MEETING BETTY WHO

It’s such a pleasure when a performer gives you reason to admire them as a person as well.

In 2014 Betty Who, a graduate of Berklee, was riding the success of her first single, Somebody Loves You; popularized by an adorable proposal video. Her song was climbing the charts and she was touring the United States. I was excited to see that the tour included a stop in Boston, but was disappointed when I found out that tickets were limited to students of the host university. Although disappointed, I was still determined to meet her.

The show day arrived as temperatures in Boston dropped below freezing. Despite the cold, I made my way to the venue’s stage door; bundled in a huge winter coat looking much like a giant marshmallow.

A few hours passed before Betty’s cab pulled up. She emerged and smiled when she saw me, the giant marshmallow, waiting. She happily gave an autograph and took a picture with me.

betty who

Meeting Betty had already put me over-the-moon. She was so down to earth and she made me feel like I was meeting up with a good friend rather than meeting a celebrity. I was ready to head home when she asked if I planned to see the show. I told her that I had been unable to obtain tickets to the closed event. She quickly said, “Let’s fix that!”

She brought me inside the venue and convinced the people running the event to make an exception. I couldn’t believe this was happening and expressed how grateful I was to receive the pair of tickets. She soon had to scoot off to soundcheck, but said she looked forward to seeing me in the crowd that night.

I returned to the venue at showtime with my friend, Sabrina. When we got to the door, the guard said that we weren’t on the guest list. My heart sank. Perhaps, this was all too good to be true.

I quickly remembered that Betty’s manager had given me her number in case I had problems with the tickets. I gave her a call and she assured me not to worry and that she’d be right out. Betty must have overheard and was right there before I could even hang up the phone. She apologized and personally wrote our names on the guest list. After thanking us for coming, she disappeared backstage and the lights dimmed.

The show that night was one of the best I’ve seen. There was lots of dancing and singing. It felt like a like a huge party and we all felt like family or as Betty calls it: The Who Crew.

The night ended and we all went our separate ways. I wasn’t able to thank Betty in person after the show, but sent a text to her manager expressing how grateful I was. She responded with a picture of Betty Who smiling with a thumbs up.

Since 2014, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Betty Who a few more times. I still will not forget how nice she was that night to a fan. As the years have gone by and her success has grown, I have become a greater fan and realized She’s (really) Some Kinda Wonderful.

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Baby Driver Review

Ansel Elgort is stealing more than hearts in the new action film, Baby Driver.

Orphaned in a car accident as a child, Baby (Elgort) becomes a delinquent to get by. As a teen, he finds himself back behind the wheel as a getaway driver. Viewers learn quickly that this new gig is retribution for stealing robbery ringleader Doc’s (Kevin Spacey) car and that Baby has two more gigs to complete before his debt is paid. Baby soon learns that he’s “never done” and that the debt will never be considered “paid”. Complications increase when Baby finds a love interest at a local diner. Love develops and as expected, chaos ensues.

Since opening, the film has raked in over $41 million worldwide. This expected commercial success includes all the classic action movie components including chase scenes, shootouts and romance. Writer and Director, Edgar Wright has masterfully written a script that combines drama with comedy in a way that is believable and fluid. He has judiciously placed jokes to add levity and lessen tension and has inserted such characters as Doc’s nephew to inject dry humor.

Wright’s film boasts a unique form of editing and cinematography that keeps the audience engaged in a seemingly extended music video. Even stacks of cash are dropped on the table to a choreographed beat, creating a soundtrack that spans all genres and generation.

Wright’s unique approach is revealed to the unassuming viewer when Baby becomes aware of the soundtrack and uses it to drown out recurring memories of his earlier car accident. Baby even makes his own music out of recorded conversations; which makes for a comical moment in the film.

The success of Wright’s film does not lie solely with him. It is supported by a tremendous and often witty cast of Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx, Ansel Elgort, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, Lily James and many others.

Wright’s trailblazing efforts to create new genres of action films with Baby Driver, is not without shortcomings. Unlike other films of similar genres, there is noticeably less violence at the beginning of the film. This lack of violence paired with a sudden impaling and a shootout end of the film place the viewer initially in a disorientated state. Additionally, the tight music track editing becomes lazy towards the end of the film and it becomes apparent that the beats no longer sync. Despite these minor flaws, Baby Driver is a movie worth racing to and one that is sure to entertain.

