Wednesday, March 28, 2012

PaleyFest 2012 Mad Men Panel

At the start of each new year my friends and I anxiously await the lineup announcement for Paleyfest like it's Christmas. The Paley Center for Media hosts a 2 week festival in March celebrating television by selecting approximately 10 important tv shows of that year and inviting the cast, creators, writers and other members of the creative team to speak at a panel each night. The audience is treated to an episode of the show (sometimes a never-before-seen episode!) followed by the panel (moderated by someone in the entertainment industry) and an open Q&A from the audience. At the end, audience members can line up (read: RUSH THE STAGE) and (if you're lucky) the cast will stick around to sign autographs (pictures are also possible but pretty difficult considering the crowd & height of the stage the actors are on). I have been to 3 PaleyFest Panels: Flash Forward & Glee in 2010, and Glee again in 2011. Both years were tons of fun so I was biting my nails awaiting 2012's lineup to be announced at the end of January!

This year there were a ton of great shows honored at PaleyFest, but I only chose to go to 2: Mad Men and Modern Family (I regret not going to Once Upon A Time though! And I'm still bitter they did not host a Homeland panel!). First up: the Mad Men panel on March 13!

 Funny story about this panel: I didn't watch Mad Men until after the panel was announced. I purchased all 4 current seasons on Black Friday but did not start watching until around February. By the time I finished the series (in 3 short weeks!) and was obsessed with it, the whole bottom level of the PaleyFest tickets were sold out! Most people would be fine with the $20 balcony tickets, but not me: I am a seat snob! ha! So I ended up winning Orchestra tickets on eBay (for regular price & without a bidding war!) and took a half day at work so I could wait in line all afternoon. Yes, I'm crazy. I also brought Tyler along with me since he had the day off work and was very curious as to what these panels entail. He doesn't really watch Mad Men, so he understood he wouldn't appreciate the panel as much as a fan would, but he said he enjoyed the experience overall.
Unfortunately we didn't get to watch the season 5 premiere before its release (which aired last Sunday), but they did air the finale of season 4 which was a great refresher. After the episode, they brought out the cast (sans Christina Hendricks and Elisabeth Moss - ugh, I was so bummed!); they talked about their experiences on the show, their characters, their expectations for season 5, and told a lot of behind the scenes stories that were hilarious! I love these stories and they make me wish I would have gotten into the entertainment industry so much.
One of the coolest parts about PaleyFest this year was that my cousin Wendy sent me a killer lens for my camera and I was SO excited to see if it would make an impact on my pictures. For the Mad Men panel I sat in the 5th row on the aisle which was pretty dang close (for Modern Family I sat in the seat behind this lol). I must also note that Tyler and I met a totally awesome lady in line named Leslie who let us cut with her in the Paley Members Only line which was why we got such great seats!! Thank you again, Leslie!! The above is a picture zoomed as far as I could with my standard, everyday lens during the panel (You can even see Leslie's hair in the front row! Love it! Jon Hamm is smiling down at her for her generosity ;] ). 

Below are just a few of the shots with my new lens! I cannot thank Wendy ENOUGH! SO AWESOME!!
Because I was seated at the aisle (on purpose) and because I knew what to expect, I was right against the stage as soon as the panel ended for autographs! I got my program signed by everyone except Jon Hamm (UGH! He split right away!). Everyone was amazing! January Jones is absolutely stunning! Tyler took my camera (he was not at all interested in autographs) and snapped some pictures during this time. The low lighting and chaos made quality difficult, but he did a great job at his first panel!

The last autograph we got was from Vincent Kartheiser who stayed as long as he could to sign for fans (remember him from Alaska?! Haha!); my friend Taylore came to the panel (she's the one who got me into Mad Men in the first place!) and she drove all the way from Sacramento to the panel in Beverly Hills (about 6 hours). Security was telling Vincent he had to leave but he really wanted to stay for the fans (later I found out he signed in the parking lot afterwards). So he said "Two more---" and picked me (because he said I was smiling) and another person, but he got him to sign Taylore's book because she drove so far! Awesome! I adore when celebrities are nice people! Makes me glad his face hung from my walls circa 1994 thanks to Tiger Beat pin ups! HA! In the above picture he is handing my book back to me haha.

The Mad Men panel was a lot of fun and I'm so glad I got tickets to the show! Many times I have started watching a show after the opportunity to go to a panel (i.e. Dexter); or a panel has sold out and I didn't attempt to go anyway (i.e. Happy Endings), so I'm glad this one worked out!!

Stay tuned for my Modern Family PaleyFest Panel recap!


  1. This is so amazing!! I think I would faint if I saw Jon Hamm in person... *swoon!*


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