“What I’m saying is, if you want to go, I won’t stop you.”

There was nothing stopping us from attending and enjoying last night’s show and tribute to what has to be one of the most admirable, generous, down-to earth, and just downright hot (yea, Mom, we agree with you on this one) Hollywood legends. Not the ever-elusive Muni trains, the lines stretching round the block at the Castro theater, and not even the snooty B&T crew sitting in front of us in the balcony last night.

Robert Redford, this year’s recipient of the San Francisco Film Society’s Peter J. Owens award, so we were treated to a film montage of Redford’s work over the past forty years followed by a conversation between Redford and Phil Bronstein, the San Francisco Chronicle’s editor at large. We actually met one of Redford’s oldest friends in line to get into the theater, a guy who it turns out was friends with both Redford and Paul Newman, the other star of the Sundance Kid. Redford’s old pal described him as one of the most genuine and down-to-earth guys you could come across. He told us he wouldn’t miss the tribute for the world.

Redford’s appearance, super casual in his jeans and sneakers, his relaxed, reassuring demeanor, and his responses to Bronstein’s and audience questions confirmed that “down-to-earth” was extremely fitting. When one audience member finally got her opportunity to ask Redford a question, shell-shocked, she was speechless and couldn’t come up with the question – or any question at all. Observing her obvious anxiety, Redford quickly advised the woman “not to step too close to the balcony,” and managed to turn a pretty awkward moment (we wanted to crawl under our seat for her) into a bit of comedy.

Redford described the numerous challenges and travails of managing fame, something that hit him head-on after his role as the Sundance Kid. He grew up in Los Angeles, which he described as being “raised in the rainbow,” and was always aware of the artifice of Hollywood. Dealing with fame was a little like shadowboxing, according to Redford. He constantly reminded himself not to behave or become “the object,” a task that wasn’t always easy for him or his family.

After watching Sundance Kid

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