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Ladies of General Hospital

A mere two months behind, but here’s the first report of 2017. On January 22nd, I attended my first event of the year – the Annual Ladies of General Hospital event down at Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pt. Pleasant, NJ. Laura Wright has been putting this event together every year since 2013, and I’ve attended I believe 3 of them. This event was a nice change of pace as Laura brought in two new faces to Uncle Vinnie’s – Hayley Erin and Chloe Lanier, as well as a rare appearance from GH royalty, Miss Jacklyn Zeman.

The venue was not as crowded as it has been in past years, but it still took the girls a while to visit fans from table to table. They started the event with a mix and mingle, then went into a Q&A, and ended with group photo ops.

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Hayley Erin (Kiki) ~ I can’t say enough positive things about this lovely young lady. I’ve met her a handful of times, and she is an absolute angel. I think us being the same age has really forged that bond.

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Jacklyn Zeman (Bobbie) ~ I just adore Jackie. I met her for the first time almost 10 years ago, and the effect has never worn off. I could sit and listen to her talk about her 40 years of being on GH all day.

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Laura Wright (Carly) ~ I’ve met Laura so many times that at this point, our encounters are so common, we don’t fawn all over each other. On the rare occasion I have a photo, she’ll sign it, but typically we just pose.

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Chloe Lanier (Nelle) ~ Only my second time meeting Chloe, she’s a doll. She remembers not just my first name, but my last name too!!! That’s quite impressive!!!

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And now for the coveted group photo. It’s no secret that I love being in the middle of the Ladies of GH. I’m happy to say that as of this writing, albiet being two months behind, I’ve already had it signed by 3 out of the 4.

As always, a huge thank you to Dino, Linda, Laura, Hayley, Chloe, and Jackie. There was no better way to kick off 2017 than with the lovely ladies of GH!!!

General Hospital – We Want More

Last Sunday, October 23rd, I attended the fall incarnation of General Hospital Fantasy Weekend, We Want More, showcasing the series’ fan favorites who the audience does not get to see onscreen as much as they would like to. Eight actors attended, a mix of recurring stars and stars to have recently exited, they were Ian Buchanan (Duke), Bryan Craig (Morgan), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Rick Hearst (Ric), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Joe), and Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix). Stalwart Kin Shriner was originally slated to attend, but canceled about a month prior, being replaced by Bryan Craig.

The event began with having the cast do the meet & greet first, which always works due to the fact that the fans are taken care of first and ensures our time with the cast is not cut short if the event runs over. They broke the cast into two groups – Buchanan, Eddy, Gati, & Samuel and Craig, Hearst, Hennesy, & Parise. Somehow, I found myself first in line, and was therefore the first fan to finish up.

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Sonya Eddy (Epiphany Johnson) ~ I absolutely love this woman. We met for the first time almost a decade ago, and no matter how much time passes between our encounters, we can pick up right where we left off.

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Ian Buchanan (Duke Lavery) ~ And then there’s this guy. In addition to being the veteran of the group, Ian may very well be the wittiest…and the most inappropriate. I think the wicked sense of humor that we both possess is the reason we have gotten along so well over the years.

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Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix DuBois) ~ Now here’s a guy who has seen me at my drunken worst, and he never lost respect for me because of it. Marc’s one of the cast members I hope more fans have the chance to meet, because he is one of the best.

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Kathleen Gati (Dr. Liesl Obrecht) ~ Kathleen is one of the few actors whose first GH fan encounter was with me back when she first joined the show and began doing events. She values that connection and ended the event by bee-lining from the stage and coming to me to ask for feedback.

Bryan Craig (Morgan Corinthos) ~ I like Bryan, but I’m not sure he even wanted to be at this event. He couldn’t wait for the meet & greet to be over, he walked up and down the line so he could get all of the fans and then leave. And he then spent most of the Q&A glued to his phone.

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Carolyn Hennesy (Diane Miller) ~ I’ve met Carolyn several times over the years, but this photo takes the cake as the favorite one of the two of us.

