Second Day of Days

I spent the second day of my weekend in LA with my family doing tourist stuff, but then it was time for an evening with Stephen and Mary Beth! The event was a performance and fundraiser for a nonprofit group called One World Stage & Screen, which provides classes, coaching, and mentorship for young actors.

Mama P and I got there just in time to go into the theater. The performance was a short two-actor play called Annapurna, by Sharr White. I wasn’t familiar with it, but I did some googling and found that it has been performed all over, including a run in LA starring Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman.

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Thanks Liz for the photo!

It was a “dramatic reading” rather than a staged play, meaning Stephen and Mary Beth had their scripts throughout, and there were no props. Here is the plot: Emma (Mary Beth) comes to visit her poet ex-husband Ulysses (Stephen). She finds him living in poverty and squalor and dying of emphysema. Over the course of the play, we learn that Emma left Ulysses 20 years before, suddenly, in the middle of the night, taking their 5 year old son with her. She has just now left her second husband, a “nice” guy who has just beat her up, partly because she couldn’t get over Ulysses. We learn that Ulysses was a heavy drinker all through their marriage and afterwards (but has now given it up). The son, now 25, has just discovered that Ulysses was writing to him over the 20 years and plans to come see him. That’s why Emma is here. She also heard that he was dying, and wants to “see him out,” as she says. By the end of the play, we hear what drove her away that night 20 years ago, and we see that their bond has not broken in spite of it all.

The play was a good choice for Stephen and Mary Beth. Ulysses is dying, bitter, concealing old hurts, but still has a raffish charm. Emma is bitter too, blaming him for the past, and yet still drawn to him in spite of herself. I enjoyed the play on its own merits, and it was thrilling to see Stephen and Mary Beth live, working their magic, playing off of one another. However, my mind also drifted several times to Steve and Kayla, since there were some interesting parallels. First, since I feel that Kayla’s point of view gets short shrift these days, it was nice to see both of these characters able to express their hurt and bitterness. When Emma talked about being married to her “nice” second husband and how there were always three in the bed, made me think of Kayla’s marriage to Jack, and the way he snapped too. All in all, it was a Steve and Kayla story if Steve were a little less redeemable and Kayla a little more bitter.

It also made me think of how Steve and Kayla might have turned out if Steve had succeeded in pushing her away permanently, and they met again 20 years later. How would their lives have turned out? Would Kayla marry and have a (long-term) loveless marriage, and Steve slide into despair and self-destruction? I found that very intriguing to imagine as I watched this story unfold.

After the play, there was a reception. On the way there I saw Kate Mansi, on her way out. Later I also saw Christopher Sean. There were rumors that James Lastovic was going to be there, but I never saw him. At the reception we chatted with friends, including Erica and Lysie from Daytime Royalty, who pumped me for information on Greg’s event the day before. Then Erica discreetly pointed out that Matt Ashford was standing right behind me, talking to Mary Beth’s family. Like all actors, Matt looks super skinny in person, and he was wearing a suit jacket and pants with a t-shirt, and had a bulky fanny pack around his waist. It was a … unique look.

I was super excited to be so close to Matt, but I didn’t want to be an annoying intrusive fan and interrupt his conversation. Mama P had no such compunction, and she went over and grabbed him and said she wanted a picture of him with her daughter. (Thanks, Mama P!) Matt said, “Oh, why don’t we step over here?” and before I knew it I was on the red carpet with Matt and ten or more people were taking our picture.

Matt, trying to make small talk, asked me how I enjoyed the performance and I stammered something and said, “I’m sorry, I’m a little starstruck.” He laughed and put his arm around me and my mom took this picture. What a sweetheart!

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Afterwards I jumping up and down with excitement and everyone was teasing me about it. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to talk to or take a picture with Stephen and Mary Beth at the event (you could pay extra for a photo, and we didn’t spring for it). But I do have to say one of my most thrilling moments was right after I stepped away from Matt. Stephen spotted him and came up to give Matt a big hug. Seeing the Johnson brothers hugging might have been the highlight of the whole trip. I only wish I had been quick enough to take a picture.

