Posts Tagged ‘Sneaking into events’

HH9c

Good times.

This is sort of hard to explain but I’ve always had this weird ability to get into restricted places without people stopping me. My friends can tell several stories of me just strolling by security at concerts and sporting events and whatnot. I’ve no idea how it works, other than I just act like I belong there and people buy it. I like to think I have an air of authority, others say I just have a look about me that makes people think twice about questioning me. Maybe it’s just that I don’t really care if I’m caught. Perhaps I’m just lucky. Wait. Maybe it’s just that I lack the morals of normal folk.

Bottom line? I have no idea. Still, there’s no denying I’ve gotten away with this sort of thing many times over the years. Yep, just strolled on in like a boss. It happened again Friday night at Horrorhound in Cincinnati, a story I’ll get to shortly. The friend I was with said something I’d never really thought about. He said, “Most people think “WWJD?“. You think, “What’s the worst that could happen?

I guess I can’t argue with that assessment.

On the other hand, I’ve had ridiculously bad luck getting through customs at airports and other points of entry. Makes no sense. Again, more on that later.

That said, I shall now give you some examples of said behavior. I have several but I’ll pick out just a few:

Every year I go to the National Record Show in Columbus. They have rare albums and other music memorabilia. The show used to be held at Vet’s Memorial and opened to the public at 10:00 A.M. However, they open up to the vendors at 9:00 A.M. They have security at all the doors so there is no way to sneak in. So, the best course of action is to just walk right in, which I do. I just open the door, say hello to security, and stroll on in like I run the place.

Nobody’s ever said a word. Hell, after all these years they probably think I do run the place. The best part is I get to look at the merchandise before the masses huddling outside get a chance to. Woot!

Yeah, not for me.

A year or so ago I went to see American Hi-Fi at the A&R in Columbus. The show was at 7:00, but as I am want to do I went up around 4:00 to scout out the terrain. I could hear the band doing a soundcheck inside, and there was a line of probably 150 people sitting outside the door and down the sidewalk, but I thought what the hell, I’ll take a shot at this. I walked past all the people, up to the door, and as luck would have it the door was open. I walked in, nodded at a few security guys in A&R polos, and sauntered on to the front of the stage and watched the guys warm up. After a bit I walked to the back of the venue and was leaning against the wall when I was approached by a very large dude.

Uh-oh.

I was expecting the worst, but the guy said, “Hey, have you seen Greg?” I looked around as if I knew who the hell Greg was, then told him, “No, not recently.” He then thanked me and gave me a knuckle-bump before departing.

Then, incredibly a short while later I swear this happened:

The band stopped and the lead singer looked straight at me and asked, “Whaddaya think? Is that enough bass?” The world stopped for a second as the entire band and everyone in the venue looked at me. I nodded knowingly and gave the thumbs-up sign as the bass player shot me a return thumbs-up before kicking into another tune. At that point I had cred with the entire place so I could basically do whatever I wanted. What can I say? Maybe it is luck.

A buddy of mine and I went to Horrorhound in Cincinnati last night. Horrorhound is a convention where you can find anything and everything related to horror on television and movies. Several members of the cast of The Walking Dead were there, the guy who played Eddie Munster, John Carpenter (who directed Halloween), Tony Todd (from Candyman and Night of the Living Dead), but I’m sure you get the picture.

So we arrive at the Sharonville Convention Center, and I swear there was 1000 people in line, at least. We spoke with some people and heard horror stories (get it, horror stories?) of people who’d been in line for well over an hour. We walked to the end of the line and it was not moving. At all. Later we heard stories on the news regarding all the problems they had getting people into the place. Seems The Walking Dead cast was the big draw and the organizers were somehow caught by surprise although I can’t imagine how or why.

Long story short, we weren’t going anywhere, at least very fast. And have I mentioned I hate standing in lines? Hate. It. As we’re standing there I say to my friend, “You know, I have a pretty good record of walking right into places like this. I think I’m going to give it a try.” He gives me a “Wait. What?” look but I’m off. Five-minutes later he gets my text:

I’m in.”

I’d walked around the back side of the convention center and had seen a door that was ajar. After a quick look inside I went on around to a couple other doors but assessed my first option was the best. I had a line ready if I was confronted, something like, “Yeah, have you seen Gary? He was supposed to meet me at the door back there but he’s not around.” You know, then just wing it from there. As luck would have it, a girl was there but I just said hi and kept on walking. Gotta show confidence, people. Then I had the choice of going up or down. I chose down because the basement seemed the best place to avoid, you know, people. I walked past an open door to an office with a plaque that read “Maintenance Supervisor”, and sure enough there was a guy in there at his desk.

I just waved, he waved back and I and kept movin’. That’s always best. Keep movin’.

He never said a word.

Note: I’ve found that guys who work behind the scenes at events are often named Gary. Write that down.

Yeah, this guy.

Next thing I know I hear crowd noises so I follow them through an open door. At that point I’m standing right next to Michael Madsen, some actor you’d probably recognize from the Kill Bill movies, Reservoir Dogs and some other stuff. By the way, Michael Madsen? Not looking so good. Yeesh. Plus, his shirt was about 2-sizes too small, but who am I to judge? He didn’t even notice me and I walked on by, smack dab into the madness that was Horrorhound.

I’d texted my friend earlier and he’d followed my lead but had gone up the stairs and had run into nobody. We met and had a few laughs about our daring adventure, but soon realized we couldn’t get into any of the cool stuff without a wristband.  Damn it. What to do?  We’d noticed there were different colored bands, but we had no idea what that meant. I then saw a guy with a Horrorhound T-shirt on that was checking people into one of the large rooms where the actors were signing autographs and posing for pictures, all for a small fee of $25 or so of course. Anyway, I asked the guy what the different colored bands meant and he immediately looked at my wrists to see which color I had, of which I obviously had none. At that point he gestured for his supervisor to come over. Yikes. This could signal the end of our stealth mission into Horrorhound. Talking fast, I repeated my question to the lady, at which point she asked me this:

“Why, did you lose yours?” 

Why, as a matter of fact I did.

She proceeded to pull a wristband out of a bag and handed it to me. Pushing my luck, I asked if my friend could have one too. Friendly lady that she was, she complied with a smile. She also added that our bands were good for the entire weekend. We were good to go, or as a friend once told me, “You’re good to go alright. Good to go to hell.”

Did I mention that tickets were $25 apiece?

Easy big fella.

On the other side of the spectrum, I have never, ever, gone through customs without getting stopped and searched. You know how travelers have been treated since 9/11? That’s how I’ve always been treated. Again, no clue why. I can be in a line of 100-people and the customs guys take a look at me, huddle together worriedly, and walk over to quietly ask me “Can you come with us, sir?” I swear I must fit some visual profile or something. The only time this got a little touchy was when I was traveling with my first wife. She was diabetic and I was carrying a small cooler with little vials and syringes and stuff. Yeah, I had some ‘splainin’ to do on that one but we got through it. I also survived an encounter with a bitter customs official in the Caribbean. It was turning ugly, but I  was eventually saved by a call from a government official I knew. However, that’s a blog for another day.

So, I have zero clue how to end this, other than to say I feel ready to set my goals a little higher. I think I’ll shoot for sneaking into the Final 4, the Super Bowl or maybe even the White House.

After all, what’s the worst that could happen?