Wednesday, February 2, 2005

Tonight is THE night

Tonight is the culmination of the last two months of planning, the last year of the magazine, and the last 20 years of my life. How I am feeling? Terrified. I am a very odd combination of pure determination and pure fear. I am hopelessly optimistic and yet nervous constantly. I just hope that we have a good turn out, that we can rightfully celebrate the magazine's first year of existence, that I don't get too drunk and make a fool out of myself.

Silly me, I took the day off so I could prepare for tonight. I've already made my check list of what I have to bring, it's all on the window sill in my apartment in one easy to congregate pile, and besides a hair cut at 4, I have nothing to do now, except sit around, and be nervous. Not good. After waking up surprisingly late (haven't been able to sleep lately) mostly because I went up to Liz's last night and had some beers while making fun of MTV shows, I made some coffee and decided to watch one of the greatest movies by one of the greatest people in the entire world: Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous.

I felt it appropriate for today. How do I love Cameron Crowe? Let me count the ways. What do I love about Almost Famous? To begin with, everything. The story itself, loosely based on Mr. Crowe's real life as a young reporter for Rolling Stone is both honest and genuine, entertaining and heartbreaking, inspiring and hopeful. I remember the first time I heard about Cameron Crowe. I was in the video store, a young girl, probably not much more than 12 and saw Say Anything staring up in front of me. At that age, I was beginning to really enter my overdose of hopeless romanticism and romantic comedies were my drugs. I watched the movie that night while babysitting for the kids next door to me in suburban New Jersey. I laughed, I cried, and fell in love with Lloyd Dobler. Naturally the moment he picked up the boom box and played Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes" I swooned. Never before had music so perfectly crafted a scene. Nothing had to be said. The song said it all. Pure genius.

That night when I got home I looked up Cameron Crowe and found out that he had started at the age of 15 writing for Rolling Stone. He was a senior editor before he was legal to drink. He wrote a book, and then made it into a screenplay. After Say Anything, he would go on to make Singles, win an Oscar for Jerry Maguire and then make the most important film in his career, the film of his life, and his fan letter to music: Almost Famous.

I remember seeing the trailer for Almost Famous before the movie Rat Race (underrated classic in my opinion). I turned to my friend and said "I have to see that movie." She laughed, said yeah, it's right up my alley, but didn't really understand my concern. I was still in high school at that time, and when the movie was released I couldn't find a soul to see it with. I pleaded, and every time we'd go to the movies, they'd have something else they wanted to see. I was frustrated, but before I knew it, it had disappeared from the time table. I was crushed. A few months later when I heard that it was coming out on video, I pre-ordered it for purchase. I didn't care that I hadn't seen it, I knew I would love it. And I did. I loved every second of it.

This morning as I was watching the film for the millionth time, there's still magic. I still get chills the moment Russell Hammond says to the young William Miller, "write what you want." The writing is beautiful, almost lyrical. Penny Lane's solution for loneliness: "go to the record store and visit all your friends," and Sapphire's definition of a fan: "to truly love some little piece of music or some band, so much that it hurts." The music. Once again Mr. Crowe let's music define the scene and made "Tiny Dancer" the love song that always intended to be. I just don't know how he does it.

I think about Cameron and I read his early work. I wonder what it would be like to sit down and talk to him, about music, about writing, about life. He's lived this incredible life and still believes in it. I was asked when I was interviewed for my little local town paper with whom my dream interview would be. I searched my brain for bands that I would love to sit down with and discuss their albums, their drive. I thought about what band I believed to be truly underrated. And then I remembered that kid who has lived the life I want to lead. I want to ask him, how. How did he do it? I want to shake his hand and thank him, for everything. The person I consider the most underrated in all fields that he has delved into. My dream interview: Mr. Cameron Crowe.


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