Posts Tagged House of Blues

Fangirl Friday – Stalking vs. Strategic Loitering: What Is Appropriate And When

 We all want to meet our favorite musician, right? Wanting them to acknowledge us, recognize us, is part and parcel of the whole fandom gig. When someone goes too far, we call that stalking. What is stalking? What exactly is going too far? Maybe we should start with what is acceptable and work our way up.

Here’s the thing some people don’t understand. They owe us nothing. Sure, we give them money, in exchange for their albums, merchandise, or concerts. It’s a straightforward transaction. No, seriously. We may mention the time we’ve put in as fans, but they put in the time as well in the studio, rehearsing, whatever. Of course we like it better if they’re nice to us, it makes us more inclined to continue purchasing their product. What may trip us up is the feelings we get from those products.

So, because they give us joy, fill our souls, we want that connection to go both ways. To that end, we want to meet our idols.

A good way to do that is strategic loitering. This is best accomplished in groups of two or more, but probably should not exceed eight depending on the venue one chooses. Remember, if we know where to go, odds are others will as well.

Basically what we do is very simple. We go somewhere our idol is likely to be and hang out. For example, the radio station adventure I talked about last week. Other acceptable places are, in no particular order: concert/show venues, signings, hotel bars, and other public places. One location one should NEVER go uninvited is a private residence. This lands you firmly in stalking territory, and should be avoided at all costs.

Now, okay, we have the places, but what should we do when we get there? First, and most important, be polite…to the person you wish to meet, fellow loiterers, and most especially to any staff who might be working your chosen venue.

Let’s say we’ve chosen the hotel bar as our hang-out spot. Order a drink. It doesn’t have to be alcoholic, we just have to keep in mind that the bartender and servers are there to make a living. If we’re taking up their tables and bar space without ordering, we are impeding their ability to do so. That’s rude. What’s more, they’ll be less inclined to pass on any potentially helpful information, such as when Mr. or Ms. Rock Star tends to come down for a drink!

So, the bartender has given us the skinny that our idol will be down within the hour. What do we do when they appear? No! We don’t mob them or hover in the doorway! Bad fan, no autograph! We wait for them to come in, get comfy, and gauge their mood. If they look like they want to be left alone, we LEAVE THEM ALONE. Regroup, come back at another time or try a different venue.

If, however, they’re being approachable, do so. We don’t mob them, we send one or two of our group over to politely ask for autographs. If the water’s fine, they discreetly beckon the others to join. If, on the other hand, what we took for a welcoming smile was just gas, we back off post-haste.

“But Gigi!” I hear your dulcet tones clamor, “That means we don’t get to meet them!”

True enough, but it also ensures we don’t piss them off and make a bad impression. It gives us a chance to try again later at a more opportune moment. And maybe, just maybe naughty girls need love too they’ll remember how polite we were at the hotel and be extra nice at the backstage door!

Okay, so let’s say our venue is at the back of the House of Blues or another small setting. There’s maybe ten people total, and two of them are with us. Where do we stand? Near the big black car/SUV/limo idling at the curb! Now we wait. We see the first band member exit. He’s the one our two friends are there to see so we take the camera, ready to play a combination of shutter-bug and wing-man(woman). Oh no! The crazy stalker fan has launched herself onto him like a monkey, arms around his neck, legs around his waist! For shame!

Here’s where playing to Mr. Rock Star’s tastes really comes in. God (yes, I mean Nick Rhodes) really likes the unique. Happily, one of our friends is in boots that make her over six feet tall, sporting fire-engine-red hair, and wearing a bindi. Though shaken by the scary limpet fan, he sees her and his face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. When politely asked for a picture, he readily agrees, puts his arm around her, and the picture gets snapped. We thank him, he slips into his limo, and drives off. Now we have a memory that will last forever and our idol is reassured that not all his fans are insane.

