Last Saturday, a friend and I ventured into L.A. for a matinee performance of THE COLOR PURPLE. We picked up our tickets at the Pantages Theatre box office, and then, with more than an hour to kill before showtime, we meandered along Hollywood Boulevard.
Meh. Other than Capitol Records and the Pantages, most buildings are nigh unto indistinguishable from architecture you’d find elsewhere. And there’s nothing especially notable along that stretch of sidewalk, either, save for the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Never been? Imagine, if you will, miles-long expanses of gritty urban streets, lined with row upon row of glittery pink stars that represent Hollywood pioneers and pop idols. Nestled into black terrazine tiles, they twinkle in the afternoon sun. Notice me, the stars seem to say. Remember me always.
It’s an awesome tribute, at least in the abstract, but my eyes glazed over when we walked its length and breadth. Most names, I didn’t recognize. A few seemed vaguely familiar. I could easily identify only a handful of luminaries, most likely because their accomplishments are deeply woven into our fabric of our culture.
Fame is such a fleeting thing, isn’t it? As seen through the long lens of eternity, we are but tiny flickers of light in an infinite sky. It’s not a depressing thought, however–at least not for me. It’s merely a reminder that this is our constellation; this is our moment to shine.
Our Light shines brightest when we are here, fully present in the now. That was my teary-eyed takeaway from PRECIOUS, the movie. And when Celie belted out “I Am Here” during THE COLOR PURPLE, I was touched to my marrow. Before she hit the final note, the audience rose to its feet as one, roaring its approval. We were honoring Fantasia’s unique talents, yes; but we were also acknowledging the timeless, universal themes that bind us all together.