By Maureen Post Special to Published Dec 20, 2009 at 11:06 PM

Earlier this week, hip-hop artist and Minneapolis native Brother Ali was highlighted in an brief for his recent Barrymore Theatre performance followed by an appearance on "Late Night with Jimmy Fallon."

In 2005, I met Brother Ali at The Great Dane in Madison; he’d released two albums but was relatively unknown on the national scene and drew only a show crowd of maybe a couple hundred. He, in person, was exactly as I’d hoped and predicted—intelligent, interesting and humble.

But, obviously, that isn’t always the case.

To lots of people, the world of celebrity musicians, athletes and actors is more than a big deal; it’s a fantasy world full of expectations. It’s like knowing someone you’ve never met.

Whether you sit down for coffee with them, gawk as they pass by on the street or stare onstage through binoculars, there’s something undeniably fascinating about the celebrity run-in.

But, when reality rarely lives up to fantasy, would you rather meet your favorite celeb and risk tainting the image or continue to view from afar and maintain your ideal perception?

It’s a tough choice to make. Hypothetically that is.

I’ve met celebrities, particularly musicians, and loved some and hated others. And with those, who I saw in a completely different light than I expected or hoped, would I opt to take the introduction back? There’s no question, yes, indeed. The world of celebrity is always a world of fantasy and no doubt, I’m happy to leave it there when necessary.

Maureen Post Special to staff writer Maureen Post grew up in Wauwatosa. A lover of international and urban culture, Maureen received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

After living on the east side of Madison for several years, Maureen returned to Milwaukee in 2006.

After a brief stint of travel, Maureen joined as the city’s oldest intern and has been hooked ever since. Combining her three key infatuations, Milwaukee’s great music, incredible food and inspiring art (and yes, in that order), Maureen’s job just about fits her perfectly.

Residing in Bay View, Maureen vehemently believes the city can become fresh and new with a simple move across town.