Stacey's GH Weekend Recap (2000)
Hi all, It has taken me awhile to get this written up...but I always remember something I've forgotten to say. Hope you enjoy! I still need to do the complete GH luncheon but that will take a bit longer as I do an extensive write up of that one, pretty much word for word of the Q&A.
We had a great time...each year I say it just keeps getting better and this year was no exception! It rocked! My thanks to Debbie Morris, Debby O'Connor, Tammy Pappas, all the fan club people who work so hard to put on these events. I would also like to thank all the actors who spend so much time throughout the weekend bringing so much joy to their fans.
We started off our GH week with a Ricky Martin concert. Wow! It was great to see him perform live. He looks awesome, sounds amazing. I highly recommend his concerts! What can I say, he shook those bon bons and the leather pants looked great!
Thursday we took the NBC studio tour, then headed to Hollywood to buy GH pictures, Ricky Martin, John Stamos, Tony, Genie-- whatever we could find on past/present GHers, and of course a few Mel Gibson shots from Patriot for me! I found some gorgeous shots of A. Martinez from Santa Barbara with Marcy Walker, and one of him in his swim trunks! This was at "Hollywood Book & Poster". The rest of the evening was spent hooking up with old friends and meeting new ones.
The weekend started off with a bang on Friday when Michael Saucedo showed up poolside at the Sportsman's Lodge to sign autographs and take pictures with the fans. His CD had been played in the background of the soap boutique throughout the day and was available for sale. He sounds great! Later in the bar at the hotel on Friday night before the PC event, I just knew the weekend was going to be a phenomenal experience. I walk in, sit down....two stools over is Thorsten Kaye! I virtually stopped breathing! I asked me to take a picture with me, he is so cute! He actually shook my hand and introduced himself, saying "Hi, I'm Thorsten Kaye". Like I didn't already know that! (I had passed up on dinner at Universal Citywalk with friends as I was hoping to catch a glimpse of him though he wasn't expected to attend). Just got my pictures back and once again I have this completely goober look on my face like, "Oh my, its Thorsten!". So much for getting past being star struck! Ha!
The soap boutique is held in two adjoining hotel rooms each year, this year we got double the pleasure as it was expanded to a second boutique area. ABC donated beautiful 8x10 pictures of the different actors to be included in the luncheon packets, the remaining photos were sold for $5 each so fans were able to get a professional shot of their favorites (among some of the pictures were Kevin & Eve, Sonny & Carly, the teens - Lucky/Elizabeth/Nik/Emily/Juan, a Bobbie & Roy, a Jax & Chloe, one of Emily & Juan together, and a great head shot of Kristina just to name a few. Thanks Debbie for arranging this! It was fun at the luncheon as everyone received one of this 8x10s in their packet so we all traded to get our favorites. I had bought several of them so I traded with about five different people so they could get the picture that they wanted till I finally got the one I didn't have!
Nancy Lee - Saturday am started early with Nancy Lee's event. Due to her father's illness she was flying out to see him. She commented on how wonderful the show was in scheduling so she could get away to spend a few days with him every few weeks. Coffee, juice, fruit and assorted pastries were served. Constance Towers (Connie) also attended and she is the complete opposite of Helena. As they entered they stopped and talked to fans, when Constance stopped and said, "Hello" to me. I told her how much I've enjoyed her work especially in the last couple of months They are both very kind and very gracious ladies! They talked with fans for an hour in a relaxed intimate room. They stayed to sign autographs, take pictures and chat for over an hour and a half. Linda Dano, Finola Hughes, and Jess Walton do another talk on the porch for SOD. Nancy has addressed the issues of body image and aging in the media and the emphasis on being ultra thin and youthful, and the message that sends to women. Look for it around September.
One of the best things about the weekend is hearing all the fan opinions on future storyline, possible character connections....some interesting fan suggestions: that Alexis is really Elizabeth's mom (which would explain why she doesn't fit in with the Webbers), that Helena is really Alexis' mother and Helena really loves Alexis but can't show it so instead she threatens to kill her. Classy lady that she is, she felt bad that she was unable to make it to the luncheon she donated 400 hundred personally autographed pictures to put in the luncheon packets so each fan would receive one!
