Thursday, November 8, 2007

Last week, I was eating dinner at Red Iguana when I saw a guy who looked just like Apolo Anton Ohno. This guy had longish wavy hair, vaguely Asian characteristics and that ridiculous “Soul Patch.” Now, it’s not uncommon for me to think I have spotted a celebrity. On a typical day I might spot… oh, seven to ten famous people. An older gentleman with white hair and a beard is always Kenny Rogers. Another man, fifteen years younger and with darker hair might be Kenny Loggins. Red hair and cowboy boots = Reba. Sundress and cowboy boots = Britney. My life isn’t particularly glamorous, so I choose to create glamorous surroundings. The fact that I find Kenny Loggins glamorous is far more troubling than my vivid imagination. I know this.

If you’re thinking…

“You get that excited about a fake celebrity? I bet you get positively insane when you spot someone who is actually famous.”

…you are so right. Just ask my dinner companion at Red Iguana. Because guess WHAT. It was Apolo Anton Ohno. He of the gold medals and the bulging quadriceps and the Dancing With The Stars fame. Right there. Eating dinner… like a normal person. I walked by his table on my way to the bathroom and I was SO tempted to say something like, “Hey, Ohno. I barely recognized you without the Spandex” or “Fancy a foxtrot, AAO?” But I resisted. I just went to the bathroom, my heart racing, and then quickly shuffled back to my table where I frantically whispered (which means it was audible to everyone in the restaurant),

Me: “Remember that guy I saw outside with the stupid facial hair? Yeah, it’s APOLO ANTON OHNO!”
Him: “I don’t know who that is.”

That’s when I started thinking about my affinity – and knack – for celebrity spotting. Real and imagined. I started making a mental list of all the real celebrities I’ve spotted over the years and tried to remember the circumstances surrounding our encounters. Like that time Parker Posey and I found ourselves in the bathroom at the same time during Austin City Limits. She complained about the automatic soap dispensers and before I knew it, we were quoting Guffman and dissecting her relationship with Ryan Adams. That never happened. There aren’t even bathrooms at Austin City Limits.

Anyway, I was saying… I decided to go beyond a mental list and make an actual list… yea, even a chart detailing my run-ins with famous folks. And that’s really the meat of this post. I’m publishing it.

A few notes on the Celebrity Grid:
I had to make some tough decisions when it came to deciding WHO I should include in the chart. For example, I couldn’t possibly include all the musicians I’ve seen… because those are performances. While musicians are some of my most favorite sightings, I don’t think performances should count as a “sighting.” And let’s be honest, I don’t have the time or space or energy to add all one million bands or performers I’ve seen in concert. Okay, I have the time. But still. Another decision (not as tough) was to exclude reality television stars. Also based on time, energy and space, but also because… well, I’m more ashamed to admit I recognized Kendall from Road Rules than I am to admit I recognized Reese Witherspoon. P.S. Kendall is darling in person. I almost decided to eliminate anyone whose name I didn’t immediately know, but I decided it was okay in a couple of circumstances. So, no reality stars and no performances. Just poor unsuspecting celebrities who happened upon me, Celebrity Spotter Extraordinaire.
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I also feel I should include a few close calls. Celebrities I almost saw, but missed for one reason or another. I’ll call this Nearsightings.

Britney Spears the night she shaved her head: Emily and I had dinner in LA at the very place Britney was spotted the night she took it all off. I estimate we missed her by about an hour.

Derek Jeter: He was shopping in the mall and I worked in the mall… but I had the night off.

Jennifer Lopez: Same as above.

Martika: She was (probably still is) cousins with a girl named Melanie in Junior High. Melanie indicated Martika might make an appearance at some point… but she never did. You don’t even know who Martika is, do you?

I’m not sure what I’m hoping to accomplish by publishing this information. Part of me wants just wants to brag about my mad celeb-spotting skills. Another part of me just wants to get this down on paper/screen while I still remember it. Another part (I have many, many parts) is hoping you’ll read this and be like, “Eddie Vedder?! Lucky!” But probably the biggest, and most shameful part of me is hoping that somewhere, somehow Eddie Vedder is reading this, chuckling and stroking his beard and thinking, “Ha! Reno! I remember her! We made eye contact! She was a delight!” Call me, Eddie. You have my card.


laceyJ. said...

Wooooow. This post was amazing. So detailed, informative, intriguiging (Who are the reality superstars you have met???), and fun to read. Though, can't believe you gave Damon Wayans just a 9! (jk.)

The chart was very informative, too. Oh, and I also think Kenny Loggins is glamorous. (I've seen him in concert twice.)

Camilla said...

OMG! I almost forgot about Cuba until I say the "we sang karaoke" icon!

Rani and Will said...

I'm about ready to pee my pants right now...
a. that you dedicated the time to makes such a chart
b. the meaning behind the symbols
c. you almost exchanged fluids with Eddie Vedder!

Meghann said...

I have been waiting all week for this post and it is finally here! Congratulations on once again, outdoing yourself on the blog. I'm honored to say I was with you on at least two of these spottings - Tom Skerrit (piano bench?) and John Mayer (this one can be considered stalking).

As for Reece Witherspoon, I think she deserves a little more credit for the quality of encounter. While it may have been from a distance, how many people can say that they convinced a security guy (or whoever he was), without any hesitation on your part, that you were a nun at the church across the way? Had it not been for your quick wit and curiosity, Reece would not be on this list. Think about it...

Anonymous said...


This is astounding. I'm so impressed. It really may be too much. Even for you.

... and didn't you once spot Robin Williams on Sunset?

Emily said...

You totally could have put a little eye icon by the bald guy from Smallville... we definitely made eye contact. In fact, I'm pretty sure he checked us out. Ok, maybe not. But we sort of talked to him didn't we? Wasn't there an exchange that had to do with Rachel Perry's dog?

Nice job on the chart, by the way. It turned out even better than I expected!

becky said...

once i had a dream that i made out with the bald guy from smallville. he was a really good kisser and it seemed so real that for a good three months i felt like i knew him personally.

that should count for somthing.

Denise said...

Holy Crap! You are so much fun to read, I wish you were my roommate, wanna move in downstairs??

Miller Time said...

Remember me? Nats friend? We shared a car ride to and from Thriller. I know that night was very memorable for me. I very much enjoyed your celebrity sightings chart. I thought I was good at spotting celebs but clearly I am an amature. In the last two months though I have had dinner at a table next to Lindsay Lohan. We made eyecontact and smilled at each other on the way to the bathroom.I also had dinner at a table next to the tall Russian guy on the Jazz (i am blanking on his name). He also played video games with my 4 year old at the arcade.I know I have a long way to go to catch up to you though. Love your blog. Whitney

The Mediocre Gatsby said...

Awesome. You're brilliant.