M. Giant's
Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks

Friday, July 02, 2004  

Shameless Name-Dropping Entry

Trash and I have actually encountered a fair number of celebrities for Midwesterners. There is, for instance, my boss. But he's not the first famous person either of us have been face-to-face with. Or face-to-another-part with, for that matter, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

There are the stars I used to ferry to and from the airport when I worked at the Minnesota State Fair, which were the first famous people I ever spoke to, but that’s a different entry. This one, to be precise. And then there were the sightings in New York. And several through my work.

But the biggest density of stars we've ever spotted in one place was in February 2002, at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. We were in town with our friends Dirt and Banana, staying at her dad's house on the beach. Our visit coincided with the Film Festival, so Trash and Dirt and I decided to check it out.

The big event of the Festival was the presentation of a Lifetime Achievement Award to a pre-Oscar Sean Penn. It was held in a groovy old movie theater on State Street whose interior is designed to look like a Mexican village. I kept expecting El Guapo to ride in at any moment.

But that was after we got inside. Before we got inside, there was the ninety-minute wait outside on the red carpet. Actually, let me restate that. We were in a line that ran parallel to the red carpet. The red carpet was for people who did not have to wait in line. And we got a pretty good look at those people.

So in case you're wondering whether celebrities look somehow different in person, they really don't. For instance, Sean Penn looks exactly like Sean Penn. Robin Wright Penn looks nothing like Sean Penn, but is a dead ringer for Robin Wright Penn. Vince Vaughn looks like Vince Vaughn, except less puffy than he was in The Cell.Two-time Academy-Award-Winner Kevin Spacey looks exactly like two-time Academy-Award-Winner Kevin Spacey. Lars Ulrich, admittedly, looks like an overly tanned Troll™ doll, but he's the exception that proves the rule.

Anyway, once we got inside and found seats, the actual thing was quite the deal. I thought a presentation was just a presentation. No, first there was the three-hour career retrospective. Moderator Leonard Maltin spent the time alternating between showing clips of Penn's career highlights and trying to see how far he could cram his tongue up the fundament of the visibly uncomfortable honoree. Which wouldn't have been so bad, except Maltin would name the film as the lights went down, whereupon the woman behind us would invariably say, "Great film." And then, when the scene was over and the lights came back up, the woman behind us would invariably say, "Great scene." Which was preferable to what she was doing the rest of the time, which was fighting a heroic battle for control over her sinuses. I dubbed her "The Phlegmbot."

Anyway, about two hours and change into the proceedings, Trash had to make a pit stop. Keep in mind that the place was packed, so extracting herself from the middle of our row was no easy task. I believe she did make the most of the opportunity to shoot a filthy look at The Phlegmbot as she exited, however.

The event dragged on, and Trash failed to return. I felt bad for her, having to miss Spacey's presentation speech, because Spacey was doing his Christopher Walken impression and we both love that. Trash never actually made it back to her seat. We met up with her again after the show, and she told us what had happened instead:

After going out to the lobby and asking a group of smokers where the restroom might be (a group that included, among others, Michael Imperoli and Jon Voight), she came back into the theater with little hope of finding her seat again in the dark, let alone inserting herself into it without causing more trouble than the operation was worth. So she just came back in, walked a short distance down the aisle, and planted herself right there.

Sadly, "right there" was on a guy's foot

Trash apologized profusely, and the gentleman smiled at her understandingly (maybe he thought she was famous). She ended up parking it on the floor next to his seat, wondering why that guy she'd just sat on looked so familiar.

Penn's film clips included bits from the movies he'd directed, as well: The Indian Runner, The Crossing Guard, The Pledge. An actor in one of those clips also looked familiar to Trash. But it wasn’t until Spacey was at the part of his speech where he listed the great actors Penn had directed—"Nicholson, Huston, Morse, Mortensen"—that Trash put it together. She had sat on Aragorn.

So there's another exception. Viggo Mortensen is much cleaner in person.

That was my big disappointment of the evening. I didn't get to meet nearly as many celebrities as Trash did. Also, the entire time Sean Penn was on stage, nobody ever said a word about Shanghai Surprise.

Today's best search phrase: "Assless vinyl shorts." That makes sense. Vinyl doesn't breath, so if you're going to have shorts made out of it, you want some sort of ventilation. So what could be more reasonable than making them assless? I predict everyone will be wearing these by August.

posted by M. Giant 8:59 PM 0 comments


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