16times Visits Steel City Con

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16times
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16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by 16times » August 12th, 2017, 11:40 am

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Last edited by 16times on August 12th, 2017, 11:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by 16times » August 12th, 2017, 11:55 am

Several times over the years I have kept an eye on Steel City Con in Pittsburgh, but it wasn't until they booked the legendary Burt Reynolds that I decided to pull the trigger and check it out.

Mrs. 16times and I drove up Thursday night after I was off work, therefore avoiding any commuting stress the day of the show. Friday morning at 9:30 I headed over to the convention center and started to get in the entry line, and immediately run into a couple of guys I used to know from the old NWA Fanfest shows. I joined them in line and was quickly inside.

A couple of initial thoughts..... I was impressed with this show immediately. The staff were friendly, and all were knowledgeable. Those two facts alone puts Steel City Con in the top tier, beating events like Chiller and Wizard World. I liked the layout of the show, with all the vendors in front, and the celebrity action in the back. And a 3 Day Pass for this show costs only $35, which wouldn't even get you in the door for one day at Wizard World.

Since this show doesn't sell photo ops or autographs in advance, I went directly to Burt's booth to see what was up. There was a staffer there handing out numbers, like you'd see in a deli, guaranteeing your place in Burt's autograph line later that afternoon. I scored #16. Sweet. And a good omen.

I also learned that the celebrities weren't supposed to start showing up until around 2, which was news to me. Suddenly, I had a lot of time to kill in the exhibit hall. As I looked over the 750 booths (!) again I was struck by how different this show was from what I was used to. Mixed in with the usual stuff were folks selling candy, snacks, even ice cream. One booth was selling bottles of moonshine, along with free samples !

Nestled among them was my first photo op of the day. Famed Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen had a booth set up, and was doing photo ops for free. Now, I'm a baseball fan, but I'd be lying if I said I coulda told you who Manny was 5 minutes before I met him, but he was a nice old guy and hey, the price was right. :hcit: A quick google check later revealed he's a 3 time All Star.
Steel Manny Sanguillen.JPG
I wandered the exhibit hall and ended up dropping about 200 bucks on stuff that I never knew I needed, and then had my first stroke of luck. The show had been open about 2 hours at this point, and I ran into a fella who was royally cheesed that Burt's booth had been handing out line numbers all day long, and he'd just found out about it. He'd drawn #94. I showed him my #16, and he offered me A HUNDRED BUCKS to trade ! Seriously ? He put two 50s in my hand and went away happy. Me ? I had all the time in the world to stay until Burt got to #94, and now I had two crispy General Grants in my pocket.
Steel Burt Cash - Edited.jpg
It was getting closer to 2, and the celebs started arriving. The first person I got was Beverly D'Angelo, who among many other things, starred as the mom in the iconic National Lampoon's Vacation back in 1983 (which I'm old enough to have actually seen in the theater, with a date !) She was $60 for a combo, which was a little steep for me, so I kept my "Vacation" DVD in my bag and just got a photo op. Rather than the usual Vacation comments, which she must hear all the time, I asked her about her time working on "Coal Miners Daughter", where she was nominated for a Golden Globe. She did all her own singing in that movie, where she played Country Music legend Patsy Cline. D'Angelo has developed this kinda of smokey, sexy voice as she's gotten older, and I found her to be delightful. I heard this was her first con. I hope she does more.
Steel Beverly D'Angelo.JPG
I stuck my head in and watched former NSync member Chris Kirkpatrick do his Q and A panel. I offer this photo as a warning to all boy bands that fame is fleeting. Better save some money while you're still selling out stadiums to 14 year old girls...
Steel NSync Crowd.jpg
Next up was the Hardcore Legend, Mick Foley. I'd met Mick before, but it's been awhile and I had an action figure for him to sign. Chatting with him is always a great time. I told him about seeing him in a WCW house show back in Missouri in 1990, when he was Cactus Jack. Also on that card was Mean Mark Callous, as part of a tag team called The Skyscrapers. Mean Mark, of course, went on to become the Undertaker. So, back in the day, a person could see Mankind and The Undertaker in small venue in the Ozarks for probably a $10 GA ticket. Foley asked me about that show, and actually pretended to remember it. "Yeah, I remember that show. Tony Atlas was there and got a huge pop" Come on, man. Either he's a certified genius with a photographic memory, or he just goes out of his way to have conversations with the fans. But wait, come to think of it, Tony Atlas WAS there. Whoa......
Steel Holy Foley.JPG
Next up, Tara Reid from Sharknado. Nothing much to add here, but we sure make a great looking couple.
Steel Tara Reid.JPG
Almost Burt Time, but I had a chance to squeeze in Nancy Allen, who was at her table with no business. She's been at several cons I've attended over the years, but I've never gotten her until now.
Steel Nancy Allen.JPG
Finally, it was getting close to 4 pm, and Burt was due to show at any minute. They called numbers 1-25 to get in line, and among them was my $100 benefactor. Hope he got his money's worth, because at the end of the day, I was only about 45 minutes behind him ! Here was the Burt line from my spot, with the trusty Steel City Con staffer walking on the right, keeping everybody informed and making sure things were going as smoothly as they could. Again....very impressed with that staff.
Steel Burt Line.jpg
A big surprise about Burt's auto line was he offered table photo ops for an extra $50. Had I known this, I would have probably skipped the professional photo op, but oh well, I got a table op, too.

