Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Celebrity Good Times, Come On!

I saw SNL's Chris Parnell a couple of minutes ago when I was buying hair goop and Cheez-its in Duane Reade. He looked exactly like he does on TV, except he's sort of got a booty that doesn't come across on the small screen. Well, also a bald spot, but c'est la vie. He was wearing the kind of outfit that you might see on a prep school seventeen year old, all fitted hoodie/tailored jeans/faux vintage flannel. It was also the kind of outfit that immediately makes you wonder Wait, is Chris Parnell gay?

I don't know if he is or if he isn't, but it's funny that I saw my first celebrity in a while after going to a reading last night all about regular people's encounters with celebrities. The WYSIWYG Talent Show (featuring, among others, Amnesia Sparkles and my favorite Project Runway contestant Diana Eng) is a blogger reading series, and last night's installment was called "Starfuckers." Close encounters with Sharon Stone, Mike Piazza's baseball, the American Idol judges, John Davidson, and Corey Feldman (among other barely-listers) were all described in the painstaking, gory, probably slightly embellished detail that characterizes a blogger.

I haven't met met all that many celebrities. Through my old job I met a handful of musicians who were cool enough to play the college circuit circa 2004, but I'm not sure many of them qualify as famous. I had a pretty good conversation with Nikki Giovanni once, which was real exciting for me because I'm a freaking nerd, but it isn't the kind of celebrity story I can sell to E! for the big bucks.

Well. There was also the time I pissed off Michelle Branch.

It would be a better story if it had come to fisticuffs, but I'm not a famous enough blogger to embellish it that much. The truth of it is that she was opening for Sheryl Crow, I was sitting with Brad in the second row, and she took a shine to our little buckaroo and kept looking directly over at us. That was when I decided to start making fun of her stupid hippie dance, and she caught me, and she glared at me somewhere in the middle of, I think, "Goodbye to You." I think. That could be me embellishing. But isn't that just the perfect song for her to dance The Dirty Hippie?

Any of my few other celebrity encounters have been the product of fandom or chance, and those are, in turn, the products of adolescence and living in New York, respectively. I met Toni Collette by standing for an hour and fifteen minutes outside the back door to the Broadway theater she was performing in. That's not a fun celebrity story. That's an embarrassing (and certifiable...) devotion to the movie Velvet Goldmine.

Passing John Cusack on the way home from work was my best celebrity encounter, even though it wasn't an encounter in the Merriam-Webster sense of the word. He walked past. I didn't urinate. I'd call that pretty successful. He was wearing sunglasses and a hat, and talking on a cell phone, so I couldn't even see his eyes, but he was much taller than I expected, and the sunglasses probably helped my delusion that he is still--like some hotpants version of Peter Pan--Lloyd Dobler.

Lindsay of said last night that it's horrible when you meet a celebrity, because a particularly ass-kissing part of you kicks in. Suddenly you just love every movie the person standing in front of you was in. That's true. But I almost never get to the stage where I'm in close enough proximity to their ass to do any kissing. You remember in, like, first grade when you learned about magnets? And how two north ends pushed next to each other will repel? That's me and whatever D-lister is on line in front of me at Starbucks. I don't want to look up, I don't want to bother them, I don't want to talk to them, and I really don't want to ask them to sign anything or take a picture. It doesn't matter if I've memorized every word to all of their songs or I watched their movie every week all through high school.

It's weird. I will shamelessly try to see what it is you're reading on the subway, or I will mutter so you can hear me if you shove in front of me to get on the elevator, but if I know your face from TV as well as I know mine, I am intent on leaving you alone. It's not that I'm afraid to say hi. And it's not that I think so highly of, say, a D-lister like James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins that I don't wanna intrude on his me-time to ask him for a picture. I think the problem, as with most of my life, is melodrama.

I was seriously the most dramatic kid in the world. I've said it before, but my mother once caught me crying and singing "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" out my window when she sent me to my room for smacking my brother. I spent my formative years creating epic fantasies featuring whichever celebrity I would die for at the time. I had memorized dialogue for what would happen when I met Jared Leto (...and he realized I was the girl for him, and he fell madly in love with me, and we ran away to Seattle and started a band). If I like you, or your songs, or your movies, or your books, chances are I've got our meeting mapped out in my head. In all of my pretend encounters I charm you and we end up friends. To leave a meeting with someone I think about so often with just a picture (and knowing I'm just one of eighty billion flashbulbs to them) stomps right on my heart.

My bleeding, breaking, melodramatic heart.


Anonymous anonymousmomwhoquitsmoking said...

i can totally relate, i feel the same way.

funny story dorothy.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nikki Giovanni was my English teacher!

11:42 AM  
Blogger What'sHerFace said...

So you, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous, went to Virginia Tech? Is that the place where she teaches?

11:45 AM  

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