The next day we were on the plane home. How soon til the next Day of Days??

EDIT: Jess, who was taking pictures for DR, just tweeted a few more pictures of Matt and Mama P and me. How did I not notice that Matt is wearing a James Joyce Ulysses shirt? Did he do that in honor of Stephen’s character? And just the fact that he owns a t-shirt for a classic novel seems so … Jack. Awesome.

 

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Two days of Days

I’m back from an amazing two days in Los Angeles.

We had a late start on Saturday and headed over the CityWalk around ten. My friend Erica had warned us Friday night that Drake wasn’t going to be there this year, and Mama P was very, very sad about this. (The word was that he didn’t want to answer eight million questions about his injury, which I can understand.) So I let her pick the autograph line for the morning session, and she went for Galen, Kristian, Brandon, and Vivian. Kristian doesn’t usually come to Day of Days so this was a special treat. The line was long and Meredith Scott Lynn (Anne) came by and talked to fans, signed autographs, and posed for pictures while we were waiting. She told us it was her mom’s birthday and several people in line scolded her for not calling her. So she called her on FaceTime and the whole line sang to “Happy Birthday” to Meredith’s mom. When we got to the signing table Mama P and I got pictures with Brandon and Galen, but not Vivian or Kristian, which I think might mean we’re shallow. I have to say Galen and Brandon are both drop dead handsome in real life. Of course I’ve always thought they were handsome, but in real life it’s about 1000x more intense, and they both have such beautiful eyes. Sigh.

Kristian was looking gorgeous:

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This was her look when Mama P said she was sorry Hope was going to jail. She said, “Am I?” No idea what that means, but I’m passing it along.

We ran into some Twitter friends (and got a very, very cool Steve and Kayla-themed swag bag, including a Shenanigans t-shirt and mug! Thanks, Tamra!), and everyone was buzzing about the fact that Dena and Ryan Quan had been spotted wandering around. They didn’t seem to be engaging with anyone, just observing. We speculated they were paying attention to the length of the different autograph lines. I saw them in the afternoon and I smiled at them and tried very obviously to catch Dena’s eye, and she ignored me completely, so I don’t think they were hoping to be recognized.

In the afternoon we waited in Stephen and Mary Beth’s line, who were sitting at a table with Wally and Judi. This was a very, very long line, which I was delighted about for their sake (especially since Dena and Ryan walked by, all the way to the end of the line). It was by far the longest line in the afternoon session.

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Stephen and Mary Beth were beautiful as always, but I have to say Wally and Judi were just glowing. I love Judi’s hair like this! And Wally’s dimples must be seen to be believed. I asked them if it was significant that they were at a table together, rather than Judi being with Bryan Datillo. Of course they didn’t tell me, but Wally said there is lots of story coming up. I had them sign my Shenanigans t-shirt from my cool S&K swag bag, and Wally seemed really struck by it, and said he had very fond memories of Shenanigans. I didn’t talk to Stephen and Mary Beth much (Stephen was signing autographs and checking his phone at the same time, lol), but they posed for a picture with us.

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They showed a Day of Days video greeting from Ari Zucker and Missy Reeves. It didn’t say anything meaningful, just “Hello and keep watching,: but I was glad to see it after finding out Ari wouldn’t be at a signing table. I am guessing that Ari wasn’t there because of what happened with Trump and the Access Hollywood tape.

At the end of the day the cast assembled again on stage, and they brought out a few special guests: Vanessa Williams, Marci Miller, and … Greg Vaughan. Whee! Greg got a big round of applause. The cast took questions from the audience. Based on my experience this year and last year, these tend to be a bit strange. You can watch it on the Days Facebook page, but for me there was just one notable moment. Someone asked Vincent if Deimos and Nicole were getting back together, and he said yes (my heart stopped for a second, but turned out he meant with what just aired recently, not what they were shooting). He said the story will take a lot of twists and turns. At that point, Greg took the mike and said things weren’t going well for Nicole and Deimos so they had to bring him back. He was joking around, but I thought it was a very promising thing to say.

