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Hello! From California

OBSERVING GREATNESS
EdÔs Brief Encounters With Famous People

When you live in Los Angeles, you have a lot of contact with celebrities, whether you like it or not. They walk your streets, breath your air and steal your women. They're everywhere. But you can't really search for celebrities. They always pop up where you least expect them, and never, ever when you have out-of-town relatives visiting. Here, for the first time, is my complete list of absolutely fabulous, largely useless Hollywood star sightings:

(celebreties appear in alphabetical order)

MY CELEBRITY SIGHTINGS

CELEBRITY: Louie Anderson
WHERE: Greek Theatre (1992)
OBSERVATIONS: Mr. Anderson is a large man.
PERSONAL CONTACT: I was working my very first job in LA: trying to get people to sign up for a dubious real estate "sweepstakes" just outside of the Greek Theatre. To relieve boredom, I'd occasionally toss out my own ridiculous prizes. Stuff like, "Step right up, win a big sock filled with powder!", or "Obtain your own weight in french fries!" To the best of my recollection, I offered Louie Anderson "$10,000 worth of windshield wipers", and he totally snubbed me.

CELEBRITY: Drew Barrymore
WHERE: Book Soup (1996)
WHAT: Buying a book. Really.  
OBSERVATIONS: As I glanced through a magazine outside, I noticed a very petite, very hot woman with dyed black hair standing by the counter. I decided to go inside and get a better look. Only upon closer inspection could I see that this dish was, in fact, Drew Barrymore.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Unfortunately, no. Although she did just admit in "Details" that she likes "smart, nerdy, interesting men", so I guess there's hope for me yet.

CELEBRITY: Pierce Brosnan
WHERE: Beverly Hills bathroom (1992)
WHAT: Number one or number two, I would imagine. 
OBSERVATIONS: Acutely aware of his own presence.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Pierce held the bathroom door for me and smiled his charming, dimpled smile. Naturally, my heart melted. Then he moped it up.

CELEBRITY: Johnny Depp
WHERE: The Viper Room (1993)
OBSERVATIONS: Taller than expected, sporting then ultra-trendy goatee.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Literally bumped into him looking for my friend Monica. Apologized like a dope.

CELEBRITY: Leonardo DiCaprio
WHERE: Premiere of "The Basketball Diaries" (1995)
WHAT: Hiding in the theatre's projection booth.
OBSERVATIONS: Wore black overcoat; seemed very shy.
PERSONAL CONTACT: I ran out of the booth screaming, "HEY, GIRLS, HE'S IN HERE!!!!" Actually, we shook hands, and I respected his wish to remain hidden.

(MJ says: I took a piss next to Leonardo DiCaprio at the 1996 MTV Movie Awards. Rumors of his prodigous member were not confirmed. He also complained to an organizer that he and his inibriated friends were stopped by security for not having a pass. Sorry Leo, not everyone saw "Basketball Diaries" or "Gilbert Grape")

CELEBRITY: Shannen Doherty
WHERE: Ralph's supermarket (1996)
OBSERVATIONS: Accompanied by a guy in a suit.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Was completely spacing out in the frozen foods aisle for a few solid minutes before I realized I was blocking the path of her cart. Sorry, Brenda.

(Matt says: We all went to her house trying to trick-or-treat there one year. No one was home.)

CELEBRITY: Michael J. Fox
WHERE: Castle Rock Entertainment offices (1994)
WHAT: Ostensibly waiting around to start a read-thru of "The American President".
OBSERVATIONS: The little man smokes!
PERSONAL CONTACT: A shared elevator.

CELEBRITIES: Jeff Goldblum & Laura Dern
WHERE: AMC movie theatre (1993)
WHAT: Getting seats for the opening day of "Manhattan Murder Mystery"
OBSERVATIONS: They're an attractive--and tall--couple.
PERSONAL CONTACT: My girlfriend at the time was trying to locate a pair of seats and pretty much knocked right into Jeff Goldblum. I laughed.

