Saturday, July 24, 2010

Meeting Dr. Brian May

I could sit here and try to think of a catchy title for this post, but no matter what I come up with, it won't convey the absolute amazingness that was last evening: I met Dr. Brian May!

Husband and I got up early. I took the day off, but he had work to do so we drove into NYC at 7am so he could work out of his firm's Times Square office. I dropped my stuff off and ventured out to Rockefeller Plaza for my first Anthropologie visit of the day. While there, I spotted two lovelies that I thought would be just perfect to wear that evening: the Artist's Pallette Necklace and the Bright Bulb Posts.

In my What to Wear to Meet Brian May poll, Jenny from notjustaprettyface suggested a big statement necklace to make a conservative dress more "rock star meeting" appropriate. I thought that was a great idea and these two pieces definitely fit the bill!

While out shopping, I got caught in the rain...twice. Oh my gosh - I was so worried about my bangs! I brought make-up and a new outfit to change into, but my hair had been given the task of looking adorable all by itself all day without any performance enhancing substances! Luckily the heavy rain started right as I was outside Banana Republic so I ducked inside. The second time I was a block away from my second Anthropologie of the day. Phew! Crisis averted!

Soon it was time to get ready at Husband's office. What dress won the poll?
Well it was a close race between the Swirling Villages, Surplice Dress from Anthropologie and the Silk Dress with Ruffle V-Neck from Ann Taylor Loft. In the end, two things made the decision for me: first, that the skirt on this dress is much fuller and I knew that I'd need to squat down to take a photo with a seated Dr. May and second, once I realized that the Swirling Villages, Surplice Dress had actually villages on it (and the book signing was for A Village Lost & Found), it made me a little self-conscious so I was much more comfortable in this dress!

We got to the Metropolitan Museum of Art early. I had been so worried about not getting a cab and it's a good thing too: between the rain and the fact that people uptown can apparently afford cabs (as opposed to the students from my old stomping ground at NYU!), it took us a while! Forgive me for not smiling in the above picture - I was seriously trying to get a cab!

Once at the Met, we located the lecture hall and then wandered around a bit. I knew that just sitting there would make me nervous so I tried to distract myself.
Practicing my "posing" one last time in the Egyptian room.
 Would you like a piece of my pecan pie? PE-can pie!

Dear Anthro,
Please make the pattern of this chair into a skirt. That is all.
Love, Kathleen

Then, at last, it was time. If we didn't go in, we were in danger of missing the presentation. We got special 3D glasses which kept me amused for the final few minutes. Husband and I took a picture together but he won't let me post it!

The lecture was really amazing. I've seen stereoscopic photographs before, but I've never been able to properly see the 3D image. In order for us to understand what they were talking about, they showed the photographs on a large screen using a projector. Since the photographs are of a village, several times I felt like I wanted to just crawl into the picture and lay down in the grass!

Dr. May was a great speaker and really made an effort to include Ms. Vidal in the lecture. On one occasion, an audience question was whether the time period in which the photos were taken (1850s) has some profound affect on him since many Queen songs have a bit of that old-fashioned sound to them. Dr. May gave a short answer and then said, "What do you think, Elena?" as if she had any grand insight into what he had written his songs about! It was rather funny to watch her reaction!

After audience questions, it was time to filter into the Museum Store for the signing. By the time we got in line, it wrapped around the store. Dr. May had said at the start of the lecture that both his daughter Emily and Queen's longtime manager Jim Beach were in attendance so we tried to find them while we were waiting. We found Emily (more on that later), but not Jim Beach. Too bad because a picture with him would have been an unexpected surprise!

The line moved rather quickly. I had thought we'd be there all night, but the Museum staff was taking over duties like handing him the book and telling him the person's name. Husband kept walking to the front to do surveillance and figure out what would be appropriate (I was still worried that I wouldn't get the picture that I wanted!) Dr. May was spending a fair amount of time with everyone though so that was encouraging and then finally about twenty minutes in, Husband reported that a middle aged gentleman had practically crawled into Dr. May's lap for a photo. "Great," I announced, "I'm a young girl. He definitely won't mind if I do that!"

While we waited, I chatted with the girl ahead of me and the man behind me. Both had only found out about the signing in the past few days! The girl had driven down from Buffalo and said that she had brought a Queen CD with her in case he would sign that. I told her that I, too, had a CD: Back to the Light. I didn't know if he was signing memorabilia though. The man behind us told us that he had seen Queen in concert during the News of the World tour in 1977. He was 11 years old and it was his first concert. I was glad for the company in line. Husband was there and was a tremendously good sport about the whole thing, but it was nice to have other big Queen fans there to keep me from completely freaking out!

Then we got closer. At one point, a few people in front of us stepped to the side and THERE HE WAS! The girl in front of us and I both squealed simultaneously at the sight of him. Luckily, that was my first and only fan girl squeal of the night. We both pulled out our CDs and asked the Museum staff if he was signing other things. "You can ask him," she told us, "He's been very nice about signing things."

At this point, Emily May, who had been sitting behind Dr. May the entire time, realized that the girl in front of us was alone. She walked around the table and offered to take the picture. So I'm standing there, collecting my nerves, telling the Museum staff my name for the autograph, and trying not to throw up and all of a sudden I look over and there's Husband chatting up Emily May! I suspected that he might chat with Ms. Vidal, but his daughter? Husband, let the record reflect that if you want to divorce me and marry Emily May so we can kind of jointly both be Dr. May's son-in-law, I'm totally on board with that!

I was next. At this point, I'm a little perturbed. I appreciated the staff lady taking my book and telling him my name (because otherwise, who knows what name I would have blurted out), but she kept insisting that after the photo, you go around behind Ms. Vidal back to the front of the table to chat. Well after my photo was taken, I felt like she was trying to move me around and if I had gone around the back, she would have brought in the next I stayed put...right next to Dr. May. I feel so bad because I didn't even look at Ms. Vidal, but I wasn't going to mess up this opportunity.

