I went with my roommate and some of her friends to a showing of "Singing in the Rain," which I had never seen. It was a great film--I remember thinking, partway through, "People talk about feel-good movies. They have no idea. This has to be one of the ultimate feel-good films." We went because it was my roommate's birthday and "Singing in the Rain" is her all time favorite movie.
It was the first time I had seen a Debbie Reynolds movie...though I've heard a lot about her from my paternal grandmother. They were best buddies in high school (a trio of athlete girls who didn't bother with dating, nicknamed "the Angels"), and my grandma even babysat little Carrie Fisher (isn't that funny?) before she and my grandfather moved up to Oregon.
The fun part here, which took me a bit by surprise, is that Debbie Reynolds was at the screening in person! She did a Q&A with the audience after the film--she's funny, classy, and knows exactly how to work an audience. She told stories about how she was "discovered" and got into movies, and so on. And I'm sitting there thinking to myself, "this is while she was best friends with my GRANDMA." o_O
After the Q&A everyone ignored the interviewer's request that they clear out (he specifically said no pics or autographs--ha. He couldn't stop the fans from getting either), and went up to hopefully meet the star. I was all nervous, but my roomie knew about the family background. "You have the best opening line ever," she said, and dragged me up to the front, where we wormed our way through the crowd. Because I was totally tongue-tied, she reached out to shake Debbie's hand first, and introduced me as the granddaughter of Barbara -----, "a friend of yours at school." Debbie lit up, shook my hand, corrected my roomie by saying, "my *close* friend at school," and proceeded to chat for a minute or two with me about my grandma, saying she'd been talking with their other best friend Jeannette recently, and that my grandma had been a "bad girl," moving off to who-knew-where without saying a word about it. I was to say hi to Barbara for her.
Then we let her go, since there was still quite a crowd, and kinda staggered out. Wheee....it was cool and surreal all at once.
I had the hardest time settling down that evening or the next morning. Finally I figured out why the meeting had made me so jittery, aside from the simple *squeeee!* of meeting a famous person.
I've always thought of myself as a homebody, a rather simple (if intelligent) homeschooled girl, naive and sheltered. I've thought that it is quite odd for such a one as me to be down here in LA trying to break into showbiz. I've assumed, in a sense, that I'm the first in my family to venture out this way.
And here is a piece of family history, anchoring me to the past of a big name star. By my grandmother's early friendships I am linked to Hollywood and always have been.
It's a sense of coming full circle, when I didn't know there was a circle to complete. Or maybe of having a circut inside me completed. The fact that I am in LA now has taken on new meaning. As if God was planning this two generations back, that I would be in Hollywood, that I would meet Debbie Reynolds, and that there would be a connection that I really hadn't thought very hard about. I don't even know how to phrase this really....kind of "wow, I really am supposed to be here." I don't feel that I belong here very often, and this was like a wake-up slap: yes, Sarah, you do belong here. You have roots here. Live with it.
And the day after that, I came very close to meeting an actor whom I fangirl most truly:
Garett had a "guest" walkon part last Sunday in "A Tangled Snarl/Murder Me Once," two film noir-spoof one-acts at the Fremont Centre Theatre in South Pasadena. The first play was a tad hard to follow, but the second one...the tag line on the poster is "laughs that fly faster than bullets" and that's pretty much what we got.
First, the disappointing part--Garett, apparently unaware that he had fans waiting, slipped away right after curtain, so no one got to speak with him. :-P
But I'm not at all sorry I went. Very funny plays, good acting, and a chance to see Garett live.... yay! Not to mention I have now discovered this cool little theatre. They seem to do a lot of intelligent plays there.
I looked around the theatre before the show, and found the No Scratch poster (which Garett was in a couple years ago, and I did not get to see *pouts*), and also found Garett's name on the poster for a staged reading of a play called Words of Love.
The people who run this theatre seem to have a good relationship with Garrett--me and another fan (hi Bonnie!) chatted with the female producer (Lissa) after she went to see if Garett had left yet and returned with the disappointing "yes". She apologized for the short notice to Garett's fans. Bonnie mentioned that a friend of hers was busy that day, but had so wanted to come, and Bonnie would have paid her way for a birthday present--and Lissa instantly said
"When's your friend's birthday? I'll ask Garett if he'd mind coming back for another guest appearance." Which of course made us both go "Wow!" and thank her, and try not to get too excited. :-)
And since I didn't get to meet Garett, I will be coming to see these plays again if he does agree to return. And instead of waiting in the lobby area, I'll follow my gut (I was kicking myself that I didn't do this last Sunday) and wait back by the restrooms and alternate exit...it seemed to be near the backstage. And I will politely waylay the man for a minute or two unless he's really in a hurry. :-)
It was much fun to watch Garett live--even though (or maybe because) both parts were walk-ons (no lines at all). Both times he was onstage, the main action was taking place across the stage from him, but I kept glancing at Garett, and boy did he look like he was having fun. He's so expressive. The character was a rather dim uniformed cop from the 40s...so he was wearing the blue uniform complete with cap and nightstick (Lissa said that on Friday night he played it like Charlie Chaplin--twirling the nightstick and so on...I wish I'd been there). During the second play, he was onstage for the entire (reeeeally long) explanation of the crime by the detective, and was completely engaged the whole time; ie, he kicked the comedy up a notch by his varied reactions to everything that was being said. My favorite moment had to be when the detective said something almost unbelievable: Garett furrowed up his forehead, and his mouth kinda dropped open, a "wha...?" expression.
It was only while discussing his performance afterwards that I realized that this talent for expressive reaction is one of the things that I loved about his performane in The Sentinel. A lot of my favorite moments from the show are non-verbal Blair moments. That alone should have told me the guy would be good at comedy.
Oh yeah...the first time he showed up onstage, for about a minute in Play #1, he got some scattered applause from the audience (heeheehee) as his character hauled the bad guy off. The main character wandered into the spotlight for another of his metaphor-laden monologues, and started with an obvious adlib: "You keep doin' that, he might come back." That got a huge laugh.
I think that I'll have an easier time remembering to pray for Garett after this. I still have trouble grasping the concept that Famous Movie and TV Stars live in the same city/area as me--this drove it home.
And that was my celebrity-filled weekend! I'm ready for a normal one now....
Edited to correct my mis-spelling of Garett's name.