Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Musing on the Stars

Hello, friends. It's quiet here at Castle Marius, save for the sound of the two Kitties-O-The Apocalypse wrestling in the living room, and my codeine-soaked mind is drifting gently through a misty haze, helping me forget the pain in my knees that I must get looked at soon. And as I drift, I find myself wondering about something that has been much on my mind of late. Specifically celebrity. There are many types of celebrity. There is the hard earned celebrity enjoyed by master craftsmen and entrepreneurs, the unwanted celebrity thrust upon those involved in disasters and 'big news' stories, the unwelcome celebrity heaped upon the backs of the grotesquely evil. But through it all there is one common thread...people want to know the Celebrity. Autographs, pictures, trading cards, even clothing or personal effects are all coveted and purchased. I once heard that Marina Sirtis, Star Trek's councilor Troi, would often, while before an audience at Star Trek conventions, take a fresh glass of iced tea with a slice of lemon, bite the lemon and drink a bit of the tea leaving her lipstick upon both, then hand it over to the organizers of the event who would promptly wrap it in plastic and then auction it off, usually for a rather high amount. What is it about celebrities that makes us lose our minds?

I like to say that I am unimpressed by celebrities, but to be honest to both myself, and to you dear readers, I get all stupid and tongue tied when I have a brush with the rich and famous too. I can't say as I have met all that many stars, but the ones I have met, usually while working, have all been memorable. I can't say that about everyone else I've worked with. So why do we do it? What is it about our mental make-up that makes us want to idolize our fellow humans? I can understand being fearful of someone who has power over us, such as the CEO of the company we work for, or the President of the country, but the one time I met Burt Reynolds I was terrified, and the man could do absolutely nothing to me. And I often wonder about the friends of the stars. At what point does someone realize that little Bobby, who they used to give wedgies to and play cops and robbers with, is now Robert DeNiro, and must be treated like royalty? Is it the money? Is it the hope that if we have a brush with the famous then we are somehow more valid as a person? I went to a Star Trek convention once, and George Takei was the guest. We listened to him, laughed with him, he's a very entertaining speaker, and then had the chance to stand in line with hundreds of others to get him to sign something. This I did, for a while. After standing in line for about ten minutes I realized that getting his autograph would mean nothing more than that I spent thirty seconds standing in front of a man who would no more remember me than he would any of the blades of grass passing his car as he drove away. So I left the line. I have very fond memories of my first celebrity encounter, Joyce DeWitt, and even though I don't have her autograph I do have a card she gave to everyone in the cast and crew of the show we were working on together. That means something to me because even though I think I might have had the courage to say all of three 'hellos' to her, we did share an experience. Yet people will actually buy autographed items that they weren't even there to see signed. I just don't get it.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately because, as I have mentioned here before, I enjoy several video blogs, and at first I posted comments feverishly on each of them, praying that eventually the people on these vlogs would acknowledge me. It took me a while to realize what I was doing, and once I did I stopped commenting just to comment, and only did so when I had something to say. Then Rocketboom imploded, and Amanda Congdon began posting on her own text-only blog. I made a couple of posts there, but I just realized that I was doing it again. Now, I'm not going off the deep end, nor am I going to begin stalking Ms. Congdon, but I do respect her work, and enjoy her perspective on the world, and I keep thinking of her as a friend, though we have never met. And that mindset keeps manifesting itself as a need for acknowledgement. Again, now that I realize this I have pulled back, but it sparked this line of thought.

Ok, that's quite the ramble. I welcome your thoughts on this, especially those of you in The Biz. I know at least one of you has worked with some really big names. How did you deal with that? And let me take the onus away from any comments and say I would love for you to name drop here. Tell me of any encounters you may have had with those luminaries we can't seem to live without.

Good night, my friends.



pikaresque said...

