Wishful Drinking, Seattle, WA, 05/05/2009
Carrie Fisher, a.k.a. Princess Leia came to Seattle, WA in April and May 2009 with her one person show called "Wishful Drinking". Her show was held at the Repository Theater at the Seattle Center close to downtown multiple times per week.
Needless to say that I was excited to see Carrie Fisher live, but in all honesty, I didn't really know too much about her. Sure, I knew she had something to do with Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Simon, George Lucas, and some other celebrities, but I had no idea how Carrie Fisher related to any of these people. And, well, now I do. And, I am glad I do, because her 2 hour plus show was super funny, smart, personal and educational at the same time. Luckily, my wife Taj had gotten tickets for us through a collegue at work in the front row, for less than $25 each.
The show started off with her singing a song and throwing glitter over everybody in the front row. She then talked about her parents, and how she was raised. Most interesting and fun was the Hollywood 101 segment, where she explained who in Hollywood cheated with whom, and who got divorced and who ended up getting re-married (again). She also talked about how one of her best friends died in her bedroom, she talked about her drug addictions, and her bi-polar disease, and her time in rehab. Carrie had lots of stories to tell, so many in fact that it's hard to believe that all these things happened to one person.
Carrie had quite a few Star Wars stories to tell as well. The ones that stuck with me were that she couldn't stand the bun-style hair because it made her look fat, she wasn't allowed to wear a bra (there is no underwear in space), and at the time George Lucas had only one face expression and one advise for all the actors (faster, more intense).
Carrie talked about how strange it was to end up as a PEZ dispenser, and she talked about the Gentle Giant Slave Leia statue (which when she first saw, was sculpted in a way that you could look under her skirt). She also had the animated life-size Gentle Giant statue on stage and a plush R2-D2 on her couch.
I guess the most memorable moments for me during her show was that Carrie picked out a few people from the audience that she joked with, one of them being my wife. Carrie kept referencing Taj throughout her entire show (even kissed her on the cheek at one point).
Carrie ended the show by re-enacting the scene from Star Wars when she talked to R2-D2, citing her famous message for Obi-Wan Kenobi, while the lights went dim and Star Wars music was playing. The show ended with a standing ovation.
Here is how Taj experienced Carrie's show
Right off the bat, Carrie Fisher called me up to the stage and asked my name. When I told her, she surprised me by asking, "Like the Taj Mahal?" I am constantly surprised at how few people draw the connection between my name and the Taj Mahal - and then how few people know how to spell Taj (usual scenario: "What's your name?" "Taj" "Can you spell it for me, please?" "Like the Taj Mahal" (expectant silence, then patient look from the person asking, I finally realize they have no idea how to spell Taj Mahal, "Oh - um, T. A. J." "Thanks."). So right away, she struck me as smarter-than-your-average-name-asking-Seattleite. She asked me a few questions which I answered fairly inanely, being small-city and star-struck, and ended by dropping a clove cigarette down my shirt and kissing me on the cheek.
After that, Carrie remembered my name along with the names of about 3 others in the audience and would talk to us throughout the show. She'd ask us questions, or comment about our drug and sex habits, and so on. The whole thing felt delightfully like a show just for me!
Even if it hadn't been such a particularly special night for me, the show was amazing and hilarious. Carrie spoke about her life with no pretenses or excuses, no shame, and no "touched up" or "glossed over" parts. I have never seen someone famous speak so candidly. She was able to see the humor even in tragedy, without trivializing it. I came in knowing almost nothing about her, and walked away with a sense of awe and respect for the life she's lived, and her ability to view it all in perspective. I would recommend the show to Star Wars fans, Carrie Fisher fans, and people who have never heard of either one!
These pictures of Carrie Fisher were not taken at the event, but they show her as to what she kind of looked like that evening: