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If, when I was a teenager, someone told me that I would one day be a fan of a singer, actor or writer, and not only enjoy their work but travel far and wide to see them perform, and what's more, approach them in the semi-public setting such as at the stage door, I would not have believed them.

And yet, here I am doing those things and ignoring the uncomfortable feeling I get when I devote a lot of emotional energy to these near strangers, and the hesitance and painful awkwardness of wanting their private time and attention, if only to say something short and to the point like, "Thank you, Mr (Ms) ..., this show (and your role in it) was important to me because..."

I am uncomfortable being the fan of the (living) artist as well as their work because I don't know them, and no amount of interviews will ever change this simple fact. I am uncomfortable with the possibility of creating some flawless but inevitably flat picture of an idol from the complex and changeable human being, stuffing them in a "suite" of perfection, like Scarlett O'Hara did Ashley Wilkes. I am uncomfortable with the possibility of objectifying them, of imagining that whatever it is I feel is about more than seeing myself reflected in the mirror of their creations.

It takes two to tango. You cannot know a person without interacting with them. Without interaction, a line must be drawn somewhere in the stormy tangle of positive emotions, awe, gratitude, inspiration, thrill of discovering a new world by following their career and life. You have to stop and say, "This is great, and wondrous strange, and amazing, but in the first place, what I am experiencing is about me and my life."

After all, wouldn't it be strange if perfect strangers approached me with admiration and their ideas of who and what I am, created with little or no input from me? But this, too, is a dangerous train of thought, because I shouldn't project my own discomfort from compliments onto someone else, and least of all, a public figure.

And "meeting" celebrities in real life? Have you ever considered that if 1000 fans approached their idol, their "please, please, it is only for one minute" would add to more than 15 hours? What if someone had many times more fans than a meager thousand? So, no, they don't have time for you in the street, not even for one minute.

And stage door? Oh, stage door. It is easier to approach someone if the stage door meetings are semi-organized, with barriers holding the crowd back and security present just in case, when it is kind of, but not quite, an extra performance, similar to the surprise after-show interviews.

It is, for me, next to impossible to approach actors at stage door if there is nothing, when they exit directly "into the wild", when it is literally me eating away their private time.

Why then do I do it at all? Because it is important to me to glimpse the person behind the roles, and because saying whatever short and awkward thank you I can manage (if the occasion feels right) might be important to them as well, especially if I make it about the show I have just seen and not the myriad thoughts and emotions that I had previously on my lonesome. I do it for this short and fleeting moment of "together".


( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 9th, 2019 08:01 pm (UTC)
No ConCrit this week, please.
Jan. 9th, 2019 10:43 pm (UTC)
Elena, I tried clicking on your link on the dreamwidth page, but it isn't actually a link. Fortunately, I was able to come find you here. Since you've "posted," maybe you'll be OK. But if you're still up, perhaps you should check that out.
Jan. 9th, 2019 10:52 pm (UTC)
Julie, thank you for helping - but this is unfortunately how my links always post on DW, not links but 'text'. They have to be copy-pasted into the browser.

(I just checked, and it works for me, like always.)
Jan. 9th, 2019 11:54 pm (UTC)
I, also, had trouble linking from livejournal to Dreamwidth. It just didn't work. After trying unsuccessfully three times, I tried reopening Dreamwidth just in that moment and then it worked. I had gotten a message about a window being open too long.
Jan. 9th, 2019 10:57 pm (UTC)
As a teacher of thirteen-year-olds, I have gone through similar questions and doubts on whether I should greet my students if I meet them in public. Of course I recognize them! I'm even happy when I do. But teenagers have the reputation for being moody, complicated beings. They are known for telling their parents to walk ten meters behind them at the shopping mall so that they can deny that they're related. And as such, I respect that it is quite possible they would not appreciate my greeting. (Especially if they aren't getting the best grade in the class!

So the conundrum. To greet, or not to greet, that is the question. I weighed all that I knew about teenagers not wanting to be associated with adults This would indicate a "Do not greet" course of action. Then I considered the opposite fact, that teenagers are also known for being hyper-sensitive to the feelings of "Nobody likes me."

In the end, I decided that Weighing "I'm being embarrassed by an adult" versus "My teacher doesn't even know me" warranted erring on the side of giving recognition to the poor, possibly mortified thirteen-year-old.
Jan. 10th, 2019 05:15 am (UTC)
Oh, the poor dears :).

Your choice seems to me the better of the two possible evils. After all, you are not going to discuss class or their grades in public, but merely acknowledge them.
Jan. 13th, 2019 01:50 am (UTC)
Yes. very much yes!
Jan. 10th, 2019 11:04 pm (UTC)
Very thoughtful ruminations, which I enjoyed. Did you have a particular actor/singer in mind at the beginning? I especially liked your last paragraph.
Jan. 11th, 2019 03:54 pm (UTC)
Yes, there were two who started me going wherever I had to go: the American French singer Joe Dassin (he died in 1980, before I was born, but I went to several fan meetings. The first of those was was my first time abroad and everything), and Alan Rickman. Him I saw in two plays (my first time going to the theatre in another country), and the first time I felt too awkward to go to the stage door, but I did after the second play.
Jan. 11th, 2019 04:18 pm (UTC)
I'm not familiar with Joe Dassin, but I love Alan Rickman and thought he might be one of your favorites from your previous entries.
Jan. 11th, 2019 07:44 pm (UTC)
Here is one of my favourite songs, We ain't makin' it.

And yes, I love Alan Rickman, too.

Edited at 2019-01-11 07:44 pm (UTC)
Jan. 11th, 2019 08:15 pm (UTC)
This is so thoughtfully written and I've been enjoying these glimpses into your head this season!

This is a difficult subject for many people in today's media/entertainment rich society. I agree with the majority of your points. I've always thought that when an artist creates and sends something out into the world, then it stops being theirs and becomes ours. The artist then is separated/separate from the work.
Jan. 12th, 2019 02:20 am (UTC)
This topic was kind of made for you, with this particular hobby you've had for the past several years!

You make a good point about the multiplicative effect of public interaction with fans. I don't think it occurs to most people that while it might be "just this one time" you're talking to a celebrity you've encountered, it adds up to many, many times for the celebrities themselves, and that can be just exhausting.
Jan. 12th, 2019 09:34 am (UTC)
This resonates with me having been on both sides of the angle. When I was younger, I remember really wanting to meet certain artists. And then at some point, I did meet them, and the mystery was gone. They were the same vulnerable sort that I was. At stage doors, I get nervous when exiting, and people I don't know come up to me. I feel vulnerable from the other side, and I'm not even famous. Although there was a bit of that in Japan last year. It was somewhat overwhelming, to be honest.

P.S. Sorry about my misfire comment. That was meant for another entry.

Edited at 2019-01-12 09:37 am (UTC)
Jan. 13th, 2019 10:23 pm (UTC)
Such a raw, insightful, personal examination of your great appreciation of these people and their gifts. Thank you for sharing this with us. Your honesty is humbling to me. Thank you.

As always beautifully written and paced and shared and a great take on the prompt.

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )

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