Monday, December 8, 2008

I met Alan Spaulding

S and I cleaned up and went out to a Christmas concert last Friday night where Ron Raines, aka Alan Spaulding on the Guiding Light, was a featured performer. I like Christmas music, so I was glad to go to the concert. As I write this, my iPod is playing my Christmas playlist throughout the house. It could play for something like four days without repeating. So, I play it as much as possible in December. For the record, S is not as big a fan of the holiday music as I am. Right now, though, as I type this, he isn't home. So, it's turned up really loud. I'm bathing in it.Last night, we basked in the sounds of Christmas at the concert, too.

I've been a fan of the Guiding Light since my grandmother babysat me as a small child. She watched all the CBS soaps. So, I did too. When I was in high school, several of my friends and I used to rush home from school to the closest house (Kathy's) to catch the second half of the Guiding Light every day. These days, I get around to watching it every once in a while. Enough to still know what's going on in Springfield. For example, I'm very much looking forward to Phillip's return. And, I think the network was stupid for letting Harley and Gus move to All My Children. I'm that much of a Soap nerd.

I had never met someone I watch regularly on TV. And, I've never been a big enough fan of anyone to be really "in" to them, or a groupie or anything. Ok, maybe Harry Connick, Jr.. In college, maybe he would have qualified. I didn't have the pocketbook to become a stalker or anything like that, though. That said, generally, I don't get too hung up on celebrities. I don't read People Magazine unless in a doctor's waiting room. I don't watch Entertainment Tonight unless I just happen to channel surf into it for a few seconds. I don't visit TMZ. I don't care what Brad and Angelina and their twelve children are up to today. That said, I've had a few run-ins with what you would call celebrities.

Once Laura Innes was sitting behind me when I saw A Prairie Home Companion live at the Hollywood Bowl. But, I don' t watch her regularly on TV. And, I didn't really meet her. She was there as a patron the same as me, so I didn't see that it would be appropriate to interrupt her evening. Everyone there pretty much did the same. I guess L.A. people are so used to that sort of thing that they're down with it. I followed their lead. Now, though, since I brought it up, that was a cool night, completely separate from whether Ms. Innes was in attendance. I went by myself when I was in L.A. for a conference, before I headed home. The weather was perfect. The Hollywood Bowl is legendary. It was very memorable.

If you're familiar with the show, you know Garrison Keillor reads greetings audience members submit from the stage as part of the program. He read my greeting! I used a trick I learned from a "how to win a drawing" segment I saw once on daytime TV - I folded the piece of paper like an accordion so it stood out in the bowl of little pieces of paper. I don't know if that's how it got picked from the thousands of slips of paper, but I venture to say it had something to do with it. You can listen to that show here. My greeting is at the top of segment 3. It was so cool. And, sort of cool to experience something so cool "all by myself" in a sea of thousands of people. If you ever have the chance to go to the Hollywood Bowl, no matter what the show, go. And, if you ever have the chance to see the Prairie Home Companion live, do that too.

Also, I once saw Barry Williams, aka Greg Brady, at baggage claim when I landed in L.A. on that same trip, and I guess I used to watch him, but I was never really that into the Brady's. Of course, being in the performing arts industry, I've met lots of interesting and very talented people. But, never anyone, as I said, that I'd watched regularly on TV.

I should say as well that Mr. Raines' character, Alan Spaulding, is the villain, sort of, on the show. So, I wondered if he'd be friendly in person. He was enchanting on stage - he sang beautifully with a HUGE baritone voice, and narrated The Night Before Christmas better than I'd ever heard it be done. And, he helped lead two audience sing alongs - he was so into those that he was sort of dancing in place on stage. He definitely did not seem to be menacing or mean in person. I guess that's why they call it acting. ;)

Me and Ron Raines

I was thrilled to learn that Mr. Raines would greet patrons in the green room after the concert, where I got to meet him. He was very nice. Totally normal and un-mean. A cool cat.

I told him about how I started watching the show way back with my grandma. He said that's very common - that the soaps are passed down generationally - isn't that interesting? I thought it was anyway.

S took this photo of us. It's blurry. We only took one. It didn't look blurry on the 2 inch screen. I should have turned up the ISO. I didn't. So, this is what we got. I decided to trick it out using some of the settings in Photoshop Elements that I never really use. If you mess with it at all, that bit of blurriness becomes hardly noticeable. Not that the results make a good photo, however. Here are the results.

Here we are in fluorescent chalk.

And, using the "old photo" setting.

This one's called a "stamp".

That one gave me the idea to crop up the photo and rotate it a bit and see if it made it any better.

It's more interesting, but no less blurry.

So, I kept playing.

Here we are in a "blizzard." Brrr...

And, as a wood carving.
I could get you one for Christmas...

And, posterized.
(My spell checker wants to change that word to "pasteurized." Funny.)
Not sure I like face stubble...

The last two here in my opinion are the best efforts on the "strange transformation" front.

In conte crayon.
That's nice - if only the conte crayon artist had been on hand.

And, last, with a "hard light mix".
Sort of Andy Warhol-ish.
Whatever that means.

OK, so there you go. My one blurry photo with Mr. Raines is not the best indication that I had a nice time. But I did have a great time meeting the first celebrity I was interested in meeting. Thanks, S, for going out on the town with me. It was a nice little holiday evening!

1 comment:

  1. Dear Amy, I am so glad that you got to meet Ron and talk to him. He is a true gentleman. I run his official website for him and I happened to come across your blog via a Google Alert. I wish I could have been there! I got a chuckle about your wondering what he was like compared to Alan. I have heard so many people say that! It is funny to see how people react to him when the first meet him. Tahnks for sharing!


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