Reverb Broads 2011, December 18: Who would you most like to meet and why? (courtesy of Dana at http://simply-walking.com)
I hope this doesn’t come off as completely obnoxious, but I’m going to bow to the fates/superstition on this one, and leave it wide open. I’ve had some of the most amazing luck in meeting people I admire, and I don’t want to jinx whatever the universe has in store for me. Sure, there are the obvious ones, like wishing for a kiss from Alexander Skarsgard, but really, I’ve already met several lifetime”s worth of awesome, amazing famous (and sometimes “niche-famous”) people.
Whom I’ve met says a lot about me, too. They tend to fall into a few distinct categories. The first is musicians. I’ve attended a LOT of concerts, many of which at small venues where the rules are different than at big arena shows. I hung out with Robby Gray and the rest of Modern English after a show, and I met Angelo from Fishbone as he came out of a phone booth. My dad shamelessly exploited his own credentials as a musician to get us backstage in Atlanta to meet Itzhak Perlman and Frederica von Stade.
I also had the incredible good fortune to sing under Simon Carrington, one of the founding members of the King’s Singers, during his first directing gig, at the University of Kansas. I’d had him for a year when I went away to France to study, and he invited me to his family’s summer home in Cahors after our school years were over. He spoiled me for every other choir director.
I’ve also met a lot of famous chefs. Part of this is because I love food and cooking; part is because State College, PA, where I lived for a decade, has an awesome public radio/TV station that hosts a fundraiser called the Connoisseur’s Dinner every year. When my favorite TV chef, Nick Stellino (then, of PBS’ Cucina Amore), was announced as the host in 2002, I called the event organizer and asked if I could do anything at all to cook with him. She gave me the best answer in the world when asking for something outrageous: “Well, now that you mention it…” I ended up doing prep for a special VIP in-studio demonstration the day of the dinner. He said I chopped my garlic personally; I glowed for months.
I had the same good fortune three years later, when the incomparable Jacques Pepin was the guest.
And I met Graham Kerr (“the Galloping Gourmet”) at a signing at the Barnes & Noble where my husband worked.
I’ve also met a lot of people under geeky or completely random circumstances. I have a picture of Warwick Davis holding Connor when he was just six weeks old, and one of Jamie Bamber holding Griffin when he was three months old. Mary McDonnell signed my notebook for free because I talked with her about the cult of Saint Brigit. I’ve met all of the cast members of Mystery Science Theater 3000 except Kevin Murphy and Mike Nelson. I shook hands with John Hodgman. I met Lauren Graham outside a bathroom at LAX on a trip to New Zealand (that picture is in a box in storage, or I would totally have posted it). My husband works for Margaret Weis, and we know Tracy Hickman as well. And Jason Marsden walked me back to the hotel after the White Wolf party at Gen Con.
And I know a bunch of people who are very famous, as long as you’re in the right population. A lot of those are writers and game designers who are friends from the ancient days of AmberMUSH. Jim Butcher introduced me to my husband, and I’ve known his family since his son was 3 (he’s in college now). And now his beautiful wife Shannon is a famous writer too.
So while I wouldn’t say no to this:
I think I’ll leave my options open.
UPDATE: Did I mention I forget things? ‘Cause I do. I forgot to mention that I saw Jerry Falwell in the Memphis airport once. I didn’t punch him; I consider that a personal triumph.
I got to meet Bob Costas when he spoke at Penn State. I asked him if I could do research for him at the Olympics, because I love the bizarre geographical and historical facts he shares on air. He said no, but he’d take a picture with me:
I’d seen an elderly man as I took my seat, and noted that he seemed both out of place at a romance signing, and strangely familiar. Then Eloisa happened to mention that her dad was there that night. And that her dad had won a National Book Award. In one of those slo-mo moments in life, I turned and realized exactly who her dad was, and why he was familiar to me. Her dad is Robert Bly. I asked him to sign a book for my husband, and he offered to take a picture. So when I say the universe is good to me, if in completely random ways, I totally mean it.