February four years ago, I landed a part time job at a Soho boutique called Doggie Style. I needed the extra money, but more than that, I wanted an excuse to walk down the street and say to my friends in a loud voice:
“Yeah, I’m exhausted from Doggie Style.”
or the ever classy:
“At Doggie Style I get paid under the table.”
I found the ad on Craigslist. A lot of girls applied, girls with experience forcing applique sweaters onto Labradoodles. I had no experience. I was hired on the spot because the owner’s dog, a fat unmoveable mop, actually got up when I walked through the door.
I take moral issue with dressing animals. You can’t tell me this little guy is happy:
I felt like the Anne Geddes of lap dogs. Stuffing children into flower pots and making them wear bee antennae is on the same level as sizing a datsun for pink booties, or fastening a leather S&M raincoat (with matching skull and crossbones collar) onto a terrier. Dogs were designed to withstand rain. You certainly don’t see any caveman paintings of dogs in belted bison coats.
I was twenty-five and new to the city. Growing up in the South, my celebrity exposure was limited. Prior to Doggie Style, I had encountered only a handful of famous people. (By the way, that was a good one to say outloud.) Famous people like Catfish Hunter and Charlton Heston.
Catfish Hunter was a Yankees pitcher. He visited my grandmother’s nursing home when I was ten or eleven. My parents bought me a baseball just so he could sign it. Since I was the most awkward and unathletic girl in middle school I thought everyone was having a laugh at my expense.
At age sixteen, I met Charlton Heston at a book signing in Raleigh. He was autographing To Be A Man: Letters to My Grandson. I had no desire to buy the book because I already knew how Charlton Heston would advise me to be a man: Carry a gun! But my friend Elizabeth needed a birthday present for her mom (keep in mind, I am from North Carolina) so we braved the interminable line, and I watched Charlton Heston’s hands shake and wondered how can he steady his riffle with palsy like that? and when it was finally our turn, Elizabeth handed him her book for autographing and I smiled and extended my bookmark and he pushed it away and said: “I only sign what I wrote.” He spoke like Moses in The Ten Commandments. He made me feel like an illiterate shepard.
Ugh. Proud men.
Whenever I go home for the holidays, some friend or family member always asks me, with scared and suspect face: What is New york City like? I grew up celebrity obsessed but never quite believing famous people existed, you know, like how the Loch Ness monster might really be just a piece of driftwood. Then I moved to New York City where stars do very public things like eat in restaurants and dress their dogs in knit caps.
New York City is the best. City. Ever.
Even though I was “let go” from Doggie Style for inaccurately sorting leeshes and using a doggie barrette to keep my bangs out of my eyes, the place holds a soft spot in my heart. I had my first New York City celebrity siting at Doggie Style: Julie Bowen.
Julie Bowen was Carol Vessey on Ed. You might know her better as Jack’s ex-wife on Lost, or as the current Neutrogena spokeswoman. She came up in conversation last week and my friend Garth was like, “Dude, she totally ran over a guy with her car!” No, that was a different Neutrogena spokeswoman, Rebecca Gayheart. You can read all about that here. Actually, celebrity manslaughter is all the rage. Brandy never did a facewash commercial but while we’re at it, here’s her story, too.
At Doggie Style, Julie hung out by the jars of jerky strips. I stared inappropriately. I studied her pores. It’s not even that I liked Ed or swore by Neutrogena, just that she was famous and she was at my job. I’m really bad around celebrities. I either overdo it or cower behind a counter, fat and ugly.
How many stars have I seen since Julie? Why, was it only last fall I was accosting Clay Aiken at Wicked? I didn’t watch Wicked so much as I watched Clay Aiken watching Wicked. It was very post-modern. Before the show I had worked up enough courage to sit in front of him and turn around and tell him how much my mother loved his first album, Invisible. I kept repeating “mother.” My mother thinks it’s great that we both grew up in Raleigh! My mother would love a picture! I whipped out my cell phone. I was so nervous that we had to retake the shot. “You know, the photo might come out better with your finger not blocking it.”
Then there’s the night I met this actor,
Logan Marshall-Green. He played Ryan’s brother on The OC. I was having dinner at Filmmaker Cafe when the hostess seated Logan at the table beside mine. Trey, his character on The OC, had been shot the very night before by Marrisa in the season finale cliffhanger. Everybody was talking about it. Everybody being teen girls and the NYU MFA poetry second years. Well, I bought Logan a shot of Jack Daniels (back then I didn’t know enough about whiskey to order Powers) and attached a note and asked the waitress to deliver it. The note said:
Logan–here’s a shot for getting shot.
I thought it was funny until I realized it was happening. It’s rarely a smart idea to approach celebrities. It alters the space time continuum. They either have to fake gratitude or maintain indifference, and either way, it’s a pain in their asses when they only want to eat their endive salad, or sweater their dog, or leave the club like Keene’s Tom Chaplain was trying to do in Barcelona
when I ran up and snapped this with my 35mm.
Sometimes I’m so celeb-crazed that I don’t even need the actual celebrity to be there for the photo. Take, for example, the photo of me with Huey Lewis sans The News:
Lately, I’ve been more critical of my behavior around the rich and famous. Why can’t I be normal? Why does spotting Michelle Williams warrant a bulk text? Is it because Heath Ledger might be close behind? Maybe. My new part time job working the concessions stand at Gutenberg!The Musical! affords me a celebrity encounter practically every night. I have to keep my cool. I have to sell them Twizzlers or direct them to the toilet. It’s hard when you know you could time how long Michael C. Hall stays in the bathroom, and if you wanted to, you could tell other people on your blog.
Or, I could write how Tom Collichio of Top Chef looks bigger in person. I thought the camera was supposed to add pounds. Is it the reverse for chefs? He’s still hot as hell. I was going to cut up Snickers and serve them as an amuse-bouche but Tom ignored concessions. Shouldn’t concessions be the part of the theater he pays the most attention to?
Last Thursday, a scruffy Billy Crudup came to the show. He was the Golden God in Almost Famous. Remember when he left a very pregant Mary Louise Parker for Claire Danes? Remember how that wasn’t a movie but real life? Billy’s two pretty friends, who looked like they had no need for Neutrogena, visited concessions and didn’t tip. Billy watched them not tip.
Now guess who came to see Gutenberg the following night?
I thought Mary Louise Parker still made this face when people mentioned Billy Crudup. One of two fabulous things is going on here. Either Billy called Mary Louise the next day to recommend a musical, or we narrowly escaped a major Hollywod meltdown when they met outside concessions. Are they good friends now that he and Claire split? Or was it mere coincidence that they came to the show back to back?
And when did I become Perez-Hilton?