Ah, celebrity.
Sometimes it's just a tingle and a treat...sometimes it's the Battle of the Asshole Network Stars.
Marius, knowing that I was in "the BIZ" I will share a few tid-bits.
We'll start with ole' Burt, shall we? I guess you could say he was the biggest. He was also the biggest asshole as well. Not only did he strut around barking commands that meant nothing (ex. "Do we have enough cables on those lights up there?")He was abusive to my (and essentially HIS)
apprentis's. To the point where I found my inner Kendra and polietly took him aside to tell him so.
Your basic blow hard, insecure actor with a bad toupe.
Ann Margaret: a blessing of a human being. Talented, beautiful, patient and kind (ps Kitten With A Whip is a big guilty pleasure of mine!)
Lee Merriweather: Meow! Funny as all get out! Classy one minute ...burping with the guys the next!
Charles Nelson Riley: not the falming gay goofball you think he is.Vastly intelligent, kind and a really great director!
Ron Palillo: TV's Horshack from welcome back Kotter. What a mess. Whatever he was doing during break was messing his head up. Abusive, stupid and most of all a bore of a human being.He made the mistake of
addressing me rudely in fornt of my
NYC union techs...they almost made him cry.(ah, my boys :)
Vic Damone: a wiseguy's crooner, not a bad actor and a super sweet, generous man. Called my Mom on her birthday for me. A real Gentleman!
Van Johnson: huge MGM star and all around sweetheart...kissed my dog on the lips..have a pair of his red socks.
I really could go on a little but I am starting to blush...
my favorite all time was Hume Croyn, and maybe it was because I was a student then,but he was mesmerising to me. He watched our scenes and when I was singled out for not acting and simply "having a real moment" , I nearly fell apart.
Years later, in this one horse town, Hubby Hosts a local cable show that relates to our business. We always have people stopping us in the Toilet paper asile saying "Hey, your that guy Kyle on TV!"
He sure is. And his socks never make it into the hamper.

This is what I learned.
We all want to be recognized as special. Some people just need it more on a grander scale. But I found the "famous people" I met were "people" and when I approached them in that fashion, it was a much quicker way to get to know them as a fellow human.
I will never be famous. No one wants to take my picture or be the object of dreams...except for my husband...and that is some one for whom it means most to me.
celebrity in my own house.
:) P

Monkey said...

Interesting subject. I wonder if you come by this perspective through your chosen profession. Or you were attracted to your profession because of your ideas about fame?
I can assure you that not everyone feels the same way. i hope I am correct is saying the vast majority of people would not have any interest in a lipstick stained lemon of a celebrity. I like to think we hear about auctions for Britney Spears' chewing gun because it IS so outrageous. If everyone was tempted I do not think it would be news. Ah, i could be wrong. It happens a lot.

As far as commenting goes, I comment on blogs regularly. I see it as a way to support fellow bloggers.

keith said...

good to read your blog again, how's everything?

Rosebuckle said...

I have found the celebrities I've worked with to simply be people. It's usually the people around them behaving strangly, creating the "air" of celebrity. Some folks like to say "so&so is that way because they're rich or famous". Not so, their personality may by intensified, but what's the excuse for the jerk you work with every day. Or the thoughtful friend who is always doing favors without asking any thing in return. There are also plenty of spoiled brats out there .

How people "are" may also depend on where they are in life at that time. Take Burt for instance. When I worked with him he was nothing but kind and friendly. But that was before everthing started going downhill for him.
Again, people are just people.

Anonymous said...

In my distant youth I, too, worked with celebrities ~ most of whom I'm sure you young'uns never heard of. Just like real people, there are assholes and there are wonderful people out there in "the biz." Example: Great guy - Tony Dow of "Leave It To Beaver" fame. . . did two musicals with him and he was gracious and kind to all us high school kids, complimenting us on our talent and professionalism.

The other end of the spectrum: Edd Burns of "77 Sunset Strip" fame (I TOLD you this goes way back!). Couldn't ackt his way out of a paper bag (IMO), though I have to admit acting in front of a live audience is daunting if you've only been in front of t.v. cameras your whole professional life (still, TD pulled it off well). He was verbally abusive and condescending as well. His best performance in the 2-week run was the night he came in late and pretty darned drunk.

Which brings me to the fact that, in the past and as a rule, celebrties don't impress me a lot. Oh, I've had my crushes, of course. Haven't we all? But CA (check my blog, which M had BETTER have linked, and you'll know who that is) is beyond anything I'd ever imagined. Fortunately, he's one of the good guys and lives up to all my fantasies about him.