I’ve come to believe that a journey shared with another, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone. Consequently, although I, like everyone who has been caught in the pounce of life’s struggles; that which makes us question our existence, I have managed to maintain my love of watching movies as a form of escape.
Not only do I escape, movie watching affords me the opportunity to visit emotions, sights and sounds - much like reading books - that I may not have otherwise experienced.
See, I am just a black hick from the flat lands of Iowa (yes, there are black folks in Iowa) that loves to stretch-out and view the world from different perspectives. And, as I said, I love watching movies.
My wife and I are in the next picture. We’re at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado. Wonderful times, wonderful days, a wonderful experience.
See if you recognize anyone in the following picture?
Okay, that’s sort of a gimme. That’s me on the left and Harvey Keitel on the far right. But I bet you don’t know the guy in the middle? Well have you heard of the actor Gérard Depardieu , a French actor and film-maker. He has won a number of honours including a nomination for an Academy Award for the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac and the Golden Globe award for Best Actor in Green Card. In addition to a number of American awards, Depardieu is a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur Chevalier of the Ordre national du Mérite and has twice won the César Award for Best Actor. Well, the above actor is his son. He was an experience and a story all in itself. He later went on to gain popularity - in not a very respectable way. Well, Guillaume Depardieu never fully recovered from a life of drug addiction, a road crash and a hospital infection which forced the amputation of his right leg. He also had been a male prostitute and gigolo as part of a teenage revolt against his father's famous name. He also served two jail sentences for theft and drugs offences.
Shortly after that picture was taken, he boarded a plane and later was arrested in Paris - for Heroin possession. In 1992, he received the Cesar award for the most promising actor. At the age of 37, he died of pneumonia.
Wow! But now, on a more upbeat note, Spike Lee is my guy. I’ve never met him, but the following story is my detailed account of how I’ve been trying to rectify that problem and why I believe our visit is right around the corner.
I’ve been riding with Spike Lee since his 1986 breakout movie She’s Gotta Have It. Back then, aside from a few movies starring Bill Cosby, Sidney Poitier, Harry Belafonte and Richard Pryor, I can’t remember if a movie featured a black cast or if the directors were black. Well, there were movies like Super Fly, Shaft, Cotton Comes To Harlem, and those black exploitation movie, but Spike‘s narrative and direction was a new day.
Before Spike Lee’s arrival, many black faces in cinema were reduced to caricatures that displayed people of color in a negative light. We took it all with a kind of astringent good humor, refusing at times, even to consider defending those false images, because, for the most part, we didn’t have enough avenues to do that.
But now, as the world turns, we now have a black president, and I, a black man, was given the opportunity; in this racist society, to express my opinions in a local newspaper, that in which I intend to share parts of this post.
Much has been written about race and racism; I personally feel that it will demand a far less guilty and constricted people than the present-day American to be able to assess it all; it’s importance to the survival of our society, however, I can safely assume that others, albeit begrudgingly, need to hear the narratives/voices from people of colors.
Anyway, before I get too far off the core of this post, in short, I believe Spike Lee was a fresh new voice of black consciousness. And, I’ve been following him every since he hit the block.
So, a few weeks ago I was tickle pink (dark brown) when an acquaintance (Sergio Mims, a writer for Ebony magazine) informed the blogsphere that Spike Lee was going to be in Chicago, promoting his new book Do The Right Thing. The book is celebrating just more than 20 years since the seminal debut of the movie by the same name. Okay, now it was my time to met Spike and get an autographed book to boot. However, two days before the scheduled day of the event, Dec 22nd 2010, I had reservation on a flight to Atlanta. I caught my flight but all goodbyes were not gone. I have a cousin that lives in Chicago on South Lake Shore Drive that let me convince her to stand - tall and proud - in my place. I got my autograph “to Carey, my greatest fan in Iowa”, (Photos above) but I didn’t get a chance to meet Spike.
But wait, remember my friend Sergio Mims, he again informed the blogsphere, through one of my favorite blogspots, Shadow and Act http://www.shadowandact.com/, that spike had booked a return engagement in Naperville, a suburb outside Chicago. Spike is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King celebration, Jan 18th, 2011. Oh boy, here we go again.
I have another cousin - a niece - that lives right in Naperville. So, upon hearing that great news, I scurried to the phone to apply for my hookup tickets. I also contacted Sergio, who lives in Chicago, to see if he’d like to join me. At first he said it was too far for him to drive waaaaay out to Naperville, but if I came to pick him up, he’d be glad to ride along. Now I’m thinking, I would have to drive 200 miles to attend this event and he lives a stones throw away, but I said okay. You know, "a journey shared with another, is more deeply moving an experience than a journey taken alone"
Now... the tickets.
Well, you know how it is when a friend or family member says they have you covered, and then, they don’t. Yep, my niece carries all the genes of a young black woman, and so, things got a little shaky. I had faith that she could acquire ticket because she copped six tickets when Cornel West spoke at the same function - just last year.
After I informed Sergio of our quandary, he went to work. He told me that he might be able to get a couple of press passes. I forgot Sergio was the man, who probably was on the A-list of writers in Chicago, so I was thrilled when I heard that great news.
Now we’re set to go, but wait, Sergio hit me with another e-mail... “Well [Carey]I've got good news and bad news. I just got a call from them. They gave me a ticket for the Lee event. That's it's ONE ticket. I couldn't get another one”But like a true trooper “the show must go on” he hit me with another message saying, “O.K. but we're still going together right?”. I started to call him back and tell him, hell no, there’s no way I was going to let him in my car, wearing a tuxedo, smiling, as he waved his front row pass - in my face. But again, I wavered and said, yes, we’re still going together. So it's on, the two of us are off to see Spike Lee. I finally managed to get a ticket in the nose bleed section.
But see, Sergio doesn’t know this (unless he reads this post) but I am planning on getting a big ass camera and pretend I am his camera man or personal assistant. Yes sir, it’s my plan to buy a fake, but great looking press pass, and strut to the front, like I am somebody. And then, when the evening progresses to the Q&A portion of the program, I’m going to drop that camera, jump to my feet, frantically waving my hands in the air and say “Right over here Mr. Spike Lee, I have a question for you” . Hopefully he will say “Yes, Mr. CareyCarey, what can I do for you?”. Then I’ll say, “Nothing, I just wanted to tell everyone who will listen, that I met you”