Sunday, July 22, 2012

GHFCW (General Hospital Fan Club Weekend for the uninitiated) 2012 Main Cast Event

We arrived around 9:30am and wound our way back through the Sportsman's Lodge, over the two bridges and into the same area as Jule's and Kel's event was, however, the main cast event was just past, further down the hall, in an enormous banquet room.

When we walked into the room we were stunned at the cacophony of sound. We were each handed a card that announced General Hospital Golden Moments with the new logo used in the promo now and a coffee cup. Registration was easy today as we were on the list. However, boy oh boy were we in the back of the room!

Table 40 (out of 50).

The plus is that we were close to the back door which meant easy access for fire and bathroom. Also, we were served our food rather quickly. The negative is that we were so far back that it was difficult to hear and see much of anything. However, once the Q&A began with Bradford Anderson as the host (filling in for John York) it wasn't much of an issue as he kept to the back of the room, repeated questions and answers and made a point of interacting with the entire room. He is a pretty amazing guy. Oh, but I'm out of order. Let's back track a bit.

The set up.
The room was set up with Raffle options, and 'shopping' options all around the room. I find it interesting that they used the term 'Raffle' since the IRS requires that any 'raffle winnings' be taxed. They ran a 50/50 raffle (I did not win but the pot was supposedly split at $650 each with one-half going to charity. They did call out to the winner to return to the booth as there was a math discrepancy. Who knows what that means but it sounds foreboding to me!) They had hundreds and hundreds of other 'prizes'. I lost track. I didn't even bother buying any 'raffle' tickets because there was too much 'stuff' to sort out. There was also a host of 'silent auction' items and many of them were props from the show.

There were some cool things such as Robin and Patrick's airline tickets, Jason and Sam's Dragon/Phoenix figurines, etc but the prices were already steep and people were running around with wads of cash. I looked at my husband and rolled my eyes and said 'I'm out'. We would have bid on the figurines but they were already at $500. OMG. Seriously people! They weren’t even porcelain but  rubberized which happened to be a good thing when the woman in front of us grabbed them from Doug after Doug pointed it out. She promptly dropped the Dragon and it disappeared under the table. Luckily Doug was able to retrieve it. The Escort was not impressed.

We bought a tee-shirt and a photo book to have people sign. Of course, I bought a book that only had 1/2 of the people in it so the rest of the people just signed the card that I had. Oh well. People got their complimentary GH mug signed. That was a good idea. Maybe I should have done that. Oh well. HA. Jen Lilley was telling everyone to bake their mug for 10 mins on 350 and the signatures will be preserved for life. She was really a doll, especially after the morning's announcement that she had filmed her last day at GH the day before (Friday). (I included a photo of her and Frank Valenti hugging.) Everyone will miss Jen. She had a huge standing ovation when she walked into the room.

Eventually they told everyone that the auctions were closed, announced the winners and started calling 'raffle ticket' winners. This lasted probably 2 hours. We were served our meal through this time.
The food was a surprise to me in that it was served quickly, efficiently and was really good. I had a 'special request' which can go horribly wrong. I ordered vegan/gluten free. The server knew exactly who I was and what I ordered. My meal was very tasty and beautiful to look at, as well. My husband had the chicken which he said was also very good. The servers worked hard and the kitchen must have worked over time to prepare over 500 meals and have them ready at the same time. It was impressive.

Finally, the plates cleared, the tickets were over and we waited. Nervous chatter and excitement filled the room because during the tickets/meal all of the 'stuff' along the walls had been moved out and the tables had been converted for the GH Cast. Signs were placed with their names. People would sneak out of their seats to figure out who was where on the wall and then rush back as if they were doing 'recon' hushed voices saying "Michael Easton is on the SOUTH WALL ... GO THERE FIRST".

We got the announcement the cast was ready to enter and here they came. One last disclaimer was made for cast members that 'couldn't make it'. I'm not 100% of the order of how they were announced. They started with Cameron (he's so tiny) and worked their way up. No sooner had the last cast member taken their seat than did they start shifting in their seats which was interesting. It was if you could see who the real 'friendships' were. We were given the announcement to 'take photos' and everyone tried to rush the stage. I got in as close as could but it was packed.

Then Executive Producer Frank Valentini showed up and the room went crazy. He hugged Jen Lilley as everyone screamed cheered.

Finally, the room settled down for the Q&A.
As I said Bradford played host and ran around the room helping the audience. Questions ranged from personal to storyline. No storyline questions were answered and always deferred to Frank. That quickly became a running joke. Nathin Butler provided the best non-answer Frank deferral of the day. There were a lot of references to 'shirtless scenes' by the cast which was met by screams from the fans. Some questions were of the 'who would you play on the show if you can't play your character' type. It was silly and fun but I won't say I learned anything about GH. The best "Question/Answer" was posed to Frank Valentini who, when asked if he would reprise the Nurses Ball responded "I love Nurses and I love Music". Everyone applauded and took that as a positive sign. At least he didn't say he loves balls. OMG.

After the Q&A broke we were instructed to stay in our seats for the actor's safety as they were escorted to their tables. Of course people were milling about. I was coming back from the bathroom so I was breaking the rules already. Oops. (at least we were in the back). Doug said some of the actors left but we realized later this was because they went to the other room.

A few tables were called to go to line up. For whatever reason even table 43 was called before they finally announced "ALL THE REST OF YOU" meaning our poor table, table 50 and a couple of others.

My hubby and I wandered around a bit. Passed by Shaun Blakemore and thought we'd hit him again as we wanted to do longer lines first. Unfortunately he left early.
Our first table was Steve Burton. He had a short line. Holy cow! Lucky us.
Then we saw Frank Valentini, (who was standing by the stage but nice enough to visit with me and take a photo) Nathin Butler, Lisa LoCicero, Rebecca Herbst, Jen Lilley, Bradford Anderson, Haley Pullos, Drew Cheetwood. We also snapped a few side photos including Kelly Sullivan whom I met on Friday and have several photos of, Robin Mattson, and Maurice Bernard. Both Robin and Maurice had lines that were out the door long. I was not feeling 'great' on Sat and we opted not to wait the 1+hour for each line. Michael Easton had a crazy long line, too. As we left we found Julie Berman along with Jason Thompson and Dominic in the room that Jules&Kel had used on Friday. I was happy to see long lines for them but just as happy to drop into the seat of my car, head home, plop down by the pool and fall asleep. (Which is exactly what I did.)

When I awoke there was a package by my door. My Fat Kat sweatshirt from Baby Gagoo had arrived. (This is Vanessa Marcil-Giovinazzo's company and proceeds benefit Sojourn) Seemed like a fitting end to a long but happy weekend celebrating General Hospital!

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