Sunday, November 14, 2010
The night Shirley MacLaine grabbed my ass
Had a lot on my plate these past few days while covering the Cinema Arts Festival Houston for CultureMap. But, mind you, I'm not complaining. Got to write about Isabella Rossellini, Alex Gibney, rodeo champ Clint Cannon and other luminaries in attendance during the five-day event. Best of all, I was privileged Saturday evening to do an on-stage Q&A with the exquisite Shirley MacLaine -- an ageless icon for whom I've long nursed a shameless crush -- after a special screening of Terms of Endearment (the best movie ever made in Houston) at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. (That's where my CultureMap colleague Carolina Astrain snapped the above photo.)
Being the saucy little minx that she is, Ms. MacLaine thought it would be a nifty idea to kick off the evening by acting out a memorable scene from Endearment, the one in which she and Jack Nicholson share a touching (in every sense of the term) farewell at an airport. So when she embraced me on stage before our conversation, she... she... well, she grabbed my ass. And I felt it would be only good manners on my part to respond in kind. The audience, it should be noted, sounded as though they heartily approved.
Yes, you guessed it: In addition to talking about some of her other classic movies -- including one I was happy to learn we both still enjoy, Ronald Neame's Gambit (1966) -- Ms. MacLaine devoted part of our spirited conversation to a discussion of her fascination with metaphysics. Specifically, she talked -- knowledgeably, passionately -- about dreams. I wonder if she knew that she fulfilled one of mine last night?
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That's a hard job you've got there, Joe, but somebody's gotta do it!
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