And thus came a fairly negative experience. Burt was great. Despite his frail appearance, he was lucid, and engaged everyone, which is why his line dragged so slowly. But his two handlers were arrogant. I was put off by both of them, and it was about to get a lot worse. I got my copy of Burt's book signed, and took my table op. I made Burt laugh, and I got out of the way for the next person. I checked my camera, and wait a second.......Burt was not looking into the lens. He was looking off to the side. Along with the fact that it wasn't a good picture, I simply could not live with the fact that Class would forever label this photo as :invalid: . So I went over and talked to Burt's handler. I asked him to look at it.

He was brusque. "LOOKS FINE TO ME !" I pointed out to him that Burt wasn't looking at the camera. He called over his goomba friend. "LOOK AT THIS PICTURE . DON'T IT LOOK GREAT TO YOU ? LOOKS FINE TO ME !" Of course, his buddy goes, "GET OUTTA HEAH! THAT'S A FANTASTIC PICTURE !"

I stood my ground and said if they were gonna charge $50 for a photo, we deserve to at least get one where the celeb is looking into the camera. Handler leans into me and and says, "OK. You delete that picture right now, in front of me, and I'll let you back in, but you do it RIGHT NOW !"

What a dick. But, I'm getting what I wanted, so I stay cool.

Of course, by now a dealer has Burt signing about 30 photos, and he's not the fastest gun in the west, so this takes a while before he's available. I dip back in and tell Burt I needed a retake. He poses up, and this one came out much better. I'm glad I fought for it, and considering how his handlers acted, fight is the correct word.
Steel Burt Table.JPG
Happy with my photo, I checked my book's signature and wait a second, it has bled all over the page. When I watched Burt sign this, it was clear and crisp and clearly read, "Burt Reynolds Bandit" Now it has become a blurry mess. Burt chose the pen. I think it was just a regular sharpie. What the heck happened. But, I really had no choice on this one. So, I got my book signed, but I guess it's a good thing I do this for myself and didn't have plans to try to sell it. This auto sucks !
Steel Burt Sig.jpg
It was now about 6 pm, and there was nothing to do but wait for Burt to get through the rest of the auto line so we could get our pro photos. They told us Burt was leaving as soon as photos were over, so he wasn't going to take a break and do the photos and come back to the line. Burt's photos were scheduled to start at 6:30, but it was about 7:30 before he finally, slowly, painfully got up from the table and shuffled in to the photo room. Photos went quickly, and every pic I saw was a good one. I even saw one where a family had a kid, and he put the kid in a headlock. He's old and frail, but Burt still has his marbles and he did his best for the fans. Thankfully, Steel City Con has the instant printing so we got our photos as soon as they were taken.

Burt pro photo jpeg won't be emailed for a few days, so here's just a pic of the pic.
Burt Pic of Pic.jpg
Feet hurting after being at the show ALL DAY, I made it back to the room, only to hear that MarkedOut Legend :asiandave: was trying to get ahold of me. I texted Dave and found out he was downstairs in the lobby. I told him I'd be right down, not realizing that I was about to have one of the most fun celeb experiences of my life !

Dave and I headed to the hotel bar, and along with Steel City Con guests Lisa Marie and Guy Gilcrest, we see TV's beloved Bobby Brady having a drink.Dave and I shoot the breeze for awhile, and then Dave says, "Excuse me a minute" and goes over to talk to Bobby. I turn back to my beer, look up, and Dave has brought TV Legend Mike Lookinland, Bobby Brady himself, to our table. :yes: :jawdrop: :greatscott:
Bobby introduces himself, pulls up a chair, and the 3 of us drink beer and talk for almost an hour. Bobby tells us all about his home construction business, shows us photos on his phone of different projects he's working on, and tells us stories from the set of the Brady Bunch and the Towering Inferno. Dave keeps buying the beers. I love that guy !

