Lovely surprises are very nice.
They are even nicer when they relate to Zachary Quinto.
Before heading to New York for NYCC, I dropped by Lala Land to spend some time with good friend Chelle. On the 1st morning I was there, we caught whiff of news that Zach seemed to be heading out of town, his lean biceps armed with a travel bag.
Little did I know that bb was heading to where I was also heading to! Kismet!
For on the next day, I saw a tweet from writer/ director Victor Quinaz announcing that there will be an off-NYCC signing for the graphic novel "Mr Murder Is Dead" at St Mark's comic shop on Saturday 15th October (8-10pm), together with artist Brent Schoonover and ..... get this - Zachary Quinto!
My heart skipped a beat. Well, many beats actually.
After a quick check on my carefully planned convention schedule, it seemed like we had to make a mad dash for the signing if we went for Marvel Studios' "The Avengers" panel that same evening. In the end, we decided that Zach was priority after all. And also, "The Avengers" panel would be crazy-popular, and one would have to be in line super early in the day in order to get into the 3,000-seat IGN theatre. I had other cool convention things that I wanted to do and was not keen to be waiting in line for a day.
More astutely, we knew we would have a way better chance and lots more fun meeting Zach and those biceps. Real Up Close and Personal.
So after our round of convention wanderings, our colourful quartet of ZQ pervers - @eserei27, @icalynn, @darkelegance and moi - left our hotel for St Mark's at 6pm. A friend told me that the store, which was located at the East Village, was a very small one. And we wanted to make sure we got there in time in case the line for the signing was long.
As it was peak hour then, we had to walk down to the next avenue in our attempts to hail a yellow cab. Quite a few ignored us and we were cab-less for a good 15 minutes! You should have seen @eserei27 wildly throw and wave her arms high up in the air in semi-frustration by the roadside. We laughed so hard at that ridiculous sight and maybe that was a magical move, coz we managed to get a cab a minute or two later.
Our cabbie driver, knowing that we came from the comic convention, kept throwing us superheroes/comics-related jeopardy like questions during our ride. We asked if we could get a discount if we got the answers right. He didn't give us an answer :p
When we arrived at St Mark's, there was no line at all. Probably because this was a smallish village shop away from the central area. We made a cursory browse through the shelves and @darkelegance commented that it was the type of "indie" shop that Zach would go to if he so ever desired to shop for comics. How true!
Since we still have an hour to kill before the event, we decided to grab a bite and ended up at a Vietnamese diner down the street, which was inventively called Baoguette Cafe.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you were wondering what the heck a Baoguette is....
This is a Grilled Chicken Baoguette
At about 7.30pm, we ambled back to St. Mark's and a small line had already formed inside the store. We had to place our bags with one of the staff members so I quickly grabbed my camera and snuggled it inside my coat. I think there was about 30 people in the shop at that time.
Promptly at around 8 pm, we saw a rather tired-looking Brent Schoonover arrive and soon after, Victor Quinaz. And about 10 minutes later, tall lean Zach strolled in with his cute brown beanie, geeky glasses and a blue sweater. We had surmised earlier on he has been easing into his fall clothes mode and we were so hoping for a beanie-sighting! Success!
Officially, pics were not allowed but before I was requested to not take them, I managed to snap a couple of the trio from afar.
@eserei27 was the first from our group to go through the signing. Zach was very laid back that night and of course, remembered @eserei27 well. @darkelegance simply told Zach that she just wanted to say hi.... And Zach responded to her with a loud and very bright "HIIIiiiiiiiii!" Hahaha.
When it was my turn, I stuck out my hand to Zach, introduced myself, and told him I came from Singapore. "That is a long way to come to New York," Zach remarked. I mentioned that I had met him once before at a Trek con in Las Vegas and as he signed the comic, Zach went, "Yeah... I haven't done that in awhile."
It was then that sweet Victor mentioned to Zach that I was the one who had presented both him and Brent with the Singapore robot keychains, and that I was also the one who was writing the 'biceps blog'.
I nodded and told Zach, "Yes, I am the one who owns the Zachary Quinto's Biceps blog."
"Really? You're the one who does the blog?" Zach repeated. "Now, tell me...what is it about my biceps that made you want to start the blog?" He looked adorably perplexed as he lightly flexed his sweater-wrapped arms. (Can I say *Swoon*?)
I grinned, looked at him and dramatically motioned my hands towards them, "oh C'mon. Zach. How can you not know? Just look at them!"
@eserei27 gamely added, "Zach... coz they are sooo inspiring!" And I totally agreed with her.
A highly amused Zach replied, "Well, I hope my biceps will continue to inspire your blog."
I assured him they most definitely will, thanked him and headed outside the store. We didn't leave St Mark's yet though, because we spotted Archaia's handsome duo - their Editor-in-Chief Stephen Christy and PR & Marketing Manager Mel Caylo, who had just arrived to check out how the event is doing. We stayed to chat with both of them as they tried to lure more interested passers-by into the store.
By then, the signing line was clearing out real quickly. Since there was hardly anyone left in the line, @eserei27 thought it would be a good chance to take a pic with Zach. As for me, I thought it was a good chance to evilly sneak in my copy of "Mr Murder Is Dead" for Zach to sign.
We went back into the store and @eserei27 sweetly asked Zach if she could take a photo with him. Zach put on a fan-weary look and told @eserei27, "We are not supposed to take pics. If I were to take a pic with you, I'd have to take a pic with everyone else." He paused a beat for effect. I think I saw @eserei27 hold her breath for a few seconds too long.
"But since there isn't anyone here right now.... OK, you can take a picture."
Haha. Oh, Zach!
I then took the opportunity to request Zach to sign my "Mr Murder Is Dead" book, and also to personalize it. "Okayyyyy, Tina! You girls........," Zach sighed with mock exasperation. He sighed even louder when I boldly requested for him to personalize the Star Trek comic for me too. "Alright already... Here you go.. TINA," he said, as he dramatically put an exclamation mark right after my name on the comic. "You all are just sooooo ..... why do you girls always asking me to do these things...... "
I pretended to look coy and said, "Because we love you."
"I love you too." Zach said simply. And of course, that melted @eserei27 and my hearts to a combined squishy mess right there and then. If I could have gone *thud*, I probably wouldn't have wanted to leave the floor.
I asked Zach if I could take a pic with him and he was OK with it. So I waved my iPhone in @eserei27's face who was still stunned by her current Zach experience. It took Zach's clear voice to snap her out of her reverie. "Sara!!!! Take her picture already! She took yours, so it's only fair that you take hers!"
Zach grinned impishly and thanked us for coming. In turn, we also thanked him for being so awesome with us, and I was about to turn around and take leave when he smiled and looked directly at me with those signature light brown eyes, saying with a hint of genuine concern, "Stay safe, OK?"
I told him I will. And that wrapped up yet another fun, classy Zach meet and greet experience!
So, I did not manage to get the ZQ Flexed Biceps pics I truly wanted. But no matter.
There shalt be other future opportunities.
The happy vivacious quartet outside St Mark's, post VQ-BS-ZQ meet:
And my wonderfully autographed copy of "Mr Murder Is Dead":