Ashes, Ann Miller

Saturday, July 27th, 2002 | Film, Friends

I just got back from the movies, Wong Kar Wai’s Ashes of Time, which started an hour late due to a burned out bulb so I was late getting home to talk to BC, who hung up on me, so instead, I’ll snuggle up with my Dear Blog and update you on my evening with Ann Miller last night!

I drove down to Palo Alto this morning to pick up my new coffee table with Big Chrissy, which turned out to be somewhat of a disappointment (not original finish, no identifying marks, scuffed well beyond “great shape”), then on to the LAB’s board retreat with my house guest Carla, an experimental playwright with an association to the language poets, she’s married to one, who’s in town from Detroit for a residency at the LAB. I stopped in as a member of their advisory board to see what was up and say hi, and to have Carla talk to the board about her residency. The retreat was at Minnette’s, an old pal and photographer (her son is Michael, the film director). I was on the board for about 5 years, and last year left to serve in an advisory capacity. Elizabeth, the administrative director, greeted me with a pat on the stomach and “Chriiiiis, you’ve GROWN so muuuuuuuuch,” and Richard greeted me with “You’re so gray…” Have I gone downhill that fast? Anyway, Ashes of Time was great–almost incomprehensible but with fabulous fight scenes and deeply moving highly manipulative expressions of emotional intensity that just popped out of nowhere and left you crying before you could really figure out why.

Okay, so the evening with Ann Miller started out with a little reception for her, at the Castro Theater. She held court in the lobby, surrounded by drag queens and old movie buffs. I decided to go upstairs and grab a bite before introducing myself and telling her how much I totally worshiped her, but ran into Roberto from the BAR and had a few too many glasses of wine, so by the time I meandered back downstairs, she was gone! The pre-show entertainment was pretty swell, though, with a tap-dancing drag queen recreating Miller’s “Shaking the Blues Away” number and Connie Champagne doing a very believable Judy Garland. At one point, the drag Ann stepped up to the mike and said “I have some bad news–I’ve just been told that I’m not Ann Miller….” and then introduced the real McCoy, who was interviewed for about an hour by Jan Wahl, who asked fairly tame questions, but the crowd went wild whenever Ann said anything. After the interview, the drag queen in front of me pulled off his big hair, opened his suitcase, set a mirror on top, took off his makeup, slipped out of his leopard-skin dress and into a gray sweatshirt. During the screening of the film, Kiss Me Kate in 3D, he and his companion took numerous flash photographs of the film. Can’t wait to see those…

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