What a fun day. This is Allee pictured with Greg VanderVeer at a screening of Greg’s film “Keep Dancing”. The film chronicles the current life of dancer Marge Champion and her partner Donald Saddler. They are both now 90 years old and met in a production of a Broadway play decades back. In the 90’s they decided to rent a studio and meet twice a week just to hang out and keep their passion for dancing alive. Oh, and if some of you don’t know, Greg was Allee’s “Pedi Cab” driver while she was attending runs of “The Color Purple” in NY. Allee Willis, the only person I know that has ever had her own pedi-cab driver.
Greg at a screening of his very first documentary, “Keep Dancing”.
I attended a workshop with Allee that featured a panel of writers, actors and other creative peeps. I usually don’t approach and ask for pics but this was an exception I had to make. This is Jamie, she plays Liza on “All My Children” and she was on the panel. Talk about good energy. We had such a laugh when I told her I actually wanted to have my picture taken with her so I could torture a friend that is a fan of the show she is on. I was amazed at how tall she was and jokingly asked her of she was wearing “cork shoes”. She broke out laughing and showed me that she was indeed wearing platform cork shoes. It was just a fun day.
Yes, this was a great day!
Greg’s documentary was indeed spectacular too! He was working with the Maysel brothers (Gimme Shelter and the original Grey Gardens for starters) when I met him and hired him to meet me at the theater every night when I was in New York while my show, The Color Purple, ran on Broadway. I think we started filming me talking to the audience as they walked out and going backstage the final weeks of previews, which means I have 2 1/2 years worth of documentation of my experience at the show, which to me is priceless. Then, every night after the show ended, I would climb into Greg’s pediCab ( his day job) and he would peddle me down Broadway from the theater on 53rd St. to the Maritime Hotel on 16th and 9th. One Sunday, in the freezing cold weather, he also paddled me all over Manhattan so I could get all of the flea markets open that day. I cherish those pedicab memories as much as I do the show.
This documentary isn’t released yet. It’s making the rounds of all the festivals and hopefully it will be out soon. It’s really really great and inspirational as these two dancers, both of whom had great success, continue to rehearse. It keeps them young just like it does anyone else who never stopped pursuing their passion.
I’m also really glad that Denny got to meet Jamie. We were both on a panel about how to make it and stay sane in Hollywood. As everyone willhad paid a lot of money to be at this seminar I told Denny that he had to remain very quiet and not ask any questions as he was just my guest. But I must say, he was quite a popular guy there and totally held his own.
While I live for being silly, I can always “pull it together” when I have to and I thought Allee meant that I was to be totally quiet. So it was funny, I had all sorts of people talking to me about all sorts of things and some people even threw me a look or two for being so quiet. Then I decided I was going to hold court and chat people up. I had a great time and was on my best behavior.
Did I ask Allee any questions while she sat on that panel? No, I did not.
Then after this I think we had that scary lunch?
It was a great day.