|Michael Vartan's driveway|
|The details of the event and what the charity supported|
Saturday night my friend Jody and I made our official plans, as well as making sure that our husbands were prepared to care for the kids without calling and interrupting us. But we planned on getting there early and making sure that we had prime picture taking positions. I guess I should note that she came with me more for the chance to escape her own children and for her husband to have to deal with their seven month old who isn’t the happiest of babies all the time. She isn’t much of a fan girl, in fact I am still trying to persuade her into watching Alias. I really need a friend that I can talk with in person about Alias, it kind of drives me crazy. But she was perfectly happy just being on a girls day out. She offered her prime spot to someone else so that they could take more pictures, she even held onto my purse so it didn’t get in the way. I still can’t believe that she didn’t want to get any autographs or her picture with anyone. But she has since admitted that next year she might be a little more outgoing.
|From Lauren Vartan's Twitter; the night before the game she was making a cake and mentioning fun for the whole family had me a little freaked that he might be staying home with her.|
On the way to Park City I admitted that I was a little afraid that there might be a possibility that he may not end up being there, after all the event stated that he was invited to play, not confirmed to be there. I had tried to get him to respond to a tweet asking him if he would be there. But he is hardly ever on twitter and I never received a response. I have tweeted his wife Lauren a couple times and she responds every time, but I try to not act like a completely crazy person with her. In fact the only times I will tweet her is if it actually involves her. Although I do wish that I was friends with her, she seems very cool and down to earth. Plus I probably laugh more at her twitter comments than anyone else. It was actually her that had me worried that Michael may not end up at the game, while she will rarely post pictures of him on her twitter feed, she does post other things. Saturday night she had tweeted about the cake that she was making and her little family. It had me scared, but I told myself that I would be okay if he didn’t show. I would’ve been okay, but I think that I would have been really depressed.
|My first really good sign that Michael Vartan would in fact be at the game. His name, picture and what number he would be printed in the program.|
We arrived at the rink, and watched as they set everything up, we even got to open the doors into the locker room for someone, I really wanted to follow them in, but I didn’t shell out the $2000 to actually play hockey, in fact this would be my first hockey game. But it was fun to walk around and see how they were prepping. We picked up a copy of the program and saw that he would in fact be playing. My fear quickly dissipated, and I could breathe again. We watched as they set up the red carpet and all the media showed up and took their places. We were the first ones admitted in, so we ended up being at the front of the gate right next to the camera men. The only people allowed in front of the gate were the players and the reporters doing the interviews. So basically we were in the perfect position, we could watch all the celebrities do their interviews, and then they would have to pass right by us before going into the locker room. We waited for a about 20 minutes there before anything started happening. But it was well worth the wait. While we were waiting I overheard the conversation of the family that was standing near us. They were wondering if their dad would have to go down the red carpet or not since he was the ref. I’m not sure why I turned to look at them at this point, but I did. Then I saw the name on a packet that the daughter was holding. I recognized the name as one of my co-workers, which I thought was a little weird, but I thought what the heck, I’ll just ask them if it is him. Yes it was, a co-worker that I used to work closely with before I changed positions in the company was going to be the ref of the game. So for the next few minutes, I thought of how I could use this to my advantage if I ended up seeing him.
I saw that people were starting to get excited, and I noticed that a bigger crowd was beginning to assemble at the entrance to the arena where the red carpet began. Then someone muttered the magic words for me, “Michael Vartan will be the first one to go through the red carpet.” That got my attention fast and I immediately turned to focus in on the entrance, and there he was, I couldn’t believe that I was officially in the same room with him. My picture taking frenzy began, I had a constant struggle in my head of watch him in person, or take as many pictures to document the experience as I could. I tried to find a balance, but I did get a lot of pictures. If I wasn’t taking his picture, my eyes were locked in on him, and I couldn’t contain my grin. I keep searching for the interview that he was doing at the time, but I can’t find it yet, as soon as I do I will post it on here, but he definitely took notice of my attention. I couldn’t hear the interview going on, but I could see every move that he made. He was constantly scanning the crowd, and he saw me, he stopped talking for a moment and gave me a huge smile, raised his eyebrows, and winked at me then continued on with the interview. I’m kind of amazed that I didn’t pass out right there. (Actually I’m not, I’ve never passed out before, but if the day had ended there I would’ve been okay with it.)
