Thursday, September 22, 2005

I promised I would post my Bruce Campbell Essay

Recently, I got to meet a personal hero of mine. Most people would consider me silly to claim that an actor who primarily stars in B-movies is someone to look up to; typically, I’d say that they’re correct, however, I consider Bruce Campbell an exception. If you know him at all, then you probably know him as Ash from the Evil Dead movies; what people don’t realize is that he is also an author, director, and producer. When I was ten years old, I watched Evil Dead for the first time, and fell in love with bad horror movies. B-movies are now a passion of mine, and I completely blame Bruce Campbell for that – not that it’s necessarily a bad thing.

The Thursday before classes started, I was walking in The Loop and saw a sign at The Tivoli that Bruce Campbell would be there August 25th promoting his new book, Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way, and also his most recent movie, The Man with the Screaming Brain. Since I had only been living in Saint Louis for about a month, I didn’t really know anyone here, much less anyone who liked Bruce Campbell as much as I do. Knowing that I had to find someone to take with me, I began asking everyone I met if they were fans of Evil Dead. No one was. Then I found Matt. I’m still not sure how I found Matt; all I knew was that he liked Bruce Campbell as well. We made plans to meet around 4pm and head to The Tivoli to buy tickets for the 9 o’clock showing.

The big day finally arrived. It was dreary and gray, and the sky had been threatening to split apart and drench the earth with rain. The weather was perfect for taking pictures in graveyards, which is another bizarre hobby of mine. I asked Matt if he would mind going to the cemetery on South Campus with me so I could take pictures of the nuns’ graves. His look betrayed that he thought I was quite strange, but he agreed. We walked down the road that runs in front of Provincial House, past all the road work and the skeleton of the new dorm, and the road led into a tunnel of trees. Almost out of nowhere, the cemetery appeared on our left, right as the sky started lightly spitting rain onto us. Everything about the graves seemed eerily symmetrical, and I started snapping photographs almost instantly. There was a middle aged woman helping an elderly woman place flowers at a headstone. When Matt pointed out that we were not alone, I stopped taking pictures out of respect for the two other women, and waited until they left. By that time, the light sprinkling of rain had turned into a full blown shower. Determined not to be stopped by a little rain, I continued taking pictures until my digital camera’s memory card was almost filled – I had to leave some room for pictures of Bruce Campbell, after all. We decided to go ahead and drive my car to the Metro station, since I needed to move my car anyway. As soon as we were in the car and out of the rain, we noticed that there was not one single centimeter on our bodies that was not soaked with rainwater.

When we boarded the Metrolink, we soon found out how cold wet clothes can get when exposed to air-conditioning that is set expecting hot August weather. This was an extraordinarily bad thing, considering that I have an allergic reaction when I get cold. We were shivering and uncomfortable, at which point I declared a trip to Rag-O-Rama was in order so that I could purchase dry clothes, taking into consideration that I had a medical need to be warm – not to mention I am a girl, and any excuse to buy clothes is a valid one. Luckily, the trip was a short one, and we were at the Delmar Loop Metro station before I had a very serious allergic reaction. We proceeded down the sidewalk in the direction of The Tivoli and Rag-O-Rama. It was still raining, and I was having issues with seeing out of my glasses, so I grabbed a copy of the good old Riverfront Times, and used it as an umbrella, with it spread over my head like Janet does in the “Over at the Frankenstein Place” scene in Rocky Horror Picture Show.

We stepped into Rag-O-Rama, where central air once again chilled me to the bone. I started by trying to find a pair of pants that would fit me; however, that is a very difficult task. I actually have an hourglass figure, and while that is the “ideal” shape for a woman, most women aren’t shaped that way. As such, most jeans companies don’t make pants to fit women that are shaped like that. I always end up having to compromise and tolerate a pair of jeans that fits in the hip, but are far too big in the waist, which makes shopping for jeans the most frustrating thing I can possibly do with my time. I sent Matt to find a shirt while I looked for some item of clothing to cover my lower half, since they didn’t have one pair of jeans that would come remotely close to fitting me. I wandered over to the clearance rack, then the skirts, and I even considered a dress. Matt quickly found a body piercing shirt that would fit me, and wasn’t expensive at all, while I drifted back to the skirts again, trying to find one that wouldn’t look horrible with a t-shirt and tennis shoes. About that time I realized that I was subconsciously singing to the song that was playing – an older song from one of my favorite groups, Modest Mouse. I had been wondering why everyone was giving me strange looks, and I wondered how long I had been singing. I eventually settled on a fairly plain denim skirt, paid for my purchases, and took the opportunity to change in their dressing rooms. We head back down the sidewalk towards The Tivoli, where we realized it was 5:30 and Bruce Campbell started doing signings at six. We decided to go to the 11pm showing instead, and then realized that Matt was about 75 cents short of the admission. I didn’t have the change, nor did I have enough in my bank account for two tickets, so I went ahead and bought mine, and we headed back to the dorms so Matt could get the change he needed, and I could change into dry underwear and pick up my copy of Bubba Ho-Tep for Bruce Campbell to sign. We did what we needed to do, and once again boarded the Metrolink headed for Delmar.

