First published in Press Pass LA on March 20, 2017.

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Author: Ariel Landrum

There are many reasons people unload their belongings: the Spring-cleaning bug hits, and they choose to sell off unwanted bric-a-brac; philanthropy may drive their desire to raise money for a charity, or they’ve recently had a birthday and are now reevaluating what is meaningful to them. When it comes to CW star John Barrowman’s Big Bad Garage Sale, all of the above apply.

Barrowman arranged an old-fashioned garage sale at his house in Palm Springs, California, and invited anyone who wanted to attend via social media. “It’s the garage sale of the century! Everything must go!” he and his husband, Scott Gill, beamed to his followers. This is not the first time Barrowman welcomed people to his abode to buy unique goodies. In 2010 when the sci-fi hit, Torchwood, moved to film to Los Angeles, Barrowman held a mega-garage sale at his home in Wales, selling everything from kitchen equipment to antiques to his blue Peugeot 407 car.

The Big Bad Garage Sale was held from Saturday, March 18 to Sunday, March 19, in Palm Springs, and although the celebrity had staples, such as furniture and household goods, his items were anything but mundane. Fans gathered at the affair were delighted with an entire section dedicated to memorabilia the actor has accumulated throughout his 50 years. Attendees could find collectibles from Torchwood, Doctor Who, DC, Marvel, Star Wars, and many more franchises. Best of all, Barrowman was present to sign items for only $5!

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Thrifty shoppers present on the last day may have missed out on rare collectibles, such as a San Diego Comic-Con 2014 Exclusive, The Walking Dead guitar, but they also avoided much of the chaos. The festive event, held partly to raise money for The Trans Youth Equality Foundation, had eager treasure seekers lining up on the sidewalk outside Barrowman’s house at 8 a.m. Hordes of locals squeezed around racks crammed full of the performer’s clothes. Tables piled high with bedding, antique dishes, and books that would satisfy any bibliophile. 

Any garage sale fanatic knows that, aside from scoring a great deal, they are also great places to connect with the community. Fans who flocked to Barrowman’s had the delight of experiencing him on a personal level. The convention-goers see their idle amped up and flashy, whereas the garage sale geeks saw a down-to-earth charmer who took pride in his effects. Wearing his 2017 fundraising t-shirt and a mug in hand, Barrowman bonded with those around him.

Purchasers enjoyed stories of meaningful items they were buying, witnessed him laughing at private jokes with his husband, and even heard him speak Scottish to his parents, John and Marion Barrowman (who came to help sell home goods). It’s safe to say that anyone who attended left with the most priceless valuables, a memory.

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