|One of my favorites from the red carpet. I mean just look at that grin|
Throughout my life I have actually met quite a few celebrities when I really think about it. I’ve met and talked with almost every cast member of Psych. I was on a cross country flight with Sharon Stone sitting across the aisle. I talk to some on the phone with my job occasionally. Plus some other experiences as well. But I’ve always seen them as real people, and have found that when they are treated as real people you get more face time with them. So I really do try and not fan girl too much around them. Although sometimes it can be really hard, Sunday really tested those abilities on me. I think that I have mentioned it here before, but I have never really had a celebrity crush until Michael Vartan. I hate to call it a crush though, because honestly I have no desire of dating him, I don’t see him like that. I am happily married, and I wouldn’t change that for the world. One of the reasons that I became such a huge fan was because of his demeanor in interviews that I had seen. Granted, the only reason that I watched any interviews with him comes back to Alias, and what a great job he did portraying Michal Vaughn. The interviews that I watched that took place while he was filming Alias were fun to watch, however the interviews that he did after meeting his wife are the ones that are my favorite. I love seeing a man being so in love with their significant other. I find it to be an endearing quality. The way that in almost every interview he brings up his wife and talks about her at some point, you can see how happy she makes him. It’s also fun to see him wearing something that represents her. He often wears a shirt that would represent where she is from and explain why he had it on. Add on that how humble he always appears, as well as not being annoyed with the interview and almost always smiling during the whole thing. I think that he has somehow managed to find that perfect balance of being a celebrity, and being able to have a life outside of it as well.
So while I was trying to contain the inner fan girl, I continued to watch him. I saw what I had seen in interviews, that he was really down to earth, that even when the official camera turned away from him, he didn’t change his attitude. He talked to a few other people that he knew and was consistently pleasant. When he arrived near me, I tried to sound normal, but I’m not sure if I managed. But I called him name and asked if I could get a picture with him. He smiled at me and said absolutely. He came right up next to me put his arm around me and asked if I wanted to do a selfie. When he said this, a member of the media took out picture at the same time. I really wish I knew who that was so I could get a copy of that picture too. But I managed to say yep, and take the picture. I was flabbergasted at the idea that Michael Vartan had his arm around me. Was this for real? After I took the picture, he even asked me if it turned out okay before he left. I told him it was fine, and he told us to enjoy the game, waved goodbye and walked into the locker room. Besides what I had seen from afar, I confirmed that he really is a good guy and very down to earth, who appreciates his fans.
|Don't mind me, but just look at his smile, as well as the placement of his arm around me. :)|
We stayed on the red carpet for a few more minutes. There were a couple of other people that we thought would be fun to get a picture or two of. So we stayed long enough so that we could get a picture of David Boreanaz from Bones, as well as Isaiah Mustafa, otherwise known as the Old Spice guy. I also did spot Alan Thicke but based on the entourage with him, I didn’t think it was worth the possibility of not having good seats. So since we had seen who we wanted to see we headed inside the hockey rink.
|David Broeanaz from Bones & Isaiah Mustafa aka the Old Spice Guy|
Having never been to a Hockey game before I didn’t know where the best seats would be, but I assumed that sitting in the front row would be a good bet. So we were looking around for where we could get the closest when we noticed a single bench at the center of the rink. We walked down to the bench and looked below us to find more benches that we right next to the ice with doors leading to the ice. I looked at this and thought that this had to be prime real estate, but also wondered why no one was sitting there. But decided that we would sit there anyway, unless we heard something saying it was a bad spot. It was then that I looked below and saw my co-worker coming out of a door below us and into the bench area right next to the ice. I took my opportunity of knowing someone who had connections to the game. I asked him what went on in the area below us. He showed us that the door right below us was where all the players would enter and exit the locker room from. The benches were reserved for the media and family of players. We decided that we had found the perfect spot.
