The Ladies of Llanview
There were two OLTL fan events held prior to the OLTL luncheon that was held on August 21. The first event was A Girls Night Out with the Ladies of Llanview. It was the first time that an event such as this was held at the East Side Blondies Sport Bar in New York City and it proved to be a challenge. Let’s just say that it was a small, narrow room with a bar in the center. When we arrived we were given our table assignments. Mine was table 18 and that just happened to be ‘the bar.’ Well, that was a first for me and initially I was upset because my vantage point did not permit me to see the head table where the actresses would be seated. Oh well. It turns out that the event organizers had come up with a plan to escort the actresses from table to table so that each fan would get their chance to get upfront and personal. How hard could it be; there were only 150 fans in attendance. Should be a piece of cake, a walk in the park, and a day at the beach.
Well, all the worries about the seating arrangements, the size of the room and the heat seemed to disappear when the Ladies of Llanview were announced. Melissa Archer (Natalie), Kathy Brier (Marcie), Bree Williamson (Jessica), Jessica Morris (Jen), Renee Goldsberry (Evangeline), Daneel Harris (Shannon McBain), and Pine Valley resident Babe, aka Alexa Havins, spent their evening answering questions, signing autographs and posing for photos with the fans. It should be noted that the proceeds from this event went to Breast Cancer research. The fans had the opportunity to purchase 8x10 photos perfect for autographs and there were also silent auction items such as phone conversations with one of the Ladies of Llanview, a beautiful portrait of Kathy Brier and several other items that could be bid on in the back of the room.
First the ladies entertained questions from the fans. The first person to receive a question was Alexa Havins, Babe from AMC. It seems that the OLTL fans really have identified with Babe’s pain. But, when she was asked questions about when she would find out that Ace is really the Chandler baby she told us that she didn’t know. She elaborated that she can’t be sure if Ace is really her baby, but that she would be coming to Llanview soon. For now it seems that Babe is destined to cry every day.
Renee and Melissa fielded questions as to who they thought should be with John McBain. Renee said that the fans should write to the show and make their preferences known. “Your letters are very important to us.” Kathy Brier agreed with those sentiments. Look what happened when Nathaniel Marston, ex-Al, was released from the show. “Your letters are very important to us.” When asked about the status of Marcie and Michael, she said that they were going to experience some rough times. Seems that the issue of gay marriage may drive a wedge between the star-crossed lovers.
The fans voiced their approval of the Jen/Riley pairing. They found the storyline to be very believable since Jen and Riley took so long to get together. Actually, the Love Project is a favorite storyline for many fans. Of course, the day that this event was held was Friday, August 20, and that was the first ‘showing’ of the Love Crew fundraiser.
Speaking of the Love Project, the fans got to meet Daneel Harris who plays the bad seed, Shannon McBain. What was striking the moment you saw her is that she is a very sophisticated and poised young lady. I was lucky enough to talk to her during the meet and greet portion of the event and I was impressed by the way she presented herself. I asked her if it was intimidating to do her first scenes with Michael Easton (John). She praised Michael for making her scenes come alive and how he goes out of his way to make you feel comfortable in a scene. She then told me that she is also a writer and relates to Michael on that level. Whenever he has a free moment, she said that you can see him in his dressing room writing away. “He is so quiet!”
But hey, I’m digressing from the Q&A portion of the event. It seems that the fans are very excited about the return of David Fumero (ex Cristian). Melissa told the fans that she just heard about that herself and she has no clue what it means for her and Paul. The ladies were very cautious about saying too much, but both Renee and Melissa said that they would still be with John McBain. Bree was asked about Jessica’s future with Antonio and it seems that they will be having a rocky road to travel. So from what we were told, Marcie and Michael, Antonio and Jessica, and Evangeline and Natalie and John will all be traveling a bumpy path. However, Ms. Shannon McBain may be getting lucky with Rex. Hmm.
Since it was difficult to get any spoilers for future OLTL storylines, the fans then asked Renee if she had plans to record another CD. Renee played Nala in the Broadway Production of the Lion King and has an exceptional voice. Someone yelled out if she would be singing on OLTL anytime soon and she was amused. It’s not like Evangeline can break into song in the courtroom or even sing at Ultra Violet like Marcie. “Well, I suppose if Evangeline had a dream sequence of being a lounge singer, I could do it. It could be fun,” she said.
It’s obvious that there is a lot of untapped talent in the Ladies of Llanview. What they need to do is have another fundraiser for the Love Project and involve all the women of Llanview and let them showcase their singing talents. Remember what Renee said, “Your letters are very important.”
The meet and greet portion of this event consisted of the ladies being escorted from table to table to pose for photos and the like. This is when sitting at the bar had its advantages; everyone had to pass by the bar to get from one side of the room to the other. While it was not be best situation to take photos, it was, however, a great seat to talk to the actresses as they passed by.
