Wednesday, March 15, 2006

At least she didn't call him Jackie Chan

Reason # 34932498 why hanging out with a group of out of towners is a bad bad idea:

As a NYer living in a cool area, when the weather gets warm I see countless celebs. On Friday Claire Danes’ dog moseyed on up to my table outside my neighborhood sushi place as my friends and I kicked back Sapporo #2. In classic dazed, aka drunk Shannon fashion, I didn’t notice her until Corn mentioned, “wow, Claire Danes has a huge ass!” I paused. Momentarily felt better about my self. And then proceeded to pour another beer.

I’ve trained myself. Only tourists and the senile walk up and introduce themselves to celebs. Wannabes like me pretend that we understand their frustrations with fame and so we leave them alone. You know, like my job working 9-6 and then sitting in my apt all night watching E! and VH1 allows me to understand the doubled edged sword that is celebrity.

You want to know the truth why I don’t rush Larry David at the lodge in Sun Valley or run after Claire Danes and tell her how her role in ‘My So Called Life’ changed my life? Embarrassment. Establishing social mores since the dawn of civilization. I would die if a celeb acted like s/he didn’t give a shit. Denying what countless celeb gossip magazines says is true… they really aren’t like Us.

On Saturday night I take the out of towners to my favorite pub on the LES. I wanted them to see the bar that is my second home. The place where I end up dancing on the bar at 3am, where I get hammered with my bad influence Victor, and where I take my faux dates off of the internet.

We find a table in one of their nooks and the 10 of us sit down and order a round of beers. It’s early, so the Saturday night crowd hasn’t come in yet. I am staring off into space, wishing for my beer and my friend S grabs my arm and points towards the bar.

“I think that’s James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins!!”

I look around. A Japanese dude with a bleached blond faux mullet is not that common.

“Dude, you’re right! Hey everyone look James Iha of the Smashing Pumpkins is here!”

All ten of us do a double take.

You get excited when you are in the same place as a celeb. Not because you are happy to be near your idol or some other lame adolescent crap. But it legitimizes a place. It’s that same ironic acceptance that makes drinking PBR cool when you have an MBA.

“I should go up and say hi!” Said S.

“No you shouldn’t! He is busy. Dude, celebs just want to be left alone” I say, with my NYC authority.

“Yea, you're right he's with a girl. I wouldn’t want to cock block him.”

As we are discussing the celeb in our midst, B, who doesn’t like beer comes back with a cocktail.

“So I spoke to him.” Said B.

“No you did not! What did you say?!” We say with a little disdain and mostly envy.

“Yea, I asked him if he was the guitarist from Blind Melon. And he was like ‘yea’!”

“Dude,” I say, “that couldn’t be the guitarist from Blind Melon. He’s died back in the late '90s and that dude is very much alive. He's the guitarist from the Smashing pumpkins. James Iha?"

If you are going to bother a celeb as he is macking it, the least you could do is not confuse a living Japanese American with a dead white guy.


At 9:53 AM, Blogger AWE said...

Please tell me you don't drink PBR.

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was good advice, Shan. I'm glad I didn't say hi. It's not like he's out on tour or something, expecting to sign autographs. This is his *home*, and he just wants to live his life unencumbered by so many awkward moments with people he doesn't know.

And I don't think he'd be impressed with the compliment that "I loved your arpeggios on Ryan Adams' "Don't Be Sad"!" He'd probably write me off as one of the multitude of music geeks whose rattled off the most obscure reference he could think of in hopes that it would spark a genuine conversation. Which would be true.

However, I must admit I don't see famous people very often and seeing him there was really surprising - my gut reaction was: how could James Iha and myself find ourselves in the same bar? Since bars I usually frequent are populated by enebriated government consultants in our nation's capital, it really was quite a shock.

By the way, great bar, Shan. I didn't know that was your second home - they played some really good punk rock, and yet had scented hand soap and a plentiful stack of paper towels in the men's room. You've found a winner.

I still think I should've slipped the bartender a twenty to flip on "1979" on the ipod that was plugged into the speaker system.


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Shandoll said...

Oh come on, you think it didn't take every ounce of slef control for me NOT to walk up to him? As I said in my post, the social more of embarassment holds great weight over my sober actions...

Dude, when I was 13 I sat and thought I understood the meaning of life b/c the man's music...then I found Weber and it was all over.

But yea, of course I get excited. It's just not cool to show it.

At 12:25 PM, Blogger NEWSKI said...

hey, your blog cracks me up. and i totally agree with you on the celeb standpoint although once i get a few in me im often told to stop gawking. its like, im cool enough to know not to rush up to them and list the 17 reasons u worship the ground they walk on, but staring is, well, a whole different animal.

At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: "Wow, Claire Danes has a huge ass!"

That's why I like her.



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