FAME…What’s Your Name, What’s Your Name?
This is the final post in this week’s series, Grounded: Stories From the American Southwest. If this is your first visit to Grounded, click here to start the series. If you’d like to subscribe to my blog, subscription boxes are on the right-hand side of the page. If you like me enough to Like me on Facebook, simply click Like in the Facebook box on the right. I’ve updated my blogroll with lots of new lovely folks. Check them out if you’re seeking more great content. As always, thank you for reading my little blog.
It’s a long story.
I never thought I’d find myself in LA this week. Los Angeles. Staring down the barrel of two straight weeks of travel for work, on top of having to travel this week for work, I thought it might be fun to accompany MTM on his trip to the Urban Land Institute Conference. I created a couple of light days on my calendar and hopped a plane to the Left Coast.
There’s illusion, and there’s the real thing. LA is a city of illusion, of dream-making. It summons people from everywhere with the allure of being discovered, making it big and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The biggest mirage of all – the star – is steps from my front door.
I’m not going to lie. Since I was a little tot, I dreamed of being famous. What would it feel like to have my name be a household word? To have people know who I am wherever I go? To
earn be awarded a star of my very own? When I was younger, those hankerings came from performing, from throwing on the cloak of varied people and convincing a few that I really was the person I pretended to be. Everyone told me I was talented. I liked hearing it.
Eventually, we have to grow up, to realize our sagging faces are never going to be ‘discovered,’ to accept that, no matter how much we try, we’re going to be stuck in the land of community theater. Forever. Even on my professional gigs, that’s really all it was. I don’t regret releasing that dream, even if the quest for the current one has wounded me more in the past week than the worst theatrical review I ever garnered.
Yesterday, I got to pretend again, shuffling along the (gritty, seedy, sex-shop ridden) Hollywood Walk of Fame. I always wondered how they packed all those stars into the space in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.
Duh. They don’t. Instead, they extend for blocks in two directions, on both sides of the street. An endless stretch of pink-and-black granite wedged into concrete, filled with names…………unfamiliar to me. Name after name after name clicked under my feet like I was walking on a movie reel. Me – a movie fanatic, a lapsed actress – recognized about a quarter of them.
Andy Garcia‘s star caught my eye, mostly because his aunt used to own a tiny grocery store and cigar shop steps from my office in Charleston. His star made me remember how much I loved her sleek Cuban hair, wound into a regal Spanish bun. How I melted when she said hello to me, because it was the closest thing I got to something foreign in my twenties. I barely remember anything Andy did, but thinking about her pride over her collection of gums and magazines, her impeccable coiffure, brought a tear.
Is the struggle to achieve fame merely the chance to have people wander past in a few years and say Gee, I wonder what happened to them in the fleeting seconds they can remember the name? Why does our society give so much cred to people who are famous?
Someday, they’ll be nobody again. Just like me.