Wednesday, August 19, 2015

On a mission for Mel

I've seen David Byrne in concert. I've seen Wayne Gretzky play hockey. I've been face-to-face with a Beatle. I've seen Prince in concert (three times). I'll never get a chance to see Richard Pryor do stand-up, but I did catch George Carlin live. And last week, I learned that Mel Brooks is coming to town on October 14 to host a screening of "Blazing Saddles", plus a Q and A session with the audience.

I have to be there. Not just in the audience; I need the $300 VIP meet-and-greet ticket.

Okay, first, for the "$300?!? That's absurd!" crowd; the 'value' of event tickets is totally subjective. Depending on what the event offers to whom, it's anywhere from 'absurd' to 'a drop in the bucket'. Actually, it's not a drop in the bucket, at least for me, but it is money I'm willing to spend. Not that I need to justify that to anyone, but...

  • Let's start with the fact that it's "Blazing Saddles" on the big screen. It's in the top ten (maybe top five, or even three) of my all-time favorite movies. It's a movie I will stop and watch any time it's on TV, even when it's the dirty-words-bleeped-out version shown on AMC. It's "BLAZING SADDLES", fer cryin' out loud, a movie that could never be made today and almost wasn't back in the 70's!!
  • Secondly, the great Mel Brooks himself is going to be there and talk about it. Yes, I already know that Pryor was the first choice to play Bart. Yes, I already know that they asked John Wayne to be in it and he politely refused in just about the coolest way possible. Yes, I already know that it was the first movie with a fart scene. But I've never listened to Mel Brooks tell me all of that in person.
  • Third, the $300 ticket allows me to meet Mel Brooks in person. A friend asked me, "What are you going to say to him? What do you think you could possibly say that he hasn't heard 100 times already?". That doesn't matter. His movies have given me an impossible-to-measure amount of joy during my life (nobody else ever had the guts to tell me that not only is it okay to make fun of Nazis, but that it's a moral obligation to do so). If I just get the chance to say thanks for that, it's enough.

Somebody suggested I set up a Kickstarter or GoFundMe page. Someone else suggested that I reach out to Mr. Brooks somehow and play up the tenuous "Brooks Family" connection. Another person suggested I just suck it up and shell out $300 of my own. I'm not above doing any or all of those. But whatever it takes, I'm going to be there.

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