I love you 3000

Yesterday was truly one of the most exciting days ever. I woke up to my Disney alarm at 3:20 AM, brushed my teeth, got dressed, grabbed a camp chair, and jumped in the car. I made it to the Bucktown Best Buy before 4:30 in the morning and prayed I was among the first 100 people in line to pick up my preorder copy of Avengers Endgame, which, after seeing it four times this summer, I can safely say is my favorite movie of all time.

I waited in line with other Avengers superfans and the hours flew by. I sat in my comfy camp chair, took a Cap nap, even walked to the Mariano’s a few blocks away for a bathroom and breakfast break. There seems to be a gentleman’s agreement that the people in line will respect your place in line so you can take care of human needs etc. I was very glad of that being by myself on this particular adventure. It was surprisingly cool when I was napping, and in hindsight I should have brought a light blanket, but otherwise I had everything I needed.

I was in line to meet Joe Russo, who is probably the first director to ever have such a huge impact on me. He was in Chicago as part of the We Love You 3000 tour. With his brother Anthony and writers, Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus, they make a dream team of storytellers that inspire and delight me as an audience member and fellow storyteller.

I kept thinking about the Q&A I had the honor of attending, sitting smack in the center of the front row, on Monday with Joe Russo at The Second City and some of the nuggets of wisdom he imparted on an audience of artists, performers, creators, and filmmakers.

Make the story you want to tell. Make what you believe in. Make what you care about.

-Joe Russo

As someone who is deep in the throes of writing a novel, this particular advice was meaningful in ways I didn’t expect. Hearing it from someone who capped off one of the greatest storytelling events in this lifetime gave it so much more weight than I could have imagined. Avengers Endgame was the twenty-second movie in a ten-year saga of 23 movies. I still get emotional thinking about the events that transpired and the way they were able to truly payoff the set-up they started a decade ago.

He talked about long-form storytelling being the future, as it helps audiences connect with the characters for an emotional payoff you can’t get out of a singular movie. How the actors know their characters better than he ever would and the trust he puts in them to bring those characters to life. This is something Brian and I talk about a lot. We both really hope to see more movie studios picking up on this idea that a series of interconnected stories in a single world can truly immerse audiences and drive interest and excitement.

He answered my question about “I love you 3000” – where it came from (Robery Downey Jr. told them it was a cute thing his daughter said, so they used it) and if they realized the impact it would have on the audience and eventually their marketing plans (they actually found that test audiences loved it so much, they added it to the hologram later, unaware of its potential at the time. He claimed meme culture helps bring one-off lines like this to the front line of movies and TV).

Joe Russo inspires me. And so when I had the opportunity to wait in line to meet him, I took it.

Which returns us to his appearance at Best Buy yesterday.

As they handed out wristbands, I anxiously watched, hoping our counts had been close and we were under 100. It didn’t feel real until they wrapped a blue paper wristband with the number 075 around my left wrist.

They handed out pins and Chicago themed posters with Iron Man (my favorite Avenger) that had me tearing up. They gave out gift bags with McDonald’s toys and Funko Pops for everyone.

In addition to the meet and greet, autograph, and goodie bags, they had actual props that had actual screen time in the movie.

  • Cap’s broken shield.
  • Thor’s axe, Stormbringer.
  • Iron Man’s power source.

I died.

It was truly a dream come to life, and it got even better when it was time to get back in line to meet the storytelling legend himself.

I walked up and shook his hand and told him it was an honor to meet him. He made polite conversation and seemed genuinely kind. He complimented my Captain America shirt twice. He signed everything he could in and on my Bluray case and then told me he would sign an extra poster, “just in case.” It really seemed he knew what it was like to be a fan getting autographs andhe did his best to make it a magical experience for everyone in line, so I like to believe he was there once upon a time too.

I didn’t embarrass myself this time. I didn’t fawn all over him, ramble like a fool, try to touch his chest, or let Brian come so he could say something that gets us death stares. I didn’t cry like I did when I met John Grogan (I should really tell that story). I was cool. I was collected. I was still me and talked the whole time, but would you expect any different?

Overall, this was one of my favorite meet and greets, and it was worth every second of sitting out in the strangely cool humidity for 6 hours.

Have you ever met a celebrity? What was it like? Would you rather wait in line for hours or pay money at a convention to meet someone? Let me know in the comments!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

10 Things I Learned From Robin Williams Characters

My heart hurts today. I know that Robin Williams was not my personal friend, but he is one of the few actors who I spent the last 30ish years admiring and enjoying. I’m about to send myself on a serious Robin Williams movie marathon, starting with Dead Poet’s Society and working my way through as many nostalgic flicks that I can.