|The ref on the left hand side of the picture is my co-worker - I know that the others are celebrities as well, but I honestly have no idea who they are. - Picture was taken by the Salt Lake Tribune|
He and I have always gotten along very well, so we did a little chit chat, then he asked me if I there was anyone that I was really looking forward to watch play. I told him that I was there for Michael Vartan. He smiled and rolled his eyes at me. He then wondered why I was there for an actor and not for the actual NHL players. Luckily it was a rhetorical question, and he then went on to tell me that he was just talking to Michael a few moments ago and that he’s just right behind the door. He then advised that even though the players came out through that door, that they would be sitting across the arena. He also said that some players would sometimes take pucks and throw them into the netting for the fans on the front row. We thought about moving, but decided against it. He then told me to have fun and disappeared back into the locker room area. Even though we decided that we had found our best spot, we decided we may want to look at the front row. So we moved, but then decided that it was too crowded with little kids and as much as I would want that puck if it was Michael Vartan tossing it over, I wouldn’t take it from a kid. So we went back to the lonely bench. Only someone else had taken our seat next to the door. So we went to the other side of the bench, and noticed that there was another door. We had been sitting for only a minute or two when my co-worker came back out, only this time he came out of the door that we were sitting next to. He looked around and saw me and asked why we switched seats. But then quickly told us that we were probably better off anyway as this was the door that they would be using, not the other one. We had chosen well. He then said that he got something for me. I then saw that he was carrying a puck, he told me to be really careful, because the ink was still wet, because it had just been signed especially for me. He climbed up the benches and handed me a puck signed by Michael Vartan. I thanked him profusely, and he told me it wasn’t a big deal and to enjoy the game. Here I was, the game hadn’t even started and I had already had Michael Vartan put his arm around me as we took a selfie, talked to him for a small moment, and now he had signed a hockey puck just for me. I was amazed at my luck.
|I was paranoid about losing this during the entire game, I kept checking my purse to make sure it was still there and that nothing in my purse would ruin it.|
As they were getting ready to begin the game I saw the media started to accumulate below us getting ready to take pictures of the players coming out of the locker room. It wasn’t a great shot, but I was willing to take anything I could get, picture wise, and so I planted myself with my camera so I could get video of Michael Vartan coming out of the locker room. One guy from the media was very friendly and started up a conversation with me as we were waiting. He asked if there was anyone in particular that I wanted a picture of. I told him, and he told me that I couldn’t see it, but that Michael Vartan was literally just right behind the door, he also told me that he would give me a heads up when it looked like they were ready to come out. He was good on his word and even though it wasn’t a great angle, I got the video of Michael Vartan coming out of the locker room and getting on the ice.
|As you can see, I really didn't have the best angle, but it was a pretty good position to be in for all the coming and going from the locker room.|
I took a few pictures of him on the ice as well as some of the others as well, but mostly of him. Then I turned on my video for a moment when I realized that they were starting to warm up. I followed him with my camera as he started up slow and then kicked it into full gear. He really can skate. I however need to remember that the iPhone needs to be turned horizontal for the video to actually look good, so sorry about that. The video is only a sampling of what he was doing on the ice. But I really enjoyed watching him and seeing some of the little things that he did. You know how much I love those little details in Alias, so it’s not surprising that I would pick up on them here. But watched as he practiced handling the puck, as well as noticing how much he really loves being out on the ice. You could see them preparing to start the game and the other players for the most part had gone over to their bench. But he stayed out there, skating and helping retrieve all the pucks that had been put on the ice for the warm up. He wasn’t throwing them at the audience, but actually helping the refs collect them. In that moment, I had the thought that he doesn’t think that he is too good for anything or that he is above helping people in general. I really liked seeing this side of him.
After they had finished announcing the players and doing some official stuff, I watched as he skated over towards us and saw that he was going to run back in to the locker room. I grabbed my camera again and got a few more shots of him up close. When he returned only a moment later, I saw why he left. For the warm up, for some reason he was wearing a jersey that had one of his numbers crossed out. When he came back, his jersey had the correct number of 66 without a crossed out 6. I’m not sure why it happened, but it was nice to get that extra chance for more pictures.
