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March 26, 2010 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Neil Gaiman on what it's like to be invisible at the Oscars
posted by fearfulsymmetry (92 comments total) 34 users marked this as a favorite

 
As a side note, the designer he mentions, Kambriel, does some amazing things. Includes a picture of Neil in his Oscars outfit in the gallery.
posted by evilangela at 12:16 PM on March 26, 2010 [4 favorites]


"I decide that I will persuade the inhabitants of the mezzanines to rise up as one and to storm the stairs, like in Titanic. They might shoot a few of us, I decide, but they cannot stop us all. We can be free; we can drink in the downstairs bar; we can mingle with Harvey Weinstein."

Neil Gaiman, mildly bored and quietly brooding, plans a proletariat revolution, if only for a brief second. Made me laugh right out loud, it did.
posted by AzraelBrown at 12:20 PM on March 26, 2010 [15 favorites]


That was absolutely delightful.

Also: weird that he was at the sushi restaurant nabbed for served whale meat.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:24 PM on March 26, 2010


Oooh, is this where I can mention that Kambriel made me a wonderful Victorian ensemble and went above-and-beyond to make sure it was exactly right? Or does that make me a name-dropper now?

(Also, as long as I'm dropping names, I accidentally stalked Neil Gaiman at World Horror Convention in 2002. I swear, I have no idea why we kept winding up in the elevator together.)
posted by JoanArkham at 12:25 PM on March 26, 2010


I was expecting Something a little more interesting for that suit. On my monitor it just looked like a totally standard black suit. I had to bring it into photoshop and adjust the levels to see the details.
posted by delmoi at 12:27 PM on March 26, 2010


Is a waistcoat just a vest under a tux? I have misunderstood that word for all my life.
posted by I am the Walrus at 12:29 PM on March 26, 2010


As a former Minneapolite, I really wonder where he's living in an "Addams family house" (Wikipedia) one hour from Minneapolis. Stillwater...?

This was a lovely story. I am apparently still happy to read anything Gaiman writes.
posted by whatzit at 12:29 PM on March 26, 2010


Here's the 15 second clip he was talking about, embedded in clips from other movies.
posted by delmoi at 12:30 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


He sounds like fun to hang around with anytime, but especially at a boring, phony, unbelievably long awards show.

I do love the dresses. Here's the Rachel McAdam's dress he talks about in this great blog entry.
posted by bearwife at 12:30 PM on March 26, 2010


Poor Coraline. For a little while, before Up came out, I thought it might have a chance. Still, with films like that around Pixar has to work for it's Oscars.
posted by Artw at 12:32 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is a waistcoat just a vest under a tux? I have misunderstood that word for all my life.

A waistcoat is just a vest that wants to be a little more pompous, hoping that'll impress girls.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:33 PM on March 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


McAdam's dress was pretty sweet.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:34 PM on March 26, 2010


McAdams'
posted by mrgrimm at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2010


As a former Minneapolite, I really wonder where he's living in an "Addams family house" (Wikipedia) one hour from Minneapolis. Stillwater...?

Actually he's across the river, in Wisconsin.
posted by Ber at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2010


Waistcoats are cut lower then vests, and are often more decorated.
posted by The Whelk at 12:35 PM on March 26, 2010


Here are better pics of Neils outfit.
posted by cazoo at 12:37 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


No one wants to take my photo, or, Deette discovers, to interview me. I'm invisible.

With all due respect to the fantastic Mr. Gaiman, given a choice between looking at photos of him or Rachel McAdams, he's going to lose.
posted by quin at 12:38 PM on March 26, 2010


Nice one. I also liked Coraline a little bit better than Up!, if only for the obvious nods to Svankmajer.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:38 PM on March 26, 2010


Waistcoats.
posted by bearwife at 12:41 PM on March 26, 2010


"Since the 17th century the waistcoat was part of a formal and business attire worn by men. Although quite similar in look and style, the waistcoat worn for formal events is slightly different than the one chosen to wear with a suit. When wearing a suit, the vest traditionally has a higher cut (4 to 6 buttons), is made from the same fabric as the suit, and has an additional buttonhole and small fob pocket used to attach and store a pocket watch. For formal black and white tie events the waistcoat has a much lower cut (2 or 3 buttons), and is also worn in a different color shade than the trousers and the jacket. Traditionally the waistcoat matches the bow tie or the Ascot. For formal events the waist coat is both made in single and double-breasted cut – although the later is much less common.