Photo from Eva Rinaldi

Photo from Eva Rinaldi

Interestingly enough, I was thinking about Mr. Williams on Sunday, when I posted an image with the phrase “carpe diem.” I meant it as a joke, but the message is still the same. Seize the day.

Robin Williams Carpe Diem Seize the Day

I thought it would be an apt tribute to discuss just some of the the very important life lessons that I learned from this Chicago native through his brilliant and beautiful character portrayals. Each role that he chose carefully crafted an epic view of the world as we know it, and it truly is magical when you combine them with each other.

  1. Words and ideas can change the world.
  2. Always keep windows open. Never ever ever close them.
  3. The bad days will remind you of the greatest pieces of your life.
  4. Be cautious and be daring and be wise.
  5. Find your happy thought and keep it in your heart for the days you need to fly.
  6. Seize the day.
  7. Families that have love are the ties that bind.
  8. Believe in magic and fairies and the power of love.
  9. Fight for your family.
  10. Humans are passionate. That is part of what makes us special.

And from the man himself, I was reminded of this:

Depression is real. The funniest, wisest person you know may be suffering deeply on the inside with little internal hope of escape. It may even be you. I encourage you to ask for help should you consider self-harm in any of its forms. As the very funny and very wise and often depressed Jenny Lawson reminds us, depression lies. Please don’t ever forget that. You are not alone.

The lack of negativity that I’ve seen in response to this tragedy is awe-inspiring. The world lost a bright light to the darkness, and the entire internet is hugging right now. Let this be a step toward the realization that there are many people who suffer from mental illness and they need support.

Go out there and seize the day, my friends. You only have this one life.

Were you as surprised and devastated as I was by the news of this wonderful comedian’s passing? What Robin Williams films, characters, or quotes resonate with you?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

BlogHer13: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

As I’m still wrecked from this weekend, this will likely be the shortest of my BlogHer posts. A recap, even. But there will be more. So if you don’t want to hear about BlogHer, I suggest you return in August. When I start talking about GenCon. I know. Lucky you.

The Good

  • Queen Latifah emceed the Voices of the Year.
  • I got to spend some quality time with some of my favorite bloggers (and my best friend!)
  • I have a RIDICULOUS number of blog posts pre-written in my head. Including my very own interview with the glorious Dr. Travis Stork. Go ahead. If you don’t know who he is…Google him. But Google Image that shit, because DAYYYYUUUMMMM.
  • The Pioneer Woman, Pillsbury Doughboy, Optimus Prime and Me.
Pillsbury doughboy at BlogHer13

hee hee!

The Pioneer Woman at BlogHer13

I was SO much less obnoxious meeting her than I was with Jenny Lawson.

Seriously. Fucking Optimus Prime.

Seriously. Fucking Optimus Prime.

  • I got to meet Thoughts From Paris DJ. Who I can’t not call Paris. Because that’s his name in my head. And he (kinda) knew who I was. Which pleased me.
  • I got a LOT of free shit. I know it’s bad form to say I was all over the swag, but just like a pack of wild dogs on a 3-legged cat…I was AAAAALLLL up in the free shit business.
BlogHer13 Swag

That’s me…Hanging out with SOME of my free stuff. I went home with a double full suitcase, a duffel bag and 6 grocery bags full of stuff…which we then crammed into the car.

  • The best party? Queerosphere. They had cheese cheese and more cheese. And lamb chops. Best food I ate all weekend.
  • Somehow I made my way into the Disney movie party. And saw Delivery Man. A few months early.

The Bad

  • Queen Latifah was late.
  • I was almost always hungry.
  • I was tired.
  • I didn’t feel like I really related to a lot of the speakers that I saw. And then I couldn’t see them all because I had other places to be and things to do. It was a bit on the overwhelming side.
  • I was really hungry.

The Ugly

  • Queen Latifah was SO late that I was starving AND missed Austenland (though I DID still get the free bag and t-shirt)
  • OK, mostly I was always starving because of this gluten free nonsense. (Hey BlogHer, I’ve got some suggestions for next year! Actually, I’ve got a whole blog post about food coming up.)
  • Mostly I was Starving. With a capital S.
  • Did I mention how much I missed food? And eating on a regular schedule that included dinner?
  • The Best Buy Story. Tomorrow. You’ll see.
Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!