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Note: All names are omitted to protect the ridiculous!
Several months ago, FANGORIA had its Trinity of Terrors convention out in Las Vegas, and it was just friggin’ perfect. Everything from the black-and-gold color scheme, to the stocked bar outside the main room, to the endless list of celebrities, to the slot machines located just one elevator away—we got it down. It was a Class A production.
Trinity means three, and that translated into a trio of wonderful happenings all at the same time. We had fabulous dealers selling everything from monster toys to leather coffin couches to soap; we had the Grammy-winning Slipknot scheduled to play in the concert hall located steps from the convention room; and we had movies running from morning until night all three days. There was so much to choose from, and those folks who came to Vegas to be part of it had a blast.
My role was “celebrity liaison,” which is a fancy phrase for wrangling the “I want what I want when I want it” crowd. I thought it sounded good before I got there, but I may as well have been dubbed “firefighter,” since I actually had to put out fires the entire weekend. I never knew I was good at this, but apparently I am. Of course, I know now that it is at the cost of sleep, the constant screaming of “Do it yourself, ya big baby!” in my head and my already fragile nerves. We were located at the Palms Hotel and Casino, and there’s a woman who works there whom I will call Mrs. Orange. She was so extremely helpful to me prior to arrival that I decided to buy her an orange (just like her name) aromatherapy candle. I introduced myself to her, and she was so grateful for the gesture of the candle gift that she gave me her home phone number for any problems over the weekend. Thank God! I did need her a few times. My advice: If you think you might need some help in such a situation, bring a candle.
Here’s an example of a typical hour in a “celebrity liaison’s” life. One must wear a Bluetooth or you’re dead, with either the loss of one hand holding your phone or the loss of your neck forever. My Bluetooth would beep and it would be someone at the airport wondering if there was a limo for them. Mind you, we had 70 guests and could not possibly send a special car for each and every one of them. So, much to their chagrin, I would tell them there were hundreds of taxis lined up to take them to the hotel, for which they would be reimbursed.
Next question from one guest was, “What do I do when I get there?” to which I offered to meet him at the front desk. He liked that. I dashed off to meet this person and voilà, off went the Bluetooth. Someone was now up in the convention hall and needed me to point out their booth. I flew back across the casino to the convention room with lightening speed when the phone piece in my ear beeped again. “Where are you?” asked person number one, who had by now arrived at the front desk where I was not. Down back I flew. This VIP didn’t wait for me as he said he would; instead, he checked in, only to find it was too early and his suite was occupied. This was not a good thing. The hotel staff and I offered a temporary room, but that would not do. I called Mrs. Orange at home, she spoke to the front-desk staff and whaddaya know? They made it all OK.
My heart was in my stomach and the Bluetooth beeped a few times (which I was forced to ignore), but this VIP was looking pretty good and that’s all I cared about at the moment. He had to speak in two hours, and wanted me to come pick him up at his room and escort him to where he was speaking, because he refused to walk through the crowd. I dashed up to the convention hall to deal with the two phone calls I missed, then ran to Security to plot out a way to get my celebrity guest to his engagement without being seen. And the phone kept beeping—just in case you thought that was over. Security was used to this type of thing, and we did a dry run as the talent went upstairs to relax. We went the back route, which the talent later called “the Bobby Kennedy way” since, yes, our path took us through the kitchen.
I decided to check the e-mail on my Blackberry, and to my horror, I received a message from the office of one celebrity, telling me that this guest would only sign autographs with a certain type of blue Bic pen. I once again had to literally run across the hotel to our “war room” to check if we had any. We did not! Yikes! I was able to find two people to take a ride out to OfficeMax to get the pens. Then I got a call from them, telling me that there were about 10 different types of blue Bics. What was I to do? I had to call the agent and ask if the pen had to have a clicky noise or a cap. Did this type of pen have a name? Yes, said the agent: It was called Bic Diamond.
So I called my guys at OfficeMax and told them this urgent info, and what do you know? OfficeMax was out of stock on that item! I started to sweat. I quickly called the agent again and asked what the “backup” pen could be. I was told there was no backup; it had to be that pen! So I called the guys who were waiting on me at OfficeMax and told them to buy every type of blue pen in the store! This fire wasn’t put out…it was still smoldering. Later on, when it came time for signing, there were random Sharpies lying on the table. My celebrity looked at them and I said, “I have a whole bag of Bic pen choices for you,” to which the reply was, “Oh, these will do.” After all that! “Oh, these will do”?? After I nearly killed myself over pens?!? Oh well, at least the fire was out. And all the while, the Bluetooth kept beeping.
Then there were the “room switch” fires that went on all weekend: “I don’t like my room”; “I want to be in another part of the hotel,” etc. And all of it got handled by me with a headache and a smile. “Celebrity Liaison”: Doesn’t it sound like a great title? Doesn’t it sound like it would be fun and special?
What was fun and special was the convention itself. The celebrities were happy—and not because I solved the petty problems. They were so excited to see one another. Roger Corman was thrilled to see John Waters and, coincidentally, they both had presents for one another. Malcolm McDowell came directly over to John to say hi to him, and was also hugging Corbin Bernsen. It was like one tremendous reunion. And the fans picked up on this energy, which only added to their fun. The celebrities were extremely generous and took time to hang out with the crowd. And everyone—fans, celebs and dealers—took lots of pictures.
So where did that leave me? Well, instead of running off to the bar every chance I had to take a shot of whiskey to calm my nerves, I would go to my favorite slot machine, called Fireball. It’s a penny slot, and yours truly won $100 during one of my delinquent escapes. Maybe there was an up side to having been the “Celebrity Liaison” after all.
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