The correct and traditionally way to wear a waistcoat is without a belt. In fact the waistcoat used to cover up suspenders."


So ...there.
posted by The Whelk at 12:44 PM on March 26, 2010


Thanks for the link, cazoo. That jacket is completely awesome.
posted by mintcake! at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2010


Finally got to see the Coraline clip again -- thanks delmoi -- after flash player challenges. Is it just me or was the Up segment a little funnier? Loved Coraline, loved Up more . .
posted by bearwife at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2010


Neil Gaiman was in Winnipeg a few months ago and I didn't find out until the day after. Being my favorite author, I was incredibly disappointed. This has absolutely nothing to do with the current thread, just wanted to vent.
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:50 PM on March 26, 2010


I knew he lived in or near the Twin Cities. Believe it or not, I've never seen him. Reading here I guess he lives across the river into WI, so maybe Hudson?
posted by Think_Long at 12:52 PM on March 26, 2010


I liked the mental image of him sitting in his seat, bored, having a conversation with thousands of his twitter followers who are watching it on TV. Technology is pretty cool.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 12:54 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


My kids prefer Coraline to Up! , as do I. And I prefer Neil Gaiman to almost any other variety of junk food book. It's good junk food, like granola.
posted by Mister_A at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think I read somewhere that he lives in Menomonie. A little more than an hour from the Cities if you ask me, but I drive like a grandma.
posted by padraigin at 12:56 PM on March 26, 2010


Just realized the sentence "Being my favorite author, I was incredibly disappointed" implies that I'm my own favorite. While I'm not my favorite, I'm definitely up there.</derail>
posted by The Lurkers Support Me in Email at 12:58 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Menomenie
posted by Mister_A at 1:00 PM on March 26, 2010


Being my favorite author, I was incredibly disappointed.

You write?
posted by Dragonness at 1:01 PM on March 26, 2010


You write?

usually I am
posted by found missing at 1:02 PM on March 26, 2010 [7 favorites]


I heard a good story at a convention* one time about some guys visiting a comics shop in, IIRC, Minneapolis and mocking another customer behind his back for trying too hard to be like Neil Gaiman. And then the owner comes over and tells them to shut up, because it is Neil Gaiman.

* Well, a bar near a convention. That is the best part of all comics conventions.
posted by Artw at 1:03 PM on March 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


"Well. Yes. But he still comes out for the opening of a drinks cabinet."

This quote is attributed to the editor of Variety. The editor of Variety is an American, and no American would use the term "drinks cabinet" under any circumstances. On this side of the pond - presuming I'm parsing the phrase correctly - the term is liquor cabinet.

Fucking English papers do this all the time with allegedly direct quotes and it drives me so barmy I want to stuff every editor on Fleet Street into the boot of my lorry and go drink-driving off a cliff during bleeding maths class. Innit.

Otherwise a fun read though.
posted by gompa at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2010 [32 favorites]


I think I read somewhere that he lives in Menomonie. A little more than an hour from the Cities if you ask me, but I drive like a grandma.

What a strange place to choose to live. He must have a fantastic property more on the outskirts of the town.
posted by Think_Long at 1:07 PM on March 26, 2010


Man, I just re-read Sandman and it's still fucking fantastic.
posted by khaibit at 1:09 PM on March 26, 2010


I'd agree, but the ending is kind of flat.

Actually I'd say that's my one critisism of him as a writer - a tendency for endings to fall flat.
posted by Artw at 1:12 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I decide that I will persuade the inhabitants of the mezzanines to rise up as one and to storm the stairs, like in Titanic.

Wow, I had no idea about the caste system at the theatre... I looked at the seating chart and see that there's not just one mezzanine but a Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. I wonder if those levels are segregated, too. I googled around but couldn't find anything. Anyhow I really liked this take on attending the event.
posted by crapmatic at 1:14 PM on March 26, 2010


I can’t think of too many people who might have been at the Oscars, were I there, that I’d rather meet more than Gaiman. Steve Martin maybe. There seems to have been a big shift from creation to performance.
Creators don’t seem as important as the people who perform their creation. Mozart comes to mind, Shakespeare, etc. And now it’s the people who perform Shakespeare or Mozart or whatever. I understand making movies is collaborative. But a lot of focus seems more on the interpretative rather than the creative.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:16 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


You say vest, we say waistcoat*
you say undervest we say vest

* as in 'Aye up, I've spilled more ale down me waistcoat than you've supped the night!'
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:25 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually I'd say that's my one critisism of him as a writer - a tendency for endings to fall flat.

