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I was teaching English in China back in 1985/86, three years before the Tiananmen massacre in 1989. China had only recently opened up to foreign influences after its experiment with a closed-door policy. Foreign "experts" were honored once a year with a huge banquet for their contributions to modernizing China. There were not many foreigners there back then, so such an event was manageable.
The one I attended was … Read more »
Nineteen ninety-five was a year for adventure. Signing with an O.C. casting agency, I was able to work on a film in L.A. Part of the movie was being shot in LAX's international wing. My part as an extra was one of four airport security people. We were outfitted with official uniforms and badges. Before the filming began, the assistant director told me to go to one of the trailers … Read more »
I once sat next to actress Phoebe Cates's half-brother on an airplane. He probably was not on her payroll, given his cud-chewing presence with me in the cattle-car section. We were flying NYC/JFK to Berlin. I think he lived in Los Angeles. That was the last I saw of him, Mr. Seat 26B. We are not getting married.
On a small LAN Chile flight from Santiago to Arica, for someone slightly nervous about flying, really the only two things on one's mind are: Where would be the worst place in this incredibly dry desert to crash an airplane? And: Would it be worse to crash or to bear the incredible panic attack I will most likely have when the turbulence begins? As I boarded the plane that hot … Read more »
I was waiting for a plane to Buffalo, New York. He was standing in a circular area where the escalators ran into and out of the tiled floor. He was waiting and watching for someone. People were moving around him, parting around him, flowing around him. Many passed by without a glance. Somebody stopped and said something to him. He continued to wait and watch. Finally, he said something in … Read more »
So my sister and I and my boyfriend at the time were in a Peabody Hotel elevator in Memphis when my sister decided to hit every elevator button on the way down. We were stopping at every floor, and on the 12th in walked Robert Plant.
I froze up for a minute and then said, "You look familiarâ€”are you in a band?" He said, "Yes, I play with Lawrence … Read more »
I must be clear: I'm a Dennis fanâ€”saw him do stand-up in college, bought a few of his shows on CD, and have even tried to quote him when his intellectual sarcasm seemed to fit. I'm one of the scant few who liked his tenure on _Monday Night Football._
I have not one but two Dennis Miller encounters, both in Santa Barbara, California, where I think he still … Read more »
Working as a waiter for ten years, I had met a few celebritiesâ€”none more memorable than Eddie Mekka, the Big Ragoo of _Laverne and Shirley_ fame. He was working dinner theater at our hotel, and I happened to serve him almost every day.
You get to know people pretty quickly. He found out from someone that our wedding anniversary was fast approaching, and I remember him asking me what … Read more »
It was 20 years ago. We were working the day shift out of Homicide downtown....Oops!
It was 20 years ago. I was working the night shift at a convention center in Texas, in charge of dinner for 2,000 7-Eleven employees at their annual rah-rah Christmas party. Guest speaker: Jerry Lewis. The banquet was set up with a stage on the west end of the room. There were any number … Read more »
Milwaukee, July 1989. My dad, mom, and I were staying at Milwaukeeâ€™s nicest hotel, the Pfister, in search of Minnesota Twins. We were baseball nuts. Our yearly vacations took us to Major League Midwestern ballparks. We always stayed in the same hotel as the Twins, and Dad and I collected autographs. I rode in elevators with Kirby Puckett, Kent Hrbek, Frank Viola. But they are not the celebrities of this … Read more »
In high school, I worked part-time at a miniature-golf course on La Cienega Boulevard in West Los Angeles. One winter evening, an aspiring young actress named Kim Novak, accompanied by the Ritz Brothers, arrived. Without question, the most beautiful woman I had ever seen close up.
We had indoor Ping-Pong tables and mechanical coin-operated games available. Ms. Novak wanted to play Ping-Pong but couldnâ€™t get either of … Read more »
In 1995, I was in Chicago visiting a friend's child who was dying from cancer. While I was in town, I stopped in at Steppenwolf to see _Buried Child,_ which was directed by Gary Sinise.
The next day, I'm in the airport, and Gary Sinise sits next to me in the waiting area. I get him to sign my program. We talk about the play, and we board the … Read more »
Is there a name for a brush with fame in the distant past? Would you call it an antique brush, or a vintage brush, or maybe just a piece of history? What if the encounter is through telephone wires? This is how an ordinary response to the ringing of the phone left an indelible impression on the auditory cortex of my brain that has stayed fresh for 42 years.
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I spent the last seven years in Virginia, a heart's beat off the Appalachian Trail, where "Dave Stories" are standard fare. I'd hear a friend let on in a casual tone that her best friend from elementary school just happened to be related to Dave Matthews, and so she'd seen him on many occasions; I'd listen to people debating where, exactly, his hometown isâ€”is he a South African or an … Read more »
"Hello, how are you?"
"Care for a toke?"
"Sure. We're about to go on. Where are you from?"
"Maineâ€”same as the weed."
"Great, thanks. Catch ya 'round."
"See ya later, Bob. Thank _you_ for all the music!".
A brush with the famous singer Toni Braxton made my wedding day extra special.
I live in Houston, and decided to have a destination wedding in Las Vegas. I have always wanted to get married in fabulous Las Vegas.
I selected the Little Church of the West for our ceremony because of the history that chapel holds. It was built in 1943, is quaint and romantic, has rustic … Read more »
A most memorable day in my life involving a brush with fame started as a very ordinary Sunday at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston. Now, this story happened in February of 1993. That was before Pastor Kirbyjon Caldwell became the spiritual adviser to President Bush and was suddenly thrust into the national spotlight.
Houston has nice weather the majority of the time, and this particular day was … Read more »
The stunning black woman at the next table at the Southern California Independent Booksellers Association dinner was unmistakably Lieutenant Uhura of the starship _Enterprise._ I never recognize celebrities (except Joe DiMaggio once, on the street in Los Angeles), but Nichelle Nichols I know.
At the SCIBA convention, writers change tables between courses, so as to push one's book to the maximum number of mom-and-pop bookstore owners. When we changed … Read more »
I was so lucky to be in the right town on the right day. A doctor's appointment in St. Louis allowed me to be present for a book signing byâ€”yes, sighâ€”Emeril Lagasse.
I waited for hoursâ€”he was so sweet and encouraging to the children among the throngs of people wanting to speak to him. He had a wonderfully kind and nice aura.
To my embarrassment, I lost … Read more »
It was getting late, almost 3:00 a.m. Cody and I were still hard at work editing. Our workspace was an old school bus that had been converted into a mobile studio with room enough for three workstations. We were parked in a dark alley just east of Abbot-Kinney Boulevard in Venice Beach, California.
"Hey, Tao's back," Cody said.
"Huh. He doesn't usually drop by this late."
Tao … Read more »
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