LA is a city of Stars. So many members of the Entertainment Media live and/or work in Los Angeles, that the chance of seeing a Movie Star, if you live in, or visit LA, is extremely high. One night, in 2010, at the Ralph’s Market on Olympic near Century City, I stood next to in line Mario Van Peebles.
Being a fan of Film, I immediately recognized him. I’d recently seen him on cable in Solo, a B Movie which was fairly entertaining. Van Peebles plays a cybernetic weapon created by the Defense Department. Van Peebles has a very formidable physique. He’s utterly ripped.
I knew Van Peebles well, from his role in New Jack City, which he directed and starred in as the crooked cop. New Jack City was one of Chepe Esccondido and my favorite movies back Berkeley in the late 80’s, early 90’s. I remember, back in 92 or 93, just after my return to LA from Berkeley, Van Peebles wrote and directed a movie called Posse, a cowboy flick with an all Black cast. I never saw it. It got mixed reviews.
My point is, I saw Van Peebles on Letterman, back in 1993, promoting Posse and what I’ll never forget, long as I live, was Van Peebles was talking about this yoga/goal regiment he was into -- a kind of physical mental program that gave him to impetus to write, direct, and star in a full legnth motion picture -- which is a formidable feat. He said to Dave, ‘May I show you?’ and proceeded to climb on Dave’s desk and stand on his fingers and then walk about the desk on his fingers. He stepped down and said, “The mantra is, if I can do that, I can do anything!” I’m paraphrasing based on an 18 year old memory which is stuck in brain, and may not be entirely accurate.
When I met Van Peebles in person last year, the only thing about him I could remember, at that moment -- I was under the influence of THC at the time -- was that his father Melvin Van Peebles is a great director of fine Blackxplotaion films from the 1970’s and this I commented to him. “I’m a really big fan of your father,” I told him. That was all I said, with a smile of recognition and slight admiration.
He thanked me for my kind words and I basically left him alone. He was buying beer and probably, like most celebrities, didn’t like being hassled by audience members.
In closing, I’d like to say, if I ever see Mario Van Peebles again, I’m going to tell him – "When you were on Letterman back in 1993 promoting your Posse movie, I watched you and I took your Mantra to heart. 21 months ago, I could barely do one pull up. Now, I can do nine. At the same time, over the last 21 months, I've learned to play drums, I've learned to play guitar and sing well. I've learned Photoshop and Flash. I've quit drinking. I've published a book. By Christmas, I’m going to be standing on my hands. And next year I’m going to Law School and I’m going to have earned the money to pay for it beforehand. Thank you. Your words and your actions have affected my life very positively.”
It doesn't matter what you believe in, so long as you believe in something.