A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…known as Meriden, Connecticut…I became a Star Wars fan. We’re talking the classic old school Star Wars with Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia not the modern CGI crap with the likes of Jar Jar Binks. Growing up I would play with my action figures (they’re action figures, damn it, not dolls) and I always wanted to be Princess Leia. What gay boy wouldn’t want to run around the Death Star in those buns or kick Jabba The Hut’s ass in nothing but a skimpy bikini? I have followed Carrie’s career over the years, going to see her one woman show Wishful Drinking and currently a huge fan of the Amazon show Catastrophe where she plays Rob Delaney’s mother. When I heard she was doing a book signing for her new book The Princess Diarist in New York City, I knew I had to go. It involved some travel and cold weather, but in my gay opinion, it was worth it to make my inner child happy.
The book signing was held at The Strand Bookstore on Broadway and 12th St. at 7:00PM. I’ve been to The Strand before but never for a book signing. The good thing about signings there is you’re able to pre-order the book online which grants you admission. The bad thing is you have to wait in line outside. According to their website the line starts at 5:30 but I saw folks in line before 4:30. Question: How long would I wait in the dark on a windy winter’s night in 40 degree weather to get 30 seconds with Carrie Fisher and a signed book? Answer: Just over 2 hours but only after getting some sustenance. I scored the best New York pretzel I ever had…soft, warm, and perfectly salted. After “dinner”, I staked my claim in line and shivered for the next couple hours. My greatest fear was I would die of hypothermia as the man behind me whistled the theme to Star Wars. Who the fuck still whistles? Every 10 minutes or so a subway train would pass under the grate I was standing on and warm air would blow up my pant legs. I felt just like a triple layered Marilyn Monroe.
I’ve been to concerts where my divas show up late and make me wait upwards of 2 1/2 hours for a show to start (thanks Madonna) but I will be forever grateful to Carrie for being a thoughtful diva and showing up to start things early. Once warmly inside, the rules were explained: no selfies but photos in line were ok and she would personalize books. Some douches still asked for selfies and Carrie graciously obliged but I could tell (and later learned in her book) it’s not her thing so I’m glad I stuck to just chatting. She looked great as did her French bulldog Gary who was seated next to her. She was super sweet being concerned about how long I waited outside and what my plans were after the signing. The only questions I had were if there would be another season of Catastrophe and if she’d be in it. Thankfully the answer to both is yes. So I collected my book and gay-fully went off thankful for having met one of my childhood idols.
The majority of The Princess Diarist is a snap shot into 1976 when the filming of Star Wars began and the celebrity that it’s popularity brought to the stars of such an epic film. Two-thirds of which is the angst riddled obsessions of a 19 year old Carrie who had a short lived affair with co-star Harrison Ford, part retrospect and part entries and poems from Carrie’s unearthed journals from the time. The self introspection is in depth but the details of the tryst are sparse. If you’re hoping for dirt on Han Solo’s blaster and how he used it, no such luck.
My favorite parts of the book are when Carrie shares her own relationship with Princess Leia and with her fans. As a fan who enjoys attending signings, like for this book, it was interesting to read how she views such events. She hysterically refers to them as “lap dances” where she has to sit there as fans approach her, share personal and sometimes rude comments, take un-welcomed photos, personalize old 8X10 photos of a time gone by, just so she can make a buck. She confesses to having not earned as much being Princess Leia as one would think and this is a way for her to live in the lifestyle she’s become accustomed. In Carrie’s eyes, I’m excited to know, she has officially given me a lap dance. Unfortunately, only after reading her book did I learn, she also likes making out with gay guys. Damn my bad timing!
Speaking of timing, my lap dance was a quickie since Carrie was early and I was close to the front of the line so I was out sooner than expected. I knew Kathy Griffin was also doing a signing a few blocks away so I decided to press my diva luck and try to get a second book signing in. So I bundled back up with my Carrie Fisher book in hand and hit the ground running (figuratively and literally) to see if I could make it, knowing Kathy’s signing had already started.