Thursday, November 15, 2007

Close encounters

So, I spent three days in L.A. and the most famous person I saw was "Merv Griffin's Crosswords" host Ty Treadway. (Who is, for the record, warm, genial, and rather handsome. And I also met him a month before going on the show, at the Chicago auditions. I got a hug.)

I have seen famous people in other cities, though. Here in Chicago, at a California Pizza Kitchen, Mr. Tangerine and I saw Jackie Mason 10 or 15 years ago. He was in town for his one-man show, I think. He appeared to be dining with a bodyguard or other entourage member. He wandered around the dining room scoping out plates of food. When he passed our table, Mr. Tangerine said, "Jackie Mason!" Mason replied, "Hey. I'm just lookin' for a good item." Ever since then, Mr. Tangerine and I have always enjoyed looking for a good item when we're out on the town. Why read a menu when you can eyeball the food other people are eating?

Also in the 10-to-15-years-ago range, I rode in an Orlando hotel elevator with Carrot Top. Of course, I wasted no time stripping off his clothes and mine and savagely pleasuring him because he's a celebrity. No, wait, that didn't happen.

I've been to concerts, of course, and I saw Patrick Stewart in The Tempest on Broadway, but those don't count as celebrity encounters because they cost me money.

I once swooned because I reached out and touched the fuzzy peach sweater of a soap opera actor at a mall appearance. He was the guy who played Sean Cudahy on All My Children, and the year must've been somewhere around 1980 because I saw him with my best friend in 8th grade, Leila. (A few years later, Leila saw Cheap Trick's Robin Zander in an airport.)

Edited to add what I just remembered: At the 2006 Sundance Film Festival, I saw Glenn Close and Rachel Dratch, and chatted with documentarian Morgan Spurlock of Super Size Me fame. And at this year's American Crossword Puzzle Tournament, I saw Phil Donahue.

So, what famous people have you seen in the flesh? C'mon, spill some dirt!


B.E.C.K. said...

Had a nice conversation with Dom Deluise at a poetry reading in Westwood, CA. Also in Westwood, sat two rows behind Shelley Long at her movie *Irreconcilable Differences* and talked to her for a minute afterward. Did the grin/upward nod thing with Jason Lee outside the Screen Actors Guild a coupla years ago. (He was leaving a neighboring chicken place with two big bags, and I was in line to exit the parking lot while chaffeuring a German friend around L.A.) Sat near Chelsea Clinton (avec boyfriend) waiting for a flight in Miami. Hung out during finals/viewing/discussion week in a film class my college boyfriend had with Matt Lattanzi (then married to Olivia Newton-John).

The one with Dom Deluise was the sweetest. My date and I were at a Westwood bookstore for an Edgar Allen Poe reading/performance, and DD's son's friend was in the performance. Before we went upstairs for the show, we talked with DD, who was very personable and sweet, and showed me the scrap of paper on which he'd written the show date/location; it also had his appointment at UCLA Medical Center scribbled on it. Very human. Upstairs, seated among the very small audience, he took the time to learn people's names and professions and kidded them gently. I was a librarian at the time, so he told everyone they had to be quiet or I'd scold them. That kind of thing. Just a very nice guy.

Anonymous said...

I ran into George Michael and Andrew Ridgely (then comprising Wham!) in a bathroom in 1985. It was the women's bathroom in a fancy western hotel in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou, and George and Andrew were sitting on the counter, chatting with each other. I had to step between them to wash my hands, and I was thinking "just be cool and don't even act like it's a little wierd to find them here." My colleages and I (all working at the U.S. Consulate) had earlier in the evening watched Wham!'s concert at the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall. Good times. I still have an unreasonable fondness for "Careless Whisper."

At another diplomic function in China, (this one at the Ambassador's residence in Beijing), I chatted with Ying Ruocheng, the actor who played the prison commandant in the Last Emperor. Lovely man.