He's admitted as much in interviews. He's much more interested in dialog than plot. I do think that he's working hard to change that though. Recent works, like Coraline, have been much better balanced, IMO.
posted by bonehead at 1:33 PM on March 26, 2010


I get dressed. A designer named Kambriel, whom I met when she had made a dress that would allow my fiancee and Jason Webley to represent conjoined twins...

I didn't realize he was dating, let alone engaged to Amanda Palmer.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:34 PM on March 26, 2010


Hudson was my first thought, too, but the internet kept saying Minnesota. Menomonie...? He is an odd duck.
posted by whatzit at 1:36 PM on March 26, 2010


MiltonRandKalman: "I get dressed. A designer named Kambriel, whom I met when she had made a dress that would allow my fiancee and Jason Webley to represent conjoined twins...

I didn't realize he was dating, let alone engaged to Amanda Palmer.
"

You should follow his Twitter feed, then. Totally public knowledge, at least to those followers.
posted by yiftach at 1:37 PM on March 26, 2010


I think waistcoat is a standard WEESIAN term (Western European English Speaking Isles) making up the third part of a three-piece suit, whereas vest seems to me distinctly North-American.

This is from my perspective of living in both places for some time.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 1:38 PM on March 26, 2010


I enjoy it when good writers write stuff.
posted by davejay at 1:42 PM on March 26, 2010


I didn't realize he was dating, let alone engaged to Amanda Palmer.

They (or rather she) set the gossip pages aflutter when they went to the Golden Globes.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 1:43 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would love to read Grant Morrison write its like to be The Invisible at the Oscars.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:45 PM on March 26, 2010 [12 favorites]


"what its like"
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:45 PM on March 26, 2010


It's all fun and games until Mel Gibson is cutting someone's face off to please his Mayan gods and then the Marquis de Sade shows up. Then it's a party.
posted by khaibit at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


My favorite part of the piece, actually, is
A limo picks me up at 3pm, and we drive to the Oscars. It's a slow drive: streets are closed off. The last civilians we see are standing on a street corner holding placards telling me that God Hates Fags, that the recent earthquakes are God's Special Way of Hating Fags, and that the Jews Stole something, but I can't see what, as another placard is in the way.

It's the first and only time I've seen (and possibly first and only time ever) that someone's written about WBC in such an offhanded, dismissive way as to completely take away any of the power, influence, and controversy that they otherwise engender.
posted by yiftach at 1:49 PM on March 26, 2010 [9 favorites]


I would love to read Grant Morrison write its like to be The Invisible at the Oscars.

Man, We3 is never going to happen, is it?
posted by Artw at 1:51 PM on March 26, 2010


Neil Gaiman as an invisible man is one of those reminders that I live in a subculture. "But he's Neil Gaiman!" I'd say to (for instance) my mother, and she'd say "who?".
posted by immlass at 1:53 PM on March 26, 2010 [8 favorites]


Many years ago I helped a friend make a short film no one had (or has) ever heard of and by some miracle it got into Sundance. I went. It was miserable. Back then you could actually go to movies at Sundance, so that was nice, but other than that the festival was like a giant machine made of snubbing. I've been in lots of places where I didn't matter, but for some reason Park City was worse than anywhere else.

I asked our sound guy -- why are sound guys always so awesome? -- why this was and he summed it up perfectly: "It's like being on an episode of Friends but you're not one of the friends."
posted by The Bellman at 1:56 PM on March 26, 2010 [17 favorites]


You should follow his Twitter feed, then. Totally public knowledge, at least to those followers.

Sworn off celebrity following, even if I like the artist and their tweets are entertain and limit it to people I've meet in person.
posted by MiltonRandKalman at 1:57 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually he's across the river, in Wisconsin.

He used to live in Wisconsin. He's been local for some years now. I know his beekeepers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:58 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


In that case, you should meet Neil Gaiman in person and then follow his Twitter feed.
posted by Faint of Butt at 1:59 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know his beekeepers.