Being a fan of Michael Easton since his days as Tanner Schofield on Day of Our Lives, I was curious how Renee felt about her smoldering, hot scenes with the man. I mean, the scenes just take my breath away. After blushing profusely and admitting that she IS married, she just said how wonderful Michael is to work with. He is always concerned about her being comfortable in a scene. She then added that even when they don’t have scenes together, he may see her in the hallway and say “You look very pretty today.” or “How are you today?” She said, “You don’t just say something like that to a woman! He is just so special.” Michael is not an idle flatterer and I can see why she blushed when she spoke about him.
Well, what seemed to be an impossible task had been accomplished. The fans had their opportunity to talk to each and every actress and spend quality time with them. What was striking to me was that there were men in the audience who were obvious OLTL/AMC fans. They had come bearing gifts and flowers and were very happy to have come out during the Girls Night Out with the Ladies of Llanview.
The Men of Llanview
Next on the agenda was the Men of Llanview Charity Event. This event generated a lot of attention since two of the Llanview men that were featured in the ad were Kamar de los Reyes (Antonio) and Michael Easton (John). Many fans made their reservations immediately after seeing that they would have the chance to meet Kamar and Michael. Sadly, a few weeks before the event, there was a posting on Dan Gauthier’s (Kevin) website saying the Michael would not be able to attend due to a personal matter. I had not seen the posting and I found out about Michael’s other commitment in the cab on the way to the event. Ever the professional, I refused to let that bother me. I was sure that there would still be Llanview men to see and I was not wrong.
Just as I was getting back to my seat at the bar, along comes Dan Gauthier (Kevin), Trevor St. John (Todd), Jay Wilkison (Riley) and Nathaniel Marston (Michael) bringing up the rear, crutches and all. If the fans were disappointed about not seeing Kamar and Michael, it was soon forgotten. After all, the fans who were lucky enough to watch OLTL on Friday got to see quite a bit of Jay (Riley) and now here he was in the flesh.
The men’s event started with a brief Q&A since Dan was going to conduct a live auction. It was hard to hear the questions since the women were a tad more rowdy but I did get to hear the question about asking Jay to recreate his dance moves for us. Well, we now know that the man can blush. He couldn’t believe the response he received for his part in the Love Crew fundraiser. He was also asked if he would be recording a CD anytime soon at which he replied that he was not pursuing a music career at this time. “I’m happy to be on OLTL.”
One of the highlights of the night was the live auction that showcased the auctioning and comedic talents of Dan Gauthier. Kevin Buchanan is such an uptight man who is seen always wearing a suit. Dan is a real funny and down-to-earth guy. Well, wait a second, he can be out of this world sometime but one thing is for sure, the fans that were lucky enough to attend this event were treated to a ‘real good time.’ Dan has to be the best auctioneer that I have seen in a long time. I mean, while he may have had some unique artwork, or strange photos of his cast mates to auction off, he never skipped a beat. He also got to auction off lunches with Trevor St. John and himself and they generated quite a price. When all was said and done over $8000 was raised for the John Asaro Cancer Fund. John was an electrician who worked on the set of OLTL and he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The cast wanted to help defray the medical costs for his family and all the proceeds from this event went to his family.
Once the auction concluded it was time for the meet and greet. I don’t think that Trevor St John was able to leave his corner for a solid half hour. He may not be as vocal as Dan or Nathaniel but he is definitely a crowd pleaser. He posed for countless photos, looked through several scrapbooks and made sure that he met everyone. Jay was wearing a ‘Guns and Roses’ t-shirt and a Blues Brothers type hat. This Tennessee gentleman has a style all his own. I didn’t get a chance to talk to him though as he was constantly surrounded by adoring fans. I really think that he could be the next breakout star from OLTL.
Actually, it was really hard for this reporter to talk to any of the Men of Llanview on this evening. But hey, it was an event for the fans and I didn’t want to interfere with that. But just like I said that my seat at the bar was a great position to meet the ladies of Llanview, it provided me with a wonderful opportunity to speak with Nathaniel’s mom, Elizabeth. She just beamed with pride when she saw just how popular her son is. Nathaniel is also very appreciative of his fans; after all, if it weren’t for all the letters that were written to bring back his character, he wouldn’t be on OLTL now. He made sure that everyone got his or her photo taken with him even if that meant for him to stay passed midnight and miss the limo drive home.
Since, I was with Nathaniel’s mom, I asked her how his injury is healing. It’s obvious that he still cannot walk. For those of you who are not aware of the nature of his injury, Nathaniel fell 25 feet and landed on his heel. Needless to say, his heel was shattered and when his mom saw the x-rays, she said that she cried. The doctors were not optimistic about Nathaniel ever being able to walk again. His heel has had to be totally reconstructed. I am very happy to say, that Nathaniel’s heel has completely healed and the doctors feel that with a month or so of physical therapy to stretch out the atrophied calf muscles, he should make a complete recovery. His mom was so proud about his professionalism and determination to not call in sick or to give into his injury. He is quite an amazing guy.
All the Men of Llanview were amazing. Despite a very small room, despite the room being steamy hot, the fans left this event having the time of their lives. Whoever came in disappointed about no Kamar, and no Michael, had to have forgotten about it. Dan, Trevor, Jay and Nathaniel were determined to show everyone a good time and they did just that.
|< Prev||Next >|