After about an hour, Bobby excuses himself to go up to his room, but before he heads out, we take a picture to commemorate the occasion. This was effing awesome! Thank you DAVE !
Steel Bobby Bar.jpg
And with that, my first Steel City Con is in the books. I'll head over there today and look around a little, since I have the 3 day pass and all. I see they've already posted the guests for the December show, which include Biff from BTTF, and John Cusack. I might be headed out here again.
Last edited by 16times on August 16th, 2017, 6:48 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Greg2600
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by Greg2600 » August 12th, 2017, 12:22 pm

Okay, now I think we've gotten the technical gremlins squared away for ol' :16x:

Honestly the graph (not to be a deeek) looks perfectly fine to me. Also, why bother with the table shot if you were getting the pro? That lean over is inferior to the sitting pose anyway! Bev looks great, really hope she enjoyed herself and shows up at RICC! And yes, the Prince of Pittsburgh does charm the ol' TV stars.
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16times
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by 16times » August 12th, 2017, 12:27 pm

Thanks for hooking me up, Greg !

Yeah, the Burt graph looks ok only if you didn't see it when it was crisp and clean. I've been collecting signed books for over 30 years and I've never had the paper suck up the ink like it did here. Oh well. As far as the table shot....I thought about not getting it since I had already purchased the pro, but oftentimes table shots can look good, and seem more spontaneous than the pros. Also, the fact that I was already up $100 by selling my line ticket made me a little more willing to spend some extra cash at Burt's table. It was almost like getting the table op for free.

THANKS AGAIN for fixing my report. I guess I'm officially done with Photobucket.
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by class316 » August 12th, 2017, 12:35 pm

Greg2600 wrote:
August 12th, 2017, 12:22 pm
Also, why bother with the table shot if you were getting the pro? That lean over is inferior to the sitting pose anyway!
That was going to be my question too.
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by WOODMO » August 12th, 2017, 12:59 pm

Excellent stuff Mark!! I know how big Burt was for you so I'm glad you got the chance to meet him. The photos both look great, and if you hadn't remarked about the autograph being bad I never would have noticed. It looks great to a non grapher like myself!!

:16x: :asiandave: also with a very cool experience moment, which will definitely be nominated for experience of the year.

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by class316 » August 12th, 2017, 1:12 pm

WOODMO wrote:
August 12th, 2017, 12:59 pm
Excellent stuff Mark!! I know how big Burt was for you so I'm glad you got the chance to meet him. The photos both look great, and if you hadn't remarked about the autograph being bad I never would have noticed. It looks great to a non grapher like myself!!

:16x: :asiandave: also with a very cool experience moment, which will definitely be nominated for experience of the year.
Why does the :asiandave: smiley still exist when all other former board member smilies have been purged :haeeeh:

I think it needs to go to the smiley memorium
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by Greg2600 » August 12th, 2017, 2:08 pm

Wait, I just read the part about the guy paying $100 for your spot in line!!! HA ha ha ha. But let's me honest here, did you draw a 16 or when they held up the #16 you shoved the mass of humanity out of your way screaming WWWWWWWWWWWWWOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by Bud White » August 12th, 2017, 2:59 pm

16, love your reports. Dude, even though I don't sell my stuff, I'm a perfectionist. Your Burt auto is fine,even to me. You've enticed me to maybe make the 5 hour drive if Steel City gets someone I'm interested in.

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by capman » August 12th, 2017, 3:01 pm

Nice report. I love u do these reports quick. And Iwould have had no question taken that $$$$. Smart

Can't wait to meet you in Oct. finally

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by wewantflair » August 12th, 2017, 3:31 pm

I would be pissed with that autograph too. If a book has thin, cheapy paper like that, they should use pen to sign it. Still, awesome stuff.

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by djknightrida » August 12th, 2017, 4:12 pm

Curious why add the table op if the pro was already bought?
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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by capman » August 12th, 2017, 4:52 pm

Hey 16X, I get it, your in the moment,u spend the time and money, and u made extra $$$. Ur table op was the right choice at that moment (it happens while u wait for that period of time of meeting someone u really want - happened with me for Piper in 14, was going for photo only,decided last min to get auto and glad I did) ,and for what its worth, looks more unique and special compared to pro ops. I'm glad u went back and fought.

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by crowbar » August 12th, 2017, 5:13 pm

Great report

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Re: 16times Visits Steel City Con

Post by aswjmw » August 12th, 2017, 8:30 pm

Great stuff! How much was the Beverly photo?

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