This is what I always thought my job would be like. Hanging out with celebrities. In truth it has never been that way… until tonight. You see, I don’t come from a theatre background. I was hired because of my fundraising experience. Usually I am as excited to see the show as you are… I almost never go back stage and when I do I feel very out of place and way to shy to actually talk to the celebrities. But tonight Shirley MacLaine talked to me…
Yes. Shirley really did take a cab from the airport to her hotel. We had a car at the airport but she and the driver missed each other and she took a cab. I was scared to death because I did not know what mood she was going to be in when I met her in the hotel lobby before the show. Turns out I had nothing to be scared about…
From the moment I introduced myself she was a complete professional and an absolute sweetheart… and sexy to boot! When I mentioned that the Roaring Fork was filled with diners who were excited about her show, she said “Well let’s go in and say hello to them.” So we did.
Then she asked to see the theatre so she could “make a few adjustments to the lighting and sound if needed.” The moment she stepped onto the stage her comment was, “Oh my what a lovely theatre. It has such great energy. What a beautiful space.”
Her talk went very well and I think my interview was OK. She really made me feel at ease and at some point I just realzied I needed to follow her lead. I certainly didn’t expect her to suggest that we should “spend the night” together!!! That was too funny and several audience members told me they could see me blushing from their seats. By the way, if you go to this website about Shirley, you will see under the trivia section the part about her “love of horses”. I wasn’t making it up.
BUT, here is the great part. After the show she made an appearance at the Stephen F. Austin for a private meet-and-greet with our Century Club members. After gracioulsy taking pictures and signing autographs she grabbed my hand and simply said, “It’s time to go. I need you to lead me out of the room.” So I did. At the elevator I assumed I was saying good-bye but she grabbed my partner’s hand again and said “Aren’t the two Kens coming up for a visit?”
So we spent almost three hours with Shirley (she said I could call her that) and her friend Rex from Dallas. We talked about politics, Hollywood, the Rat Pack, her new book (she gave me her number and told me to call her when I finished it), Austin, Santa Fe, my daughter, UFOs, Debbie Reynolds, Barbara Walters, Rosie O’Donnell, Kathy Griffin, Joan Collins… my head is swimming. She ate a ceasar salad… I was afraid I might throw up so I sipped water.
She wants me to research the possibility of her coming back to do a two-day seminar about all things UFO and such. She really wanted to go into more detail with the audience at the theatre, but time would not permit. I think we might see her back in Austin soon. By the way her website is www.shirleymaclaine.com .
Her new book comes out November 6th. It is called Sage-ing While Age-ing.
All in all it was a night I will never forget… with a woman I will never forget.
It is 1AM but I probably won’t fall asleep for hours.