I planned to post this earlier, but man, work and two kids and being married and stuff? Busy. Who knew?
But I still found time last Saturday to join three of my wonderful friends for a big-screen viewing of “Labyrinth,” the seminal Jim Henson/David Bowie classic that apparently is now a “cult” favorite, because no one watched it in 1986 who wasn’t at a slumber party, but now it’s on t-shirts at Hot Topic. Given my lifelong love for this movie, I’m either way behind the curve or way ahead of it.
I sent out the call to my BFFs in the Bay and called for a pre-show crafty boozing party in which we’d make masks to wear, and then head to the Castro for the movie, and then go out for drinks in the most fabulous neighborhood in town. (When I realized it would be on my birthday, I rushed to David in a cavalcade of OMGs and Canyoubelieveits! and saw his face twist a bit as he said, “I don’t think I would be so into that…” I couldn’t help but roll my eyes in response. Like he actually thought I’d want HIM to be there.) So the Lovely Eileen hosted the craftiness, and Dottie and Melinda joined us, along with another friend who heard about the masks and showed up just to enjoy the glitter. Fortunately, he’d spent the previous weekend doing facepaint at a Bowie party, and did Melinda and I up Jareth-style.
So we tooled on over to the Castro and I heard this song for the first time ever, confirming that I’d been living under a rock since Gillian was born, but also that my friends are awesome because they played it three times for me so I could begin to learn the words. And we stood in the block-long queue, and I handed out extra Mardi Gras masks and dusted little girls’ faces with glitter (they were bummed not to be in costume), and my Best Birthday Ever had usurped my previous Best Birthday Ever, when I had a Dressed to Kill party and my friends bought me the best cooking tool ever.
Among all this excitement, as I was standing in line for the bathroom between a Toby and a Jareth, I snagged a postcard from the event for posterity, and realized I had completely forgotten a very key event in the evening: BRIAN MOTHERLOVING HENSON would be there for a Q&A.
I actually started crying. Right there in line for the bathroom, tears sprang to my eyes and threatened to smear my Jareth!eyes. I’m not going to get into what the Muppets mean to me, other than to say The Muppet Movie still makes me cry at the end, every time, and Sesame Street pretty much taught me everything I know about anything. As ever when faced with the remote possibility of meeting a celebrity, I began rehearsing what I might say, and for the first time, ever, I had no dialogue to write. Nothing. I couldn’t say ANYTHING. Even thinking about meeting a Henson had me so bowled over with emotion that I had to dab at my eyes with a napkin.
Fortunately for my makeup, he had to leave early, so it wasn’t an option. But as he began telling a story about operating Hoggle, a few people cheered in the audience, and who approached the stage? MOTHERLOVING HOGGLE HERSELF. Shari Weiser, the dwarf who actually crawled inside Hoggle’s suit while Henson and three other Muppeteers pulled the strings, was in the audience, and for the first time in 25 years, reunited with Brian Henson, Dave Goelz and Karen Prell, the three Muppeteers on the panel. Then I totally DID cry, big stupid silly tears like watching “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” but it was all good and wonderful, and all FOR MY BIRTHDAY.
Then we watched the movie. And I cried a little more. And then we went out for drinks, and I didn’t cry. But then I woke up the next day, awash in the birthday afterglow, and kind of wanted to cry, because the birthday afterglow looked an awful lot like seeing the world through a half-empty glass of bourbon on the bar at Harvey’s.