Here is an article about New Kids fans from TwinCities.com
The New Kids on the Block are back, but a group of smitten admirers never left them. Together, they're 15 again
By Ross Raihala
There's clearly some happy news being shared in this corner of a suburban sports bar. Ten women shout and squeal with the intimate excitement of lifelong friends who've gathered to celebrate an engagement or pregnancy.
As it turns out, they're not eagerly anticipating the arrival of a new kid. They're waiting for five of them — the recently reunited boy band New Kids on the Block, who make their first Twin Cities appearance Friday at the Mall of America.
"This is like a New Kids on the Block Anonymous meeting," said Peggy Huot, a 32-year-old social worker from Woodbury. "We can all laugh and tell our stories, and people actually get it."
For several months, this group has gathered regularly to discuss and dissect a musical act that reached its peak during the first Bush presidency. And the kicker is that, back when there still was snow on the ground, these ladies were complete strangers. They met online, through an NKOTB message board.
Like Huot, most of the women are in their early 30s, the key age for the NKOTB demographic who spent their early teens memorizing the dance steps and lyrics to hits like "Hangin' Tough" and "Step by Step." Some in the group are single, some are married, some have kids. Some work in the corporate sector, some work from home. None would have met if not for the New Kids.
"That was part of what made it so special before, sharing it with your friends," said Tiffany Brand, of Golden Valley. "You really have to get together with people who enjoy it fully. Other people don't understand."
Huot added, with a laugh, "My other friends all think I'm nuts, but now I have these guys, so I don't care anymore."
During these meetings, these women — they call themselves the TC Blockheads — show off all their old NKOTB memorabilia, from carefully compiled, decades-old scrapbooks to posters and board games and buttons. They decipher every new rumor or sample of a new song that hits the Internet. They playfully argue over their favorite New Kid. (Joey McIntyre, the youngest New Kid, claims the most fans, and, yes, they still call themselves "Joey's Girls.")
Elizabeth Anselmo makes a three-hour round trip from New Ulm, Minn., to meet with the Blockheads. She's got the full support of her husband, who, like most of the significant others attached to these women, has absolutely no desire to see the New Kids himself.
"I have two small kids at home, and I work from home, so I have zero social interaction with people outside of my immediate family," Anselmo said. "For me, it's not only the chance to gush about how much I love Joey. It's also just being around other people and being social. I was fortunate enough to marry a Joe, but he's my at-home Joey. Now I get to have time talking about my New-Kids-on-the-Block Joey."
But Anselmo doesn't have the steepest fuel bill of this group. That honor goes to Trish Montalbano, who drove from Greenville, Wis., for her first Blockheads meeting. "It's worth traveling five hours to get somewhere where people get me," she said.
Katie Incantalupo, of St. Paul, has kept all of her NKOTB treasures safe in plastic tubs. "I get a kick out of reorganizing them," she said, "making sure nothing is wrinkled and looking through it all when my husband's not home. I live such a professional, corporate life during the week. This is definitely a release where I can just be silly and reminisce and be myself. Not that I'm not myself at work, but this is a different part of me."
Huot said that, for her, it's about being 15 all over again: "It's OK to be totally crazy and just hang out. I never had this before, not like this. When I was still in school, I was the only person who liked the New Kids."
Reliving their childhood is a common theme among the Blockheads, but with one important distinction. This time around, thanks to pricey VIP ticket packages, they actually have the opportunity to meet their heroes up close and personal. Plus, now that they're adults, they can afford to blow a little more dough on the experience. Most of the women are seeing multiple shows and plan to travel together to Milwaukee to see the New Kids the night after they play St. Paul.
But for all this blossoming sisterhood, the Blockheads don't want too many people to know about those VIP tickets or, for that matter, the group's Friday gig at the Mall of America. After all, the more NKOTB fans who come out of the woodwork, the less face time everyone gets with their heroes.
"New Kids fans are really sneaky," explained Incantalupo. "Like for this mall show, I don't think they're all fessing up to the fact they're coming. I think we're going to get a ton of people who come in from out of town to see them, but they haven't admitted it yet."
There's also the fact that few of the Blockheads expect this reunion to be permanent.
"I don't think they're going to be like Cher, where she keeps doing it and doing it," Huot said. "That's why I'm going to so many shows, living it up and enjoying the hell out of it. This is probably it. They're a boy band, they're not the Rolling Stones."
Even after the New Kids call it a day for the second time, the Blockheads said, their newfound friendship will remain. In addition to the group meetings, they've already started to splinter into smaller groups who catch the occasional lunch or happy hour together. And they're even starting to discuss matters that — gasp — don't directly involve Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan and Jonathan.
"A friend of mine asked whether or not we'll still see each other after the concerts are over," Brand said. "I know we will. For sure."
Pop Music Critic Ross Raihala can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-228-5553. Read more about the local music scene on his blog, "The Ross Who Knew Too Much," at blogs.twincities.com/ross.
IF YOU GO
Who: The New Kids on the Block
When: 5:30 p.m. Friday (performance and autograph signing)
Where: Mall of America, Bloomington
Also: The group will play the Xcel Energy Center Oct. 21. Seats are $77.50, $57.50 and $37.50 through Ticketmaster