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Rick Hearst (Ric Lansing) ~ I have a hard time posting a photo of Rick on here and calling it a celebrity encounter. To me, he isn’t a celebrity, he has become a good friend. I’ve been lucky enough to share meals with Rick and his lovely family, and it’s always a pleasure to be able to catch up with him.

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Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Carlos/Joe Rivera) ~ I’ve met Jeff a number of times now, and I still really can’t say he has made much of an impression or impact on me. Maybe, seeing all of the GH cast members I’ve forged bonds with, that says a lot.

The Q&A was good, I guess. I was extremely tired and cold, and somehow had begun to doze off a bit. All in all, it was a great group of stars. Quite possibly some of the most fan friendly that GH has to offer. As always, thank you to the stars, Dino, and Linda, for a day off well spent!!!

Brytni Sarpy & Robert Palmer Watkins

I know many people often ask me why I repeatedly attend General Hospital events and meet the same stars time and time again. Well when you meet two stars such as Brytni Sarpy and Robert Palmer Watkins, you have no problem going out and supporting them each and every time they do an event. So less than a month after seeing them at Fan Club Weekend, I drove down to Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Pt. Pleasant, NJ to see them again on August 28.

Brytni & Rob did a great Q&A and the fans really seemed to love them. I believe this was their first east coast appearance and the fans who don’t travel for Fan Club Weekend had yet to meet them. I say with confidence that they all went home extremely happy.

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Brytni and Rob are two of the GH actors who know me well, and they recanted for the fans the story of their first GH event and Emme Rylan introducing them to me and telling them I’m one of the normal ones.

As always, a huge thank you to Dino, Linda, Rob, & Brytni. I don’t get many days off, so I’m happy when I do and it is well spent in the company of great friends.

General Hospital Fan Club Weekend 2016- Part 4

On Sunday morning, I was able to sleep in for a little bit. It was much needed, but at the same time, I was excited for the Emme Rylan & Kirsten Storms event. My regular readers and followers will know how much I love these two and how close Kirsten and I have become over the years.

The girls’ event got off to a late start, roughly 45 minutes or so, but it was worth it. Emme & Kirsten are just so personable, no matter how many fans are at their events (this one had 100!!!), it seems like a private conversation. This event was also host to the best question I’ve heard all weekend – “Were the Cassadine Island scenes really filmed in Greece?” Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…

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Emme Rylan (Lulu Spencer-Falconeri) ~ Emme is always the first one to point out that we like to take goofy pictures together, so here’s yet another one for the collection.

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Kirsten Storms (Maxie Jones) ~ Speaking of goofy photos, Kirsten actually had to ask if we’ve ever taken a normal photo together. I cannot stress enough what an amazing young lady Kirsten is. She is a treasure, not just to the cast & crew, but to any of the fans lucky enough to meet her.

I took a little break for lunch and then went to my final event for the weekend – Kelly Monaco’s. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve seen Kelly, so I guess I had forgotten how different her fans in the respect that to them it’s all about Jasam versus Liason, and to me, GH is an ensemble show.

As I said, it has been a number of years, but Kelly remembered me, remembered my name, and even the proper spelling of it. She got a good laugh when I told her about the Cassadine Island question from Emme & Kirsten’s event and responded with, “Yeah, and I really survived a plane crash.” Kelly and I spent a lot of time together chatting, so much time in fact that I was holding her up, but she didn’t seem to care. Every time I went to walk away, she grabbed me and pulled me in for another comment. Not that she had ever really lost me, but Kelly has won me back over and I won’t be missing any more of her events.

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Kelly Monaco (Sam Morgan) ~ This. Is. Forty…Until the day I die, I will refuse to admit that Kelly is old enough to be my mother. If I am so lucky to end up with a woman as gorgeous as Kelly, God is looking out for me.

There were a slew of other events on Sunday – Lexi Ainsworth, The Corinthos Brothers (Dominic Zamprogna, Chad Duell, & Bryan Craig), Michelle Stafford & Laura Wright, Bradford Anderson, and the Karaoke Event with Ryan Carnes, Sonya Eddy, Marc Anthony Samuel, and Parry Shen. But for me, after Kelly’s event, another successful GHFCW had come to a close.

