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Jonathan Suttin

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Nice to Meet You Steve, I'm the Mayor

Some of my heros (in no particular order) are: Chicago newspaper columnist Mike Royko Steve Martin James Taylor My parents Walter Payton A lot of people want to meet a hero to talk about what a big influence that person had on their life.  Obvioulsy, I can do that with my parents.   Although they still haven't given me their cell phone numbers.   I've never really want to meet my heros because I always expected it will be a real let down.  What could James Taylor say to me after I would tell him how much I enjoy his music?  Really, what's the point?  He doesn't know me.  He's not suddenly going to become my friend after I shake his hand.  The only thing we have in common is that we can both sing all the words to "Shower the People".  He wrote it.  I just like it.  If I was a musician perhaps we'd have some commong ground, but only if he heard a song of mine and liked it.  I did talk to Mike Royko once.  I was nervous and I ended up hanging up on him.  Cool.  I met Walter Payton for a brief second when I was in high school and got his autograph, but I didn't really say much.  I think we all have this fantasy that we'll meet our hero and he or she will want to become friends and will chat with us.  I'm a stranger to James Taylor.  I'm sure he appreciates that I buy his music, but that doesn't mean he wants to be my friend or could even be a friend.  All that being said, I had a chance to meet Steve Martin last night and I went for it.  He played at Overture Center.  I was called on to introduce the opening act, The Punch Brothers.  After I finished my duties, I was left alone back stage unsupervised.  I heard some music coming from a dressing room and headed in that direction. It would be great if the story then went something like this: I wander into the the room and there is Steve sitting on the couch.  He smiles and asks me to sit down.  I tell him I've been a fan of his stand-up comedy, his novellas and even the play he wrote.  I tell him how much I admire his early struggles in show business  and how much I've enjoyed his comedy pieces in The New Yorker.  I admire that he's an avid art collector and a deep thinker.  He thanks me and asks me where he should get a drink after the show.  I suggest Le Tigre Lounge and he agrees to meet me there after the show.  We hang out for hours.  At bar time, he give me his cell phone number and invites Lindsay and me to visit him the next time we are in California. Not so much. Here's what happened: He was sitting with two members of his back-up band.  I said, "Welcome to Madison, gentlemen."  He smiled brief and went back to playing the banjo.  I shook hands with the two other musicians, but Martin refused.  He said his hand is sore and he needs to be careful so he can play the banjo.  There was a brief pause and then I told them I was the Mayor of Madison.  I don't know why.  The two other musicians were slightly impressed and one of them said, "Thanks for having us in your city."  Martin didn't seem that interested.  I then said, "I'm really just a morning guy from a local radio station."  I then slowly backed out of the room.  Game over. It was exactly as I expected.  He wasn't rude, but he wasn't interested.  I completely understand.  Why should he been interested?  He was getting ready for a show and some random guy pops in for no reason. So the only person on my list who I haven't met or spoken with briefly is James Taylor.  Next time he comes to Madison, I think I'll do my best to be out of town.

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07/28/2010 7:53AM
Nice to Meet You Steve, I'm the Mayor
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