MEETING ZARA LARSSON

At the beginning of 2016, I was scanning new releases on Spotify and came across a song that had a great beat and featured an awesome voice! Lush Life, by Zara Larsson,  immediately was added to my playlist and became my go to jam on car rides.

Soon after my discovery, Zara visited Boston for radio promo. Despite my best attempts, I was not able to “win my way in,”  However, I hoped that with her talent, a tour back to Boston would be scheduled soon; giving me another chance to meet her.

Fast forward to the end of 2016 and Zara Larsson announced that she would join Clean Bandit and Starley on a North American tour! I was so excited. However, with the amazing lineup, tickets for the show went very fast. So fast, that I didn’t get one! It was the radio promo scenario all over again. Despite my previous disappointing experience,  I was determined to meet her.

On the day of the concert, I arrived at the venue with minutes to spare. All the performers were delayed in soundchecking due to radio promo! The delay worked in my favor and provided an opportunity to see Grace, Luke and Jack from Clean Bandit and Starley, who were all extremely sweet and a pleasure to meet.

With only an hour to spare, Zara Larsson emerged from her tour bus. As she entered the venue, she smiled and waved. She noted she would stop after; but I was skeptical knowing from experience that even the nicest performers aren’t always able to keep such promises. Not feeling confident in the promise, I began to pack up my bag before the performance even started. I was ready to head out when I heard, “Hey Girl!” I looked up and saw Zara walking over to ME! She signed her new album as other fans began to gather. She was just as gracious with them. Before she returned to her bus, she asked me if she would see me inside and I explained that  I wasn’t able to get a ticket to the sold out show. Without hesitation, her and her team handed me a ticket. I accepted and Zara took one  last photo and headed back on the bus.

zara watermark

The concert was one giant dance party and was one of the best concerts I have gone to. Zara glided through riffs and kept up with her backup dancers.

The encounter and performance left me in awe and made me an even bigger fan.

Thank you to Zara Larsson!

Remembering 2016

This hobby is all about meeting new people. Over the past year, I’ve met singers, actors, and comedians. However, the most meaningful encounters have been with the people that share the same passion for this hobby as I do. I’ve had the pleasure of talking with people from all corners of the globe about their adventures and memories. I’ve heard of escapades from Paris to NYC. And although, we may be miles apart, our stories and appreciation for this unique hobby create an inseparable bond.  To friends new and old – here’s to sharing and writing more memories in sharpie! Happy New Year!

The Force Will Always Be With Me

This past week the world lost two amazing women; Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds.

Although, I never had the honor of meeting Debbie, I did meet Carrie. That experience will be one that I will always remember and cherish.

It was a late night at Harvard University and Carrie Fisher was being honored with The Cultural Humanism Award for her work; especially as an activist. The steps of Harvard’s Memorial Church were lined with Darth Vaders and Imperial Soldiers patiently waiting for the arrival of Princess Leia.

Carrie and her sidekick, Gary, a loveable French Bulldog, arrived to the venue with only minutes to spare.  She was not able to stop to greet the crowd on the steps on the way in, but promised to come back to us on her way out.

After accepting her award and sharing her talents as a storyteller with the crowd, she came out to greet us. Gary came running out behind her; tongue hanging, as he chased the rats that were almost as big as he was. “Gary get back here,” Carrie chuckled turning to us with a request to follow her.  She explained that she wanted to meet with all of us, but away from the crowds.  Like the Pied Piper, Carrie led us off campus and about a block to her car.  On the way she stopped for a selfie with a young woman in a wheelchair dressed as Princess Leia.

As we continued the walk, Carrie hugged an awkward glass trophy; while balancing a bag and a few other items. She made light conversation, periodically asking how we all were and making sure no one was left behind.

Steps away from her car, she lost her grasp of the trophy. It quickly slipped out of her hands and broke into many pieces on the ground. She did not get mad or upset at the loss, but quickly made sure everyone was okay. As she picked up the sharp trophy pieces, she told us not to be upset because it was only a thing and that everyone’s happiness and wellbeing was of much higher importance.