Quartermaine Brunch - John Ingle, Leslie Charleson, Amber Tamblyn, Michael Saucedo, Susan Brown, Anna Lee with her son Jeffrey Bryon (who is also on PC), Billy Warlock, Tava Smiley. Stuart was home sick all weekend. We were served fruit and crepes, and desert (great thing I was fed that morning as I didn't get a chance to eat again till the next day!).
Amber was asked about her poetry and she announced the book of poetry she had printed up with all the proceeds going to "Defenders of Wildlife" to save endangered species. Billy commented on how much he is enjoying playing AJ's current storyline. He is having fun playing AJ drunk and out of control. Of course Michael was asked about the new CD. He was asked what his first love was acting or music. He reported that they started simultaneously as his first gig was in a Bandaid commercial and sang the "stuck on Band-Aid song. He said artistically probably music as that is something he can experience regardless of whether he has a job doing it.
Stephen Kay talked about his directing the Sylvester Stallone movie. Tava was asked about the future of her storyline with Jax departing and if she would be romantically involved with Ned. She hoped that Chloe wouldn't go after her best friend's man. Susan Brown was asked about Monica and Gail having future storyline together as best friends. Jeffrey paid tribute to his mother, Anna Lee and what a great lady she is. He also gave thanks to her nurse, Zoriada. Anna Lee was asked why Lila puts up with Edward, she retorts "God knows!". Leslie was asked about Monica becoming pregnant, she injected "It's Rick’s baby!" which drew much applause. She doesn't know though at this point whether she will become pregnant or not.
Anna Lee just stayed for a brief time, but she is a huge fan favorite. They all appreciate so much her making the effort to come to the events. After the Q&A, they did a very large raffle. Several of Monica's blouses were donated by wardrobe, it got to be a running joke that wardrobe was getting rid of her wardrobe so they could make room for Monica's maternity clothes! They gave away a tie of Edward, a suit from Alan, a bow tie from AJ, some of Monica's jewelry, a very sheer blouse from Carly, a Triple L Diner menu, and a menu from Kelly's, a pair of Emily's shoes (whereupon Amber acted indignant going along with Leslie's running joke about wardrobe giving their clothes away) as she liked those shoes! They also gave away a set tour, when the fan was returning home that Monday she got a rain check and another lucky fan won the tour!
They each came by the tables and signed autographs and took pictures. This was great as fans actually stayed in their seats rather than crowd around the actors. John Ingle has to be one of the absolute nicest men, he is always so appreciative of the fans. Susan Brown remembered me from the online campaign (read badgering) that I did with the San Diego ABC affiliate to get PC on the air. Tava stopped by and she seemed to be having a blast, all weekend she was very warm with fans and went out of her way to spend time with them. Michael takes the fan appreciation award (he was at the pool on Friday, Q brunch, Real's event, GH luncheon, and Becky's Soiree). Billy is a pure charmer, he does a lot of fan appearances and is always very warm and friendly. Leslie just glows, she is radiant. She helped set up the event and was there late Friday getting the tables just right and had done the flower arrangements...a beautiful rose one was sent home with Anna Lee. Also as a centerpiece on the fan tables were stacked 10 Quartermaine coffee cups which we got to take home. We got back to the Sportsman's around 3:00 just in time to get in line for Maurice's 4:00 event.
