As we entered the theatre I was a bit dumbfound to discover, which I conveniently had forgotten, that more than approximately 50 percent of the seats in the middle section were saved for the media, hence the SOLD OUT. We also noticed the two sides of the theatre were pretty full and 2 seats together were only available in the second row on the right side. We grabbed them and continued to monitor everyone as they entered the theatre. Almost everyone seemed disappointed at the way the seating was and continued to complain to one another about how unfair the process seemed considering the amount they paid to attend the event. I nodded a few times as others spoke to me and volunteered my frustration as well when the newbees entered the theatre to look for seats. Finally at about five minutes to 7p.m. they began filling all the empty middle seats which were saved for the media, so my friend ran across the room and grabbed two seats in the middle about 8 rows back from the stage. I climbed over others and excused myself as I made my way to the precious seats which were labeled FASTRAK. I giggle to myself because I was thinking had I brought my FASTRAK pass from the car, would I have had priority sitting as well (just joking).
Anyway, finally everyone was nearly settled into their seats after complaining when the lights dimmed a bit to suggest we all pay full attention to the stage. At that point I noticed the two orange colored warn out armchairs and microphones with cords on the stage. Finally the host, Mark Fishkin came to the stage and introduced himself and soon thereafter welcomed Clive Owen to come up to the stage. Everyone eagerly looked around to see his entrance but he came from the back of the theatre and walked down the isle to the front, so most people missed it until he climbed up the steps to the stage.
After the applause, they sat and briefly exchanged what should have been an interview but it sounded more of an ammature Q&A led by Mark Fishkin. I couldn’t believe my ears as I listened to his attempt at questions or more like statements. After almost every question, Owen was trying to figure out if he was to answer or simply nod his head. There were a few questions or statements where Owen jumped in and answered as if to help Fishkin out of a jam. Everyone around me was shaking their heads and as I looked beyond my immediate circle of audience, I noticed people looking bored to tears with the conversation and some even nodded off, it was disappointing to say the least.
After about 20 minutes of this thing called Q&A, Fishkin introduced the movie Croupier which we were to watch and left the stage. After the movie, they returned to the stage to continue the Q&A and then present Owen with an award. At this stage Owen’s body language was pretty intense and he did everything in his power to be a good sport about the Q&A, which Fishkin failed at miserably. I almost want to state that perhaps Fishkin could have been intimidated by Owen’s presence and as a result couldn’t think straight, but he had que cards and I figured being a professional he should have been past that. Anyway, finally the award was presented and Owen accepted it by giving a very simple speech, he as well as the audience knew we needed to move on. The program came to an end and everyone was given direction leaflets to the after party at the Tiburon Grill.
My friend and I ran to the car and decided it was best to change from our jeans and t-shirts to some form of cocktail party attire. So we drove to Tiburon and parked the car next to an SUV and while a man loitered outside the vehicle, we changed in the car in the dark. Afterwards, I asked the man why he wasn’t attending the party, he said that he was the driver for a big celebrity. I giggled and said “Oh I know, but I am here to see CLIVE OWEN” and he looked at me and nodded and laughed.
We got to Tiburon Grill and as are tickets were being collected at the door, I asked one of the eight volunteers taking the tickets if we were able to keep them as souvenirs, she said No but if we came back later on in the evening she would give us the tickets back. We entered the restaurant, which was completely packed, the bars were full and the lines to the buffet at a stand still. I scoped the place out and noticed the usual groupings of individuals, wine glasses in hand, laughter emanating from every corner of the room. The environment seemed inviting until we attempted to queue up for the buffet line, NO ONE was moving, after standing there for about ten minutes we realized that the ones in front of the platters were just standing and eating off the platters. So we opted to pass up on the buffet out of shear disgust and move along to the wine bar. By this point I need a glass of wine for sure. The evening wasn’t going so well and I was beginning to lose my patience.
I decided to cut in front of a group of women hovering over the wine bar just to make sure at least I could get a glass of wine. I wasn’t surprised at any one’s behavior but rather questioned why people did the things they did in life. Anyway, I got a visual on Clive Owen seated in a niche of the restaurant, somewhat protected from the crowd by a bunch of individuals hired to do just that, block celebrity. I tried to excuse my way toward him in hopes that I could take a photograph with him but I was stopped and asked “WHO” I was. I opted not to introduce myself as a columnist or a blogger and simply said I was a fan. But that didn’t work and I was unable to get within 10 feet of Clive Owen.
All of a sudden I noticed a group of women, who had too much to drink, approach Clive and take photos and ask for his autograph. He obliged as would any perfect gentlemen and smiled for the photographs. All of a sudden, his body guards determined it was time for him to leave and began escorting him to toward the exit. I noticed the danger of the crowd forming and blocking his exit route, soon there was a bit of pushing and chaos and I grabbed my friend’s arm and pulled her away from the crowd toward the main exit of the restaurant.
I saw the concern in Clive’s face and the focus on the team that was protecting him, they pulled him away and for a minute he walked alone as the team of bodyguards held back the crowd. I was ahead of Clive and my friend behind me, I turned my head toward my friend and said into the air “Poor Man, I can’t believe this is happening” and all of a sudden for a second Clive looked at me since he heard my comment, smiled and nodded a goodbye gesture. I smiled back and watched him leave the restaurant in the very SUV that was parked next to my car.
I turned back and looked at the annoying crowd of people and then looked at my friend and both of us knew it was time to leave. There was no point to stay, after all I wasn’t there to see Mark Fishkin.
The moral of this piece I decided to write about in two parts is that with all the planning on my part and the misinformation from the MVFF, my utter patience and physical and mental endurance, my hopes for personal gain and losses as a result of a disappointing event to say the least, I was able to fulfill my decade long wish of being in the same room as Clive Owen. I guess that in itself was worth it for me.