The Mime

Was reviewing Coppola’s The Conversation for tension music, or something DK had said about paranoia movies recently. Wanted to find sounds to underscore the party talk in Beautiful Creatures. I’d seen the film as a teen but couldn’t remember much except Gene Hackman being intense, and playing the sax. Saw the opening bit with the mime, and thought of the mime I met years ago. Later in the film they show the footage again and I decided to look up who it was. I remember being in Union Sq San Francisco watching this great mime — mesmerized — and then kinda bowled over when he walked beside me a little, can’t remember much, I was so nervous. And then I sat down on a bench or something and he sat with me and started talking to me. I was so blown away. In some ways I didn’t want him to speak–he’s supposed to stay in character!–but he was so cool, so interesting to look at close up, and very soon I felt comfortable with him. It was a sympatico connection emotionally. We didn’t talk about much, just the day, maybe where I was from, and then he asked me if I wanted to go get some coffee with him. But I was too shy. I was tall, of course, for 12 or 13, and probably looked older. I really wanted to talk more, to know more, but I worried my friends Sahra and Kathy would wonder where I was. So I said goodbye. Regretfully. My dad told me about a mime –there was an article about him in the Saturday Review. So I had or did read that and admired this guy from afar. It may have been even before I saw him in the square. It was him. Robert Shields.

Quite a surprise to see it was him in The Conversation. And just now when I googled him I found out he’s married to a woman named Jennifer Griffiths. Amazing.

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