Busey Holly

Gary Busey to appear and perform at screening of “The Buddy Holly Story.“

by Griffin Fillipitch


What: An Evening with Gary Busey &undefined;&&undefined;undefined&undefined;

When:  7 p.m. Friday

Where: Parkway Theater, 4814 S. Chicago Ave., Minneapolis

Cost: $48-58

College students are likely to only know Gary Busey from his recent appearances on shows like “Celebrity Apprentice,””Celebrity Fit Club,” “Celebrity Rehab” and “Celebrity Paranormal Project,” among others. He probably knows his way around VHâÄù by now.

Busey is an important commodity on these shows because, unlike former “Divorce Court” judges or fourth-place finishers on “America’s Next Top Model,” he is an actual celebrity. He was nominated the Academy Award for Best Actor in âÄù97âÄô for his performance as Buddy Holly in “The Buddy Holly Story.”

This all-important credential, along with Busey’s recent participation in reality TV, put him in an odd middle space between acting greats like Jack Nicholson and D-List celebrities like the Snapple lady. For this reason, it is difficult to know exactly how to think of him.

Luckily, Busey will be in Minneapolis this Friday for a screening of “The Buddy Holly Story.” This should give us a better idea.

Busey’s appearance will take place on the anniversary of Buddy Holly’s death in a plane crash that also claimed the lives of Ritchie Valens and JP “The Big Bopper” Richardson 53 years ago.

“The response has been great so far,” said Trish Cook, a coordinator of the event. “Ticket sales have been good. People are excited to see the film and him.”

It is possible, though, that Busey himself is even more anxious for Friday night than those that will be attending.

“Gary was really excited about it because he holds Buddy Holly and that particular role in very high esteem,” said Cook. “He was surprised and happy to be asked. He said it is not something he has done before.”

Busey has made clear in the past that it was the best role of his career.

“When they put those glasses on me, darkened my hair and gave me those dorky clothes from the ’50s, I couldn’t find Gary Busey in the mirror,” said Busey in a 2003 interview with TVO. “That was the biggest moment of my career.”

The screening will take place at the Parkway Theater, as part of Rob Chapman’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Moving Picture Show, which has included other classic music films like “Purple Rain,” “The Last Waltz” and “Gimme Shelter.”

Busey spoke about Holly’s death in the same interview with TVO.

“I remember in the ninth grade I was standing in my room and heard it on the radio,” said Busey. “I remember right where I was standing. The first thing I thought was, “We’ll never hear that music again.”

That is only partly true, however. The most exciting part of the evening will take place when Busey performs five songs with a Buddy Holly tribute band.

Though it is unclear if Busey has maintained his musical ability, Cook and others believe that Busey will do well.

“He did perform all of the songs in the movie himself,” said Cook.

Busey has been in the news lately following his endorsement of Newt Gingrich as Republican candidate for president. But chances are that Friday night will be centered around the memory of Buddy Holly and Busey’s more serious acting days.