My readers surely must know by now that I am enamored with all things pop culture, including (but not limited to) television, movies and celebrities. What may surprise you is that there are many things I have not done that would seem characteristic for someone who enjoys the aforesaid things, such as seeing a famous person in real life, visiting New York City and watching part two of "The Godfather."
This past week, I finally got to check the first one off my list when Vanessa Williams and her brother, Chris Williams, came to SUNY Fredonia for the award ceremony held for their mother, Helen Tinch Williams. I actually did not even know that Mrs. Williams and her husband were graduates of SUNY Fredonia prior to last Wednesday; they spotted each other on campus, fell in love, got married and just happened to produce two successful actors. Vanessa, of course, is the reason why I continue to watch "Desperate Housewives" this season, was the first African American Miss America, and any child of the 1990s knows at least a handful of lyrics to her song "Save the Best for Last." "Curb Your Enthusiasm" fans will certainly recognize Chris Williams from the epic "Krazee-Eyez Killa" episode, and Chris has also spent some time on Showtime, appearing on "Weeds" and "Californication."
I am a really big Vanessa Williams fan. I am one of the only people I know of who loved "Ugly Betty" and Vanessa made that show worth watching as Wilhelmina Slater, basically a more wicked and calculating magazine editor than Anna Wintour herself. Also, as I previously mentioned, I continued to watch "Desperate Housewives" this season solely because Vanessa joined the cast following "Ugly Betty's" unfortunate cancellation. So, you can imagine my excitement when Greg Bacon (also a "Desperate Housewives" fan) called to tell me that she was coming to Fredonia on Nov. 12 and asked me if I wanted to cover it. You bet I did!
OBSERVER Photo by Justin Goetz
Drainolith will be at Soundlab in Buffalo on Monday.
I assumed that the bulk of the press conference would be about Helen Williams as it should be, since the occasion was her receiving the Jessie Hillman Award for Excellence. I did, however, shamelessly hope that there would be a moment toward the end of the conference where I might be able to sneak in a question about this season of "Desperate Housewives." Such an opportunity did not arise, so needless to say, I am still dying to know if the rumors about a possible "Ugly Betty" movie were true and if Vanessa would be reprising her role.
One of the things that really impressed me about the Williams family was how supportive of each other they were and it seems that Mr. and Mrs. Williams really instilled their kids with some solid values, which most of Hollywood is lacking.
"So many artists out there have parents and support people that said, 'You're wasting your time and we don't believe in you,'" Vanessa said when asked about her upbringing. "And therein lies a lot of the misery and a lot of the personal commotion that a lot of people, especially celebrities, have because they didn't have that basis and they're always trying to prove that they're worth something."
There's nothing like having a strong support system. The Lohans should take note.
Just in case you may be wondering: Vanessa looked fabulous and has excellent genes, because her mother looked incredible as well; her shoes were equally fabulous, and were black with a fuchsia accent on the (very high) heels; she seems just as sassy as she does onscreen; and I am still hoping that we will one day be enjoying chocolate martinis together and talking about fashion.
GET OUT OF TOWN
Drainolith will be at Soundlab in Buffalo on Monday, Nov. 22. The band is the solo project of Alexander Moskos, guitar player for AIDS Wolf. Moskos uses guitar, synthesizers and electronics to create lo-fi noisescapes. The opener is Swedish minimalist black-metal experimentalist Jacobin. The doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are $5. Soundlab is located at 110 Pearl St.
April Diodato is the OBSERVER Lifestyles editor. Drop her a line at firstname.lastname@example.org