I don’t see much in the way of fame working at Poison Girl. At one point, the bar was lauded for being the place where all the local rock stars hang out. I guess that was true (and still might be), but I don’t know any local rock stars and wouldn’t recognize them unless they were hand-labeled.
When I went to my first AWP in Vancouver, I saw Scott Weiland and Slash from Velvet Revolver hanging around outside the airport waiting, just like me, for somebody to pick them up. For me it was a shuttle bus. For them, a limousine. They had a few fans beginning to swarm just like zombies heeding the call of brains housed in warm bodies.
As a writer, it’s unlikely I’ll ever experience fame on that scale. I probably won’t experience fame of any kind outside of writer’s conferences where people are already looking out for me and may now me because of my poetry. Even then, it’s unlikely they’ll know me by my face. They’ll have to read my nametag or I’ll have to introduce myself before the switch flicks in their brain and they realize that I am, indeed, me.
But the other night a real god-damn celebrity came into Poison Girl. Of course, it was on the sly, introduced to the place by the new owner of Lola’s (a dive bar that I didn’t know had been taken over) who was taking this celebrity to all the cool places in town (and by town, I mean Montrose, and by cool places, I mean those that have been around for a while and that cater to the locals rather than the hip crowd). Poison Girl is apparently one of those places.
So this man comes in trailing two people who are over six feet in height. One I don’t know, the other I see as familiar, but don’t recognize. It isn’t until after I serve them drinks that I suspect the tall black man is a movie star, and only after he leaves that I suspect who he is, though I can’t remember his name, can only remember that he was in Candyman. And though I wasn’t certain it was him, he acted like a celebrity, like a personality, a person used to fame and recognition. And though that could come off badly, in his case it simply meant that he was aware of people, and considerate, and thankful and, well, pretty damn awesome.
So this is Tony Todd.
He looks in person pretty much exactly as he does above, and I wish that I would have recognized him sooner and been certain of his name, or had been confident enough to ask. Why?
Because I would have liked to have told him that I really like his acting. I appreciate him as an actor (now, from what I’ve seen, as a person as well) and always enjoy his presence on the screen, a presence that can hold anger and threat (as in Candyman) but that also is magnetic, reassuring, and real. I would have liked to have told him that.
This because I know how much I appreciate being told that someone enjoys my art. Sure, there’s the fannishness that can occur around movie stars and writers like Stephen King, but the truth is that there is also simple appreciate for one’s work, whether it’s writing or acting or art, and that this appreciation is treasured because, in fact, it has little to nothing to do with you, the one who created it.