In the triple-digit heat, Pam Grier proved she still has drawing power. Her book signing event filled the auditorium Saturday at the South Dallas Cultural Center, where she talked about her life and Hollywood and followed up with a gracious and patient book signing/photo session.The gay contingent present was far outweighed by the men and women who obviously watched Grier throughout ’70s cinema.You could literally see the men falling in love all over again with Foxy Brown and the women remembering the heroics of Coffy as inspiration.
She ran a bit late, but Grier received a standing ovation upon coming out. She looked both casual and elegant as she took the mike. I overheard earlier that she would be reading from her book, but instead she just let loose and began talking about her life. As a speaker, Grier was a little disorganized. She went on tangents about organic gardening and the economy. There were mini-moments where she had lost the audience, but magically, she would tie it back to her career and get back on track. She discussed her romances with Richard Pryor and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar which are also in the book. She was never salacious about her recounts. Instead, she painted quirky, funny memories of her with Pryor and detailed some major inner conflict with Jabbar’s request for her to convert to Islam. When it came to her own life, she painted distinct pictures.
Ears pricked when she discussed film director Quentin Tarantino and their film Jackie Brown. After her initial meeting with him, he told her he had a script. Later, she received a notice from the post office that a package was waiting for her but 44 cents postage was due. She got around to picking it up three weeks later and discovered the script. She read it and loved it. She acknowledged that it was going to be low budget because “heck, it didn’t even have enough postage!”
During her speech, she didn’t mention her role as Kit on The L Word, but for that matter, didn’t discuss a big chunk of her acting work, but thankfully a woman asked about the role. She reiterated much of her answer in Mark Lowry’s article this week that she got much of her LGBT education from doing that show and how enlightening it was for her. It was nice to hear her talk up lesbians in a positive fashion to a crowd in which the topic might not have come up otherwise. Some heads nodded, some wondered and some shut off — but it was moving to see a celebrity admit to not knowing much about LGBT issues and people and then embracing it. On a personal note, she seemed to dig that I asked her to sign for my boyfriend.
She was funny, she was cool, she was down but by the end of the event, Pam Grier wasn’t just an iconic celebrity — she was also a regular person. And that made her even more foxy.