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Joss Whedon, Amber Benson and Michelle Trachtenberg at Tower Records

[Originally published on a now defunct web magazine in 2002]

There was a release party for the CD of the Buffy musical, "Once More, With Feeling" at Tower Records in West Hollywood on Saturday, September 28, 2002. Joss Whedon and Amber Benson were scheduled to appear and sign autographs. I absolutely had to go, of course; I stood for over two hours in the parking lot, in the rain, doing some serious bonding with a bunch of Buffy-obsessed strangers, and all for five minutes of sign-y goodness. But it was worth every minute of the wait for the opportunity to talk with Joss Whedon, Amber Benson, and Michelle Tractenberg, who appeared as an extra added attraction.

People from A&E were in the parking lot interviewing Buffy fans for a special that will air around Halloween. One of my line-mates volunteered, a teenager with a cell phone that actually played the Buffy theme when it rang; I hope she ends up on the show.

The CD was playing when we finally got inside (they were taking us in from the parking lot in groups of about twenty) and when we got up to the table, it reached that section where Tara was singing, "How can this be, playing with my memory..." and to my complete and total delight, Amber Benson started singing quite naturally along with the soundtrack. Tara was one of my absolute favorite characters. I did NOT ask Joss why he had to kill her off!

Instead, I asked Joss, "Did you have any idea that the musical would be such a critical success?" His reply was, "Are you kidding? I didn't think I was going to finish the thing." I asked Michelle Tractenberg if she was looking forward to what would be happening with Dawn this year; Joss leaned over and said that Dawn was going to be even more whiney and mopey and that she'd be wearing pastels. And then he hugged her. (He was teasing, folks!)

Amber was very bubbly and sweet, and obviously having a great time; she talked to everyone and let people take pictures of themselves with her (I was too shy).

There was too much of a crowd and it was too much of an assembly line to ask more questions, but I now have a "Once More With Feeling" CD with three signatures on it! And the CD is terrific; much, much better than our homemade copy.

The people I was standing with in the parking lot were terrific. After two hours of standing (noon to two) in the intermittent southern California rain, many of us were talking repeatedly and longingly about lunch; Julie, one of my line-mates, finally reached the desperation point, walked down the street to Subway and came back with a sandwich and several bottles of water, which she was kind enough to pass around. There was no place to eat, of course; at this point, we were standing behind Joss's BMW, so she put her napkin down on the hood of Joss's car and ate her lunch. For some reason, this became a mini-event; people were actually taking photos and vids of her eating over Joss's car. Hunger? Autograph line euphoria? I can't explain it. Instant mini-celebrity! By the time we got inside, even Joss had heard about it; Julie laughingly apologized to Joss for eating lunch on the hood of his car, and he said, "You're Subway woman!"

As we got close to the building, another of my line-mates said wryly, "It's all about the journey." I must have laughed for five minutes.

Do pick up a copy of the CD; it is just wonderful. I wish it had come out ten months ago.

Postscript: The documentary did finally air, and the teen I was with in line was indeed in it. You can see the line of people at Tower records in a season six DVD easter egg. It's somewhere on the "languages" section of "Once More, With Feeling." Unfortunately, I know where I am in that line, but you can't see me.
Billie Doux loves good television and spends way too much time writing about it.

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