I've always been curious to know who authors get star struck over, and whether they've brushed shoulders with the people they most admire. So...we're starting a cool new author series in which they get to share their sixe degrees of separation or close calls with celebrities/authors/musicians....
Our debut post comes from John F Duffy:
So Close Yet So Far
I have actually met a lot of celebrities, oddly enough. Most
of these interactions occurred at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin, TX where
I was a waiter for almost four years. I worked at the primary location on South
Lamar where the company hosted multiple film festivals every year, so in that
time I saw or met a good number of famous people. Elijah Wood was also friends
with one of the head managers of the company, so he was around all the
The celebrities that stand out the most in my mind are Cate Blanchett, who came one random night to watch a film with her mother. Both of them were just striking. I mean, Cate is just gorgeous, and she was very polite. Sam Rockwell was watching a movie with his friends one afternoon, and afterwards I was cleaning up after them, just clearing dishes and such, and he struck up a conversation with me, basically asking how my day was going. He seemed like a very nice man. I waited on Winona Ryder during a film premiere, and she is TINY. But she was also very kind and polite. I could go on at length about these brief run-ins, and honestly have forgotten most of them. Also, back then, Austin drew in a lot of Hollywood types who were looking to hang out in a place that wasn't L.A. One night at a bar, Woody Harrelson, Owen Wilson, and Jemaine Clement were all hanging out. My wife took a picture with Jemaine, because she and I had gone as The Flight of the Conchords for Halloween, and she had dressed up as him. I think he is the only person we ever bothered for a photo.
The people I have been the most excited to meet have always been from my niche interests though. I've met indie rock musicians and professional skateboarders whose names most people wouldn't recognize but who definitely had me more jazzed up than say, Danny DeVito or Rosario Dawson or Robert Rodriguez, who also came through the Alamo. I have a friend from Jiu Jitsu who is a total genius, and he spent a year at the Santa Fe Institute where he had the good fortune of being in close proximity with Cormac McCarthy. As a writer, that to me would be way cooler than meeting movie actors.
Originally from Chicago, John F Duffy is a writer who currently lives just outside of Bloomington, Indiana. His short fiction has appeared in Fly Over Country Lit, The Jupiter Review, Terror House Magazine, and Cutleaf Literary. In 2022, his podcast series, "After the Uprising" was nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Duffy's debut novel, "A Ballroom for Ghost Dancing," is available now, wherever books are sold.