Friday, January 15, 2010

Secret Shame...

Okay, I guess I can't really call this my "secret." Nor should it be. There is nothing wrong with liking what one likes, not when they "own" it and are honest, upfront, and confidant about it. Too many people waste too much time giving a damn what other people think about them! And why; who cares? What gives someone else the right to judge you?

I guess more than anything I'm using the term "shame" now because the truth is that I've fallen out of this particular fandom, and with so many new ways to stay current with it since I left, I have realized just how far I have fallen. But let my backtrack a bit and clue you into what I'm talking about first.

Soap operas. Daytime dramas. Shows about family and tortured love. When I was a teenager I devoured them (well, one particular one anyway). I couldn't get enough. I had stacks of their specific magazines in my bedroom, dozens of bids on their candid photos on eBay, a very special library of Very Special Episodes I felt the need to keep on VHS tapes, and membership to the few AOL chatrooms/forums that existed for daytime, NBC, and Days of our Lives.

These days I am reentering the world of soaps through my charity, IBG Inc, because we are throwing a very special "Men of Daytime TV" charity benefit for the PKD Foundation. The event is being scheduled for February 2010 at a hotel in Beverly Hills and will feature the familiar staples of all of the soap events I came to know and love a decade ago.

Starting with a Q&A with the guys, fans will be able to submit questions prior to the event, and all will be moderated by a Very Special Guest Moderator. Following the Q&A will be a Meet & Greet session where all attendees can get autographs from and photos with the celebrities. There will also be a silent auction held throughout the day featuring limited edition memorabilia and autographed items by various soap stars. All in the name of a very worthy cause!

These days, they say soap operas are a dying breed. Longtime favorites are undergoing facelifts, cast shakeups, and cancellations left and right. Where there used to be a dozen shows with half a dozen publications devoted to them, those numbers have now been cut in half. Even the fan events are dwindling in amount and size; there used to be full weekends to spend with your favorites from NBC or ABC casts. Now you have to catch one or two if they come to a city near you on a mall tour stop. And yet the online fandom seems to have grown exponentially!

Now there are boards on official network pages for the shows, in addition to fan sites. There are online media that specialize in all of the late breaking casting and spoiler news. Of course there are organizations like my own that still work to connect actors and fans. And between the stars' real life and fan Facebook pages and Twitters, they have never personally been more accessible!

Soap opera stars come into your home five days a week/fifty-two weeks a year (barring any natural disaster or major sporting event or holiday parade). It is for this reason that the fans have always felt extraordinarily close to them, as if they know them, and as if they are a part of their family. But these days there is a very good chance for fans to actually get to know these stars, as they have such a niche level of fame that they often allow fans to "friend" them on Facebook and/or reply to their @replies on Twitter.

But connecting with one's favorite actor through a cold, impersonal way like the Internet just doesn't seem to pay the familially warm medium it's justice. For one thing, for every soap star who has a Facebook or Twitter, three or four more have only fake accounts, set up by fans eager to spread the latest news about the person or spread the latest rumor by pretending to be said person.

Coming out to a fan event like IBG's is no longer a dime a dozen experience these days, but in my opinion that makes the opportunity even more special-- the icing on what appears to have become a virtual cake.

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