Maurice - Jim Warren (the event organizer and a professional photographer who submits to the soap mags and I noticed Jim recently interviewed Maurice and Tony G. in SOU! (He also took pictures of them at the Emmy's for a big photo spread) Jim hung a huge white sheet of butcher paper from the wall and it was all taped up so you couldn't see when Maurice entered....but when Maurice broke through the paper there was no doubt who was in the room based on the screams! Jim always gives away great photos with the packets, but this year I think we got FIVE 8x10s...one autographed and personalized to each fan - this is a really nice touch and saves so much time at the end of the event. Jim also handed out fans with a picture of Maurice's face, so if we held up the fans you had a Maurice face. It was coordinated so when Maurice entered the room everyone put their fan over their face simultaneously. He had a tattoo on his arm that he got in Venice Beach, Amber did as well (temporary ones). Maurice was asked whether he will get to play Sonny in a manic-depressive storyline. He said that there has been some resistance as TPTB don't think Sonny will be sexy in that state. Then he mentions that his contract is up in 5 months and this may be something that he will want to resign. At Real's event he gave 50-50 odds for resigning (I think though that if he gets the manic storyline he will stay). He would love for Vanessa to return and do a triangle with him and Sarah. He did mention talking to Vanessa at a party at his house after the SOD awards. (Wouldn't you just have loved to be on THAT guest list!). She does miss GH and he didn't rule out her returning at some point.
I recently ran across a clip from the 35th Anniversary promos when Tony Geary was talking about working with Genie. He said that taping a love scene is like a fight scene. You can throw the greatest punch in the world but if the person can't take it, or can throw one back then it doesn't work. When Maurice was asked about working with Sarah he used a similar phrase in saying its like getting in the ring, Maurice throws a punch and Sarah throws one back. Maurice said how much he enjoys working with Sarah as she stays real and in the moment. He was asked about the possibility of working with Finola and said he would enjoy that. He complimented how respectful his fans are, how intelligent the letters he receives from them are. He promised that he would never want to do another soap role besides Sonny as this is such a great part. He was asked about Sonny ever being happy. He said no that we would lose who Sonny really is, that Sonny is not truly being happy, but on the edge. He deliberately played Sonny being happy over the pregnancy as he knew ahead of time that the bottom was going to drop out with her losing the baby.
He shared about seeing Ricky Martin a few nights before, about the love he has for his children, and how cute the baby is when she calls him, "Daddy!" Her first word! His first modeling job was modeling Speedos for AM San Francisco. He did some plays and commercial work. The same year of his nervous breakdown he entered a contest, "The Most Watchable Man in Contra Costa" (this is a county in northern California. He came in 3rd place. He then entered "The Most Watchable Man in San Francisco", he took first place. They flew him for to LA for "The Most Watchable Man in America" and he won that too! He took acting classes and six months later landed the role on AMC. When asked who he hangs out with he responded, "Ron, Billy, Michael Saucedo, and Real".
Real - This was a lot of fun, a sold out event of over 200! Guests were Maurice, Jacob, Michael, and Coltin. (A. was shooting a movie and unable to attend and Jonathan didn't make it as he got stuck on a freeway). Real reported that Taggert will be getting a family that they have just cast his sister and they are looking for his mother. He seemed really excited about this future storyline. He was also asked about his tattoos, one is in memory of his first dog who died, another means health and strength, and another means discipline/focus, and another for Jesus.
Michael & Maurice entered the room to much excitement. This was a fun part of the event as they teased each other back and forth, the underlying friendship and warmth evident. Maurice and Real loved the fan suggestion that Taggert & Sonny are really brothers. Maurice was asked about Tony Geary's right to ad-lib. Maurice confirmed that Tony Geary does re-write his dialog but not so much that what the other actors lines won't make sense and he doesn't re-write anyone else's lines. Maurice left and next up, they played a GH trivia game with two fans facing off "Family Feud" style to be the first to ding a bell to answer a question about Real or the show. Then the successful fan would answer Real's questions ala "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" GH style. No doubt the fans are loving Jacob by the positive reaction when he entered the room (both at this event, the GH event, and Becky's Soiree). The issue of nicknames came up, they call Coltin "Ponch". And for those of you who read my write up last year you will know that Michael is called "Monkey Boy" (Steve gave him that nickname after a fight scene last year when Juan jumped on someone's back). Michael said they call Jacob, "um bop" from the Hanson song. Jacob joking said he is officially the fourth Hanson. He calls Amber = Bimber (combination of Amber and Bimbo). He calls Maurice, Mr. Benard (he says this kidding).
