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Friday, May 23, 2008

BRUSHED WITH GREATNESS

As a New Yorker I'm immune to celebrity, mostly. You can't walk the streets without seeing famous folk, and for the most part the rule of thumb is that we leave them be. New Yorkers pride themselves on being above such notions as celebrity. Sometimes, if you see somebody who's work you particularly respect, you give a nod of recognition as you pass, but you never approach them. We like having them here, we don't want to drive them off.

In my line of work, often I have to deal with celebrities. Mostly my interaction goes something like this:

"Some water, Mr. Bennet?"

or

"We need you backstage Mr. Reiner."

There was one moment, though, in my life where I was brought to understand the term 'starstruck'.

I was in a deli on 57th street buying a Gatorade. While I was deciding between the red or the green I hear a voice. The voice ordered coffee, black. I knew that voice. I turned, and sure enough, there was David Johansen.

My God! It's David Johansen!

I looked around. In moments like this human nature dictates we share the moment, as if to confirm that it is actually happening. The entire population of the deli consisted of myself, Mr. Johansen, and the two deli employees - an old Asian lady and a young Hispanic dude, neither of whom had any clue who was gracing their deli!

I can't describe the frustration, and indeed barely understand it.

Once, when I worked as a waiter at the Hard Rock Cafe, I had a chance to meet a hero of mine. The Hard Rock has function rooms that they use, at times, to accommodate famous musicians. When that happens, a waiter is picked to serve them. One day, my good friend Paul Raff came up to me and said that Bad Company was in the function room, and that he was working it, and did I want to meet them. I gave Paul the following instruction:

"Tell me when the dude with the obviously dyed short black hair leaves the long grey haired geezer looking dude alone."

A Little while later Paul told me the moment had arrived. I went up to the room, entered and indeed, Paul Rodgers wasn't there. I approached Mick Ralphs and put out my hand saying:

"Mick, my pleasure to meet you, I'm a huge Mott The Hoople fan."

Mr. Ralphs said; "Mott, oh that larf, glad to meet you as well."

The first brush with greatness I had was way back in the spring of '85 when I was working hospitality for a Ramones gig at the University of Maryland. I was assigned to sit outside their dressing room and, well, sit there.
Dee Dee came out, sat with us for a few minutes, chatted about local music, very sweet. Joey remained in the dressing room glued to the longest joint I had ever seen - at that point. The highlight was when Johnny came out and asked where the bathroom was, I told him: "Down the hall to the left". He went down the hall to the right. Five minutes later he crossed back over to the left. I have often wondered about that five minutes of Johnny's life.

Celebs. They're just people. Usually fucked up people, but people none the less.

Comments:
I've never understood your Paul Rodgers hatin'...

I'm down with the celeb thing though. If there's an opportunity to chat I will, but only if I feel they're open to it. Otherwise, I leave them alone. The non-asshats just want to be treated like regular people.

Although, if Keith Richards was buying a pack of smokes at some deli I happened to be in, I just might be able to muster the nerve and keep myself from peeing my pants long enough to ask if he wouldn't mind taking a quick cell phone photo. What the fuck, it's Keith...
 
I don't hate Paul Rodgers, but he's no Mick Ralphs!

Your bro would understand.

From what I undersatnd, Keith is rather approachable, and you'll know he's coming from the smell that preceeds him.
 
I worked on a film (forgettable) that starred David. He was super nice and very professional, great to work with and to be around.
 
Yeah, I do understand. I don't hate Rodgers either, but I'd be way more in awe of Ralphs!
 
Did you watch "All Dolled Up" yet? Crappy quality, yet interesting... great Thunders stuff...

http://phobos.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewMovie?id=279536024&s=143441
 
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