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Somewhat Annoyed

Brian Hibbs

As Lester noted, it was, in fact, APE weekend (had a loverly time, thanks!), and newsletter week and, I just wanted to spend some quality time with Ben, so there went time for the reviews.

I actually sorta wanted to write some up today (at least my SIN CITY movie review — next week, sure), despite my TILTING AT WINDMILLS deadline hanging over my head (due Friday, 0 words written, no solid topic in my head), but I decided to go play hooky and try and meet Gene Wilder at a book signing at the Balboa movie theatre this afternoon.

So, I get there about 90 minutes early, and there’s just a handful of people standing around the lobby. “What’s the deal?” I ask, “Do we have a formal line or something?” The cashier tells me that the signing is at 5:30, right when YOUNG FRANKENSTIEN gets out, and that theatre patrons will form a line when the screening is done. People who DON’T see the movie have to wait until AFTER all of the theatre-goers are done, and, so, they might not get to meet Mr. Wilder, who will leave at 7.

So, that sounds fair, I guess. Well, “fair-ish” at least. And spending 90 minutes waiting in the dark cool movie house is better than 90 minutes on a cold windy street. I also beleive in supporting local theatres, because, y’know, fuck those big multiplexes. I buy a ticket and go in, though that wasn’t my plan when I arrived.

So, the movie gets out, I’m the 5th or 6th person out of the theatre’s door, and I walk into the lobby, and, um, there’s a really long line, and Mr. Wilder is already signing. “Um, where’s the line for the people who saw the movie?” I am pointed out the door, with the general line. Well, that’s kinda fucked up, ah, but what the hell, I’d really like to meet the man, tell him how much pleasure he’s brought me, shake his hand.

So, I start for the line, then I notice the sign: “MR. WILDER WILL NOT BE SIGNING _ANYTHING_ OTHER THAN HIS NEW BOOK.” I turn back towards the signing table, and, yup, I see the current person up for signing being told emphatically “No” when he wants a WILLY WONKA movie poster signed. Well, shit — I can’t really say if I want his signature on a book I haven’t even read yet. Y’know what I mean? I had brought an old ratty VHS copy of THE LITTLE PRINCE (he was The Fox — what a great adaptation of the original novel!), and my DVD of WILLY WONKA. THOSE what I wanted signed, not the book. I was even intellectually ready to BUY a copy of the book, if I had to — but what I wanted SIGNED, to discuss for 15 or seconds or so, maybe, were those works.

So, I’m weighing if I should ask if I could BUY the book, and have Mr. Wilder sign something else (‘cuz, y’know, that’s probably going to come off as offensive to the author — he’s here to promote something CURRENT, not decades old work), then they make The Announcement. “Because far more people showed up to see Mr. Wilder than we expected, he will be unable to personalize your copy. It will be autograph only.” Which, to me, sorta DEFEATS THE PURPOSE OF A SIGNING, and, y’know, encourages the people there to get an autograph so they can just sell it on eBay later, but what do I know?

So, I left. Oh sure, I could have used this very time to write some reviews, but I decided for once to use the internet for it’s intended purpose: venting. In a blog.

-B

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