As he was signing my book, he said, "Nice to meet you, Kathleen." He looked up and smiled and I said, "I want to get a picture too." So I squatted down and we kind of fumbled over who was going to put their arm over the other persons. We both looked at each other and giggled a bit. I swear - he giggled. It was a total moment. And then the picture was taken. Husband had figured out a way to set the camera on a speed setting so we got FIVE pictures! The fourth is the best: we're both smiling and his eyes look so warm! This is right before the last picture in which he has pursed lips as he's asking, "Did you get it?"

Then the Museum staff made her salary for the night: she reminded me that I had brought Back to the Light for him to sign and HE DID! Then I handed him my card. I had wanted to give him a belated birthday card, but also a card to write all the things that I would have said if I had unlimited time and wasn't a bundle of nerves. Here I am explaining that to him. Look at how attentively he's listening to me! And he's holding my card! When I told him I was nervous, he went, "Oh no," and reached up to touch my elbow. That's when I died!

Afterwards, we went to dinner at our favorite NYC restaurant, Becco's. I was so pleased with the evening: an interesting lecture, two signed items, and six great pictures! Dr. May has a reputation for being one of the nicest celebrities ever and I totally understand why. Even Husband said a few times afterwards how impressed he was with him. He was genuinely interested in what people had to say and took time to speak with every single person!

Here are my signed book and CD. I told Husband that if RT wants to continue being my favorite member of Queen, he needs to write a book and get over to the U.S. pronto because as of last night, I am officially a little in love with Brian May!

Thanks to everyone who humored me over the past few weeks. To say I was excited is certainly an understatement. I'm thrilled to death that I've met a member of my favorite band! I started to tear up after we left the Museum Store just because in my wildest dreams, I couldn't have imagined him being as nice as he was. He really is a wonderful and talented man.

As I mentioned I hit up two Anthropologies during the day on Friday so to make up for all the Queen talk recently, I'll post a bunch of fitting room reviews next week!

All I can say now is: 1 member of Queen down, 2 to go!

That means you, RT!


  1. That sounds SO exciting!! I know you were thrilled, and the picture came out fantastic!

  2. Ahhhhhhwesome! Well-played :-)

  3. Yay! I'm so glad your picture came out so well! And that he was so nice!! Perfect all around.

  4. So nice of you to share your experience with us. As I was reading I was getting more and more excited for you! Great pic too!

  5. That's wonderful and amazing. Congratulations to you. And you looked great!

  6. LOL!! I loved reading this!!! :-) You looked so great, seriously, and I;m glad you got that necklace. it's on my wishlist in the blue color. I got squeals in side just imagining the excitement you felt!

  7. Robin - I was (and still am) so excited! I was listening to some other fans talking about how they had been waiting for 20-30 years. I'm so lucky to get this chance when I'm so young!

    Mom - :) Success! Now onto Roger! LOL

    Suz - I couldn't have imagined it better (and that's saying something!)

    Audrey - Aw thanks! I could have written ten more pages about how nervous I was! He's just such a nice guy though - every famous person should be like that!

    Lady Cardigan - Thanks! It was such a great night! I'm so sad that my awesome July is over!

    Jenny - Thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed reading it! I had so much fun recreating the night in my mind as I wrote it! The necklace is amazing in person. I had it in my hands on a few occasions and just put it back. But Friday was the perfect time to wear it so I couldn't resist!

  8. Kathleen - I'm so very excited the night was everything and more. I found myself getting more and more thrilled as I was reading & I wasn't even there!

    Loved the dress you picked (it was my top choice) & the necklace looked perfect! Great pictures of you and Dr. May - I'm sure one is going to end up framed? ;P

  9. Almost forgot to add that I LOVE the new blog banner! Thumbs Up & High Five!

  10. I have to admit that I'm totally not into Queen and didn't even know who Brian May was until I started reading your blog, but I actually squealed out loud when I saw your picture with him, because your excitement is contagious and I was just so happy for you! YAY! I'm glad it lived up to all your expectations! You looked amazing, by the way!

  11. Jessica - Thanks! I'm so happy with the outfit! The picture turned out so nice I keep thinking that it's not real! And thanks re: the banner. My sister did an amazing job (although I'm still playing around with the rest of the design)

    Caroline - Thanks! I forget that so many people don't really know who he is - even while at the Met, people were asking Husband, "Who is this?" when the saw the long line for the signing. I'm glad I was able to convey my excitement because I really was freaking out! :)

  12. The banner is beautiful- a perfect blend! Kudos to your sister...

  13. Yes, she did. It's absolutely perfect!

  14. Thanks, Lisa. I had such a great day and just as much fun writing about it (hm - well maybe almost as much fun!)

  15. A little late to comment, but I just wanted to say I loved this post! Your enthusiasm is so unabashed and awesome and contagious. I'm so glad you had such a great time meeting the esteemed Dr. May! You looked lovely doing so too. Fingers crossed, someday we can here other stories about meeting even more Queen members ;)

  16. Awesome story! I saw him in Philadelphia, and he was super nice.

  17. goldenmeans - Aw thanks! I was so nervous - I'm still shocked that I held it together as much as I did! Of the two members left, one is more likely than the other. Getting a glimpse of bassist John Deacon is rather like seeing Bigfoot! LOL

    Daniel - Everyone I've heard from said he was absolutely great! I love that he made it such a wonderful experience for all the fans! That means so much! I hope your experience was as great as mine!

  18. Now, you are a lucky girl! Hope your dream of meeting Roger Taylor will also come true:-)