You’ve probably heard about my hot date with James Franco last night. Everyone’s talking about it.
Okay, by “date” I might mean that I went to his reading at the Tribeca B&N.
I was kind of confused about why such a big event wasn’t at the Union Square B&N. That’s where all the rock stars read. The Tribeca store doesn’t have much of an event space. So I foolishly assumed that they were expecting a smaller crowd and didn’t rush to get there crazy early.
That was a mistake.
By the time I got there a little over two hours early, the place was already packed. I have no idea what all those people were doing there. Why were they crashing our date? Did they think they were going out with him, too? Whatever. We crammed into the tightest seating arrangement I’ve ever seen. My knees were practically up to my chin the whole time. It was 6:00 and we had two hours to wait and we could not possibly have been wedged in any tighter.
But no one cared. Because we were here to see James Franco! He was going to read from Palo Alto, his collection of short stories about teens on the brink. I was about to be six rows away from Daniel Desario. Some friendly neighbors on Twitter agreed that I should shout, “Freaks and Geeks rules!” when James started reading. I didn’t end up doing that, though. But I finally thought of a good question for James. I never think of anything good to ask and then I end up babbling like an idiot. This time would be different. Here was my question: If Freaks and Geeks continued past one season, what do you envision happening to Daniel Desario? Because in the last ep he was playing D&D with the geeks, which was extremely cool of him.
By 8:00, it was so crowded that only those of us seated and the people standing around us were able to see the stage. Everyone standing in other sections had to watch James on monitors.
When James came out, he was flooded with flashes from press cameras. He put his hands up in front of his eyes after a few seconds, laughing at how bright the flashes were. He was totally smiling and loving the crowd. Then he came up on the stage and he was right there. Since I’m not leaving out any details, I should go ahead and tell you that the boy is crazysexy in person. Like, insanelycrazysexy. It didn’t even matter that he looked really tired. I read an article about him recently that said he hardly sleeps. His assistant has to make sure that he eats or else he won’t take the time to find food. Which I guess is how your life goes when you’re an actor/writer/producer/director/grad studet/author/seriouslyinsanelycrazysexy dude.
James read one of his stories. It was funny and had some great lines. I had read some excerpts in harsh reviews, so I wasn’t sure how it would go. But we were laughing and totally into his story.
That’s where he should have stopped. But he didn’t care about time. He only cared about us.
Before James came out, an event coordinator told us that they would only be able to guarantee that those of us seated would get our books signed. The standing people got worried. Instructions were handed out that said James would personalize books, but posed photos would not be allowed. Which is why my Facebook profile pic sadly remains the same. Anyway, after James finished reading that first story it was time for Q&A. But then James was like, “I thought I was reading two stories. What do you guys want me to do?” And some girl yelled out, “Take a picture with me!” James went, “We can do that later.” The event team was not liking that one bit (we still weren’t allowed to take pictures with him). James asked if we wanted him to read another story. People said yes. So he said that it was shorter and not to worry – he promised to sign everyone’s book. The event team panicked.
If he was anyone else but James Franco, he would have been in so much trouble for saying that.
He read the second story. About 15 minutes into it he was like, “I totally lied – this is a long one.”
James Franco read for an entire hour.
Without taking one sip of water.
First off, I’ve never been to a reading anywhere near that long. Ever. And no water? I have a hard time if I read for like 10 minutes without water. Plus, he had four layers on. Naturally, you want to know what they were. He had the Coolest Jacket Ever, a sweater vest, a button-down, and a tee. See, this is why I’m convinced that James exists in a separate sphere of excellence. Anyone else would have been sweltering in all those layers. But he looked calm, cool, and collected the whole time.
He was really sweet. He gave us lots of his signature crinkly-eyed smiles. He just seemed really happy to be there.
Since James read for so long, there was no time for Q&A. I was really bummed about that. Of course Q&A was taken away the one time I actually had a decent question! I was looking forward to seeing him interact with us and just speak more casually and stuff. There wasn’t time for James to personalize our books, either. It was 9:00 and the store closed at 10:00.
I went up to meet James. I was in such a nervous huffufle trying to get my book ready for him to sign and document him up close for you guys and not freak out and decide what I was going to say. Then James signed my book.
It was my turn! So I told him he was made of all things awesome. I told him that Freaks and Geeks rules. He was very appreciative of that.
In the end, James clearly was too busy for our date. But I’m sure we’ll reschedule soon.