That is, frankly, because Nick Brendon is one of the most genuine, amusing, and sweet people I have ever met. And apparently everyone knows this, and it's kind of obvious, but that's ok, I don't mind learning a little late. Also, apparently a Christopher Durang play is something you either love or you hate, and I adored it.
So first off, the play itself, OH MY GODS. Even the title ...
Why Torture Is Wrong, And the People Who Love Them (a play by Christopher Durang) - from the LA Times article because I'm too lazy to do my own description:
The aftermath of the 9/11 attacks has produced its fair share of art, but farce has been one area hitherto neglected. Christopher Durang, operating with his customary lunatic hilarity, bravely steps into the breach.Nick played a cracked out post-massive drugs (or possibly still on them) Reverend/Porno director "Reverend Mike", and he played it to the hilt. The best part of his performance, though, were his expressions. I don't think its particularly easy to get into a character that is watching hallucinatory butterflies while thinking about getting the leading man to star in his next multi-city orgasmic film. I laughed all the way through it, and he was fabulous every time he was on the stage.
In “Why Torture Is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them,” Durang accelerates the forces of paranoia, xenophobia and ethnic, religious and class hatreds to produce a fun-house image of where we’re headed if we don’t put on the brakes.
After the play I looked around for emelye_miller (who thankfully looks just like her picture - frigging adorable), who introduced me to zowiebwalker (who was possibly even more hyper than the both of us put together, in the most awesome of ways), and some of the other women who had both seen the play and were heading to the meet & greet. Luckily Miss Em was totally in the know, and so we were immediately directed to one of the cast of competent women who worked as staff for this whole event, and were handed an envelope with not only a head shot but a sweet customized note from Nick before we were seated. It was, in a word, very sweet star treatment.
And arriving at the table there ended up being I think 10 or 12 of us, and across from me & Em & ZBW was ... someone I knew as a friend of a friend from when we used to live in LA. My girlfriend used to have a crush on the lead singer of his band, so I'd seen them in concert a couple of times, and since he'd spent an entire night at a party with his band teasing me mercilessly about having been the girl at the party who caught her hair on fire (a story for another time, promise), he remembered me as well. Talk about strange though - but somehow, it fit with the whole surreal feeling of the event - I mean, how often do you go to a meet and greet after a play of an actor you've watched for years? Yeah, surreal. Anything else, including meeting people you kinda know and have gotten drunk with at said event? Yeah, I didn't even blink in surprise.
Now, words seriously cannot describe how charming Nick is in person. And also? A very funny, witty guy (half of the table was laughing at an interval of every 10 seconds for most of the evening). But also, he's someone that listened attentively to everything everybody had to say, made everybody feel like they had his undivided attention (which is a unique talent), and managed to carry a running joke while actually making it funny.
Probably because I was nervous, hyped up (seriously, zowiebwalker and I totally motormouthed over each other in the best of ways for like the entire night because we were both hyped in our own way - it was soooo nice that I wasn't the only one), and also, you know, never afraid of getting my happy-the-internet-isn't-evil rant on, when Nick arrived at our side of the table we managed to get into a discussion about collective intelligence (which then devolved into looking up the year of the US Civil war on wikipedia, thinking about doing complex math problems, and me trying to evangelize for teaching people critical thinking skills). Yes, tangent. Oh well, Nick took it with good grace and a handy IPhone of connected-ness, even though he admitted that he's not as connected or even interested as, oh, say those of us who mainline the internet at hours at a time.
We also all had the chance to sit privately with Nick while he signed his headshot for us and talked, and by that point I'd already had such a lovely time that I have absolutely no idea if I was coherent or not. Didn't matter, we ended up having a random conversation about how this meet and greet popped both our cherries and how Nick didn't like tampons to clean up messes like that and preferred to just sit in dirty jeans instead .... this was after the moment in the conversation where I complimented him on his performance at the play and before we talked about how useful my degree in Japanese literature is going to be. I'm still laughing about the very, very, very odd conversational turns, but you know, sometimes its just best to roll with these things. Then I got a hug from a very nice man who grinned and teased me about my college loans, and I think there are pictures floating around somewhere (I didn't bring my camera so I'll see if I can find them) before the next person's turn came.
AND... like all good things, eventually the evening had to come to an end. But, of course, in the way these things always turn out, Em & ZBW & I were going to grab coffee before EM caught her flight, and we ended up trying to walk back to the same parking area that Nick & Jacqui (and their entourage) walked through a few moments later. But, of course the coffee shop I'd hoped was still open wasn't, and we headed down the escalators moments behind them, feeling slightly stalkerish as we ended up parked on the same parking level. Luckily my car was in the exact opposite direction from theirs, but we all still had this moment of "no, really, we're NOT following you -- promise. we're the sane ones, PROMISE."
well, mostly sane.
Sadly, even the Insomnia coffee shop was closed by that time, so we ended up at Denny's, the ultimate late night spot, because it was the only place I could think of that was open other than bars where we'd have to not only shout at each other but spend more money. And instead we drank (well, coffee for the other two ladies and coke for me) endless Denny's drinks and talked fandom until I turned into a pumpkin and took them back to Hollywood. Darlings, if you're reading this let me know you got home eventually ok, oK?
I grin every time I think about the whole evening.
So, in conclusion, if you have ANY way of doing one of these events, seriously, DO IT. DO IT. DO IT. And I do think they're going to be organizing more of these kinds of things in other parts of the country, or possibly here again, so if you're curious check either twitter, or facebook, or nickbrendon.com
ETA: Now with photographic evidence...