On a serious note...
So, after last night's murderthon; I got to thinking about my own experiences with murder. Had I known anyone that had been murdered. Had I known anyone that had murdered anyone?* Did I know anyone that knew anyone that had been murdered? (Just for the record, I personally have not murdered anyone). The answer to all of these questions, was, unfortunately yes. And in the case of the first question, it was someone famous. I deplore name-dropping and at the risk of doing just that, I want to write about Adrienne Shelly. I knew her. We went to film school together. We were in many of the same classes. We weren't friends: in fact, barely acquaintances. We were class-mates; no more, no less. But my memories of her are quite vivid.
Adrienne was in my screenwriting class during my junior year at Boston University. Her original name was Adrienne Levine. She was Jewish. A lot of my classmates were Jewish. I didn't know this until I matriculated there, that B.U. had a high ratio of Jewish students. One of the school's nick-names was "Be Jew." That's true (and I got that from other students, presumably the Jewish ones). A lot of kids from Long Island and the New York area. Adrienne was from Queens. Of course, I didn't know all of this at the time. All I knew is that this girl I had in some of my classes stood out. Her appearance was ethereal .
She had left at the end of the first semester of our junior year. I vividly recall that too. She sort of made an announcement in class that she wouldn't be back. She was leaving school to go to New York City and pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. People who knew her were rallying around her and wishing her well and so on and so forth. Like I said, I barely knew her. I'm not sure we ever even had a conversation when she came up to me at some point (maybe in the student lounge) and said good-bye to me personally. She told me she was leaving. That's all I remember. I'm sure I wished her luck. What I do remember is her standing in front of me in such proximity. Perhaps a foot away, directly in front of me, beaming up into my face (she was extremely petite). Her look at that time was not the look she had in her movies. She wore no make-up. Her skin was so pale as to be translucent. She often wore her hair piled haphazardly on her head with little wisps hanging down. She was always in flowing, diaphanous outfits with super dangly earrings: an even more elfin and gamine sort of Edie Sedgwick, by way of New Yawhk. She shone like some sort of otherworldly being. She was unforgettable. Clearly, as I have not forgotten.
We had a mutual friend; Amy. Amy and I partnered up for a final film project in one of our classes. We both moved out to Los Angeles around the same time and kept in touch for a while. One day we were talking and she said, "Did you hear about Adrienne Shelly?" "No," I replied, "what about her?" "She's a movie star! Well, indies, anyways. She's in Hal Hartley's movies!" I had no idea who Hal Hartley was. "They're saying she's like, "The New Brigitte Bardot" of America!"
"Really!!!" Amy exclaimed, with three exclamation points. I was surprised; but I wasn't. What I was surprised about was that she went and did it. She said, "I'm going to go be an actress in New York..." and she did just that. Son of a bitch she did it. And a rising movie star no less. She'd beaten the odds. That odd looking girl from my film class who inexplicably came up to me and said farewell.
So, she makes this splash and then sort of disappears. I'm guessing to raise a family. But then, she returns on the other side of the camera as the writer/director of a little movie called Waitress.
In Adrienne's case, I hope that it was fate. I hope that it was God calling her back for some reason. Because if it's not, then what's the point? What's the point of being born and dropped on this planet? A husband lost a wife. A child lost her mother. The world lost a talented artist. All because someone wanted the money in Adrienne's purse. How much could have been in there? Not a lot, I'm guessing.
Here's Adrienne's daughter:
But still, I wonder. Why did Adrienne say good-bye to me personally, all those years ago? Maybe it was to cement herself in my mind. Because perhaps the stars are aligned; for better or worse. And it would lead me to write this blog, that someone who didn't know about Adrienne might read and then they might create some Art about Adrienne and that would lead to something else. Something that made sense. Something that brought some good into the world.
*I do not directly know a murderer (as far as I know); but I do have loved ones who know both a murderer and his victim.