Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Evening with Christopher Plummer

Last night, Elizabeth (of Sanctum Santoro--see link to the right) and I met up in DC to attend an interview and book signing with Christopher Plummer. It was one of those serendipitous evenings when I happened to be striking out on my own for the first time to see an author without my sister--an occurrence that is about to become a lot more common now that she'll be a mother--and Elizabeth's husband was working hard and she was hoping to find someone to hang out with on Monday evening. Well, I told her my plans, and as it turns out, she was a fan of The Sound of Music growing up also, so our plans were fixed. She got a ticket and off we went.

We had a slight hiccup with our choice of dining locations--they were closed at dinner time! So we wound up at the local Potbelly's, and then walked to the Corcoran where we got excellent seats in the third row from the little stage.

I'd never been to the Corcoran, but it's a really lovely building and the auditorium is quite nice as well. The color blue on the walls is just gorgeous and it is small, so there is a kind of homey feeling about it. The columns around the outside of it still give off a feeling of federal grandeur, however.

Just before it started, we looked around and Elizabeth commented we looked to be about the youngest ones there, which was true and funny! I suppose most people were waiting till this evening when Mr. Plummer was giving a free reading and signing at Politics and Prose, but I was happy to have paid and gone to this far smaller gathering. Those signings of 600-700 people are fun and have a kind of camaraderie that you can really only find among devout readers and fans of a particular author--and each of those crowds is vastly different depending on who the author is that you're meeting. But I suppose in my present state of mind, I was looking for something a bit more sedate and relaxed.

I was also fortunate that Elizabeth clued me in on the fact that Mr. Plummer is not a fan of The Sound of Music, and so I could be sure not to embarrass myself by asking any questions about that.

He was interviewed by some local theater bigwig, and I'm not really sure who it was. The guy asked fairly long winded questions that led into other questions until the original question was lost, and myself, I started to wonder, "Is there a question in there somewhere?"

Mr. Plummer made one observation that really stuck with me and I've given a lot of thought to today as I've pondered the evening. He said, "I've made over a hundred movies. Not all of them were good, but I've made over a hundred." I really liked this idea that while maybe not everything I've ever done was a homerun, at least I've done it. And I can take some pride in that fact.

So there was a Q&A after the 35 minute or so interview, and the first woman to go immediately asked a question about The Sound of Music, and Mr. Plummer made a face and explained that the movie was just not his "cup of tea, so there!" and stuck out his tongue, which was quite entertaining, although the poor woman asking the question blushed violently red. There were a good number of questions and then it was time for the signing. This turned out to be just a little bit of pandemonium.

Not as bad as Dog, The Bounty Hunter pandemonium, but pandemonium nonetheless. The table where you could buy books was right next to the signing table, and people who already had books were lined up in front of that, where people (like me) who were trying to buy books had to cut in front of them to buy them and then cut back out to get on line for the signing.

Finally, as we were nearing the conclusion of the event, everyone kind of "got it" and the signing line moved in front of the table where Mr. Plummer was seated and the buying line moved in front of the table where the books were on sale. Elizabeth went first so I could take her picture and then she took the camera and got some pictures of me, so that was pretty cool. And I managed to get one good picture of Mr. Plummer himself, as you see above.

It was a pretty neat signing, all things considered. He's something of a legend, and an engaging speaker, even at 78 years old. He was witty and fun, creating many laughs and giving lots to think about. I look forward to reading his book, In Spite of Myself, and have already skimmed a good bit of it and looked at all the pictures.

Next up on my busy DC cultural schedule is the Sixth and I Synagogue hosting Michael Ian Black, the one regular member of the cast of Ed that I didn't get to meet back in the day. He is doing a show at Sixth and I with a couple of friends, and I've got a ticket for that one. I will be going to that on December 2nd. My new culture buddy, Elizabeth, isn't able to attend, but if you are in the area and are free and would like to go with me, you can get a ticket by visiting the Sixth and I's website. I will go early to procure good seats :-)

3 pearl(s) of wisdom:

Lauren said...

I would have loved to go see Michael Ian Black with you, but I just won tickets to the Caps game that night. D'oh!

BTW, I *LOVE* the Sound of Music, and I would have wanted to ask him about it, too. :)

Sarah said...

Where do you find out about all of these events?? I saw Rushdie at the synagogue on 6th and I and LOVED it--an amazing venue. I'd love to accompany you on the 2nd, but it's the night before I'll be leaving town.

Elizabeth said...

I very much dig my new title of "Culture Buddy." :)

My favorite thought for the evening was when he said, "Never suffer for your Art. I certainly haven't. I've had a ball!" Exuberant people who achieve excellence while keeping a joyful attitude are my favorite kind. No wonder he seems so young at 78!