Jason reacted to them. Basically it was an hour I won't soon forget, and will be running in my head when I see the movie.

At the end, everyone stood up, clapped with much enthusiasm as we watched them exit the stage. I, of course, went outside and immediately went to where they would have left. I had to see her, meet her, if I could. We were in the same building for gosh sake! But, alas, there was the author, greeting some friends when I heard the him say Tina and Jason had been escorted out the side door and out of the building. And weirdly enough my reaction was not disappointment.

Granted, it would have been amazing, unreal, complete shock, lots of other adjectives to describe it, if I did in fact get to meet her. More than anything, though, I think I'm afraid it would be a huge disappointment. You always imagine what it would be like to have a few short words with a celebrity you love. You want to see how down to Earth they are, how pretty/cute they are in person, blah blah blah. But I have had such an image in my head of what the encounter would be like that it almost scares me. Because what if it doesn't meet my expectations? I had the line picked out if it would have happened. I would ask if she would take a picture with me, she would agree because she's a kind person, we would take it and I would look at it and say, "Wow, you look amazing. Would you like me to send you a copy of this to your email?" I'd want to be clever and not utterly too creepy at the same time.

Of course, this didn't and, honestly, probably will never happen. But I think I have come to terms with it because I'm not sure if it would ever really meet my expectations. I kind of like the image of what I have of her in my head, in a noncreepy way of course. Plus, I got to meet an Entertainment Weekly writer I have admired for a while now and got to shake his hand. An hour before, he was shaking and kissing Tina on the cheek (he was the moderator of the event).

One degree of separation, baby.

Quick notes:
• Though Tina's panel was fantastic and incredibly interesting because you got to hear how they turned the book into the movie, she didn't get to talk as much as I was hoping. I mean she was sharing the stage with three other people. That was not the case with Amy's panel Saturday. She talked the whole time, and damn was it funny. It helped, too, that she was being interviewed by Martin Short. She swore like a sailor, let loose that infectious laugh she has and told numerous hilarious stories (the best one was about her doctor dying two days before she gave birth). It sounds like her book will be similar to that of Tina's and Mindy Kaling's, so you know I have already preordered it, and after listening to hear talk for an hour about it, you should, too.

• Jason Segal was an unexpected surprise. He wrote a children's book with another and was a last minute addition to the BookCon schedule. I got to see him, and damn is that guy talented, and extremely good looking. He is hilarious and very charismatic in the flesh. And he still seems surprised when people show up to see him talk (he took a panoramic picture of the room when he got on stage). It's safe to say I will be checking out his book, too.

• It only seemed right that after this weekend I start blogging again. My hope is that I will again begin to write periodically throughout the week when something strikes me and I want to tell you all about it (and by "you all" I pretty much mean my parents, who I live with and tell these things to anyway). Obviously, it will most likely be pop cultured, TV, books, movies, music related since I don't do much other than sleep, eat and consume media.

Until next time, and there will be a next time, I promise (because I know I have so many avid readers out there – hi Mom!) ... Live long and prosper.