CELEBRITY: Ice-T
WHERE: MTV Movie Awards (1995)
WHAT: Walking down the buffet line.
OBSERVATIONS: Attracted TV cameras very quickly; looked much cooler than I did.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Stood nearby the Ice Man as cameras filmed. Considered walking up and telling him that the entire Post Production office of New Line Cinema had taken turns playing with his Rastafarian wig from "Surviving The Game", but decided against it.

CELEBRITY: Jeffrey Jones
WHERE: An elevator at Sunset 5 shopping plaza (1992)
OBSERVATIONS: Complained loudly about parking situation at rival movie theatre (The Beverly Connection). Was very tall and possessed the mad intensity that marks most of his roles.
PERSONAL CONTACT: No, although I expected him to turn around and scream, "BUELLER!"

CELEBRITY:
Michael Keaton
WHERE: New Line Cinema Christmas party (1996)
OBSERVATIONS: Batman cuts a rug on the dance floor.
PERSONAL CONTACT: When we were at the bar, I mentioned to my friend Jeff that Michael Keaton was a few feet away. As Keaton walked past (behind me), Jeff unexpectedly grabbed me by the collar, pushed me backwards in his path and screamed, "EDDIE SCHMIDT, YOU ARE SUCH AN ASSHOLE!" Keaton looked appropriately confused.

CELEBRITY: Martin Landau
WHERE: Premiere party for "Shine" (1996)
WHAT: Squeezing through a crowded room.
OBSERVATIONS: Debonair, and old (old and debonair?).
PERSONAL CONTACT: Suppressed intense desire to grab his hair to see if it was a toupee.

CELEBRITY: Jennifer Jason Leigh
WHERE: Sound studio (1994)
WHAT: Looping lines for her movie "Mrs. Parker & The Vicious Circle"
OBSERVATIONS: Small and shy; very, very cute
PERSONAL CONTACT: Brushed up against me very briefly on her way to the bathroom. Ooh la la.

CELEBRITY: Madonna
WHERE: Restaurant in Silver Lake (1996)
OBSERVATIONS: At the time, very pregnant and accompanied by trainer/baby's father, Carlos Leon.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Walked right past my table. I asked the waitress, "I know this sounds crazy, but was that Madonna?" She said, "Yeah, she just moved to the area. Doesn't she look good?" Well, yeah. She's Madonna.

(MJ adds: CELEBRITY: E from THE EELS
WHERE: The same restaurant in Silver Lake (1997)
WHAT: Working his soul patch
OBSERVATIONS: Didn't seem particularly like a guy whose record had gone gold. Ordered Cajun fish dish.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Noticed I was looking at him and never looked at me again. He seemed much more interested in his own date. Imagine that.)

CELEBRITY: Mary Stuart Masterson
WHERE: Fotokem, film & video lab (1996)
OBSERVATIONS: Very attractive, even more so than in her movies.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Sustained eye contact. I looked at her like, "Do I know you?" and she looked at me like, "Do I know you?" The answer was no.

CELEBRITY: Lou Rawls
WHERE: Urinal next to mine (1995)
WHAT: Pissing.
OBSERVATIONS: Wore a snazzy blue suit which he did not taint.
PERSONAL CONTACT: His presence and booming voice gave my penis stage fright.

CELEBRITY: Keanu Reeves
WHERE: Indian restaurant (1993)
OBSERVATIONS: Was with another guy, but then again, so was I.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Through glass. Friend & I were in the middle of our vegetable nan when he said, "look to your right" and I said, "Oh, hey, that's Keanu Reeves." Then our tandoori chicken arrived.

CELEBRITY: Pauly Shore
WHERE: "Dumb And Dumber" premiere party (1994)
WHAT: Chatting up the cute bartender
OBSERVATIONS: Only slightly less annoying in life than on the big screen.
PERSONAL CONTACT: My friend kept (loudly) voicing his desire to beat the crap out of Pauly. Sadly, beating did not occur.

CELEBRITY: Slash
WHERE: Sunset Blvd (1996)
WHAT: Walking up the street toward a British-style pub
OBSERVATIONS: Still had lots of hair and wore stylin' 80s-metal outfit.
PERSONAL CONTACT: I was driving up Sunset with my friend Kathy and said, 'Hey, that guy looks like Slash.' As we turned the corner, both of us said, in unison, "No, that IS Slash."