|I may not have had the best angle for pictures, but I managed a few good ones.|
The players went back to the locker room for a little while after the second quarter and I was able to get another picture or two. While I was waiting with my camera for another awkward shot of him coming out of the locker area and back onto the ice, the media guy from earlier struck up another conversation with me. He asked if I had gotten any good shots yet, I told him that they were okay, but I had gotten some really good ones earlier on the red carpet, and I already had the hockey puck I was pretty happy so far. He then told me that if I wanted to give him my cell number, he would text me all of the pictures of Michael Vartan that he ended up getting. He seemed nice enough, so I went for it. I wasn’t going to pass up on additional pictures, but I wasn’t too sure that he would actually follow up. But I figured that there was no harm just giving him my number. I got a few more shots as they got back on the ice.
|You can see the grin on his face still, he is excited to be here, having the chance to play with players that he admires.|
This is where I really regret putting down my camera. But I was actually engrossed in watching what was going on, I didn’t think about what I good video it would make. This time around as they warmed back up, there was a different vibe among the players. They were for the most part, just goofing off. But once again Michael Vartan caught my attention with the little details. I looked over to where he was, and saw that he had taken one of the players who had purchased a spot to play with them, and was practicing passing the puck along with showing some tricks. Normally this wouldn’t be that big of a deal, but the other play was a little boy. Granted the little boy was the son of David Broeanaz, but nonetheless Michael was taking the time to spend one on one time with this 11 year old boy out on the ice while the other players mostly sat on the bench and chatted with one another. Seeing him interact with a child made my heart melt. I mean really how lucky is he wife? He is madly in love with her and loves talking about her, plus he’s good with kids. It defiantly makes me wonder when they will have one of their own. A few moments later that had a miniature shootout, they had three players from each team try and score a goal with just the goalie in their way. I can’t believe that when they called Michael out for his turn I didn’t grab the camera, but oh well. He did great, even going for a trick shot with the puck. But the goalie caught it. Everyone there was impressed and the guys who were the MC’s tried to convince him as well as encouraging the audience to help convince him to do it again. But he looked embarrassed and declined and got back on the bench.
They finished the hockey game, his team lost though, although by only one point. I officially became a hockey fan. At least a fan of games like this one was. After the game they took a group shot and I tried to get a few pictures of him there, but once again I didn’t have the best angle. Once I saw Michael leave the ice for the locker rooms, we decided that we didn’t need to stick around any longer, that we would be better off waiting for everyone to leave the arena. Once again I managed to get a prime location. Plus even though she was in a hurry to get to another event, I was able to catch Andie McDowell, for a signature. I didn’t manage a picture though. While we were waiting for Michael Vartan to come out, we saw David Boraenaz again and I was able to get a few more pictures of him and his signature. I was having them sign a shirt from the event that the mascot of the LA Kings had thrown at me earlier before the game.
Then once again my heart jumped as I saw Michael Vartan coming out of the locker room and ready to greet everyone. But after seeing the rush that some of the others players were in, seeing that most of them had waved at the fans, signed a couple things, took one or two pictures and they were gone. But luckily for me I am a fan of a very gracious man. Which like I mentioned before is what made me a fan in the first place. He stopped multiple times before getting to the end of the line where I was. Right ahead of me where a bunch of little kids, and after watching them get turned down a few times by other stars, it was great to see Michael actually full on interact with them. He had two Hockey sticks and he gave them to these kids. He even went as far as to make sure that when he gave the second stick away that they were in the same family so that they wouldn’t end up fighting over the stick. He signed everything they handed him and he asked them questions the whole time being fully engaged with these kids. I don’t think that anything is more attractive on a man than seeing how he interacts with children.
|Michael Vartan greeting fans, having conversations with them. Giving his hockey stick to a set of brothers, telling them not to fight over it, or with it. The last one my friend took as he was walking over towards me.|
Once the kids were done, it was my turn again, he signed my shirt and I asked if I could get a picture that wasn’t a selfie. He happily put his arm around me once more and smiled for the camera. I was able to tell him how much I loved his work, and that I thought his wife was wonderful. Once I mentioned his wife, he lit up and wondered how I knew her. I said that I didn’t but that I had talked with her on twitter a few times and thought that she seemed very nice. Then he told me that she is indeed wonderful. I then asked if he was heading back up to Vancouver to finish up Bates Motel, and he told me that no he lived in LA, and that they were finished filming Bates Motel. (I came so close to blurting out that I knew he lived in LA and that I’ve past his house on multiple occasions. But I held my tongue.) He told me that it was nice to meet me and headed out the door.
