celebrity

2017 YEAR END WRAP-UP: A PERSPECTIVE ON MUTUAL RESPECT

As I  reflect back on my 6th year of graphing, one predominant thought comes to mind: mutual respect.

A scenario that echoes this thought made headlines this past November when Finn Wolfhard, of the hit Netflix Stranger Things series, dodged fans waiting outside his New York City hotel; ignoring their presence. Those “fans” took to social media criticizing the actor for not stopping, tweeting, “Imagine being 14 and heartless that you can’t even stop for your fans who made you famous in the first place! WOW.”

His co stars immediately came to his defense. Shannon Purser, aka Barb, tweeted, “Okay, no. No actor is under any obligation to stop for anyone. Finn is an incredibly kind human. But he’s human and he needs breaks too.”

Being a part of many graphing social media groups, my timeline was flooded with different perspectives on who was in the wrong; Wolfhard or his fans. After viewing the video of the interaction multiple times and scanning through many opinions, I came to the conclusion that the reason both sides were so heated about the matter was due to the fact that both parties felt that they had been disrespected.

I do believe that it is important for celebrities to be respected, however mutual respect of fans is also warranted.  If you watch the video of the incident, the waiting few merely asked Finn for an autograph. Even though they waited patiently for his appearance and called out to him respectfully, he never once acknowledged that they were even there. He never said hi. He did not even wave. It was as if they did not even exist. Such disregard on a human level, is disrespectful.

On the flip side, I do understand Wolfhard and Purser’s perspective. No celebrity is “obligated” to stop. Privacy should be valued, but at the expense of devaluing another is wrong.

If the event had ended there one could site Wolfhard somewhat at fault. However, the fan’s anger led to a shaming Tweet post about Wolfhard that I believe crossed the line.

Unfortunately, one grapher’s negative actions make the press, and overshadow a celebrity’s disregard of his fans. It is important to note, that this is not the norm for grapher’s or for celebrities.

For example, around the same time the Finn incident happened, I experienced a wonderful example of mutual respect.

I am a huge fan of the show FRIENDS and when I got a tip that Matt Leblanc would be coming to Boston, it was hard to contain my excitement over the possibility of meeting the guy who got us all asking, ‘How You Doing?’

The day came and I was poised in the airport terminal with my full size Friends poster in hand. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of Matt with his blue baseball cap. As he approached, disappointment began to set in. I noticed that his daughter was by his side. Out of respect for the celebrity, it’s generally my rule not to ask them to sign when they are with their families; so I began to return the poster back in its tube. I looked up briefly and made eye contact with Matt. He had seen the poster and I think sensed my disappointment. He explained that he would love to stop, but he couldn’t with his daughter. I told him that I understood and wished him a safe trip.

He smiled and continued on his way. When he got half way down the terminal, he looked back to see if I had followed. However, I was still in the same place he had left me. He nodded as if to say thank you.

Although I left without the picture or autograph that I had hoped to get, I was left with the memory of the pleasant interaction. Matt was respectful and recognized that I had put the time in to wait for him and I was respectful of Matt’s wishes. I know I’ll meet him one day, but I want it to be on both of our terms.

As I raise my glass to 2018, I hope for a year filled with many more respectful interactions and perhaps even a picture with Matt.  

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MEETING JAMES CORDEN

This month, Carpool Karaoke star and Late Late show host, James Corden took a detour to Boston to speak to local university students. It has been awhile since I was a student, however, that did not stop me from figuring out a way to meet the Tony Award winner at this student event.

I arrived to the venue just as the Corden audience crowds had begun to flood the streets. The beaming faces and high energy level of the spilling crowd confirmed that it had been an awesome show. While scanning the smiling faces, I noticed a well lit side-door that the crowds were not using. There was no waiting car near the door, but my suspicion that Corden would exit from this unutilized doorway, caused me to hover at the spot in the hopes that I was right.

A crowd of about 20 people soon began to join me as I waited. I feared that this stage door crowd would swell too much or that temperatures would plummet and then there would be no way Corden would stop to sign or take pictures.

I looked back and noticed that the streets had cleared of event attendees. My eye caught a glimpse of a black SUV as it zoomed to the venue’s front door. Security flagged and redirected it to the side-door where we were waiting.  We waited in anticipation as the SUV driver stopped, hopped out, and opened the passenger door.

We cheered as Corden appeared. He waved and headed straight for the car. My heart sank thinking he was about to drive away? But as quickly as it sank, it rebounded as Corden leaned his head out yelling “I’ll be right over guys.” Within moments, he was in the middle of the crowd taking selfies. He even gave suggestions to get the best selfies and gave advice regarding lighting when one student’s face was hidden in shadow. Between pictures, he answered questions and interacted with the crowd.

He took a few more selfies, including one with me and hopped into the car. The crowd waved as he drove off; I imagine, rocking out to the next Carpool Karaoke star’s music.james corden with watermark.jpg

I watched as the car disappeared; while I took in one of those great grapher moments. Thank you James!

 

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.

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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!