My week in NYC was wonderful. I had SO many firsts and look forward to going back…next year. If shoved into a corner, would I have a not-so-positive report on say the subways? Nope. The taxis? Nope, however, I was certain one cabbie was going to kill us all. The people? Nope. They were extremely welcoming!
Surprisingly the not-so-positive would have to be the Red Carpet event at The Hobbit premiere. Granted, I had NO expectations because I had no idea what all went on at these hoorahs. We tried to talk ourselves out of going all day Thursday, mainly because we were pretty sure a Red Carpet was way out of our league. But hey, we were there, so why not? The Red Carpet in NYC seemed weird from the beginning, even to a novice. Oh, let me count the ways.
First, publicity was minimal.
There was little or no lighting. Our cameras got a work-out that night!
The VIPs appearances were extremely brief (compared to the other Red Carpets we’d seen via live feed)…we thought we saw Peter Jackson’s and Martin Freeman’s shadows!!? Some of the VIPs made their way to the fans for maybe 30 seconds. Others spent a little more time, around 1-2 minutes. Some just got out of their car and headed for the Red Carpet pronto. Huh?!! Wha…? Wait. Where…?
Security for the maybe 200 count crowd was non-existent. Oh they were there…but only for the VIPs. There were uniformed policemen there, but it seemed their main job was traffic control.
But that particular corner of strangeness that loomed there that night is further analyzed here at RA Frenzy.
The huge negative that night, for me, were the terrorists. Oh, you hadn’t heard about them? They were there, believe me. If there’s a term for this particular group, I haven’t heard it yet, so let’s just go with Autograph Terrorists.
You might wonder what Autograph Terrorists are? Generally speaking the ATs are 250-300 lb. thugs who, for $$$, push fans around at these events so they can get autographs from the stars/VIPs at the expense of true fans. And then sell the autographs on eBay or wherever. Which is why I would never ever buy autographed items on eBay. Not after seeing HOW they get those autographs! And the autographed photos ARE on eBay as I type. In fact, they were up a day after the NYC Red Carpet Event. How do I know that? With just minimal effort and detective work, it was easy to spot them.
Now to be fair, we were warned by our friendly photographer, RL, a gentleman and friendly New Yorker! He told me to watch out for big bruisers who would push us around in order to get photos autographed for resell. Surely, not, I thought. I was wrong.
Fifteen minutes later, I turned and saw behind us a group of 20-30 something males gathered around the ring-leader, a short older guy who was issuing orders. I alerted my friends and it was decided to befriend them. That seemed logical. Be nice to them and they’d be nice to us. Right. (Note: we had a prime spot (thanks to friends!) thus the group behind us. And were we short. And female. Talk about a War on Women…)
Oh yeah, they promised to behave. “Help us ID these guys and we’ll leave you ladies alone.” (this part they did adhere to for our videographer, with gentle reminders from her to do so!) Really? I was thinking, “Wait. You want autographs from people you can’t even ID?! You boys didn’t do your homework did you?” That was a huge clue that these were NOT fans! Ya think?!!
As the VIPS arrived, the ATs pushed, shoved and bullied their items to be signed right in front of my face and others’ faces. The portable rails were literally leaning towards the Joneses and we were going to fall on our collective noses at any moment. My gut was screaming, “Danger!” My compadre/NYC guide was filming the fiasco with my iPad and while I value my friendship, if we went over, said compadre and I would go crashing into the steel rails and street with valued iPad in peril. Enough said!!
One security guard came over to tell the thugs to quit pushing us a couple of times. As in, “Aww come on guys. Don’t push the ladies.” Tough guy huh?
We couldn’t push back due to the size of the monsters and, to be totally honest, they scared the heck out of me. I had an umbrella in my handy dandy Vera Bradley tote that I would’ve loved to have opened right in their faces but these were unsavory beasts who wouldn’t have batted an eyelash before knocking the tar out of us! Or worse.
Asking them to lay off was wasted breath. They just shoved another picture in front of your face. Literally. I had brief glimpses of who was getting out of a car and then, WHAM…the terrorists screamed “SIGN!!” while dangling a photo over my head, into my face and mangling my head/hair/face. And I was NOT the only one who experienced this.However, I am happy that I can assure you that Andy Serkis looks nothing like Gollum and Richard Armitage has his real nose back. In case you were worried…
The question I had/have is why did the celebs sign those photos? Could they and/or their security guys not see that these thugs were…THUGS?! Fans weren’t getting autographs while the ATs were getting multiple signatures. Surely they had encountered this ilk before in other events? In the 30 seconds that most of the VIPs spent with the fans, at least 50% of the photos signed were for resell. Uhhmmmm, ok, whatever but REALLY?!! What about the faithful fans who have been devoted Tolkien/Hobbit/LofR fans for years. This was IT?!!
Note: the autographed photos were up the next day for sale and are still up. And yes, I can prove it.
It can be (and should be) argued that there were many factors playing into the way this event was handled that cold night. (My inside source tells me that the studios are in charge of Red Carpet events.) I only know that I left that night feeling like crumbs had been tossed to the crowds and a pack of wolves had devoured them quickly!
With all that said, it was a good evening. Yes, it was fun getting a glimpse of Adam Brown, hearing Richard Armitage chuckle, watching Andy Serkis work the crowd and seeing Ian McKellen speak to the PETA sign people (all 2 of them) was neat. Did my heart flutter?! Nope, not once. Was I aghast in the presence of greatness?!! Nah. They put their pants on the same way we all do. Did I melt into a pile of mush at the possibility of reaching out and touching ”celebrity”?! Nope, didn’t even try. I mean, I had a hoard of ATs on my back. I couldn’t move for Pete’s Sake!! And when it was all over in a matter of…maybe 30 minutes, I looked at Frenz and thought, “What the heck just happened here? Is that ALL there is? (quoting an old Peggy Lee song..yes, I am THAT old!)
The real fun was interacting with Hobbit fans! No, I am NOT including ATs as fans. LOL! I’m pretty sure that none of them had even heard of J.R.R. Tolkien much less the book he wrote. No, they victimized (that sounds a bit dramatic!) innocent fans. And for that, I hope they got nothing but a piece of coal in their stocking on Christmas. Serve ‘em right!!!