Those are not people you want to visit come harvest time let me tell you.
posted by The Whelk at 2:02 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


As an American expat in London, I can settle this whole waistcoat thing.

UK waistcoat = US vest.
UK vest = US undershirt.

"Excuse me stewardess air hostess... I speak Limey."
posted by Pallas Athena at 2:12 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Neil Gaiman on what it's like to be invisible at the Oscars gets reminded of what it's like to be a normal human being.

FTFY (with love).
posted by Decimask at 2:13 PM on March 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


What about those vests that pop up in Brit literature on female characters? Those are girl undershirts, innit? Are US male undershirts also referred to in the UK as "vests"?
posted by bearwife at 2:14 PM on March 26, 2010


It's only a vest if it's made from real gorilla chest.
posted by The Whelk at 2:15 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


I beleive Ricardo Montalban has one of those.
posted by Artw at 2:16 PM on March 26, 2010


No no, his is made of rich Corinthian leather.
posted by The Whelk at 2:18 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


..and also eagles. Many eagles.
posted by The Whelk at 2:19 PM on March 26, 2010


I'd like to see that vest.
posted by bonehead at 2:24 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I know his beekeepers.

I know his philatelist.
posted by found missing at 2:37 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's the first and only time I've seen (and possibly first and only time ever) that someone's written about WBC in such an offhanded, dismissive way as to completely take away any of the power, influence, and controversy that they otherwise engender.

I liked that part too. But it seems to me that the Westboro Baptist Church never had much power, influence, or controversy at the corner of Hollywood and Highland or anywhere within a 75-mile radius of it -- and that Gaiman's dismissive comment would not have been met with astonishment by anyone who lives south of Santa Clarita.
posted by blucevalo at 2:55 PM on March 26, 2010


I think I kinda like his blogging better than his fiction. He should do book-length non-fiction.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:04 PM on March 26, 2010


I think I kinda like his blogging better than his fiction. He should do book-length non-fiction.

Mister Moofoo, I believe that he's doing at least one non-fiction book -- he retraced Marco Polo's route through China a couple of years ago or something and is writing a book about that. I think there may be another non-fiction book coming, too, but I may have misunderstood the press release and/or my memory may be faulty. But the first one is definite.
posted by darksong at 3:08 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting to see behind the scenes. Outfit better suited for an undertaker. Could have at least cinched the tie? Here are some best/worst men's outfits at the last Oscars.
posted by kevinsp8 at 3:11 PM on March 26, 2010


He also did an enjoyable biography of Douglas Adams, or am I totally wrong?
posted by The Whelk at 3:12 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed the piece. I'm lukewarm on Gaiman's books though, generally. Anyone else get a Hunter S. Thomson vibe from this?
posted by Trochanter at 3:12 PM on March 26, 2010


"Neil Gaiman as an invisible man is one of those reminders that I live in a subculture. "But he's Neil Gaiman!" I'd say to (for instance) my mother, and she'd say "who?"."

Yeah. That's what I found most interesting about Gaiman's article: the way it demonstrates the different levels of fame. The Oscars are Hollywood's big status defining ritual, and many otherwise famous people who show up there just aren't that important to the entertainment industry. Like the mayor of Los Angeles - he's in charge of one of America's largest cities and has actual power in the real world - but to the editor of Variety he's just a bureaucrat that should be off working somewhere. Then there's Gaiman himself, a respected author read by multitudes, who isn't even allowed to sit with the people that made a movie of his book. But at the same time he's got thousands of people following him on Twitter and thousands more reading this article afterwards. Many different cultures and different levels of fame intersecting awkwardly.
posted by Kevin Street at 3:27 PM on March 26, 2010 [6 favorites]


...retraced Marco Polo's route through China...

Sweet!
posted by Mister Moofoo at 3:29 PM on March 26, 2010


I look down at Rachel McAdams's watercolour dress and wonder if I can see a footprint.

Because, y'know, then it would be proof he's actually there. Ha.
posted by dhartung at 3:33 PM on March 26, 2010


> Neil Gaiman on what it's like to be invisible at the Oscars gets reminded of what it's like to be a normal human being.

FTFY (with love).


Nah, I'm gonna go ahead and say that Neil Gaiman is a few steps above "normal human being" in that I'm a normal human being who will never be invited to attend the Oscars at all, ever, unless I spawn some prodigy Hollywood wunderkind. (Unlikely.) So, no, I'm going to say that while he's not on the "A list," this still isn't "normal human being" level stuff.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:52 PM on March 26, 2010


I enjoyed the piece. I'm lukewarm on Gaiman's books though, generally. Anyone else get a Hunter S. Thomson vibe from this?

