First, because of the NEU signing, Anthony didn't have much time at the Wang. As such, only 150 people were guarenteed to meet him, and there could be no personalizations, posing for pics, and he could only sign one item per person. However, my friends and I got there early. Really early. As in I was #31 early. Those of us in the "Boston Under 50" seemed to be the most enthusiastic people there, and we were also treated pretty much like VIPs: got to cut the line to go in, front row for his actual appearence, and first to go downstairs to meet him.
This was taken while we were in line at about 1PM. Aside from my friend Sarah's foot, pictured are all of our books, Sarah's DVD, my CD, and my Mark worry doll attached to a magick gemstone bag.
So after getting our tickets and exploring Boston, we were, as I said, ushered in, where we clustered in the front. Admittedly, many of us were getting sick, especially me, but when Anthony came out, it was like all that was forgotten:
Anthony makes his appearence.
Here are some pictures of him talking and reading. He read from the chapter "It Begins":
I will also note that during the reading of the chapter, where he had typed out a verse from "What You Own", he actually did sing it, on his own and a capella. He did a very lovely job.
Next, he sang "Seasons of Love" with four people. According to the program we were handed, they were Briana Carlson-Goodman of Emerson College, Jeremy Cohn of Boston University, Jill Giacchi of Boston Conservatory, and Kevin Ross of Berklee School of Music. I don't remember who is who, though.
After that, we were escorted in groups of fifty at a time downstairs to the lower lobby for the actual signing. Again, being in the first fifty, we were in the first group. My friends actually made me go ahead of them, although I had gotten my ticket last of all of our group, as they were nervous. Here are some pictures of the signing (if any of you were in the below fifty group and recognize yourself in any of these pics, let me know and feel free to take the pic):
Note: the last two are of Anthony signing my friend Hillary's bag.
And Sarah ended up getting a pic of me with Anthony...well, sort of:
I'll use that as a segue into what happened when I met him. First, you have to know that I have been in e-mail correspondance with Anthony for quite a while now. This mostly stemmed from my part in being the founder of Gender Issues Advocacy, a so-far Maine-based group for people dealing with a myriad of gender-related issues. I had asked him to be my mentor, and he conditionally agreed as long as I realized how busy he is and that he won't be able to e-mail me often.
When I introduced myself to him, he recognized me and we talked about the e-mails for a moment. Then I told him exactly how I felt about his book: it had a profound effect on my life and helped me to start my life as an advocate, and I can't tell him how much I appreciate that, and that I thank God every day there are people like him in the world, who have the courage and honest to be completely open about themselves and inspire others to do so as well. (Not to so many words, but that's more or less the gist of it.) He stared at me for a moment, obviously stunned, and didn't say anything. Then he broke into a grin and told me "I'll definitely get back to you as soon as possible. I mean it, too: keep in touch." (It has been a while since I last heard from him.) And that was that. I collected my book, waited for my friends, and we left to get some dinner and spent a few hours in Borders, talking, laughing, and discussing Anthony and our experiences with him. I got this picture of the friends:
From left to right: Sarah, Hillary, and Victoria.
What was so special about this? None of us knew each other before that day. And yet we met at this signing and started talking, and it was like we had known each other all of our lives. We had a lot of fun with each other and many other people in the line, and we were so totally at ease, talking about ourselves and life in general. And that is perhaps the one thing as important, if not more, than getting to meet Anthony Rapp: to have an experience where a group of total strangers can meet, know they have at least one thing in common, and instantly bond and form a friendship that no one would believe had just been forged that day. (Sarah has a picture that I haven't gotten yet that the security guard took of all four of us. The security guard didn't believe we had just met that day.)
And that's my signed copy.
Thank you, Anthony Rapp. And thank you, Rent. For giving me such a wonderful experience that was totally beyond what I expected to get when I came down to Boston from Maine.