Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Went to the "Weird Al" Yankovic Al-bum Signing

In case I haven't told you a billion times before... I'm a huge fan of "Weird Al" Yankovic. His latest Al-bum, a dual disc work, was released today. Al announced a couple of weeks back that he'd be doing a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Hollywood.

Great... I figured my buddy Craig and his wife and I would all go there like we did last time, only this time my wife would be there, too.

Since it is a busy time at the office, I wasn't going to take any time off. My plan was for my wife to drive up to the office to meet me, and then we'd go from there.

Craig and his wife couldn't make it, so Craig asked me to pick up a copy of the Al-bum for him. Kori wasn't feeling cheery enough either, so she declined to meet me at the office and told me to go it alone.

So, I slogged through traffic to go to the Virgin Megastore on Sunset in Hollywood. I hadn't been there since Al signed his previous al-bum there.

The problem was, the signing was actually at the company's Hollywood & Highland store. This, I didn't discover until after I had picked up the al-bums and the DVD set of Al's Saturday morning TV show.

Horrified, I slogged through more traffic and parking adventures and made my way to the end of the very long line in H&H Virgin Megastore. Then someone told me I was going to need a wristband. Yeah, like last time, when I went to pay for the al-bum days in advance and got a wristband that meant NOTHING as I waited in line behind many people who didn't have wristbands? Like that?

Well, apparently this time they really meant it. You needed a wristband. To get a wristband, you had to buy the al-bum in the store. Fortunately, I showed them my receipt from the other store and explained my situation, and they gave me a wristband.

I was in line behind two animation students from CalArts, so we started to talk Disney after they saw me pick up a paperback copy of Disney War.

The line snaked through the store as monitors overhead showed either a live shot of Al at a table getting carpal tunnel syndrome, or video from the dual disc. The music from the al-bum played on a loop.

At one point, the line snaked right past the fully-accessible "Adult" section. Yeah, considering half of Al's fans are kids, that was really well thought-out.

Many times, staff went down the line, telling everyone they needed wristbands and that they can only have ONE thing signed. Many times they did this. Many, many times. If that was going to be the case, Craig would have to go without.

Heck, as we approached the heavily-guarded signing area, the staff wanted to see exactly what it was that was going to be signed, and the wristbands were taken away - presumably to keep us from getting back in line to get a second item signed.

I opened the little lyric/credit booklet to page I thought best, and I slipped Craig's copy directly underneath it so it looked like just one booklet. I slipped in my business card with Craig's surname on the reverse side.... just in case.

Sure enough, when I finally reached Al, he signed the first booklet to "The Pellmans" and signed the second one, which he did not hesitate to sign (Al is very, very nice and patient with his fans), to Craig's family. I was so concerned about violating the "rules" that I didn't enjoy the moment as much as I should have.

Al shook my hand, I thanked him in general, and I thanked him for turning me on to Ben Folds.

Having had two items signed, I turned around to see the security staff glare at me like I had just released 27 rabid wolverines in their store. But hey, they had slipped someone to the table between me and the guys from CalArts, who graciously agreed to take my picture when I was with Al, so if they can do something like that, why can't I get two items signed?!?

Upon exiting the store, I bumped into Kevin, who remembered me as the Disney guy... Like me, he's gotten married since we last met. It was nice to see someone I recognized besides Al.

I made my way back to my car and drove the long drive home. The signing had started at 7pm, I had gotten in line before 7:30, and it was about 10pm when I got out of there.

Al is my favorite performance artist, and I'm glad he manages to be so cheery, patient, and friendly as he spends time with fan after fan after fan after fan.

Okay, time for my "nap" before I have to return to the office in the morning.

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