Sarah Vowell: the un-celebrity

Sometimes I get a glimpse of showbiz when I go to Chicago Live because I edit some shows for broadcast on the radio. I've met various interesting people, and tonight, I got a chance to see and meet Sarah Vowell, who has one of the most amazing careers on the planet.

I sat very close to the stage (thanks to the Second City folks at their new club), so I could see what she was like. She wore casual clothes that were not colorful, just gray and black, practical boots, and no makeup. Actually, I think she was wearing foundation or something that people "should" wear on stage. But she looked natural. She was intelligent, witty, and didn't smile as she delivered her dry lines.

Compare such a performance to most women in the biz: they're usually animated, wear makeup, and try to smile to get the audience's approval. Sarah is lucky because she doesn't have to do that. In fact, I bet it would ruin her reputation. Imagine making a living in the public eye being yourself and using your intellect to express yourself. Rare. Very rare.

After the show, I went to the book table to tell her that she's really blessed because of all that she's achieved without having to act or look a certain way, and she didn't really have much of a response. But at least I got to say it!

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