|By the end of the day, I was exhausted and my face hurt from smiling, but once again he was more than willing to put his arm around me once more and show off his heart melting smile.|
Once again I was amazed at what good luck I had had during the day. Jody came around the gate as we were in weird positions around the gate, and we fought through the crowd to get outside and out to the car. When we got outside, we found that we were about to walk into a photo that someone was taking of their group with Michael Vartan and she wondered out loud if he would do another one with her in the photo. This was his first sign of being a little overwhelmed, I think because they were bombarding him with Alias related questions. One thing I have found after watching interviews, he knows that he owes his fame to Alias, but he isn’t a fan of only being recognized for it. So I stepped in and offered to take their photo together. He never stopped smiling or being friendly to these fans, but he was grateful to get off of the Alias topic. He changed the topic saying that he can’t wait for the role where he gets to shave his head and kill someone as the bad guy. They brought up Bates Motel and he told them that he is literally the only character in the show that didn’t get to do anything exciting like killing. I guess we’ll see about that when Bates Motel starts in March. We ended up walking towards the cars together and I mentioned that my husband and I loved watching Demoted. He smiled and thanked me and said that it was a fun one. Jody and I stopped at the edge of the curb for me to look through my purse and find my keys and put away some stuff before we left. I didn’t notice that one last person had stopped Michael before getting on to his van that would take him home. But it was the cutest old lady, and she only wanted a picture of him against the mountains. If I hadn’t just put my camera away, I would’ve taken one too. The funniest part of this was that behind us, someone was heckling him; I’m guessing that they are buddies in some form. But while he was smiling politely without even thinking he flipped his friend off, but just did it at waist level. But then he realized his mistake, and quickly checked with the nice old lady to see if she had taken his picture from the waist and up, he seemed genuinely concerned that her picture would be ruined; and wanted to make sure that in no way was he flipping her off, that it was aimed at his friend over there. By this time I really felt like we were stalking him, but it really wasn’t on purpose. We tried to keep our distance and let him get into his van before going to our car, so we didn’t end up walking together again. But he did end up noticing us and called over to us and told us to have a good night and that it was nice to meet us.
After this one day being near him, I found him to be the ultimate gentleman. I can’t imagine that he is any different on a day to day basis, but I could be wrong. I really wish that he was more recognized in Hollywood and given more roles that he wants, like the role of a killer who has to shave his head, but not only that, but letting him show his comedic side, and not just on movies that are destined to tank. He really does have talent and I can’t imagine that working with him would be hard. I have to say that I will treasure this experience, as well as buy tickets for next year at the first possible chance.
We left the ice arena with the intention of heading down to Sundance since we were literally 2 miles away from Park City Main Street, but decided that we had had enough fun and we were far too tired for more excitement. We ended up heading back into Salt Lake and grabbing some dinner before heading home to our kids and the inevitable question from our girls who are best friends asking if they could have a sleepover (we caved and allowed it, even though I was dead tired.) But we had genuinely had a good day. For Jody being an introvert and really not being a fan of crowded situations even enjoyed the whole thing and is ready to join me next year. As we were eating I received a text from an unknown number and almost dismissed it until later. But then Jody reminded me that I’m expecting a text from an unknown number. I open it up and there were four more glorious pictures of Michael Vartan.
|See a much better angle than I had. It almost looks like he is whistling on his way in to the ice.|
I think that after the hellish week and a half that I had had leading up to the hockey match, the stars aligned to make sure that I would have a good day, and I did. Like I mentioned before, I am still in shock of meeting this man that I have somewhat come to idolize on this blog. And while Michael Vaughn will still be my favorite character on Alias, I will definitely be looking for more of Michael Vartan in him. Because while I may not have a crush on the man in the traditional terms, I still find him to be very attractive and seeing him in real life and seeing how he treats others only made him better.
|Some of my favorite shots from the day rolled up into one picture.|
Once again thank you Michael Vartan for giving me the best day I have had in a long time, and turning a really shitty week around for me.