|On October 24th, my friend,
Deb and I headed for the AMC theater in Chicago, Illinois. for a series
of "Jane' events as we laughingly referred to them. While we had learned
too late that Jane would be hosting the Chicago Children's International
Film Festival gala the evening before, we had managed to secure tickets
to the showing of Touching Wild Horses that morning and to a reception in
Jane's honor at Carson Pirie Scott that evening in downtown Chicago.
The moment the taxi pulled up to the theater it was obvious we had the right place-the whole sidewalk was literally filled with school children! Deb, who adores her own three furry 'kids' is less enamored of the two-legged kind . I had to laugh at the look of mock horror on her face as she surveyed the scene before her. Cheerfully, I reminded her as we stepped onto the sidewalk that this was after all "the Chicago Children's film festival, she just moaned comically!
As the line of children ages 10-12 guided by their teachers (such brave
souls) filed into the theater, we followed behind. Luckily before we followed
all the way, we realized that this group had come for an entirely different
movie! Our group, it appeared hadn't yet arrived. Embarrassed, we headed
back towards the entrance where representatives from the film festival
were busily helping photographers set up and greeting attendees. As Jane
was the only celebrity we knew of scheduled to be at the theater that
day, we were fairly certain the preparations were for her. Sure enough,
moments later, Jane arrived and the flashbulbs went off.
Meanwhile, I had spotted director Eleanore Lindo in a corner of the room.
Eleanore and I had actually met briefly, in New York at the Tribeka film
festival in February at another showing of Touching Wild Horses. She had
given out her email to anyone interested after the presentation and immediately
upon my return from New York, I had contacted her to offer my warmest
congratulations and my help should there be anything I could do to help
her promote the film. I had also passed on her contact information to
our editor who had written her as well, to offer the support of the DQ
Times. Almost immediately, the producers had responded by sending us a
press kit with the request that we use it in any way we could to help
promote the film. I had used the materials to develop a multi media feature
for the DQ times website, which eventually I moved to it’s own domain
to make it easier to find. (www.touchingwildhorses.com) Because
of the site, Eleanore and I had been corresponding by email for some time.
I had told her that there was a slight chance I might be coming to the
festival and that if I did, she would probably have little difficulty
recognizing me, as I would be the one on crutches. Presumably she had
remembered my description as she was now waving and beckoning me over.
She hugged me warmly and thanked me for my work on the site, then introduced
me to David Perlemutter, the producer of the film, who was standing next
to her. The three of us chatted briefly about the film but moments later,
not wanting to intrude, I excused myself and rejoined Deb who was busily
snapping pictures of Jane- along with everyone else it seemed in the theater!
The film was being shown to an audience of youngsters ages 10-12 (approximately). Before the film began, Jane was introduced as the star of Dr. Quinn. To our surprise, the enthusiasm that customarily greets this announcement, was strangely lacking. It took us a moment (presumably also Jane, to realize these children were not familiar with the series as they would have been too young to watch Dr. Quinn during first run episodes.) Without missing a beat, Jane then asked who knew James Bond? Instantly the entire group began to applaud and when she informed them that 'she' had been Solitaire in Live and Let Die- that was all they needed. As far as they were concerned she was now ‘cool’.
After the film, Jane, Eleanore and David stood up at the front of the theater to answer questions. The first child, blunt as only little boys know how to be, asked : "How come you were so mean and ugly in the movie in the beginning?" While the adults cringed, Jane laughed good naturedly and explained that she had had to adopt that 'persona' in order for her transformation later in the film to be believable. More questions followed about the story and what it was like working with the horses and then the children were asked if this was a movie they would like to see released to theaters. Thunderous applause was the response. Later, I heard Eleanore remark to Jane that what had brought her the most satisfaction was that the children who had shown such appreciation for the film were 'inner city' kids' who generally would not have been expected to react to such 'soft material' Clearly the film had touched something in them.
That night, we headed to Carson Pirie Scott for a reception in Jane's
honor. An entire back room had been set up with Jane's collection including
fully outfitted beds. The collection was breathtaking- romantic, feminine,
and reflective in every way of Jane's own special style. I had actually
expected the items to have a 'heavier' look to them- i.e. the Tudor theme,
but found the delicate jeweled frames and engraved candles to be suitable
for any home decor- be it a 'castle'or an apartment (as in my case.) Further
back some of Jane's paintings were also on display and over in a corner
were pieces of her This one and That One Children’s collection
(dolls, books and clothing). It was literally like exploring the many
worlds of Jane Seymour as we moved from one creative endeavor to another!
With the exception of a brief introduction and a short speech, Jane spent
the rest of the evening mingling, posing for photographs and signing her
name to items purchased from her line. She signed ANYTHING- even glassware
and as this was the only way one could be assured of a moment with her-
the lines were long. She smiled graciously, posed for endless photographs
and signed her name until every customer had had their purchase signed
and everyone who wanted a photo with her, had been accommodated.
Finally, it was over. As she headed for the door, she noticed me standing nearby and stopped to give me a quick hug and whispered 'take care'. Almost embarrassed that this was not to be our final encounter this weekend, I told her she would see us tomorrow again, as we were attending her design seminar.
The next day, Deb and I took a taxi to Eden’s plaza, where Jane
would be appearing once again promoting her collection. To our dismay,
we learned that reservations were required in order to attend the seminar-
at least if one wanted to ‘sit’. Rows of chairs had been arranged
and while you could still see and hear what was going on from where we
were standing, photos from that distance would be impossible. As we stood
to the side where we had been instructed to wait in case seating opened
up, we spotted Cheri. She smiled but grew immediately concerned when she
learned that I would have to stand during the presentation. I don’t
know if it was Cheri’s acknowledgement of us or sympathy on the
part of the organizers, but a few minutes later I was invited to sit in
the back row, (much to my relief.)
Jane arrived dressed all in lavender. Her talk covered her initial foray
into painting and design and then segued into a description of some of
the items in her collection. Despite the fact that it was in essence a
‘sales talk’ I, like everyone around me, found myself captivated
by the passion in her voice as she spoke. She described each item so lovingly
it was as if she were talking about a gift she had personally created
for each one of us. After the seminar, Jane made herself once again available,
as she had the previous night, to sign anything purchased from her collection.
I purchased a few frames for gifts and got in line. As she was signing
my items, I took the opportunity to tell her how much I had enjoyed seeing
her again and her collection. She smiled and commented that I had come
a long way. I assured her that it had been worth it.
Special thanks to Deb Scott for the above photos.