Being in the Moment

John-Luther-3-luther-bbc-30683033-1024-768Yesterday I was leaving a client meeting in Dumbo, Brooklyn, when all of a sudden I stumbled onto the set of The Dark Tower, the movie adaptation of the popular Stephen King novels. As I watched the impressive set come together (the movie is scheduled to film in Dumbo all weekend), I decided to turn down a nearby street to keep investigating. Well, who do I see standing there but none other than Idris Elba in the flesh! Elba is starring in The Dark Tower along with Matthew McConaughey. He’s also known for playing the London copper John Luther on BBC’s Luther, one of my all-time favorite shows. Of course, I didn’t hesitate to tell him that!

In fact, I refused to curb any of my enthusiasm. I had run into a big TV/movie star completely unexpectedly in one of those great New York moments that you just don’t get in Iowa. The 92 degree day had gotten even hotter!

The way I approached Elba made his entourage chuckle. I lowered my sunglasses and said, “I am completely blown away to run into you Idris Elba. I am such a fan!” Mind you, I began my career in television so I’ve come across my fair share of celebrities over the years, but Elba has a star quality that you simply don’t see every day. He exudes charm and charisma, and of course, that sexy accent doesn’t hurt either! Hearing him say, “Thank you, sweetheart,” made my day. As for our handshake, let’s just say I didn’t wash my hand for several hours! I even blew him a kiss as I walked away, and I’m happy to say he blew one right back. It was a memorable encounter and a fabulous way to start the weekend.

Afterward, it dawned on me that perhaps I should go back and take a selfie with him.¬† However, seeing him with a bunch of people ready to go back on set, I decided I didn’t want to be too disruptive. I opted to soak up the moment, to enjoy the interaction and savor the memory that was created. I went the old school route. No iPhones, no Instagram, no hassling him to get the perfect two-shot. Just him and me havin’ a laugh and a handshake on a summer afternoon. That image doesn’t have to live on a phone; instead it’ll live in my mind and create a smile for years to come.




Know Your Selfie Etiquette

An image of women taking a selfie in front of the tragic East Village explosion has sparked outrage – and rightfully so. It’s just wrong and in the poorest taste possible.Selfie_NoNo

Unfortunately, instant clicks of a smartphone photo and vanity often lead to poor judgement. People become enthralled with being part of the action and need to share the moment with their friends and followers. But an accident scene? Really?

I witnessed the same lack of selfie etiquette a few weeks ago after a young man was hit by an R train at Union Street. As we evacuated the train, dozens of commuters were happily snapping photos of the incident. Luckily, a police officer on the scene began discouraging riders from taking pictures but not before the troubling images hit people’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

People need to think before they click. It’s as simple as that. Why would a particular image be worth sharing? What would people have to gain by seeing your selfie? Are you dining at a hot new restaurant? Celebrating your engagement? Did you just meet Brad Pitt? Okay, those kinds of selfies are acceptable.

People need to remember that selfies are meant to be social. It’s the “social” in social media. Just as singer Mat Kearney took a selfie with the audience at the New York concert I attended last week, or Ellen DeGeneres’ infamous Oscars’ selfie – selfies are meant to make people feel like part of an event; to promote bonding; a common experience (and of course, it doesn’t hurt marketing, either).

But when it comes to an accident site, there’s definitely nothing worth smiling over.¬†Village Idiots, indeed.