CELEBRITY: Eric Stoltz
WHERE: Fotokem, film and video lab (1994)
OBSERVATIONS: Mr. Stolz has piercing blue eyes.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Literally bumped into him in the halls of a film lab in Burbank. Our eyes met. At the time, I had long, red hair and little round glasses and so did he. It was as if I was his evil doppleganger! Only I wasn't famous, or dating Bridget Fonda, or fighting off a 40' anaconda. Disappointed in my pitiful existence, he sighed and went on about his business.

CELEBRITY: Oliver Stone
WHERE: Timothy Leary's post-wake party (1996)
WHAT: Negotiating with the doorman
OBSERVATIONS: Wears a denim jacket, for what its worth.
PERSONAL CONTACT: My friend Alex and I were invited to the party, but weren't actually "on the list". Stone was heading out as we were heading in, and the doorman's intense desire to talk to him excused us from any further drilling. It was the first time a big, bouncer type guy had ever said to me, "Go on and enjoy your evening." Thanks, Oliver.

CELEBRITY: Kirsty Swanson
WHERE: Cast & Crew screening, "Corrina Corrina" (1994)
WHAT: Munching post-screening foods.
OBSERVATIONS: Wore glasses.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Had no idea I was even near her until a friend later mentioned that pieces of cheese I was tossing toward the wall were whizzing right past Kirsty Swanson.

CELEBRITY: Robert Townsend
WHERE: North Hollywood dance studio (1994)
WHAT: Auditioning variety performers for his short lived FOX show "Tinsel Townsend."
OBSERVATIONS: Peppy.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Rejected my act, although he laughed at it: an original song entitled, "I Used To Love You (But Now You Suck)"

CELEBRITY: Robin Williams
WHERE: Comic Book shop (1996)
OBSERVATIONS : Mr. Williams is actually smaller than you would expect. He also looked much less intimidating.
PERSONAL CONTACT: None for me, although fearless OOZE scribe MJ Loheed handed Williams an official, OOZE "baby with a fork in its head" t-shirt.

(MJ says: I had to chase him out onto the street and he was already halfway down the block. Feeling self conscious, I called, "Mr. Williams, Mr. Williams." He actually turned around and sashayed back towards me and met me halfway. I handed him the shirt . He looked at it, laughed, and shook my hand with a good firm handshake. Mr. Williams struck me as a good man. I noticed his eye glasses were L.A. Eyeworks, and I bet they go well with his new shirt.)

CELEBRITY: "Weird Al" Yankovic
WHERE: Billboard Music Video Awards (1993)
OBSERVATIONS: Al's curly locks are most definitely his own. Premiered video of then-brand new Red Hot Chili Peppers parody, "Bedrock Anthem"; actually did some stand-up style jokes; made a very funny host.
PERSONAL CONTACT: At meet-and-greet afterwards, Al signed a deposit slip my friend Joe gave him as "Mel Torme". Then, Al and I compared our respective VANS.

Ed and Weird Al

CELEBRITY: "Weird Al" Yankovic (again)
WHERE: National Association of Songwriter's dinner (1995)
OBSERVATIONS: Was hanging out afterwards to shake hands with Randy Newman (one of the honorees) just like me, only Al actually KNOWS Randy Newman and I don't.
PERSONAL CONTACT: Al gladly posed for a photo, but didn't remember meeting me the first time. Told him that his 28 second epic, "Harvey The Wonder Hamster," was the most popular song at Shu-Ta-Win summer camp when I taught music & drama there. Neglected to mention that the kids also dressed up like slices of meat, cheese and bread and performed Al's "My Bologna" at the annual talent show. Later, my camp boss pulled me aside and said, "You know, Weird Al is really more for adults."

EDDIE SCHMIDT used to see a lot of celebrities when he worked at New Line Cinema. Now he spends most of his days in a dark room with a guy named Frank.

M.J. LOHEED now has Eddie's old job at New Line but hates going to large gatherings so has relegated himself to living vicariously through Eddie. He cries in his sleep every night and wakes up in puddles.

RAY DAVIES sings songs and was not encountered on the streets by any member of the staff.

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