Michael was asked what he thinks of the current storyline and he is enjoying it as he grew tired of the number of times Juan said to Emily, "You're my girlfriend." (At Becky's event he tells how he tried to drop it one time and they came over the loud speaker from the production booth, "Aah, Michael you forgot the line...."You're My Girlfriend." (I can just imagine his co-actors cracking up as they must know his feelings on the subject).
Coltin arrived next. Both he and Jacob also did extra duty at fan events both attending Real's, Becky's, and the main luncheon. Plus Coltin sang at Real's gospel session. Then Real the man...how much has he done to raise awareness and money for children's cancer organizations. He held his own event, his gospel event, went to the GH luncheon, in addition to giving set tours as a further charity fundraiser every day for a week - including his days off.
News on Steve's return – Okay, not much. Maurice said he has talked to Steve but they haven't discussed the reasons for Jason's return. Maurice said a couple of times that he really didn't know the premise but was looking forward to Steve coming back. They did say his hair looks much different. For anyone who doesn't know, his series "Sempre Fi" has been reportedly picked up as a mid-season replacement possibly to begin airing in October or so? I believe he is playing a platoon commander?
Wally's - Kurth & Taylor concert They put on a great show as always! This year it was held outside in the gazebo area. It was a beautiful warm evening. They had the crowd on their feet several times, clapping, cheering. At one point Wally (in his black leather pants) went down into the audience and I thought they would go nuts they were so excited. Several of his co-stars showed up to enjoy, Tava, Jacob, and Coltin were there. Tava rocked out (she also stayed afterwards and signed autographs and chatted with fans). I saw a couple of fans with little bits of black hair growing under their chins. At first I thought they were trying to copy Wally, till I saw one on Andrea (my German friend who comes out every year) and I realized they were little squares of fake hair glued on under their chins in honor of Wally's! Especially as many of the women had them on - that was an interesting sight! Most of the songs from their new CD "Freedom" were included on the play list, "Hero", "Freedom", "September", "Anything", "Believe", "Let It Go", "Barefoot Ballet", "Power of the Heart", and "Blacktop Blues". They sang "Gimme Three Steps" for the last time. They also sang a new song for the first time, "I Won't Surrender" which got thunderous audience approval. Another big hit was "Simply Irresistible" which Wally reported is his daughter, Rosabel's, favorite song. They ended with one of my favorites, "Seventh Son".
Wally did say that his movie, "Man on Fire" probably wouldn't film till next summer. He does plan on filming a big concert scene in Montana and invited us all to come! (I came home and told my husband, "Road Trip"!).
GH Luncheon - I will do a complete write up of this separately as I will add a complete transcript of the Q&A.
Stephen's event - This was a beautifully done event, held outside in the gazebo area Sunday at 4:00 right after the GH luncheon. Each table had a colorful centerpiece and were thoughtfully set under wide umbrellas to shade from the fans from the sun. Each table had a theme (Stefan & Laura, Stefan & Katherine, Emily & Gideon (a days fantasy), etc. Stephen is very funny, very witty, and answered questions openly. Coltin strolled by as Stephen was getting the Q&A started, he invited him to come in and had the gathering sing "Happy Birthday" to him. He was asked about the future for Stefan & Laura and reported that they were over, no hope of them getting back together. (so does that mean L&L will finally reunite or will she console the desolate Mac?). When he asked the audience what they thought of Luke & Felicia, he was greeted by a resounding "EWWWW!"....(glad I'm not the only one!). He did report that his future storyline would involve Chloe and he asked his fans to give this a chance before making a decision on whether it worked or not. He sung several times, and kept breaking out with "New York, New York". I had forgotten what a great voice he has. He used to jam on the harmonica when he was on Days, sadly he hasn't played it in 5 years! Fans agreed that Stefan should have tried to get word to Nicholas that he was alive (of course he would have be thwarted) as that would have been true to his character. I enjoyed him telling about the "Crunchy Awards" that the actors on Days awarded to one actor each day who really chewed up the scenery. He thought he deserved one with his reaction after Laura's death.
