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Touching Fame

Scappoose man amasses hundreds of photos with celebrities

It’s noon on a Tuesday and Bruce Springsteen’s jet isn’t scheduled to touch down in Portland for at least another three hours. It doesn’t matter. Josh Lasure waits it out.

The 32-year-old Scappoose man keeps watch near a gate at Atlantic, a private airport and accommodations hub next to Portland International Airport, hoping to catch the attention of The Boss as he arrives in town for a show at the Moda Center later that evening.

Lasure is no stranger to waiting hours for the chance to meet and get photos with celebrities. He’s been doing it since he was a teen in 1999.

Today, he’s aiming for the moon. Maybe Springsteen will stop and greet him. Even better, maybe he’ll sign one of Lasure’s guitars. It’s unlikely, but after 17 years of executing the ultimate fan ritual, he’s learned that anything is possible.

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: COURTNEY VAUGHN - Josh Lasure of Scappoose thumbs through a photo album filled with photos he's taken with performers over the last 17 years. Lasure has made a hobby out of collecting photos and autographs. At 18, he flew to New York City to attend the MTV Video Music Awards. His mother had won passes and gifted them to Lasure. It was almost fall in 2001, just days before the terrorist attacks that toppled the World Trade Center towers and killed nearly 3,000 people.

At the awards show, Lasure was in awe.

He flips through an album chock-full of photos of him next to some of the top-selling artists at the time.

There was Gwen Stefani, Eve, Travis Barker from Blink 182, Korn and a slew of other musicians and TV personalities. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH LASURE - Lasure with Gwen Stefani at the MTV Video Music Awards in 2001.

It was only a year or two prior that he got his photo taken with Los Angeles Lakers allstar Kobe Bryant at a hotel in downtown Portland.

The interaction set the stage for what would become a new precarious hobby — vying for autographs and photos with professional athletes and well-known entertainers.

“When I started trying really hard was when I got a photo with Kobe Bryant in 2000,” Lasure said. “I jumped over the barricade and he put his arm around me and my cousin shot the photo.”

As a teen, Lasure hopped a barricade at a hotel in Portland to get a photo with NBA allstar Kobe Bryant. He points to a cheap basketball he’s holding in the photo, which now boasts signatures from NBA allstars. “I got Shaq on the ball; I got Kobe on that ball.”

Soon afterward, he met a guy named Shane who gave him tips on how to track the whereabouts of performers and began tipping him off about arrival and departure schedules of touring musicians, comedians, actors and athletes. PHOTO COURTESY OF JOSH LASURE - David Crosby (center) stops for a photo with fans Josh Lasure (left) and Audrey McCloud during a recent stop in Portland. Lasure has made a habit of trying to meet his favorite musicians, actors and comedians.

He followed his run-in with Bryant by attending Portland Trailblazers games, waiting around tour buses and hotels and venues where artists like Snoop Dogg and E-40 were performing.

“I would go to award shows when I lived in Vegas, I would go to red carpet things,” he explained.

He once got a mention in a tabloid magazine for being the doe-eyed, blonde-haired boy being kissed by Anna Nicole-Smith at a red carpet event during her heyday.

Lasure waited outside a hotel in downtown Portland to get a photo with Robin Williams.Every plastic holder in his photo album is now full. Lasure can recall nearly every fleeting interaction. He points to a fuzzy, but now prized shot with Robin Williams outside Portland’s Heathman Hotel. On other pages, close-up shots of hip hop artists Outkast and Cee-Lo Green provide sentimental nostalgia. A few pages later, Lasure is pictured next to a baby-faced Kelly Clarkson.

One of the most memorable moments came on his 21st birthday. The band Velvet Revolver, which included Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and Guns ’n’ Roses guitarist Slash, had just played a show in downtown Portland.

Lasure was celebrating at the Red Star Tavern, where he spotted Slash at the bar. Desperate for an autograph, he pleaded with the restaurant to let him keep a cloth napkin, the only thing he had for the legendary guitarist to sign.

“Slash from Guns ’n’ Roses bought me a drink for my 21st birthday,” he recalled. “He signed the napkin and drew a big skull and crossbones on it.”

He still has the napkin, along with countless other memorabilia items like ticket stubs, signed guitars, a basketball and a Saturday Night Live coffee table book he got signed last year by David Spade, Adam Sandler, Tim Meadows, Norm Macdonald, Gilbert Gottfried and Rob Schneider.Norm Macdonald and other comedians signed a Saturday Night Live book for superfan Josh Lasure during a recent appearance at the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland.

“Once you get a photo with these people, it’s like a rush,” he explained.

Some have labeled Lasure nothing more than a celebrity stalker. He sees it differently.

“I try to get as close as I can to it, without being creepy,” he said. “It’s a cool story to tell my grandkids. You can make good money selling the autographs. You can help friends meet celebrities that were their dream idols.”

Occasionally, his relentless pursuits pay off.

Lasure snags a selfie with comedian Kevin Hart in 2015.Last year, after participating in a Nike-sponsored 5K run with comedian Kevin Hart, Lasure gave Hart and his entourage handmade breast cancer awareness bracelets. Hart was scheduled to perform live later that evening at a sold out show. Lasure didn’t have tickets, so he asked Hart to get him in. Hart delivered.

“During his last tour, he gave me front row tickets,” Lasure said, describing the tone in his brother’s voice when he told him he had scored tickets from Hart.

Lasure is the product of pop culture glorification.

He watched MTV when the channel still aired music videos in heavy rotation. He listened to music before pirating and digital downloads superseded liner notes and he grew up in an era before social media provided a false sense of access to celebrities.

More importantly, he found comfort and joy in the fruits of musicians and comedians.

“Comedy and music are the best medicine,” Lasure says.

He says meeting his favorite entertainers is more about capturing a moment with them and saying “thank you.”

He doesn’t really get starstruck anymore, but would go to great lengths to meet rapper Eminem.

As Springsteen’s convoy of Cadillac Escalades rolled by at the airport, fans get a wave from him, but nothing more. Lasure shakes it off and waits for the next opportunity.