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and then there’s the time i really met Steve Martin….

Photos of Barbie Angell by Rodney Smith - Tempus Fugit Design © 2013

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.

Steve Martin backstage at Ovens Auditorium. Photo by Charlie Brady.

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.

My autographed Rare Bird Alert album, backstage pass & ticket.

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

Mr. Martin graciously agrees to have his photo taken with me.

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

Mike Guggino, Graham Sharp, Woody Platt, Nicky Sanders & Charles Humphrey III, collectively known as Steep Canyon Rangers.

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.

Steep Canyon Rangers are on Twitter and Facebook

or you may visit

Steve Martin is also on Twitter and Facebook

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12 Responses

    1. thank you. : ) it’s always wonderful to meet anyone whom i admire….last nite i was able to talk with six people who fit that description and see an amazing show as well.

  1. Barbie, this is well-written and a great account of the adventure. Meeting Mr. Martin, the SCR’s and you made this an unforgettable event in 2011. There are lots of good stories to tell! Hope my blackberry photographic skills pass.

    1. thank you. : ) and thank you again for the ticket. i wish i hadn’t been so loopy from allergy medicine, but if i’d waited until this sinus infection was gone, i might never have seen their concert. : )

  2. Such a cool story. I’ve never particularly been a Steve Martin fan–didn’t dislike his act, just not someone who really registered, despite watching a lot of SNL when I was young. But I have a great deal of respect for him now–anyone who’s in his position as a performer & a celebrity who will set that aside to establish real human contact is aces in my book. & I also feel I got to know you a bit better in this, which I appreciate. & hey, it’s first blog post I read on the new computer 🙂

    1. i’m glad that you enjoyed the story and have acquired additional appreciation for Mr. Martin. he was incredibly gracious to me, as were all the gentlemen from Steep Canyon Rangers. i’m also pleased that my storytelling came off well since i am still so very tired and i wrote this in one sitting. i actually just corrected some typos. : )

  3. aw shucks….thank you rach, you’re always so supportive & i appreciate that. : ) you can’t go wrong with Steep Canyon Rangers. Deep in the Shade is my current favorite album of theirs, along with Rare Bird Alert, of course. they are an incomparable band. i truly believe that even people who swear they wouldn’t like bluegrass would still love these guys. : )

    1. thank you. : ) i think i look a bit silly in the photo, but i was very medicated due to my sinus infection. the concert was beyond incredible and they were all so very nice backstage. i’m so happy that i was able to be a part of all of it. : )

    1. thank you so much. : ) Mr. Martin & the gentlemen from Steep Canyon Rangers were all so wonderful. fortunately for me, they all also have a great sense of humor. i’m so glad you enjoyed my writing.

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Contact Information

Barbie Angell

Release Date

March 5, 2024


“Barbie Angell Uncensored” is a dazzling fusion
of poetry, comedy and tragedy

ASHEVILLE NC – Poet, playwright and raconteur Barbie Angell performs “Barbie Angell Uncensored: An Unfiltered, Uninhibited and Unapologetic Event” at 8pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024, at LaZoom Bar & Gorilla. The 90-minute show is a melange of works spanning Angell’s career, including her poetry, excerpts from her autobiographical play “Death by Sparkle,” pieces from her children’s book “Roasting Questions,” and rarely performed mature works.

A multitalented, multi-hyphenate personality based in Asheville since 1999, the always colorful Angell is recognized around town for her work as a poet, playwright, columnist, emcee, artist and fashion designer. She has been voted “Best of WNC” poet by Mountain XPress readers for 10 consecutive years, and her skills as an emcee have made her a sought-after host for local festivals and large events such as Planned Parenthood’s Condom Couture and the Reproductive Rights Rally. 

Angell has written sketch comedy, co-authored “The Kids Show: Definitely Not for Kids,” and penned one act of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” for Montford Park Player. She is currently creating and selling upcycled clothing in her own fun and funky signature style – some of which will be available for sale at the event, along with original artwork and prints.

Equal parts stand-up comedy, poetry slam and public confession booth, “Barbie Angell Uncensored” promises to be emotional, unsettling, hilarious, and as unique as Barbie Angell herself!

Tickets are available at for a suggested donation of $20.