Just back from Austin -- and NEVERMORE!

Posted on Sunday, October 03, 2010 by Melanie

So, what do these three women have in common?

As it turns out, they're all at the Original Alamo Drafthouse Cinema to see Jeffrey Combs in his one-man production of NEVERMORE, as part of the Austin Fantastic Fest film festival. Yes, I went to see NEVERMORE. Again. And a huge amount of thanks must go out to Holly Havens for 1) spotting the Fantastic Fest ad with the blurb about the show while in Austin for a stylist's convention and 2) letting her mother Theresa know about it, because Stretch then texted me with the info -- I was holding a printout of tickets ten minutes later. Not that I'm a fan or anything. Ahem.

Since I had ticket(s) plural and both Stretch and Lyndon had already seen the show, I called up my fellow Starfleet Ladies' Auxiliary and Embroidery/Baking Society member Fazia to see if she wanted to attend (she lives near Austin and is currently working on her acting career, so I figured she might want to see the stage show I'd been raving about for half of 2009). She did, met me at the theater in her gorgeous new black Stetson, and we wound up sitting in line next a charming young woman at the theater named Virginia who adored Jeff and happened to be into SF in a big way. Put three friendly geekettes together, and it's like a mini-con -- we spent the pre-show time happily chatting about Jeff, Star Wars, Star Trek, Connor Trinneer, old analog commercials, and other favorites. I even got a chance to speak briefly with Stuart Gordon before we went into the theater proper -- Virginia promptly scored a front row center seat (more about this in a minute), while Fazia and I took what I like to call the Helen Whitman Sweet Spot. :-) The show itself was fantastic as always (the seating layout was different from the Steve Allen Theater, which gave Jeff more of a chance to interact with the audience as Poe), and yeah, it's always fun to be addressed as "Helen" during the show.

Halfway through the show, however, it turned out that Virginia had a bit of a situation on her hands -- I'll let her tell it in her own words:

But half-way through the show, guess what? Oh, GOD, how I needed to PEEEEEE!!!! Shit shit shit, I’m thinking, and I waited until he finished one of his poems to make a mad dash to the bathroom, which was very very very hard to do, considering I was, like I said, five feet directly in front of the one performer on the stage and, subsequently, in the steady beam of the light, as well. But when you need to pee, YOU NEED TO PEE. So I crouched down and scampered. I quickly washed up and came back and he’s still talking, so I peel my eyes from him for a moment to see where I’m going as I slide down the row and find my seat. As I’m approaching my seat I begin to wonder why the theater has suddenly fallen so deathly silent, and as I slide into my seat I look up at Jeff to find him, frozen, half-way through taking off his jacket, and his eyes are fixated directly on me. His face fills out into a grin. “OH, SHIT,” my brain yells as I cover my face and start to giggle. The entire theater bursts out laughing as Jeff asks me, “Are you comfortable?” I can feel my whole face flood with colour and I manage a “Yes, sir, thank you” as he takes off his coat, still smiling at me and makes a kind remark about how funny it was.

After the show, Virginia said the magic words: "I want to get his autograph!" I really, REALLY wanted his autograph on my Steve Allen theater program and Faz was willing to stay, bless her heart, so we hung out for a bit while Jeff was de-wigged and nosed, then pretty much waylaid him in the hallway between the theaters, poor man. He really is an amazing trooper -- you can tell he's exhausted after the show, but he's still willing to sign autographs and take pictures with fans. And while I felt kind of guilty about asking him to pose -- well, I obviously didn't feel THAT guilty. And um, I may have asked him how the batteries were holding up in the room box. *innocent smile*

At which point he promptly threw me a curveball by asking me how the performance stacked up against the other ones I'd seen. After a moment of low blood sugar-induced vapor lock, I channeled my inner Ebert and gave him a fast analysis (more fast-paced and electric than the LA performances -- he thought it might have been because of the seating and the increased interaction with the audience). That really is one of the nifty things about seeing this play multiple times -- it keeps changing and evolving, so you always get something new with each performance. Oh, and he complimented me again on the room box, which pretty much was the cherry on an already awesome night.

But wait -- the fun doesn't stop there! Because I really was starting to fade out from hunger (note to self: eating a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast and then not eating anything for the next twelve hours isn't really that good of an idea), Fazia suggested that she, Virginia and I go out and grab dinner. After a fast check with Mr. Faz for local food recommendations, the three of us retired to a great diner called Kerbey Lanes and dug into some truly incredible chicken quesadillas, chips and salsa while trading stories, doing impersonations ("It's like BUTTAH!") and generally laughing our asses off for a good hour and a half. I knew I had to go into the office the next day, however, so I finally bid the ladies a fond farewell around 11 PM, ambled back to I-35 and pointed the Hoosiermobile north, grinning all the way home.

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  1. Fazia Rizvi |

    There's something very ironic about the fact that one of the pictures is taken directly in front of the Women's restroom.

  2. Melanie |

    Yes, I noticed that as well. Then again, Virginia will always have fond memories of that bathroom. :-D

  3. Stacy |

    LOLOL, congratulations!

  4. Melanie |

    Now you know why I wanted you to come on the show Monday. :-D And yes, I know -- I'm a squeeing fangirl. But I'm an UNREPENTANT squeeing fangirl!


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