Monday, March 13, 2006

The Celebrity Factor

Blogroll Me!

I must admit; I'm often envious of Randi of Cruisin' Mom and Danny of Jew Eat Yet? These people drop names in their posts the way I drop soup mandlen into a hot bowl of chicken soup...they float around a while, then expand.

These two folks can sit in an eatery, lean over to the next table where some A-list or B-list celebrity is seated and say, "Can I please borrow your ketchup?" or "What kind of omelette is that you're having?" or " Excuse me, but aren't you _________? I love that movie_________ you starred in during the post-war years, the one in which you played a __________. And your current stage work...."

I was born with stars in my eyes... No, I don't want to be an actress or live the high life that some celebrities do; I just want to get a chance to meet some and talk to them about some of their work, but mostly about their take on life.

Toronto is known as Hollywood North -- movies and TV series are continually filmed here; we have a fabulous annual film festival that draws lots of headliner-type names; we don't lack for big names who visit and spend extended amounts of time in Toronto.

It's almost springtime. Soon, I will see orange pylons on many suburban and city streets with little markers. These indicate there is filming going on in the vicinity -- trucks and trailers, cables and dressing rooms, sets and extras abound. If I had endless hours in the day, I'd be out on the streets, seeking out those orange pylons, looking for some celebrity who might be around. But I only have time to read about local celebrity spottings in the pages of the daily time to spot the celebrities myself.

But look out if I do...I generally lose my inhibitions, ie. shyness, and just speak up in a real friendly way.

That is the way that I've met:

1. Donny Osmond. He was back in Toronto a number of years ago, doing a second run of "Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat". I was walking in a huge downtown mall, through the food court, and who's sitting there on a stool eating, but Donny dearest. I was probably in my late twenties or early thirties at the time, but let me tell you that the 14-year-old within me was envious as I passed him by, saying, "Hi...welcome back to Toronto. Hope you have a great run with the show."

2. Bruno Kirby and Matthew Broderick. They were in Toronto filming "The Freshman" and I was with my friends at a downtown juice bar, sitting at the counter on swivel seats like in an old diner. Someone was sitting beside me, got up and there, two people away from me was Matthew. I didn't want to infringe on his privacy right then and asked the counter guy if he'd ask Matthew if it would be okay to ask for his autograph. I got the green light and moved over beside him; in walks Bruno Kirby (yes, I knew of him wayyyyyyyy before When Harry Met Sally; I remember him from the 1960's Disney movies) and Matthew introduces me to him. Mr. Broderick introduced TorontoPearl to Bruno Kirby. I wasn't so gracious; I didn't turn the other way and introduce Matthew and Bruno to MY friends.

My greatest faux pas of that evening was asking Matthew, "What's it like working with the big guy?" ie. Marlon Brando. Yes, by that time, he was a BIG man, nothing of the hearththrob he'd once been. But I hadn't meant in stature, I'd meant in status, when I'd asked that.

3. Petula Clark. My girlfriend and I were in Montreal and walking on one of the nicer streets. We saw a commotion in front of a hotel, ie. news trucks with solar dishes on the roof, etc, and I said we should go in and see what's doing. There in the lobby was Petula Clark. She was being interviewed for some station and like Woody Allen in "Zelig", we popped up behind her for all the camera ops, ie. I took pics of my friend and Petula; she took pics of me. Then we chatted with her a bit. (I have similar "Zelig" pics with that same friend but in NYC, where we attended a couple of tapings of the Sally Jesse Raphael Show)

Okay, so it's not an impressive list -- there have been other celeb spottings and interfaces, but my mind is drawing a blank right now. Just know that it wouldn't be prudent to take me anywhere where you know there will be celebrities. I am likely to drop you, amble over to the celebrity and make conversation...before my shyness factor realizes what it is I'm doing and kicks into overdrive.

But Randi, and Danny, you give me your daily routine, tell me where you hang out, and next time I'm in L.A., I'll be sure to sit in YOUR seat, at YOUR favorite table, at YOUR favorite eatery or coffee shop, and I'll make conversation with YOUR favorite celebs. Don't worry...I'll have a picture of me taken with them to show you...and I'll get you their autograph as a bonus!


Danny said...

Pearl, I'll take you on a celebrity-spotting tour next time you're here, I promise. But I'm impressed by your list--Petula Clark is exactly the kind of celebrity I'd get excited about, way more than someone who is a current superstar. Tonight I saw Kevin Dillon at the Whole Foods (Matt Dillon's brother, star of HBO's "Entourage") and he couldn't have been nicer. Then, at Leah's show (she opened in "Little Shop of Horrors" tonight and was brilliant!) I saw Kathy Najimy (her daughter was also in the show) and several stars of "The L Word." Oh, and had lunch at a vegan cafe (oy, I sound so L.A.!) today next to Mike White, writer and star of "Chuck & Buck" and other films.

But celebrity encounters have a down side: this weekend I was at the infamous Nate n'Al's again and there was a crowd gathering and staring at someone across the street. It was Nicole Ritchie filming a TV show. We all suddenly felt unclean for standing there watching her, as if she's a "real" celebrity so we forced ourselves to disperse.

PsychoToddler said...

The Freshman is a great film.

Don't worry Pearl. I felt the same way when I met you in Toronto ;-)

cruisin-mom said...

Oh, Pearl, don't be jealous...I haven't had a sighting since Jay Leno on Superbowl Sunday.

Jeremiah said...

Oh, Pearlie, we have got to talk sometime...

Sweettooth120 said...

This is funny that you wrote this Pearl, because something similar to this has been on my mind but I have been too lazy to write it down. I used to work at a very well known Steak Restaurant in San Fran, and would often seat celebrities. On the outside, you want to act cool but on the inside you are jumping up and down. This was before cell phones, so I had hold on to my news until I got home.

Mirty said...

I think I walk by celebrities without noticing. One evening I was in the Indiana University student union and I saw a very short, dark-haired guy walking with a leggy blonde. I joked to my friend, "He's either rich or a rock star," and then, as the pair walked closer, we saw it was John Cougar Mellencamp and his wife.

Jeremiah said...

Same story, different place:
Once my girlfriend and I were walking to the entrance of a bar in Mill Valley, CA (in Marin County - home to Grace Slick, Sean and Robin Penn, etc.) when a tall, slightly leather-faced guy scoots in ahead of us with his young, tall, gilded-pony-tailed companion. It was Huey Lewis. The impression it left was mildly disgusting, actually.

torontopearl said...

Danny: like I've told you before, I'll just have to live vicariously through your blog postings about celebrities.

PT: Wow, so I wasn't just a celebrity in my own mind...?

Jeremiah: You've got celebrity stories to tell too? Time to get yourself a blog, man.

Sweettooth: Hate to tell you, but it isn't always JUST on the inside that you're jumping up and down.

Mirty: I'll take JCMellencamp as an A-list celebrity. What was he doing at Indiana University, I wonder?