The thing about Los Angeles, like New York, is that anything can happen. There is just something in the air that is different; everything is on an elevated wavelength. “Famous” people live all over the world, but there is just a higher density of them here and, as such, they just kind of show up wherever you go. As you crawl down the Sunset Strip, past The Viper Room, The Chateau Marmont, The Whiskey A Go-Go, The Laugh Factory, the atmosphere is electric with possibility. There is still a lot of glitter in my eyes, but it just seems like no matter what you are doing out here, there is always the potential for adventure in the air.
For example, a good friend of mine was in from Chicago and we made plans to meet for dinner. We met at a great restaurant for Thai street food in Hollywood. The walls were strewn with the most random assortment of décor trying to evoke an certain image: a Michael Jordan poster, Thai 45’s (records), and a sign for the re$troom with the “S” replaced by a dollar sign, a la Ke$ha. The food was amazing, the conversation better. But, in typical L.A. fashion, when all was tallied, our drinks wound up being triple what our food cost and we left in search of a good watering hole to continue the evenings festivities. My friend was staying at The Four Seasons in Beverly Hills and mentioned that the bar in the lobby was actually kind of a trip- as it always seemed to have a random assortment of celebrities, the elderly, and high-end call girls. Obviously, it was our destination. We drank and played the “prostitute or wife?” game as people started filling the space. There was a killer three-piece jazz combo playing Daft Punk, “Blurred Lines,” and an assortment of Top-40 hits that set the mood. I kept noticing a larger, African-American male making the rounds and I turned to my friend to confirm that it was indeed hip-hop impresario Suge Knight- as I knew Jojo wasn’t going to be able to field that question. We continue drinking; watching the call girls cycle through the various rooms of the bar and peel off with (presumably) wealthy, older gentlemen. More friends joined us and the urge to dance could no longer be ignored and I grabbed the ladies at the table and we made our way to the dance area. The dance area was, apparently, the holding-pin for the escorts as they danced and showed off their wares to the all who were interested. Which is why I’m sure the patrons of the room were confused when I showed up. Didn’t care. I wanted to dance. As the band was playing a Bruno Mars song, I glance over my shoulder to see the entire cast of Duck Dynasty sitting at a table. HUH?! The whole experience just kept getting more random. After a few songs, we rejoined our party. As our party was still on “Chicago Time,” they were flagging, so Jojo and I made our excuses and headed out the door. As we were walking to our car, Jojo elbowed me in the ribs and excitedly
“whispered” under his breath, “There’s John Cho! There’s John Cho!!” And, sure enough, there was Harold from “Harold and Kumar” standing under an awning with a drink in his hand.
When I told my little brother about this the next day, he admonished me for not taking a picture. I explained to him that that was kind of not how it was done out here. I relayed to him my story about running into Conan O’Brien on the street of my neighborhood. It happened around 8:30 p.m. in Toluca Lake. Jojo and I were taking an evening stroll when we saw Conan O’Brien walking down the sidewalk with another gentleman, just talking business. As his studio is just down the street, this wasn’t a total shocker. What did surprise me was the energy we exchanged when we made eye contact. There was a split second of terror in his eyes as he tried to assess whether I was going to play it cool and leave him be or freak out and stab him with a knife. And in that moment, I had a sadz for him. And, just like Us Weekly says, “Stars- Just Like Us”… in that they are just people. I know there is an implicit exchange of privacy for stardom, but I can only imagine some of the crazies that have come these people’s way. And for that, I give them their space and only silently fan-girl squeee.
Everyone here has their own story- meeting Miley Cyrus at a Michael’s Craft Store, running into Steve Wozniak at a gas station, having Matt Smith (Dr. Who) come in to get his hair cut- and that, to me, is amazing. Not that these kinds of things can’t happen in Chicago (they frequently do), but the likelihood of them happening here is just higher. Some people out there could care less, but to me, there is just something so surreal about actually seeing someone in person that you’ve only known through media outlets. Guess I should get used to that, huh?
What are YOU up to this weekend?