Saturday, May 06, 2006

A Brush With Greatness: Liza Minnelli

Today Tom and I went to a DVD signing by the incomparable Liza Minnelli — the event originally scheduled two weeks earlier that Liza postponed until today. She was signing the newly-released Liza With a Z, a made-for-TV concert she filmed in 1972 that hadn't been seen publicly for more than 30 years.

The one and only Liza Minnelli arrives at Barnes & Noble for a DVD signing. (05/06/2006)
The one and only Liza Minnelli arrives at Barnes & Noble for a DVD signing. (05/06/2006)

Tim didn't come with me this time. He was only willing to sacrifice one Saturday for Liza. Fortunately Tom wasn't doing anything else that day, since Christine was with her Stitch 'n Bitch knitting group.

Showing off one of the prized wristbands and written instruction sheets. (05/06/2006)
Showing off one of the prized wristbands and written instruction sheets. (05/06/2006)

The day started at 9am when they began distributing wristbands for the 3pm event. Only 300 were going to be given out, and there were probably 30-40 people ahead of us. Once we got our wristbands, we went off to get some breakfast and then headed back to Tom and Christine's place for a while until we had to head back to the bookstore in the afternoon.

Sitting in line with Tom and our recent Liza fan friend, Michelle. (05/06/2006)
Sitting in line with Tom and our recent Liza fan friend, Michelle. (05/06/2006)

Barnes & Noble didn't allow people to line up before noon. We didn't get back there until 1pm. Luckily our recent friend Michelle held a spot in line for us.

The first thing we noticed while in line was how weird Liza Minnelli fans are. Although they're very devoted, we soon discovered that for the most part, they have no sense of humor when it comes to Liza. I mean, you make one little joke about Liza, and the next thing you know they're looking at you as if you were Pol Pot.

There were many crazy Liza fans there, like one who had a remarkable likeness to Ms. Minnelli. (05/06/2006)
There were many crazy Liza fans there, like one who had a remarkable likeness to Ms. Minnelli. (05/06/2006)

A good example of that is the Liza impersonater that showed up. Of course Tom and I instantly had to get our picture taken with him. And yet all the psycho Liza fans were telling us not to encourage him. Good grief, lighten up people! :)

But the one thing everybody in the room shared was the electricity as the clock ticked closer to 3pm. Because we were in line, we couldn't see the main entrance. But we knew when she arrived due to all the cheering and applause in the distance. About 10 minutes later — after Liza spent a few minutes primping — she entered the book signing area and everyone went wild!

Liza looked much better than I had expected, especially since I heard she had broken one of her toes a few days before. I was almost expecting a wheelchair. But Liza, who's looking pretty dang good for being 60 years old, walked in looking happy, healthy and energetic.

Here's Tom singing a duet with the real Liza Minnelli. (05/06/2006)
Here's Tom singing a duet with the real Liza Minnelli. (05/06/2006)

Michelle was the first one of us that went up, followed by Tom. Earlier in the day we had been listening to his Liza mix on his iPod, and I dared him to sing to Liza.

I said, "If you sing to Liza, I'll buy your DVD." And sure enough he did! And Liza was delighted!! "Keep going! Keep going!" she replied, even joining him for a few bars. Who would have thought that Tom, of all people, would end up singing a duet with Liza?

Liza signs James' DVD as Craig Zadan & Neil Meron look on. (05/06/2006)
Liza signs James' DVD as Craig Zadan & Neil Meron look on. (05/06/2006)

Liza had just put on some hand sanitizer when I got there and reached out to shake her hand. "My hands are still wet," she said, shaking my hand anyway. I told her how much of an inspiration she's been to me. "Thank you, Darling! Thank you so much," she replied. Then she got distracted for a minute talking to Candy Brown, one of the dancers from the "Liza With a Z" concert who surprised Liza by showing up. As she chatted it up with Candy, I was able to pose for several pictures that Tom was taking.

Producer Neil Marron (who produced the film Chicago, as well as the Liza With a Z DVD) didn't let Liza get distracted too long. To get her attention back, he saw that I had a post-it note attached to my DVD booklet with "James" written on it.

"Are you James?" he asked, clearly with the intention of getting Liza's attention. It worked. "Oh yeah," Liza said, finishing her signature. "James," she said, looking up at me. "Thank you, James."

The autograph. (05/06/2006)
The autograph. (05/06/2006)

By the time we got out of there it was 4pm. It was a long day but so worth it.

4 comments:

Laura Gonzalez said...

You're so gay...

James & Tim said...

That's not a nice thing to say about Tom! :)

Anonymous said...

Fabulous

Laura Gonzalez said...

Well, you're the one who said Tom is a "stray."