Then they showed the Day of Days promo, which I’m sure all of you have seen. I was not particularly impressed — a lot of it has already aired or already been spoiled, and it seemed to cover just the next few weeks. The promo last year was a lot more exciting.

After that, Mama and I had to run back to the hotel and jump in the car to race to the Greg Vaughan event.

There were about 25 people there. Greg took questions and talked for several hours. He told stories about his life and Queen Sugar, which he’s very excited to be a part of. Regarding Days, he said they had been trying to get him back for several months before he actually started, but he was busy with Queen Sugar. He said the calls started soon after his last episode aired, and his feeling was, “Hey, you had me.” But, they worked with his schedule and let him have input in the story and he feels really happy with how it’s gone so far. He is back long term, but Eric might have to be sent off for a couple months when Greg needs to film Queen Sugar (assuming the show is renewed again — can’t believe it’s been almost a year already!).

As for storyline hints, he said they brought him back because “Nicole needs a little spice in her life.” He said Eric comes back a changed man, and his story leads him to interact with almost everyone in the cast. He was really happy about that, because in his last run he loved aspects of it (like the challenge of playing a priest), but he felt he ended up too much “in a box.” He said his interactions with others are more on Eric’s terms now, almost to the point of Eric being “narcissistic.” He gained ten pounds and bulked up to play post-prison Eric, and has a shaggy beard. I asked if we got to see Eric in prison, and he said no, we see him right after he is out. He said he and the producers talked a lot about how Eric gets out so soon, since he was sentenced for five years — sounds like it will be a bigger story than just an early parole. After he said that, we asked if maybe Eric escaped, or if it turned out he wasn’t responsible for the accident after all.  At both of these suggestions he looked mysterious and said maybe, maybe not.

I asked about Ericole, and he said, “It’s a journey” (which cracked me up because he has used that line before). Someone else asked about Jennifer, and he said they do cross paths but “it’s not by choice.” He made it sound like they are at odds. He mentioned several times that there is a lot of hostility, certainly from Nicole, and possibly from other people too. A lot of intense, emotional scenes coming up. He talked about how quickly they have to film and how serious a work environment it is — except Ari and Eric Martsolf, who are always a blast to work with, they make him laugh.

He mentioned the Day of Days promo and how he asked to add a little clip to one of the stories in the promo, it would have fit perfectly. But the producers said it was going to far ahead.

He told a really funny story about how he went camping in the woods in Oregon and accidentally burned his face trying to light a hot tub that ran on firewood. He had to be rushed to the hospital, 150 miles away. He joked that when he gets injured it always seems to be in the face, and his mom says he needs to take better care of his “moneymaker.” Mama P shouted out that it obviously didn’t hurt his good looks, and he laughed and said that his skin peeled off and it was like the best chemical peel he ever had. He got back to the Days set, and Billy Flynn, who had heard about the accident, was appalled because “You burn your face off and you’re better looking than before!”
He said his eyelashes and eyebrows were singed off and he had to take pills to try to make them grow back faster! (Rogaine?)

Then he took us off in groups of 4 or 5 and posed for pictures, signed autographs and chatted with us.

Our group was first and I was first in line (I only knocked over a couple of old ladies, promise). He hugged me, and I told him I had heard he gave the best hugs. This was meant to be more of a compliment than a hint, but he seemed to take it as a challenge and wrapped his arms more tightly around me, in order to live up to his reputation. He ended up hugging me four different times! He was so sweet and attentive, I can’t begin to convey it, like he had all the time in the world and all he wanted to do was hang out with us. ❤ ❤

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Next time – Day two and Stephen and Mary Beth’s event!