Gaiman apologizes for stepping on butterfly lady's dress and thinks twice about using elevator to storm main floor. Followed by much tweeting and sushi.

HST dodges bat lady flying in for kill and drops her with a .44, storms main floor during commercial break while lizard people slither about. Grabs Bullocks' Oscar and heads for the bar to give Sean Penn the what-for.

So, yeah, no. Had he ordered the whale maybe I'd reconsider.
posted by hal9k at 4:08 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Looking through the Kambriel catalogue, I see that she makes both capes and puffy shirts. All she has to do is start making Mansierres* and she'll be the official wardrobe person for Seinfeld.

*Also known as the Bro.
posted by Saxon Kane at 4:29 PM on March 26, 2010


blucevalo:
I liked that part too. But it seems to me that the Westboro Baptist Church never had much power, influence, or controversy at the corner of Hollywood and Highland or anywhere within a 75-mile radius of it -- and that Gaiman's dismissive comment would not have been met with astonishment by anyone who lives south of Santa Clarita.

I grew up in LA and am now in San Diego. I've had occasion to cross paths with WBC on more than one occasion for different reasons (both here in SD; I'm a member of two demographics they target - I'm Jewish, and I work in public education), so based on personal experience I'd respectfully disagree. There's a difference between seeing pictures of them on the Internet or even footage on TV and getting a little ticked or laughing it off completely, and facing them in person.

I don't want to derail this thread, but I'd be happy to continue the discussion via email or in Metatalk/chat.
posted by yiftach at 4:29 PM on March 26, 2010


He also did an enjoyable biography of Douglas Adams, or am I totally wrong?

Yep. Pretty well updated from its original edition, and a darned fine read.
posted by mintcake! at 4:41 PM on March 26, 2010


Gaiman shopped/did events at a store where I worked/managed a branch back in the 90s. He and I were on a "brief polite chat if we ran into each other" kind of familiarity. Something I found endearing about him was that he had a very natural, honest humility. I ran into him before a show at 1st Avenue (a Minneapolis club), and he was excitedly telling me that he had met Iggy Pop. And it was fun to watch his enthusiasm since I was pretty sure that he would outdraw Iggy Pop in an autograph line (anywhere except at a club full of old punks of course).

He wrote that article the way he always presented himself -- as a guy with some fame rather than a "famous guy."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:27 PM on March 26, 2010


Damn, the Douglas Adams + Neil Gaiman intersection that I did not know about just made me squeal with glee. I am getting a copy of that post haste! Thank you very much!
posted by lizarrd at 5:33 PM on March 26, 2010


> I know his beekeepers.

I know his philatelist.


I moved his piano.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:11 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


"...I swear, I have no idea why we kept winding up in the elevator together..."

This is probably why he now views elevators as traps.
posted by mr_crash_davis mark II: Jazz Odyssey at 6:51 PM on March 26, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hey, here's that panorama where he's looking at the dress.
posted by curse at 8:14 PM on March 26, 2010 [5 favorites]


OMG that shot of him and the dress is just too brilliant for words. All the pretty people, all completely focused on each other and the cameras, and Neil Gaiman standing awkwardly, staring down at the ground and smiling distantly to himself.
posted by Scattercat at 8:36 PM on March 26, 2010 [3 favorites]


> I know his beekeepers.

>I know his philatelist.

>I moved his piano.


I met him at my state library convention.
posted by ikahime at 9:38 PM on March 26, 2010


>I ohysically bumped into his fiancee' signing books.
posted by The Whelk at 9:46 PM on March 26, 2010


I aksed him how to become a comics writer. Then I became acomics writer. Not sure of any direct link between the two though.

That said, I think the reply was something along the lines of "write ... stuff", and that pretty much is the correct way to do it, so...
posted by Artw at 10:24 PM on March 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


(bearwife, in that instance "vest" = "tank top".)
posted by Pallas Athena at 1:51 AM on March 27, 2010


UK vest = NA undershirt
posted by jrochest at 10:01 AM on March 27, 2010


Neil Gaiman on writing
posted by Artw at 11:14 PM on April 11, 2010


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