There was a big surprise at the show last night!
At MIT once a year they have a special sneak preview of a movie that hasn’t yet been released, with the director visiting to do a Q&A right after the film. And it’s always free! So much awesome!
This year it was Michel Gondry with Thorn in the Heart and I was pretty excited. The theater is almost directly beneath my work office, so I hung around after work, periodically taking the elevator down to check to see how much a line was forming outside the theater. For some reason, the turnout was much smaller than it was in 2008, when Michel Gondry came for Be Kind Rewind and the line to get the tickets ran all the way down the long hall. I had no problem getting Jon in and getting a good seat. Turns out it was an exceptionallygood seat. The front row was wide open and I moved to sit there, until I noticed a hastily-torn sheet of notebook paper taped to the aisle seat with “RESERVED” scrawled across it in ballpoint pen.
Ok, the front row was reserved. Let’s just take the second row.
It crossed my mind that the front row seats might be reserved for Michel Gondry himself, but I didn’t know what friends he might have brought with him.
Jon and hung out while we waited for the theater to fill up and then…a group of people who just looked *different* from everybody else all finally filed into take the reserved seats. They looked um, European. I was intrigued by how they mostly dressed like hipsters, but they still looked *different*. They looked the way that Boston hipsters wished they could look but can never achieve.
And one of them was Bjork. I was shocked and there was no question whatsoever, no speculation, no “could that be Bjork?”. It was a positive identification and I can just imagine what kind of expression crossed my face and for a few seconds I was so surprised I was shaking. I didn’t even need to whisper anything to Jon, I just turned and stared at him and he made a look at me and I knew that he saw her, too. She took the seat directly in front of me.
For the first part of the movie I was so surprised that I was sitting behind Bjork that I was distracted from the movie. But there’s only so much time you can sit directly behind Bjork in a dark movie theater before you become acclimatized and it’s just a part of life. Occasionally I couldn’t read the subtitles because Bjork’s head was in the way and this seemed like a perfectly commonplace reality and even a bit of a bother.
You know how people say that when you meet a celebrity, you can’t think of anything clever to say until 3o minutes after the encounter has passed? Well, I had nearly two hours to sit in the dark and think of something clever to say or do. And after careful deliberation, I reasoned that the best I could was try not to stare (she kept turning around during Michel’s Q&A and every time she did this I tried to avert my eyes to prove I wasn’t staring) and don’t be a jerk and take pictures of her and don’t talk to her because there is nothing about me that could possibly be of interest to her.
Then it was time for Q&A with Michel Gondry! Bjork’s presence had distracted me too much already from the one I came to see. He came onstage and before he said anything else, he pointed to a large cockroach on the floor.
He said “Zer ees a reely beeg cocque-roche on ze fleur.”, and everyone starting laughing. Yet nobody did anything about the cockroach.
He answered a few questions, and the cockroach circled Michel in an odd fashion. It never stopped walking around, yet always seemed to gravitate towards him. As he answered questions from the audience, his eyes never stopped darting towards the cockroach until he finally squatted and pointed out that the cockroach had been following him for a good 15 minutes.
Somebody behind me tapped my shoulder. It was this girl and she whispered to me “Hi, I noticed you have a camera…” and my first thought was that she was going to tell me that photography was not allowed and she would force me to delete my pictures or something. But what she asked me was if I would take a picture with her and Bjork.
I kind of resented this, but nodded that I would. Jon asked me what she wanted and I whispered “She wants me to take a picture of her with Bjork”. jon whispered back “Bullshit.”
That summed it up well, I thought.
At the end of the Q&A (Michel was delightful) the girl behind me leaped over the seat and landed next to me in my row, then asked Bjork for a picture. Bjork shook her head, smiled and said “No.” Her reaction was disappointingly mild. The end.
Because that girl had ruined it by asking, it seemed no longer appropriate to snap any pictures of Bjork from the front. I didn’t feel like getting my shirt ripped open, anyway.