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Denver Comic Con is a geek convention that attempts to replicate the main comic con in San Diego and it seems to be okay at this (I've never been to SDCC so I can't speak with much authority). I usually attend DCC every other year and it improves each time I go. This year I was lured by one of the guests of honor: "Weird Al" Yankovic.

At the first Al concert I attended 20 years ago, I bought a headshot photo hoping to get it signed. There would be no autographs that day however but I kept that photo knowing that eventually I would have it signed. DCC was my chance.

It was an interesting and expensive experience. Getting a professional photo taken with Al was $70 but I figured that I'd also be able to get an autograph so I paid (cash only). I wasn't the only one. The line for photos was hundreds of people long. I was prepared to wait with my Nintendo 3DS in hand.

However, the photo process is a well-oiled machine and the line moved in record speed. To keep it moving, there are no autographs and almost no interaction with Al. My guess is that he's instructed not to make small talk, chit-chat or even utter a single word. I got to shake hands and he gave me a peace sign. It's a nice photo but I was a bit disappointed that I didn't get at least a minute to meet Al. I suspect this isn't how Al prefers to meet fans but I gather that the system is out of his control.

There was another chance however. The line for photos was cleared in less than an hour. After, Al moves to his autograph area where you can pay (again). I hesitated to spend even more but I'd waited 20 years for such an opportunity. So I forked over another $40 to have him sign my headshot from that first concert.

Curiously this line was completely empty. I was the only one there (maybe because I had come later) but it was a bit strange meeting Al without a crowd of fans around me. As I approached, we was checking his smart phone thus proving that celebrities are not so different.

I showed him the headshot and told him the story of how I'd been saving it for 20 years. He was pleased and pleasant enough. I could have chatted him up but I didn't. I got my autograph and simply walked away smiling. In hindsight I wish I would have said something more but what more would I say? "I really like your work." or "I'm a big fan."? Yeah. No kidding?

So I have a nice memory of me not seizing the moment to make a fool of myself. I want to believe that Al likes fans like me best. The ones that happily pay a premium and then quickly leave so that he can get back to checking his phone.

April 2019

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