There have been a few examples peppered throughout of inappropriate behavior. Other things no good fan should ever do: dig through their garbage, abduct their pets for ransom, steal their clothes to sell on eBay, follow them into the bathroom, interrupt conversations, grope them without express permission/invitation or do anything we wouldn’t want a stranger to do to us.

What examples of strategic loitering have I missed? What about stalking? Share your tales of band encounters here!

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Fangirl Friday – When Fandoms Collide

Welcome to Fangirl Friday, episode one. Today is a sort of hodge-podge, pot-luck day, with fandom taking the reins. Anything I’m a fan of, I’ll talk about here. Now, to be honest, I had a whole other blog planned for today. It was descriptive, funny, and had  nothing whatsoever to do with music. Oops! So on my best friend’s good advice, I put it away in the “maybe later” pile.

“Well pooh!” I grumbled. “Now I have to pull a new rabbit out of the proverbial hat.” Before I could get a good pout going, her chuckle sounded over the phone.

“You have a ton of music-related fan stories. In fact, why don’t you talk about the first fandom event we shared?” Laura murmured, her smirk so loud my eye twitched. Then I thought about what she said.

After picking my jaw up off the floor, I started to grin. She was SO right. The weekend she and I first met was full of wonderful fandom moments, like accompanying her to her first Duran Duran show. The very first, though, was our adventures outside a Chicago radio station.

It was the afternoon of Friday, August sixth, 1999. Dark days for Durans and Duranies alike, even though it was the time when Laura was just entering the fandom. I was twenty-five, she was twenty-two, three months and eleven days shy of her twenty-third birthday. We had met on the internet and it was the first time we’d seen each other face to face.

Only two members of the original five, Simon Le Bon and Nick Rhodes, were in the line-up of the band. Or, as many of us like to affectionately call them, Ego and God. They were playing the House of Blues, and we had also heard that they would be visiting a local radio station. Because the show was general admission, we knew we’d have to stand in line most of the day to get a decent spot. Even so, we couldn’t pass up the chance to maybe meet the band.

Like good little Duranies, we got dressed up in our concert gear that included (for me) black velvet, white feathers, and glitter. We were a bit confused when we got to the radio station, thinking we might have gotten the wrong building. Sure there were several other females in concert gear, but none of them looked to be out of high school. Some of them didn’t even look like they were old enough to be in high school. What the everlovin’ heck?

The doors opened and five guys emerged. The teeny-boppers went nuts and mobbed them. Four of them were unfamiliar to me. But when I caught a glimpse of the fifth, I froze with the shock of recognition…of the back of his neck.

“That’s…that’s JC Chasez from the Mickey Mouse Club,” I stammered. At the same time, Laura said, “Oh my God, it’s NSYNC!” My heart was pounding and I just stood there, trying to remember how to breathe. I dimly heard Laura snapping pictures with her camera. None of those were more than the backs of their heads, sadly.

Once the limo had driven off, Laura and I stared at each other and giggled. The dust settled, bringing a handful of women our age and older as the younger girls dispersed. We were still giddy and chatting about it when a very tall, familiar-looking man emerged and nearly trod on me. To be fair, I’m only 5’4″ and he’s over six feet tall. It’s amazing he was able to swerve around me at the last minute.

Laura and I grumbled until he got about ten feet away and turned. We both nearly dropped on the spot. It was Simon Le Bon! One of the very men we’d come to see! I was writhing in shame as she took pictures. I’d been a Duranie for fifteen years at that point and hadn’t recognized him, yet I recognized the back of the neck of someone I’d been a fan of six years before for only a short time!

Granted, I’d actually met JC in person once, when the MMC did a Target tour, and had never seen Simon so close. It was too early in our friendship for Laura to tease me back then. By the time we were close enough for her to do so, I had redeemed myself as a Duranie, but that’s a story for another time.

So what about you? Has a minor fandom ever intruded on a major one? Do you have any tales of missed opportunities? I want to hear your stories, please!

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