Bruce, meet Camden.

Bruce Campbell image courtesy of Bruce Campbell Online

Was lucky enough to attend “An Evening with Bruce Campbell” at the Rutgers Campus Center in Camden last night. It all started as a whim, when a friend discovered the announcement (Don’t know where you picked it up, but thanks, KP!). So another couple, and the wife all packed into a car and braved the waters of the Delaware River and the cold dark shores of New Jersey to see the man himself.

Apparently, this is a promotional tour for not only his new book (Make Love the Bruce Campbell Way), but also in some savvy attempt to cross promote his latest completed film project, Man with the Screaming Brain.

We arrive, the four of us, and dash through the rain to the center of campus. There, in a building with a glass-walled auditorium, we drop ourselves into the obvious line for tickets. Discussing the crowd, tickets, and the general state of the line, we attract the attention of the guy in front of us. Nice guy. So nice, it turns out, that he whips around and offers us four tickets. Free. Gratis. For nada. He said he’d spoken with his friends, and they were “unable” to make it. Plus these were free tickets anyway, cause he taught at the school…” Yadda yadda yadda. We were, to say the least, thankful. And, not two minutes later do we hear someone at the front of the line getting denied tickets cause they were “sold out”. Talk about lucky. Now while I’m pretty sure that person ended up getting in, and that if we had pushed hard enough, we could have come up with some tickets from other people who’d had friends “beg off”, it did seem kinda cool to walk in the door and be handed a couple of tix. Now we get to see Bruce (for sure), and for free!

Now I know what you’re thinking. Fanboy. Slavishly dedicated to the meager career of some two-bit B-movie actor. Pathetic. And though what I’m about to tell you, in no way proves I’m not pathetic, let me tell you a few things about this B-movie actor you wanna slander. And this I say for your own good…

Bruce is cool. Bruce is too cool for you, in fact. He refuses to apologize for his B-movie career. He revels in his integrity, and the fact that Hollywood continues to be less creative, more self-referential, and downright icky, than any cheesy two-bit film project he’s ever done (well, with exception of that 1997 “Herbie the Love Bug” thing he did). He sees through all the greed and insecurity. He’s just an “Average Joe”, schlepping his way through making a living in the entertainment industry and there’s plenty like him.

And he has a few things to say (apparently!). His rant at this speaking engagement was pretty coherent. After lambasting New Jersey a bit, he settled down into some rather thoughtfully subversive-type oration. And by subversive, I mean he made us have to think a little. Sure, sure, it wasn’t the deepest stuff. Some of it was pretty darned obvious: big corporations control what you see and hear; special interests are everywhere… But the message, “know what you are being exposed to, and support only the stuff you agree with”, was pretty well targeted at a college crowd. And there were laughs. Here’s a guy who knows the quiet way to take advantage of a soapbox.

I mean, sure, he’s not gonna change the world with this appearance. There are better speakers, and more powerful messages. And after all is said and done, he’s shilling a book/movie thing. But it was a great opportunity to hear from a guy who seems to believe that we can all affect our world if we’ll simply take some responsibility for it. And that’s why this B-movie guy continues to get my support, regardless of how many crappy movies he has to make.

So check out his website, and go see his films, you losers. Or I’ll steal you car and leave it in Camden.

Oh, and there was a signing afterward. We wouldn’t have stayed (seeing as you had to have another mysterious ticket to get in to get something signed) but, as fate would have it, everyone and their brother tried to give us tickets to get in! Random people now. Oh, and, you guessed it, the guy who originally gave us tickets to the show. Man this crowd was helpful. So we got to pump the hand of the man who played “Elvis with cancer on his pecker”.

Priceless.

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