When we got back to The Tivoli, Matt bought his ticket and we headed inside, where we discovered that I had to buy Bruce Campbell’s new book to have anything signed by him. I went ahead and bought it, even though I couldn’t really afford it at the time, and got my line ticket, which basically said I was the 306th person in line to meet Bruce. Matt and I went into the theatre and sat down, where we quickly discovered that, at 6:45, they were only lining up to line ticket number 75. At this point I started wondering how my cemetery pictures had come out, so I took out my camera and turned it on. Rather, I tried to turn it on. Apparently, the drenching rain had gotten into my camera and shorted something out, so I had no way of getting a picture taken with Bruce. I was devastated, but I decided reading his new book would cheer me up, so I started to read. When I needed to stop to use the restroom, I reached for my line ticket so I could use that as a bookmark, and discovered it was missing. After searching for it for about 20 minutes, I finally got up and asked the guy that gave them out if I could have another one, since I remembered my line number; he didn’t ask any questions and wrote out another one. Excited, I ran back to my seat, realized it was now almost 8pm, and they were still only on number 150 – not even halfway to my number. Matt and I decided to go see what we could find in the way of food, and we also needed to get my car and drive back to The Tivoli, since the Metro stops running around midnight. We got back to the dorms, got my car, and headed to The Nosh, since we had no idea when they stopped serving food. Apparently, it’s sometime before 8:30. We then decided to just skip food, and go straight back to the theatre, and wait patiently for my turn.

It was 9 o’clock when we got back, and they had moved the signings into the lobby so they could show the first showing of the movie in the biggest theatre. We asked someone who looked like they knew what was going on what line number they were on, and they were on number 280. It was almost my turn! That’s when I noticed someone was taking a picture of Bruce with their camera phone. I wondered why I hadn’t thought of that, and took out my phone. Just my luck, the battery was almost dead, so I turned it off to hopefully conserve what was left. I lined up according to my number, and waited, talking excitedly to people around me. When it was my turn, I handed my phone to the guy taking pictures and walked up to Bruce. He complimented me on my boots and we briefly discussed my move from Tulsa to Saint Louis, which he referred to as a “pretty damn big change.” He signed my book and my DVD and shook my hand, and I left to meet up with Matt once again. I opened my cell phone to look at the picture, and it wasn’t there. The moron who was supposed to take it had not saved it. Desperate, I asked his assistant if there was any way we could possibly get another picture with him. She told us to wait until everyone else was done getting their books and various memorabilia signed, and then she’d see if he had time. We waited. For what seemed like hours, we waited. Luckily, there was another rabid fan of Mr. Campbell’s that had the same problem, so we got to talk to him to ease our boredom. I was also exceedingly glad I had thought to bring along my knitting.

After the line was gone, we stood up to see if we could possibly get our pictures. Before any pictures could be taken, however, Bruce had to do an interview with a local TV station. We felt privileged to get to see it being filmed. In it, Bruce revealed that there were no plans for Evil Dead 4, nor plans for a Jason vs. Freddy vs. Ash movie, both of which were sad pieces of news. Following the interview, we finally got a chance to get my picture taken. Bruce was very apologetic about the inept man taking pictures, and too a picture with me. While everyone else that had their picture taken got a fairly generic one where Bruce was signing their book and talking to them while on opposite sides of the table and neither of them were looking at the camera, I got a picture where Bruce came out from behind the table, leaned an arm on my shoulder, and made an Elvis pose. Matt and I went into the theatre to wait for the movie, which is indescribably odd, to begin.


Anonymous said...

OMG!!! I wish I would have known that you are a Bruce Campbell Fan, and that you like taking pictures of, and in, cemetaries. He is one of my favorite actors, Christopher Walken being the only other to tie with him and Jack Nicholson bringing up a very close second. Until my old hard drive died, and then my camera, too, old cemetaries were a favorite place of mine to take very scenic shots. If you want someone to go with you to photograph cemetaries, or whatever, let me know. And if I am not free, I am positive that I can find someone who also shares these interests (including being a Bruce Campbell fan). I did have to replace my cell, having lost the old one, but the number is still the same. Feel free to call or text me anytime.