My friends Mike and Andy helped me get my lazy ass out of bed at 6:00 a.m. this past April 15th so we could travel downtown and get in line at the Border's on Michigan Avenue to meet Judy's daughter...Lorna's big sister's...the woman who started the trend of marrying gay men (See? Star Jones wasn't the first to do this - - she's just the only one in complete denial about it)...I'm talking Liza!
She was in town signing copies of the newly released dvd version of LIZA WITH A Z, and Andy, Mike and I waited diligently outside of the Border's for a little less than an hour. Then, we were given a wristband with a number on it and told to be back on the top floor of the Border's no later than 12:30 p.m. to get back into line in the order which we were in. If we were later than 12:30 p.m., we would lose our place in line. If we lost our wristband, we would lose our place in line. Also, we had to have a receipt from Border's proving we had purchased the dvd from their store or Liza would not sign our dvd. Ever wonder what happened to all the fascists after the fall of Nazi Germany? They are discreetly running the Border's on Michigan Avenue.
Hanging out with Mike and Andy was, of course, loads of fun. We were quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, talking about and criticizing the wardrobe choices and the hairstyles of the myriad of homosexuals and women-of-a-certain-age from Schaumberg who were waiting in line with us. Don't get the wrong idea - - we would never judge others. Judgement is only for the Lord, but as my Mama says, "I'm just doing the Lord's work!"
When Liza came into the room where we were all waiting, my excitement to meet her changed almost instantly. I had my digital camera snapping picture after picture as she walked past me to make her way to the table where she would be sitting for the next few hours, and as I shot this picture, I felt tremendous sadness for her.
It hit me that Liza Minnelli really has never had a choice about what her life would become. Her life was mapped out from before she was born because of who her parents were and what they did for a living. She's never really been able to be a "real person."
A real person - - where you experience you own personal heartaches not publicly, but alone or with friends, giving you time to heal...where you can walk down the street in sweatpants and a torn Quiet Riot t-shirt looking like Hell and smelling like Ann Coulter's vagina because you just came from the gym and it was cardio day...where you can run to the Piggly Wiggly for a birthday cake and a pint of Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby not because its someone's birthday but only because there's an SONNY & CHER SHOW marathon on TV Land and you are gonna be in for the night!
Liza - - from birth to now - - has always had a press following. Worse than that, she's always had to wake up and BE Liza. And when you've been up and down the show business ladder like Liza has, where sometimes you're on top but sometimes you're the butt of every late night comedy show's joke-meister, BEING Liza must be a job that even Job would say, "Boy, this friggin' sucks." Yet, even in the worst of times, Liza gets out of bed, puts herself together and walks into the screaming crowd with her head held high. I don't know if there are many people on the planet who can truly understand what that must be like.
When it came my time to speak to her, she was full of life and smiling and said hello and I said, "You've got a long, hard day ahead of you." She looked up and said, "Oh no, not at all. I love it. I really love it."
I thought to myself, "Yeah...don't bullshit a bullshitter."