My two days with Ewan McGregor

We were scheduled to play at the Lincoln Avenue Street Fair, in Chicago. The day started off slow. First time slot, so there weren’t many people on the street. While I’m playing a small crowd starts to gather. I noticed a man walking up towards the stage, who looked familiar, almost like one of my family members. He really grabbed my attention, but I could not place him. He was a fully bearded, scruffy, wearing a Biker outfit. Obviously European. Very charismatic. He was bopping to the music and smiling. Just then I noticed a professional cameraman filming He whom I call the Bearded One. Then, I saw another cameraman. I tried to place the Bearded One, but I did not recognize him, so I assumed he must be a local European TV celebrity in town for some Chicago Blues. That happens a lot around festival time.The longer my show went on, the more of a crowd converged. And the Bearded One was really getting into it, as his camera crew filmed him enjoying the music. At the end of my show, I start the Boogie Woogie. Suddenly, I felt someone on my right side, on stage with me. That was unusual. I looked up and it was the Bearded One’s cameraman.

Having been on many stages filmed for TV or Close Circuit, I was not thrown. I played to the camera. He was great too. He kept getting shots of my hands, then back to my face, then over to the drums and then finally back to me for the finale. The crowd went crazy for the Boogie Woogie, the energy filled the air, the cameraman was dancing around me.When it was all over, the cameraman came up to me and thanked me for playing along and started to explain his purpose. “We are filming a documentary with Ewan McGregor.” Ewan McGregor? I know that name, but in all the excitement and energy of the show, I couldn’t for the life of me remember who was Ewan McGregor!!!!

What is wrong with my brain that I can’t place him? I looked over to the front of the stage and there was the Bearded One reaching out for me, with a starstruck grin on his face. I kept looking into his orange, weathered beard, trying to see his face. Trying to place him. “Ewan McGregor, Ewan McGregor.” I still had no clue. Was he a rock star? A movie star? A TV star? Well, no worries, I’ll just play along.I go over to this ‘Ewan’ guy and he is looking up at me with awe. He tells me how wonderful I am and asks to see my hands. He holds them for a moment as if they hold some magic power. Again, he says something to the effect of, “You’re Amazing!” I look back and say, “I’m a big fan of yours as well.” (WHAT? I can’t believe I said that, when I don’t even know the guy.) He looks up at me and says in response, “Not as much as I am of you!” As we chat, the accent, the eyes, the name, Ewan McGregor, start becoming familiar. Still I’m not sure. So, I ask him if he’s in town shooting a movie and he explains that he and his buddy, Actor Charlie Boorman are driving their motorcycles 20,000 miles across the globe from London to NYC and they are filming it for as a documentary series for Bravo. I am starting to see the importance of all of this hoopla and I interrupt my mother, who is busy selling CD’s to the general public and I ask her for a business card. She, not noticing the importance, ignores me. Ewan starts asking me questions about myself, while the camera is rolling in our faces. I tell him I’m a struggling artist, just trying to make it. I said, “You know what it’s like, you are an artist.” With that, I suddenly realize who he is!!!! Holy crap!! Moulin Rouge, Trainspotting, Big Fish, Star Wars, etc. It’s Ewan McGregor, It’s EWAN MC-FUCKING-GREGOR!!!! I LOVE HIM!!!! But I just didn’t recognize him with the beard! And with all the hoopla and excitement of my show, my mind was frankly not focused. Then he looks up at me with all sincerity and says, regarding my career, “It’s only a matter of time.” How sweet. With all the positive energy in the air, my band and his crew all hugging each other, and congratulating each other, swapping info, were bonding, if only for a moment.

But what a great moment!!Now, it’s time for me to pack up my equipment to make room for the next band. I excuse myself and get to ‘work’. I notice Ewan and his crew, were not leaving the immediate area, they were still hanging around as if they didn’t want to miss anything more. The tech comes over and asks me to sign a waiver for Bravo. I’m still trying to find a business card to give to Ewan, and I don’t want to miss the opportunity, but I got to get my equipment off stage. Faster than lightening, I pack, go to the van & get a business card and run over to Ewan and tell him if he ever needs a band for any parties… He interrupts, “We’re having a wrap party on Thursday in NYC, if you want to come.” “Sure, I’d love to come, I’m free on Thursday and I used to live in New York. It would be great!” I then ask for a photo op.

Then energy in the air is still filled with positive vibrations and excitement. As the crew disperses, David, the producer, comes over and says, “If you would really like to come to the party on Thursday, we would be delighted to have you there. I’ll put you on the list.” We exchange info.
With my head reeling from the entire day, my mom & I are like bubbly schoolgirls. I tell her about my invitation to NY and how I HAVE to go!!! Of course I have to go. How many opportunities am I going to get in my lifetime, to go to a Hollywood wrap party in NYC with Ewan McGregor!

I asked my cousin, Jennifer from Albany to accompany me to the party in New York City. It was a ‘Murphy’s Law’ day of aggravation; getting to NYC, Jenn’s train being late, both of our cell phone batteries dying, finding Jenn in the terminal, being locked out of my friends NYC apartment, Jenn’s name not on ‘the list’, the ‘perfect’ outfits now disheveled. Though we are tired and frustrated, Jenn and I finally arrive at the party, late. But it couldn’t have been a more perfect evening.As soon as we walked in, we ran into David, the producer, who greeted me with open arms and a generous hug. He seemed thrilled that I was there. He quickly whisked me over to the VIP section to see Ewan. I approached Ewan’s table, and I see that his back is to me. I lightly tap him on the shoulder and before I could re-introduce myself, Ewan turned and shouted, “Doña, oh my God, you came all the way from Chicago!!!” He wrapped his arms around me and kissed me, then turned to the woman sitting next to him and said “Natalie, this is Doña Oxford, she is the next big thing in music! Doña, this is Natalie Portman.” NATALIE PORTMAN!!! I LOVE HER!! Then Ewan asked us to join them at their table. Imagine, me and my cousin sitting at ‘THE’ table in ‘THE’ VIP section at ‘THE’ party of the week! And I could see so many people trying just to get close to this coveted table, and here we were asked to sit down!! Natalie introduced me to her cousin, as I introduced her to mine. Funny. Ewan snapped his fingers and looked for someone of service and started yelling, “We need a piano. We’ve got to get a piano in here. You have to hear her play.” Unfortunately there was no way we were going to get a piano into a crowded nightclub at 11:30 at night. But Jenn & I had a great time hearing about Ewan’s adventures, talking to Natalie & her cousin, and hanging out with all the Hollywood types. It was a BLAST!
I hope to make it into Ewan’s Docu-reality-series on Bravo. If you are interested in watching the series and maybe catch me on the tube, the series is called “Long Way Round”. There are 6 different episodes. I would bet if we make the cut, we will be in Episode 5 or 6, since we were near the end of his trip and at the wrap party.Long Way Round