If you’ve read my piece, “Meeting Steve Martin….”, then you know why my on-line persona has a fictitious crush on this accomplished musician, song writer, author, actor and art collector. If you haven’t, then you are one of the people who probably thinks that the real me has a real crush on a man whom I had never met until last night. I, however, am not that kind of girl. Mr. Martin is a married man and, while my jokes are a bit flirtatious, they are always completely respectful.
I decided to use Mr. Martin as the straight-man to my self-deprecating humor because I disliked all of the “humorous attempts” I saw on-line poking fun at anyone with a celebrity status. I’m sad to say that I have seen some exceedingly admirable people verbally attacked because some twitter follower didn’t think a movie was good or felt a tweet was not amusing enough. I’m not that kind of girl either. Using social media as a weapon against someone who has not done anything to deserve it is cowardly and childish. That is not to say that I don’t use people as a punchline myself from time to time. The westboro baptist church (name intentionally left in lower case due to my complete lack of respect for them), Sarah Palin & Donald Trump have all found themselves in the cross-hairs of my humor from time to time. This is a result of their actions and their words, not a misguided sense of my entitlement to use them as fodder just because they are in the public eye.
I’ve been on-line joking about Steve Martin for a year and a half. I never once expected him to reply to me, nor did I ever believe that he was aware of my antics. In fact, I was absolutely taken aback when Mr. Martin told me that he enjoyed the review I wrote of Rare Bird Alert, his new album with Steep Canyon Rangers. It never occurred to me that he may actually read it. This was an incredible compliment to me. Not because he is famous. Not because he is an actor. I was thrilled because he was the subject of my work. Nothing is better than hearing that the person I wrote about actually appreciated my words.
When one of my twitter followers learned that I did not have the money to go see The Rare Bird Alert tour, he kindly offered to buy me a ticket to their concert in Charlotte, NC. Since Hertz had not only refunded my money from the fiasco last winter, but also gave me money towards renting another car, I was beyond thrilled that I would actually get to go to the show.
Being me, which I am, I decided the best way to promote the event was to attempt to get backstage passes. That is what my on-line persona would want after all. I never expected to get backstage, just as I never thought that Mr. Martin or Steep Canyon Rangers would notice my humorous plans. In homage to LA Story, written by Steve Martin, I included a pickax and night vision goggles based on the line; “There’s someone out there for everyone – even if you need a pickax, a compass, and night goggles to find them.”
In reality, I did learn that I would definitely be getting backstage passes while I was driving to Charlotte. But, me being me, I had to continue on with my plans. I also did not know if I would get the chance to meet Mr. Martin or Steep Canyon Rangers just because I was backstage. I am not a pushy person and I do have an immense amount of respect for this talented and hard-working group of men. Having performed on-stage myself since 1997, I know that there are a great many responsibilities involved and I am not one who wants to make someone’s job more difficult.
I spoke to Nicky Sanders out in the lobby prior to the show. He was shaking hands, posing for photos and selling their merchandise. I bought an autographed cd for a friend and then I went into the auditorium for the event.
My seat was right on the aisle on the main floor of the venue. I could see perfectly and was terribly happy that I would not be standing since I had taken Benedryl the night before and was still rather sleepy from it. This is the only thing that kept me from jumping out of my seat as I normally would do at such a lively and energetic concert. It was completely remarkable. When I perform on-stage, I do witty banter between poems. A great many people have asked me if I do stand-up without the poetry, I guess that means I’m good at the impromptu jokes that fall out of my mouth. Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers are along the same vein. Between songs there are humorous anecdotes, one-liners and something akin to sketch comedy. They are so brilliant at this that the entire 3 hours seemed like they were talking directly to me. For such a large venue they had a way of making the space seem intimate. As if we were all at a party on someone’s porch, sipping moonshine and swapping tales….just hanging out with a local band.
After the final encore, my friend and I made our way backstage. There were about 20 people back there and only a few members of Steep Canyon Rangers had come out of the dressing room. I hung back since I knew I didn’t have to leave right away and I wanted to be considerate of the other audience members who wanted to get autographs and offer their accolades. When Mr. Martin came out to talk to a few people who were right by the door to the dressing room, I presumed that Nicky was still inside. I attempted to get a photo, but put my camera away almost immediately. It seemed too papparazzi-like and that is also not the kind of girl I am. Here he was coming out to speak to some people who enjoyed his performance, I didn’t want to intrude on his personal space in such a way.
When he retreated back to the privacy of the band’s room, I figured that was the only time he would be venturing out into the crowd. Since I am not actually obsessed with Mr. Martin, I was content with the fact that I would not get the opportunity to speak with him. Instead, I sat on the only couch in the room several feet away from the door, to wait for Nicky to come out and greet people. Surprisingly, Steve Martin came back out while I was sitting there. I stood, because I am respectful, and assumed he would be passing right by me to leave the arena. In fact, he came up to me and asked, “Are you Barbie?” Guessing that
Nicky had pointed me out, I said that I was and he replied, “You made it backstage.” At this point I was a little mortified. I had always been under the impression that Mr. Martin has so many people talking to him or about him on twitter that he hadn’t ever noticed my peculiar attempts to promote his tour with Steep Canyon Rangers. I confided that, while I had known for several hours I would be getting all-access passes, I still thought it would be funny to pretend that I was tunneling through air vents and disguising myself as random items for the stage crew to find. He agreed that mine was the best course of action. I’m sorry to say that this is all of my interaction with Mr. Martin that I am going to relay to you. I hope that this isn’t disappointing, but I believe it would be in poor taste and inconsiderate to give a play by play of our conversation. His life may be in the public view, but this was a private conversation and I hope that you can respect that as much as I do.
After we had our photo taken together, I had the opportunity to meet the rest of Steep
Canyon Rangers. Woody Platt recognized my name as being someone from Asheville. Charles Humphrey & Graham Sharp both told me how much they loved my review of Rare Bird Alert, as did Mr. Martin. Mike Guggino remembered me from a show that he and Nicky Sanders had done in Brevard a few months ago. And then there’s Nicky Sanders….it turns out that he was back in the lobby this entire time. He hadn’t been in the dressing room with Steve Martin at all. Mr. Martin, I presume, knew who I was from my twitter photo or possibly figured I was the only person there who could successfully disguise themselves as a microphone stand. Either way, I waited around to talk with Nicky and he was as just kind and wonderful as he’d been the two other times which I had met him.
Feeling unbelievably exhausted and still having a two and half hour drive ahead of me, I said good-bye to the security guard whom I had been chatting with earlier and headed home.
My five year-old son was delighted that I met Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers. He’s a 35 pound admirer of their work, as opposed to a huge fan. My next goal will be to get him an introduction. He only wants to meet three people, Superman, Barack Obama….and Steve Martin.
….i realize i did not divulge how i came to acquire backstage passes. i regret that i am sworn to secrecy, but i do not believe that Mr. Martin had anything to do with getting them for me.
or you may visit www.steepcanyon.com
or you can find him at www.stevemartin.com