A Restoration of Faith…

I just finished breakfast and was thinking about last night. For those who are not familiar, I work for a small car service in Los Angeles as a driver and though we don’t do much in the way of “industry” business, we do some directly and via “farm outs” from other companies, going to the Spirit Awards.

Yesterday, I spent the day on one such farm out. I went to one of the Hotels on West Hollywood to pick up someone I had never heard of, a “Suzanne Davis” (not really, but it was something similar, we must protect the innocent). I called up to let them know that I was downstairs and waiting, to which I was told they were running a bit behind and would be down in about 30 minutes. Something about that voice sounded familiar, hmmm…..

About 30 minutes later, a young couple came down and came over to my car, God, they sure looked familiar. I asked, “Ms. Davis?” and she smiled and said “yes” and they got into my car. As they got in, Ms Davis said “Hi, my name is Neve and this is my brother Christian.”

Neve and Christian Campbell from Sundance 2005
We drove to Santa Monica Beach where a collection of large white tents had been set up and I dropped them off and found a parking spot a short distance away. As I got out of the car, I ran into someone I hadn’t seen in a few years as well as received an invite to lunch from one of our other drivers at the event.

I’m not going to go into exhaustive details on the day and everything that happened, but after the end of the show and the after party at the Shutters Hotel, we were joined by Alan Cumming and his partner Grant Shaffer. Alan had helped produce and acted in “Sweet Land“, which won the Best First Feature award.

When we left the party, we went back to the hotel in West Hollywood so Neve could get something a little warmer to wear. They decided to grab some dinner in the restaurant and Christian came out to move his car, a good idea in West Hollywood with the “Parking Nazis”.

While he was out, we chatted for a bit and I just knew that I knew him from somewhere. I mean, he’s an actor, so I’m sure I’ve seen him before but this was something more, either it’s on a personal level or something he was in that I truly loved. I had felt familiar since I picked them up and it was REALLY starting to get under my skin and bug me.

I called a friend and asked her to help me since she had a computer handy with an Internet connection. It didn’t take long for me to feel like a complete ass. It turns out that Christian was in one of my favorite gay films of all time, “Trick“.

It’s the story of a young musical theatre writer who meets a gogo-boy and spends the rest of the night looking for a place to trick (catch a quickie). Needless to say, they don’t have an easy time of it, between bitchy drag queens, broken hearted piano bar singers and a best friend who is completely clueless and self absorbed (played beautifully by Tori Spelling). Definitely worth seeing in my personal opinion.

I really wish I had gotten an opportunity to tell Christian just how much that film has meant to me over the years and that it will always hold a special place in my heart.

As a driver in Los Angeles, you meet a lot of people, some rich and famous and some just regular people who need to get somewhere. Most are decent people who couldn’t care less. Of those who are famous or quite wealthy, they tend to be a bit wrapped up in their own little worlds and a bit dismissive of those they perceive to be their inferiors, like anyone not worth what they are or outside their circle of “special People”. It’s not just actors in this town, but it kind of like high school with all it’s little cliques and such.

The funny thing is it kind of reminds me of when I lived in Long Beach many years ago. A friend and I would go to this club full of snotty, ego-centric pretty boys who wouldn’t spit on me if I was on fire in the parking lot. The funny part was that when we would go to the bath-house and I would run into the same little stinkers who would practically drag me into their rooms to make out, fun if slightly bewildering, it was the early 80’s.

When I have found myself past the guard gates, people assume that you belong there and accept you as an equal. If they only knew…

This was not an issue of any kind for me yesterday with the Campbells and Mr. Cumming and his partner, they were all so very nice and pleasant and made me feel glad to be spending the evening with them. If I were to try to describe the situation from a movie, I would guess that “54” would have the right scene, in the New Jersey coffee house on Christmas day, watch it and see what I mean.

After seeing so much of the vile and nasty behavior that many people do toward each other in the name of greed, selfishness and ego, it was an amazing breath of fresh air to spend an evening with such nice, real and authentic people that it truly helped to restore my faith that under all our silly nastiness as people, we can still be civil human beings and some of the best can still be famous at the same time.

Written by R. A. Burgener

After finishing the 850 mile trek of self-rediscovery on California's El Camino Real from San Diego to Sonoma, California, Robert continued, via Greyhound, to Portland, Oregon, where he is becoming familiar with the concepts of weather and seasons after 30 years in Los Angeles.

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