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.
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!!!
After a year of dormancy, I made my triumphant return to Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club in Point Pleasant on November 15th for an afternoon with General Hospital‘s Finola Hughes and Ian Buchanan. In addition to playing Anna Devane on and off for 30 years, Finola has also starred in Staying Alive, Jack’s Place, Blossom, All My Children, and Charmed. Ian, whose character of Duke Lavery was killed off earlier this year, has also appeared in It’s Garry Shandling’s Show, Twin Peaks, The Bold and the Beautiful, Port Charles, All My Children, and Days of our Lives.
Finola and Ian, their third appearance together at Uncle Vinnie’s, did an hour long Q&A session. We had a great group of fans in attendance today and the Q&A rocked the house. The duo shared humorous stories of their many costars from over the years, including those who are gone, but never forgotten- James Doohan and Bob Hastings.
They took a short break following the Q&A and then came back out for the meet and greet. They were great as always, signing whatever the fans put down in front of them and posing for group shots, solo shots, and I even spotted Finola snapping a few selfies.
Seeing Ian is always like catching up with an old friend. Thanks to our social media interactions, Ian is able to take conversation away from the “business” and talk on a personal level. And Finola, I was shocked, called me by name and before I left, pulled me in for a hug. These stars are the definition of true class.
A special thanks and a happy birthday to Dino at Uncle Vinnie’s, Linda from Coastal, and of course Finola and Ian. I look forward to 2016 and many more great events at Uncle’s Vinnie’s!!!
Like I’ve said previously, April is a busy month for me. Yesterday, April 12, I took a ride down to the Fairbridge Hotel & Conference Center in East Hanover, NJ, for the second annual General Hospital Fantasy Weekend. Conceived last year by Dino Ibelli of Uncle Vinnie’s Comedy Club and Linda Rohe of Coastal Entertainment, Fantasy Weekend is the east coast’s largest GH event bringing 10 cast members to New York and New Jersey for a weekend of events dedicated to the fans. I didn’t attend the inaugural event last April, but I won tickets to this year’s back in October at the Soap Fantasy Reunion event. Naturally, I’ve met the entire group of stars already, but honestly, I just can’t get enough of these folks.
Representing the #1 cast in daytime were Ian Buchanan (Duke Lavery), Tyler Christopher (Nikolas Cassadine), William deVry (Julian Jerome), Kathleen Gati (Dr. Liesl Obrecht), Nancy Lee Grahn (Alexis Davis), Rick Hearst (Ric Lansing), Wally Kurth (Ned Ashton), Ryan Paevey (Nathan West), Michelle Stafford (Nina Clay), & Laura Wright (Carly Jacks).
I’m not even going to try and explain the flow of the event, because if you weren’t there, you’ll be confused. The event went a little longer than planned, but honestly, I was just so happy to be there, time flew right by.
The day was well spent in the company of so many friends I have made at these events over the years. I am truly honored to be able to call the amazing cast of General Hospital my friends. They are without a doubt, the sweetest people on this earth. And that also can be said for Kathleen’s husband, Michael, and Nancy’s daughter, Kate. A special thanks to Dino, Linda, Paula, and the two charities, Contractors for Kids and Tunnel to Towers. Looking forward to the next event!!!
Originally, I had no events planned for Friday and intended on spending the day sightseeing. However, one of the event coordinators, Debby O’Connor of YourNumberOneFan, asked me if I wouldn’t mind helping her and crew out at their events. I had lunch plans, but I accepted her offer in preparing for the first event of the morning. That event was Breakfast with Ryan Carnes (Lucas) & Jimmy Deshler (Rafe Jr.). With about 20 fans in attendance, the event ran smoothly and featured a surprise appearance by Brian Gaskill (Rafe Sr.). I had already gotten Ryan & Jimmy the night before, but I had never met Brian before, so I was glad I had been recruited to help out.
After the event concluded, I headed off for lunch with friends, missing Debby’s next event, Lunch with Bryan Craig (Morgan) & Kelly Thiebaud (Britt). Debby told me if I made it back in time, to swing by and see Bryan & Kelly, so I did just that, and also had the chance to meet their dog, Ranger.
Late that afternoon, I contemplated doing something, and I did it, whether I did for the better or not, I am not quite sure. That contemplation was attending Finola Hughes’ (Anna) annual charity event hosted by the Findom. Promoted guests were Ian Buchanan (Duke) & Michelle Stafford (Nina). I needed Finola to finish up an 8×10 for me, Ian’s just a doll, and I never met Michelle before. My friend and I bought tickets at the door and attended what would ultimately turn out to be Finola & Ian’s event. Michelle was held up at the studio and never showed. Was it worth the $95? Eh, but all monies went to charity, Childhelp, and that’s my good deed for the day.
There were only two events on Friday morning, Lisa LoCicero’s and Sebastian Roche’s. I had done Lisa’s the previous year, and really had no intention of doing Sebastian either, but a few weeks prior, I gave in and bought a ticket as I had never seen him before. His event was coordinated by event extraordinaire Debby O’Connor, so I knew it would be worth it.
Sebastian’s event was small compared to others, but there was still an easy 50 people there, and I was at one of the last tables, but Sebastian moved fast. He was very charming and funny.
When lunchtime rolled around, there was only one event- The Ladies Lunch hosted by the recently let-go Lindsey Morgan and newbie Kelly Thiebaud. Not many people signed up for this event, but as it occurred and word got out at how great it was, more and more were buying tickets at the door. Debby O’Connor never disappoints and the Ladies Lunch was no exception. Expected to be just Lindsey and Kelly, surprise guests included Tamara Braun (Carly), Teresa Castillo (Sabrina), Bryan Craig (Morgan), Kathleen Gati (Obrecht), Lilly Melgar (Lily), Samantha Logan (Taylor), and Cynthia Preston (Faith), bringing the number of actors present to nine! All of them made their rounds table to table and posed for photos and signed autographs. I wish I had known Teresa, Kathleen, Lilly, and Samantha would have been here so I could have skipped them at the Kickoff, but oh well, it is what it is. I was able to get much better photos with them at this one. It was truly one of the best individual events that I have ever attended. Kudos to Debby and her team for pulling off the first of many surprises to come at FCW.
Friday afternoon was the host to a few events, all of which I skipped. Bryan Craig, Jimmy Deshler, and Tequan Richmond’s; Laura Wright’s; and Chad Duell & Kristen Alderson’s. I was very excited for Friday night’s event, the sold out Evening with Finola Hughes.
An Evening with Finola Hughes marked Finola’s return to GH Weekend after a long absence. One of the few events to sell out, the proceeds of her event, hosted by the lovely ladies from The Findom, went to charity. Her special guest for the evening was her leading man, Ian Buchanan. Both Finola & Ian gave away 8×10 photos to the event attendees which went over very well with the fans as many of the stars charge $10 for photos. The organizers also arranged for anyone going to Kelly Monaco’s event to be first up for the meet and greet, which benefited me as I was at Table #1 for Kelly’s and really needed to get there as soon as I could.
As soon as I finished up with Finola and Ian, I headed over to An Evening with Kelly Monaco, hosted by GH Fan Club President Debbie Morris. While I was only there for the last half of her Q&A, Kelly was her wild and funny self. She plays so well off of the fans. She’d be great at standup comedy. I was at Table #1 for her, so I was up first during the meet and greet. That’s a blessing at Kelly events, because she always runs over and fans often don’t leave until the wee hours of the night.
After Kelly’s event, I think I may have run back to my room for a good night’s sleep. Saturday was going to be a long day…