Fewer events results in a smaller blog posting, but I hope what I have shared enlightens all GH fans to what an amazing cast the series has. I don’t know what the other soap casts are like (partly because they seldom make themselves available for the fans), but I can bet that they will never take as much time or interest in their fans as the GH cast does. All I can say is bring on GHFCW 2017!!!

And now is that time to wrap up by giving a heartfelt thanks to Debbie Morris, President of the GH Fan Club. Debbie has made so many sacrifices over the years for the sake of FCW, the fans, the cast, and the series overall. Being an Events Coordinator myself, I know it is no easy feat to put on an event to this caliber and have everyone walk away 100% satisfied. We strive for it, but we rarely get it. Debbie, however, is the exception. To bring the entire GH community together for 4 days is something she does tirelessly year after year. Thank you, Debbie. Also deserving of thanks and recognition are Debbie’s longtime right hands, she has a number of them, Michelle DeMoss, Claire Mullan, Lynna & Ron Strickland, and everyone else on her staff; illustrious photographers Jim Warren and Steven Bergman; the oh-so-lovely photo sales team of Maxine, Kimberly, Gail, and Kimistry; Debby & John O’Connor of YourNumberOneFan and CJ and Angela; Sheri Evans of SoapStarEvents; the staff at the Embassy Suites; my fellow fans; Frank Valentini; and of course, the amazing cast of General Hospital.

Part One (Thursday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-1/

Part Two (Friday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-2/

Part Three (Saturday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-3/

General Hospital Fan Club Weekend 2016- Part 3

I woke up bright and early on Saturday morning to prepare for the flagship FCW event, the Main Cast Event. Again, the attendance was significantly smaller than last year, I believe dropping down to 260.

As tradition would have it, the cast had quit a difficult time assembling themselves for the introductions. A new face, well old face really, took the role of emcee this year – the great Kin Shriner (Scott). 39 actors attended, with reportedly seven confirmed actors being no-shows. Donning his Bob Hope jacket, Kin humorously introduced his castmates to much fanfare. Stars in attendance were (in alphabetical order) Vinessa Antoine (Jordan), Maurice Benard (Sonny), Rebecca Budig (Hayden), Matt Cohen (Griffin), Bryan Craig (Morgan), John DeLuca (Aaron), William deVry (Julian), Risa Dorken (Amy), Michael Easton (Finn), Sonya Eddy (Epiphany), Hayley Erin (Kiki), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis), Carolyn Hennesy (Diane), Roger Howarth (Franco), Wally Kurth (Ned), Chloe Lanier (Nelle), Jon Lindstrom (Kevin), Lisa LoCicero (Olivia), Eden McCoy (Josslyn), Kelly Monaco (Sam), Anthony Montgomery (Andre), Ryan Paevey (Nathan), Jeffrey Vincent Parise (Joe), Haley Pullos (Molly), Emme Rylan (Lulu), Marc Anthony Samuel (Felix), Brytni Sarpy (Valerie), Parry Shen (Brad), Michelle Stafford (Nina), Kirsten Storms (Maxie) and daughter Harper Rose Barash (Georgie), James Patrick Stuart (Valentin), Donnell Turner (Curtis), Robert Palmer Watkins (Dillon), Hudson West (Jake), Dominic Zamprogna (Dante), and lastly, the leader of the pack, Executive Producer Frank Valentini.

As opposed to doing a tradition Q&A, Kin asked one question – What did you do before joining GH? Each actor answered, many of the responses were quite comical, and then cue the chaos – the meet & greet. I only needed four of the attendees – Cohen, DeLuca, Montgomery, and Stuart. Montgomery bailed at the completion of the Q&A leaving me with just three names to get, an easy feat. Once I finished up with the new guys, it was off to see old favorites, all of whom were added bonuses at this point. It seemed like the cast had a variety of excuses for leaving early this year, so as the number of actors dwindled down, the remaining lines grew longer.

