I recently got back from a whirl-wind trip to New York City, where I pushed myself entirely too hard, but had a great time. I love theater, especially musicals, so was glad to buy deeply discounted tickets for two shows through BroadwayBox. The first was Rock of Ages, a show with a weak plot that basically is an excuse to string together every hair metal and arena rock anthem from the '80s. Nothing could be more my cup of tea, so I was super-excited to see this show. Luck was on my side that night; I bought really cheap seats in the back, but the box office informed me that they were upgrading me to 8th row center. Whoo-hoo! My next lucky break was when I noticed the guys next to me were holding LED "lighters" to wave during the ballads. They were handing them out of the door, but I was oblivious to that. I got out of my seat to track one down, but the theater employee told me that they had run out. Oh well! I walked away, but the employee ran after me -- she had found a "lighter" on the floor.
I sat down to read my program, and saw Dee Snider listed in the cast. For the uninformed, Dee Snider is the awesome, awesome singer for 80s hair legends Twisted Sister. He is also the host of the hair metal radio show "House of Hair," and was one of the artist leading the fight against Tipper Gore's Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC). My mom still teases me for having a hand-made "I hate the PMRC" sign on my bedroom door for much of my adolescence. Interestingly, Dee and Alice Cooper are heavy metal's family values guys, having been married and staying faithful to one woman for many years. That led to Dee Snider recently taking a great snap at Al and Tipper Gore when they announced their separation. So, back to me: when I see that Dee Snider is in this show's cast, I lose it; seriously, I get so excited that tears are leaking out of my eyes. This led me to text my sister and my husband the following message: "I am 8 rows away from Dee Snider. Give me one good reason I shouldn't shout, 'I love you, Dee!'" My sister replied, "Because I'd have to disown you as my sister ;)."
The plot for Rock of Ages is feeble, but I enjoyed it anyway. How can you not like a show that turns REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling Anymore" into a gay love anthem? I have to say that the audience sucked; they were not into it, and the show is meant to be a big old sing-along. On the plus side, Dee Snider looks amazing.
I have always wanted to hang out after concerts to meet stars, and the various people I attended with, usually rationalists like parents or husbands, always nixed my plans. Finding myself alone in NY with no one to nix my plans, I decided to try to make a go of meeting Dee. I sniffed around outside until I found the stage door exit, and watched various actors leave, including the lead, Joey Taranto (what a cutie!). I asked some of them to sign my program. A group of people were hanging around, prompting the security guard to ask who they were waiting for. I appointed myself the spokesperson of the group and said, "Dee." The guard replied, "You know, he's really new to the cast, and he has family in town and he's showing them around. He'll be at least an hour." This was met by a massive groan, and all but about six people left. "That's ok, I have nothing better to do," I lied. After the crowd dispersed, the guard looked at me and said, "You are a true fan. I was screwing with those people. Dee won't be an hour. If they were real fans, they would've stayed." Yeah!
Ten minutes later I was rewarded with Dee Snider. I said, "Dee, I have been a fan of yours for decades. I read your book when I was a kid, and it helped me." Yes, he wrote "Dee Snider's Teenage Survival Guide," and I am probably one of 50 people in the country who has read it. In fact, note that the first review of it on Amazon says that it was "published in one of the Russian teen magazines." At the news that I read his book, Dee gave a warm, huge laugh and said, "YOU DID?! That's awesome!" before taking me in his arms. He was really sweet, genuine, and kind, and it was a huge rush for me to meet him. Yes, he signed my program, but no, I don't have a photo, but that's ok. When I was hanging around the stage door, I was slightly nervous that I'd meet Dee and that he'd be an asshole; I specifically thought of the line from "Limelight," a Rush song : "I can't pretend this stranger is a long-awaited friend." So, I was relieved by Dee's friendliness.
In a tangentially related closing, I just became full of gratitude for my parents and their senses of humor. Between me buying books like Dee's survival guide and "The Satanic Bible", the anti-PMRC sticker on my door, and the six-foot posters of Motley Crue, Poison, and other guys who looked like chicks literally covering my wallpaper, I give my parents a lot of credit for tolerating that stuff and not laughing when I could hear them. I can't imagine what they were thinking, but I'm grateful because I really think I might have attempted suicide if not for the outlet I found in music. Junior high through high school was the worst time in my life, and rock music made it bearable.