Stephen had a great idea to explain why there Helena has so much animosity towards Stefan. His version would be that Stavros (her first born) is not really Mikkos' son but the son of a beloved lover...that would make Stefan be Mikkos' first born son and the heir to the empire. TPTB haven't decided to use it so no scoop but I thought it was good!
After an hour of Q&A, he stopped by each table talking, signing autographs, taking pictures. There was a Greek buffet (which drew some laughter as he pointed out that Stefan was Russian and had only lived in Greece). (Also, I heard some fans gave him some towels and I didn't quite get the significance of that. The one thing we learned Monday while hanging out with the interns was that fans have been sending in washcloths to TPTB. Evidently, while they enjoyed the Stefan in a towel scenes recently they felt the towels used were just TOO BIG! LOL!!)
Real & Jonathan's gospel gathering This event was arranged at the at the last minute. It was free to get in they just asked for donations to go to a Ronald McDonald's camp for children with cancer. The lights were dimmed, and we sat on the floor. It created a very intimate setting. Real acted as MC and was quite funny about not being a singer. Someone brought up how much they enjoyed him at the Nurse's Ball and he kind of winced. He and his fiancée Michelle, had on shirts that said "Jesus is my sponsor." He is big into fishing and someone asked him when he was getting fishing supplies who his sponsor was. He didn't have a financial sponsor and he said, "Jesus". The clerk made some smart comment about Jesus not having any money. Real (who credits everything he has to Jesus) realized the guy just didn't get it.
Jonathan and is brother, Richard, and their dad played several songs. My personal favorite was "Jesus Loves Me". They also did "True Love" from God Candy and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". Jonathan spoke very deeply about his beliefs. I won't even try to express them as I don't believe I would do them justice. I've always been very impressed with Jonathan as being an intelligent, thoughtful young man. I've admired not only his acting ability but how grounded he seems to be, and the obvious impact his faith has had on his life. I was especially touched by him saying that in this gathering it wasn't about elevating one person above all others (which is pretty much what the whole picture and autograph session does). At this event the whole fan aspect was removed and it became about people sharing an experience. Both Real and Jonathan remarked how peaceful the room was, how tranquil. I know I never wanted to leave (okay now it wasn't just cause Real and Jonathan were in the room!).
Lisa V. can sure sing! She performed "Day by Day" from Godspell and left the audience begging for more. Then Coltin sang a Garth Brooks song acapella and further amazed the audience with his vocal talents. Vanita showed up with her beautiful son. She wasn't prepared to sing but the spirit moved her and she did "Amazing Grace" with her son snuggling on her shoulder. (All I can say is should she ever do Dream Girls again or ANY other musical I'm there!). This was an event no one wanted to end. Jonathan and Real both spoke about their faith. A prayer was said by their pastor that they do a bible study group with, Lisa is also a part the group. The room was amazingly still throughout this gathering, very peaceful, and the spirit was definitely with us. There was a calm, a quiet that gathered over the room. Several times I felt tears come to my eyes as I was touched by their devotion, to the lord, to each other, to giving back to their audience. I gained tremendous amount of respect for Real last year as he spoke about his brother, Mark's, fight with cancer. But in the past year he has taken that loss (Mark passed away) and fought back to make a difference. Not to mention all the fan events he does, all the fundraising he does year round, training and completing a triathlon, not to mention being a soap star. He strikes me as someone with high integrity and a lot of self-discipline. (Okay, I know I’m gushing but can't help it...as a breast cancer survivor - 1 year out of treatment, I really really appreciate all he has done to help children with cancer). (BTW, I HIGHLY recommend buying a tape of this event and Real's from Real's fan club. You can contact Linda Torrence at: firstname.lastname@example.org ). They raised around $600 but it wasn't a big donation push, just a simply collection at the door.
