Ever met a childhood Idol? You were told it’s a bad idea, weren’t you? “Don’t meet your Heroes. They never live up to the image you have of them in your head.” We romanticize them. Write fanfic. But I’m not calibrated like the people who say that. I’d rather KNOW if the person I’m paying so much attention to, learning about, e-mailing, etc is really as awesome as I think they are!
You may think it’s easy to be fake version of yourself in front of others… go to a fan convention on a Sunday. By this time the celebrity guests have had possibly up to three straight days of signing autographs and hugging strangers. This is what we call ‘the grind.’ If they are still laughing and telling unsolicited stories to the fans, one fan or clique at a time, they are probably worth at least a couple inches on a pedestal. It’s hard to spend three days signing autographs and being ON and pretending to like everyone if you aren’t truly grateful of your support team and your fans. People can sometimes be weird and clingy and sometimes even smell funny. Some are better at being in public than others… I can’t stop talking. I think really fast. I have to take a really deep breath before I ask a question in interviews or you can’t understand me because I talk too fast if I’m jazzed about the subject! I’m kinda spastic. It works for me when I’m doing a freak show ballyhoo grind. I was lucky enough to join Nerd Nation Magazine for my first whole weekend as a fan at one such convention: Days of the Dead: Atlanta 2016.
I spent three hours Saturday creating an Amy Winehouse worthy bouffant- with a six inch fine toothed comb from the front desk at the Hampton Inn! I managed to channel a little Amy and a little Devine for a photo op with a childhood idol: Elvira.
Yep. I met THE Mistress of the Dark!
With ‘THANK YOU, YOU ROCK’ flowers in hand (purple callas). I sit down next to Ms. Cassandra Peterson, who when not in her iconic Elvira attire, is an auburn beauty with a kind and gleeful smile. I give her the flowers and reintroduce myself- She remembered me from the day before- after gobs of people and changing my hair! *Breathe* *you remember how, right?* I mention her family’s costume shop and ask her what her favorite costumes to play in were when she was a kid. “You know even as a kid I was into the sexy ones. The slinky black dresses or harem/genie costumes, black cat.” With the new wave of feminism all over social media I was curious what it had been like starting out in Las Vegas and Hollywood so long ago during such chauvinistic periods and how she overcame it. A one-woman show in a man’s world that has stood the test of time. Few Actresses are still sex symbols beyond receiving that first AARP invitation. She is still a sex symbol at 64.
It’s okay to be a sex symbol. It’s subterfuge. She uses her appearance on camera to psych everyone out and then wham! She’s the smartest, sharpest, punniest person on stage and the guys don’t ever whimper. No maer how fiercely she spanks them (verbally, with comedy of course) they are hypnotized. I bet she could charm free iTunes out of Tim Cook and give him the finger at the same time and he’d offer her his iPhone so she had a spare. She said that “It sounds like sour grapes when you start talking about all that- you sound like a b****. People think you are a b****, I don’t wanna be a b****. You have to do like Ginger Rogers, ‘work twice as hard, be twice as good and be able to do it backwards in heels’. ” She went on to say that “many of the male groundlings [she’d] worked with went on to more successful careers, but [most of] the women didn’t get those opportunities, and that it was great to see creatives like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler doing so much.” Will you ever retire or are you going to keep working until you drop? “I think about it every day. I’ll get texts from like three friends with pictures from New York and Bridgeport and I just think, ‘D*** retirees! When do I get to have fun!?” Last question. There’s a line again. What’s next? “I’m working on a few [things] – just different projects. I don’t like to talk about them too much because sometimes you do and then it doesn’t happen. I don’t want to jinx them.” But she is sure of this one: new state of the art slot machines, “like 10 feet high with old horror clips and comments when you win. There will be a clip and then I’ll tell a joke.” They will pay homage to the old days of horror. There will be virtual slot games to follow. She’s interested in animation too, doing voice work. I could’ve popped. I love animation. An Elvira Cartoon… maybe Adult Swim could get back to producing something really cool.
I thanked her, like three more times, for her time and for being so awesome. She and her assistant gave back warm smiles and kind words. I watched them both with the fans. It’s Sunday afternoon. They should be ground down by all the intense attention. It doesn’t seem to faze them. They are happy and energetic and chatty with everyone. They are both truly appreciative of the fans. After all, without us they’d be out of work. It’s just really nice to meet great people that truly appreciate it.
Contributing Writer: Nerd Nation Magazine