Does the King of Swaziland count as a celebrity? I guess he doesn't really pass the test, because he would never show up in the pages of People magazine, but I did have the opportunity to employ correctly the phrase "your majesty." My only brush with royalty.

Henny Penny said...

In high school my sister and I were in Indianapolis and we were making fun of a group of very skinny guys. They turned out to be the Black Crows. We figured it out when a woman ran up and tore her shirt apart and asked them to sign her boobs.

Jeff Janusch said...

Two guys I always see around the neighborhood are Steve Albini and "Hot Doug" Sohn.

I saw Joe DiMaggio walking out of a restaurant on Michigan Av. a few years ago.

Back in 1998 I went with my cousin and my uncle to the Music Box Theater to see the premiere of Michael Moore's "The Big One", where Moore was scheduled to appear for a Q&A after the screening. We got there early and saw this old guy in the lobby just standing there by himself. It was Studs Terkel. We talked to him for quite a while and my uncle gave him a bright green baseball hat with the sheet metal workers' union logo on it. He had it on his head later when Moore called him onstage for an award.

Around 1991 I had a roommate who dated the pre-famous Lauren Graham.

Back in the 80's I worked downtown at a fish market where sightings of local politicians and TV reporters were common, but one semi-regular customer was Alice Cooper, who lived in Oak Park for a time. He would call up and say "Hi, this is Vince, I'd like to order blah blah."

The Absent Minded Housewife said...

No one! I've rubbed elbows with famous poets, but never anyone in the entertainment industry.

Recently my husband ran into two out of three members of ZZtop in our grocery store. They were here doing concerts. He shook a bearded guy's hand.

I met Screech...that doesn't count, lol. Also Brian Wimmer and pro football player Scott Mitchell...but they are from my hometown and that doesn't count either.

My sister's didn't bother to tell me until last week that they have been bowling with Gary Coleman week after week. I'm quite jealous. I think they should invite him over for Thanksgiving.

We have a lot of movies filmed where I live but I'm not out enough to see the celebrities at the poker tables.

Charly said...

When I was 4, the movie Runaway Train was filled at our local ski resort. My dad was the conductor/brakeman for most of the scenes filled here (although the only scene that actually had him in it was cut before production), and I went skiing with Rebecca De Mornay and Jon Voight.

I lived in small town Oklahoma for 8 years, where I met my husband. He was a bouncer for a concert security firm, so he met several country singers through the course of his work - Mark Chestnut, Montgomery Gentry, Willie Nelson, David Allan Coe, Chris Ledouix, and many others. He also worked at a construction company that built the road leading into Garth Brooks' house. We met Garth several times, as well as his ex-wife. Also, when he was in elementary school, one of his friends' step-mom was Reba McEntire. My mother in law still talks about the backyard barbeques they would throw.

Charlie said...

I've never really met anyone famous. However, this whole thread reminds me of the song by The White Stripes called "Take, Take, Take." If you can get your hands on it, you might listen to it. I find it rather clever.

Krupskaya said...

Great song.

My "celebrity" encounters:

Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum slapped my butt when I was about six months pregnant at a Son Volt show. He didn't say anything and I think he was trying to get me out of the way, although I was I WAS looking pretty luscious in a sleeveless minidress and clogs.

I chatted with Martin Zellar after a Gear Daddies concert at my college, lo these many years ago.

Most of my other "celebrity" encounters are political. For example, I asked Vladimir Putin a question way back when he was deputy mayor of St. Petersburg.

barrywep said...

I sat next to Chris Noth of Sex and the City and Law and Order fame at a political fundraiser. We chatted about politics. He told me he really appreciated my not asking him about his TV roles. He hates it when people do that. He invited me to his club in New York. (I never went).

Narya said...

I had a long-running affair with a minor local personality (perhaps you can understand why I'm unwilling to be specific here . . . ).

And once I had a longish conversation with a major-league baseball player, in a bar after a game. Once he realized that I really wasn't trying to hit on him, and that we were from the same part of the country, we actually had a nice chat.