Before she hopped in her car, she gathered the group for a picture (that’s me to the right of Carrie) and signed autographs. We thanked her and waved as she pulled away.

carrie-fisher

As I look back at the photograph taken that evening, I can’t help but smile and feel so lucky to have met her.

Carrie was a wonderful person that left an impact no matter where she went; whether it was showing girls their strengths through her roles or using life experience as opportunities to learn, teach, and grow. I can’t think of a better way to honor her than to live with the same amount of positivity that she exhibited that day at Harvard.

MEETING DIANE GUERRERO

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

There are few people that exemplify this statement. However, Diane Guerrero: an actress and activist, who is currently taking over our screens in shows like Orange Is The New Black and Jane The Virgin, is one of the few. Despite her huge success, she has never lost sight of who she is or where she came from. I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with her on many occasions and every time she has been gracious and kind.

Diane grew up in a neighborhood within miles of Downtown Boston. So, when her memoir, In The Country We Love debuted, it seemed fitting that she would do a reading near Boston Arts Academy; her old high school.

Fans, friends, and former classmates huddled into Brookline Booksmith to hear her recount memories of her childhood; sharing her struggles with her family’s deportation. She was so open and made us all feel like family.

When it came time for the signing, she spent time with all attendees, taking photos and thanking each of us for coming. It was one of the most relaxed signings I have been to.

As I stepped out of the bookstore that night, I couldn’t help but smile. I was so happy to have met one of my idols and to realize what a wonderful person we have representing Boston in Hollywood.

A year later, Diane came back to Boston for a student talk at a local University. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get tickets, but was able to arrange to be part of the meet and greet that followed the event. The same bubbly and warm Diane I had met the year before was there greeting everyone. She answered many fan questions and even shared her email with a few.

Preparing for this signing, I had brought the photo I had taken with her at the Brookline Booksmith for her to sign. When I got to the front of the line and handed it to her, her face lit up. “You came to my book signing! Thank you!,” she exclaimed, “I knew you looked familiar.” I was so impressed that she remembered me; recounting conversations I had had with her a year before.

Each encounter I have with Diane makes me an even bigger fan of hers. She never seems to forget her roots, family, friends and growing base of fans.

Diane, thank you for making us all feel so welcomed at all of your events. It is something I know I will never forget!

MEETING TATIANA MASLANY

It was Saturday and I had decided to take the day off from graphing. I am not one to sit still; so I decided to tag along with my Mom to drop off my younger sister in the city.

When we were blocks away from our destination, we got stuck at a red light. The walk sign came on and crowds of people filtered across the street from all directions. One person in the crowd caught my attention. It was Tatiana Maslany from the BBC America hit, Orphan Black. As I started to get out of the car to ask for a picture, my sister reminded me that she had to get somewhere; so I reluctantly closed the door and our car pulled away.

After dropping my sister off, my Mom asked if I wanted to try to find Tatiana to get a picture. I debated my answer because I have found that once you lose track of someone on the streets of Boston, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack. I really wanted to meet her though, so I decided that I’d walk around the block while my mom waited at the curb. I decided that if I didn’t see her in one loop of the block, then I’d give up. Just as I was about to complete the block, I saw Tatiana walking towards me with a bag of take-out.

At first, I was speechless. I couldn’t believe I had found her! This never happens! I regained my composure and asked her for a selfie. She was super surprised that I had recognized her, but was very gracious and took a picture.

tatiana

I’ll admit, I hadn’t watched Orphan Black before that moment, but after meeting Tatiana and having such a pleasant experience, I decided to give it a try. After one episode, I was hooked. I was amazed how she convincingly plays at least five different characters! What she does as an actor deserves every award, which ironically she just won for her role. She makes each character so unique; from their mannerisms to their voice.

A few weeks after meeting her, I was lucky enough to catch up with her on the set of  one of her new films, Stronger. The second meeting may have made me an even bigger fan. She was just as gracious the second time around and signed my new Orphan Black poster. Thank you Tatiana! Wishing you continued success!