Becky's Soiree This was a great way to end a fun weekend...This group is hysterically funny. Amber, Coltin, Jacob, and Juan all showed up. These actors were great and stayed for hours doing the Q&A and then the auction. Jonathan surprised everyone by sticking his head in for a moment to say hi. Becky picks Amber up in the morning and they stop by McDonald's and have a parfait yogurt (I agree they are yummy...can't recall the name but has frozen yogurt, granola and a fruit topping - fruit parfait?). The guys were asked what they did first thing at the set and Coltin and Michael both said, "Shower". Since they have to be there and don't need as much time in hair and make up as the girls they use the extra time. Coltin and Jacob both said that they had enjoyed the Dead Ted scenes as some of their favorites. Becky reported she had recently run into Dead Ted at the mail and he asked her where he was at the moment (his body). She said she felt bad to tell him he was in a freezer in the Cassadine basement! LOL!! Coltin also said how much he enjoyed working with Stephen Nichols and the scenes about Stefan not being Nik's father were among his favorite scenes. They did talk about their haircuts, Coltin's is a big hit with the fans. Becky said she loves having shorter hair and when she finally got permission from TPTB to cut it she has cut it about 3 times in the past month and feels it is just right now. Amber once again was a big hit doing the auction, she is a born comic! Michael is also very funny and its obvious how comfortable they felt with one other as there was LOTS of teasing going on. They auctioned off a set of handprints (Grauman's Chinese Theatre style). Many many pictures of them, beautifully framed, professional shots, promo type stuff. Also scripts (one from "Trapped in a Purple Haze", a script from the day of Lucky's death, set tours (three people bought tours for $1300 each)...all the times went for $100-300 and they had a LOT of items. Coltin left the room and came back with a t-shirt on (I think it was a Nurse's Ball shirt with a ton of autographs)...there was quite a bit of excitement when the audience noticed that Debbie Herbst (Becky's mom) was holding the white sweater that Coltin was wearing. The lucky winner not only got the shirt but the opportunity to remove it from Coltin, and a kiss on the check! Jacob then did the same thing! These were VERY popular auction items. The guys also helped increase bidding by walking pictures up and down the isles. Several times when the bidding wasn't moving, the guys would bid on an item...I think Jacob bought a picture of Amber & Becky. Coltin also bid on something but I think was outbid by a fan.
************ Monday -We were scheduled for a set tour on Monday. Real's fan club had auctioned off many tours throughout the year as fundraisers for children's cancer organizations. I was lucky enough to be high bidder on one! We had the opportunity to have lunch at the ABC commissary with Real, Lisa V., and we were joined by Jonathan who was doing a separate tour lunch for Real. We mostly shared about how special the gospel session was, what a departure from the rest of the weekend. They were all very warm, gracious and we had a great time! Since it was such a busy day on the set, there were many tours schedule with different actors that we offered to come back in a couple of months to do our tour. We all agreed, so we still have that too look forward to! Before we left Real was wonderful, he asked Maurice to come over and take pictures with us. Real also asked Jonathan before he left to take pictures with everyone in the group, and Real made sure we took pictures with him as well.
It was fun talking to the interns. They do listen to the GH viewer comment line 310-557-4583 and take notes of each call and give them to Wendy daily, she does a daily report. They also read all of the fan mail addressed to the show and do a synopsis of what the viewers are writing. The fan mail to the individual actors are given to them, not read by the interns. They do report getting wash clothes (from the Stephen fans mentioned above), straw from Alan & Monica fans (for the straw that broke the camels back in them not getting storyline/airtime) but they just throw the straw away, packets of sweet & Low for L&L (to accept no substitute). They remembered getting the Lucky charms (to keep lucky on the show about a year ago) of course they arrived rather smashed up and were also tossed out. So the items included to make a point aren't scene by TPTB though I'm sure they hear of the various campaigns. However the interns only work one day a week (or should I say volunteer since they aren't paid positions - one girl drives an hour and a half each way!), I counted four that I met the day I was there. They applied for the position with a resume, application like a regular job. Two of the interns I talked to wanted to get into the production aspect of television.
Stacey : )
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