Here in the doldrums of January, when not much is going on outside our humble abode, my wife Anne and I have already tentatively mapped out our 2017 convention plans, with room for additions if any wild opportunities come up in the months ahead. As an antidote to the soggy winter blues and the current political climate that has all but murdered my enjoyment of most of the internet lately, we’d like to take a look back at the actors we’ve met over the past three years with this very special photo compilation of one of our favorite convention activities: asking actors if they’ll join us in a bit of jazz hands.
We’ve been attending conventions since the 1990s, back in the good ol’ days when the guests’ autographs were included in your admission price and cons were consequently easier to manage on a low budget. Photo ops were a rarity reserved for VIP guests, priced beyond our means when we were mere youngsters still working at McDonald’s. For us that paradigm was flipped upside-down at Wizard World Chicago 2014, where headliner Matt Smith was charging more for autographs than for photo ops. As newly indoctrinated Doctor Who fans with a bit more disposable income today, we decided we wanted to meet him but wouldn’t be opposed to saving a few bucks on the experience.
We can’t remember whether jazz hands were her idea or mine, but by the time we reached the photo booth, we knew it had to be jazz hands. Rather than impose on the idol of millions, we merely said hi and assumed our stances, leaving the Eleventh Doctor to do whatever he wished. We got in place; he chuckled and joined us. And our new convention tradition was born.
Now, we’re older and we don’t mind asking so much, most of the time. Sometimes we don’t even ask them because we can just tell it wouldn’t be their thing. Some are elderly and understandably limited in movement. Some prefer to comport themselves in a dignified public manner. More than once we’ve asked an actor if “we” can do jazz hands, only to have them kindly respond, “You may do whatever you wish,” with “you” in implied italics while they merely stood and smiled. Which is okay! We understand completely. A few times our body-shameless poses have gotten a laugh out of them, which is differently satisfying.
The following assortment omits several photos in which we did our jazz hands but the actor didn’t. Sometimes they’d misunderstand and we ended up going in another direction. For a pair of instances in which the actors ran with their own ideas, I direct you to the time John Rhys-Davies tickled us silly and the time Michael Rooker responded, “Yeah, here’s my jazz hands!” and I pretty much knew what was about to happen.
Pausing here for space before presenting my three favorite jazz-hands photo ops to date, commended for outstanding achievement in the field of Showing Us How It’s Done.
Most of our 2017 cons are months away from finalizing or even announcing their guest lineups. Should they happen to invite more folks we appreciate from our favorite shows, then we look forward to expanding on our odd performance-art photo gallery in the months and years ahead for as long as we can keep up. Age 50 is nearer than we wish it were, but we’re not feeling too old for this stuff yet.