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John DeLuca (Aaron Roland) ~ With the absence of Lexi Ainsworth, John flew solo, but he certainly had a bevy of beauties at his disposal.

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Matt Cohen (Griffin Munro) ~ When Matt announced he had to leave early for his son’s 1st birthday party, someone asked how old…

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James Patrick Stuart (Valentin Cassadine) ~ James and I shared a laugh when he told me he had accidentally written “Will” under his autograph on someone’s photo, a reference to his All My Children character from nearly 30 years ago.

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Lisa LoCicero (Olivia Falconeri) ~ It’s been a couple of years since I saw Lisa, but I’m glad I was able to finally get her on a photo I had here in the archives.

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Parry Shen (Brad Cooper) ~ Another actor I’ve met just a handful of times, Parry always goes that extra mile and calls fans by their first name.

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Michelle Stafford (Nina Reeves) ~ Stunning? Timeless? Gorgeous? Pick the adjective that best describes Michelle. Honestly, there are just too many.

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Haley Pullos (Molly Lansing) ~ Haley is another one who I get an annual photo with. I’m happy to say, we have improved drastically over the years.

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Vinessa Antoine (Jordan Ashford) ~ I caught Vinessa just as she was packing up to leave. A little blurry, but she’d look great no matter what.

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Carolyn Hennesy (Diane Miller) ~ Carolyn hasn’t attended the Main Event in quite a few years, so it was good to see her again.

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Sonya Eddy (Epiphany Johnson) ~ No matter how much time will pass between Sonya and I seeing each other, we share a laugh no matter what. I always look forward to having that moment with her.

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Kathleen Gati (Dr. Liesl Obrecht) ~ My sentiments are echoed every single time I see this lovely woman, she is a genuine sweetheart. Her and her husband, Michael, have embedded themselves in the heart of GHFCW attendees.

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Wally Kurth (Ned Ashton) ~ It’s always great to see this longtime GH mainstay, and current patriarch of my favorite family, the Quartermaines. I know I speak for many when I say I hope to see him back on our screens soon.

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Bryan Craig (Morgan Corinthos) ~ Bryan was in a bit of a hurry when I got to him, so we didn’t have time to talk investments, but being around the same age, we’re constantly discussing retirement, even though it is a long way off!!!

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Jon Lindstrom (Dr. Kevin Collins) ~ It’s been great having Doc back in the middle of the story on GH, but it was even better getting to see Jon in person again. I think he and Wally both were a bit taken aback by the fanfare they received.

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William deVry (Julian Jerome) ~ Will and I were in rare form. Not only did he smile for our photo, I bought an 8×10 off his table. I think we’re on the fast track to friendship.

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Ryan Paevey (Nathan West) ~ I don’t know why it works out this way, but Ryan is usually the last star I see. For one, it goes to show you that he sticks around until the last fan is gone.

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Hayley Erin (KIki Jerome) ~ How could I leave without getting a daily photo with Hayley? I handed her my phone and let her go crazy taking selfies.

I had about an hour break to rest before my next event – Kin Shriner & Maura West. If there’s one event during GHFCW that will make you laugh so hard you nearly cry, it is this one. Following in his father’s footsteps, Kin is a comedian at heart, and Maura is the perfect comic foil. Celebrating his 39th anniversary with GH, there was no shortage of age jokes. The stories were great, the jokes were great, the fans were great, and the talent was great. Easily, my pick for the best event of the weekend, even though Kin went home with two of my Sharpie markers.

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Maura West (Ava Jerome) & Kin Shriner (Scott Baldwin) ~ It’s no secret that Kin is my favorite male actor on GH, so Maura definitely scored some points with me by seeing the potential goldmine a Scotty/Ava pairing could be.

And while everyone else headed off to see Kathleen Gati and later to Michael Easton & Roger Howarth’s One Night Only event, I headed out to eat and wind down from another awesome day.

Part One (Thursday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-1/

Part Two (Friday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-2/

Part Four (Sunday): https://ericscelebrityencounters.wordpress.com/2016/08/04/general-hospital-fan-club-weekend-2016-part-4/