Friday, September 11, 2009
Whoopi does her own shopping
The exciting news of the day is that Whoopi Goldberg bought a house in the town next to ours. I had actually first gotten wind of the celebrity’s relocation from a neighbour who is working with Whoopi on a project. But, I kept it to myself. While I can gossip with the best of them, I try to stick to the banal, happy kind of gossip. Far be it from me to spread the neighbour’s news, so I kept it on the down low. Luckily, I didn’t have to hold on to that secret long because Whoopi was spotted at our local Whole Foods. In what aisle, I don’t know, but she was sans entourage and avec her own canvas bags. A celebrity who shops for herself. Like it.
I admit that I get a little giddy when I see famous people. I don’t care how goofy that makes me. And I’m not afraid to approach celebrities and say, “Hey, Famous Person! You’re neat.” Or something hopefully a bit more inspired.
Since learning of Whoopi’s arrival, I have been contemplating all the clever and memorable things I will say to her when I see her at the Whole Foods. My goal to make a lasting impression-even if I make an ass out of myself as I have done in my past. I'm especially good at humiliating myself in front of stars I love, and Whoopi is definitely on my A list.
Once upon a time, Gabriella and I worked for the nameless company that first aired music videos on cable television. We will refer to that company as Empty Pee. This is the same company owned by Gabriella’s most recent employer, Shmiacom. Many assumed that life at Empty Pee must have been exceedingly glamorous. The truth of the matter was that we were working in the satellite business office in Chicago, and we were relegated to sweeping cinders and watching everyone else go to the ball.
There were a couple of rare, happy moments. We did get comp tickets to see Bill Maher perform, and we were also lucky enough to meet Melissa Etheridge before a concert for which we also got free tickets. And there was the one star-studded event in Chicago in 1997. In a fit of greed and self-importance, Shmiacom opened up a shop on the main drag in Chicago, Michigan Avenue in order to sell merchandise-read crap- from its many disparate channels and programs. It was open for probably a week (or 2 years) before it closed with a whimper. The store was definitely not one of Shmiacom’s finest moments, but the launch party was uber fun for all of us in the Chicago office who were so often forgotten by the mother ship in New York City.
Where else would I ever get to see Jennifer Tilly, Daisy Fuentes, Sherman Hemsley and Greg Brady (aka Barry Williams) in one place? Cocktails were in order to celebrate such a momentous occasion, and we took full advantage of the open bar. It was after a drink or two that Gabriella leaned over the VIP rope separating the great unwashed from the glamorous super stars and yelled over the deafening party music in her loudest Italian-from-Queens voice, “JE-NI-FUH!!! JE-NI-FUH!!! WE LOVED YOU IN BOUND!!” I still have the photo of the three of us in a silver frame engraved with the word FRIENDS in different fonts around it. We spent the rest of the night accosting celebrities and posing with them for photos and making them smile big because they were clearly so very happy to meet us.
Gratuitous photo of Jennifer Tilly & Gina Gershon in Bound
Then there was the time that I met the Isabella Rossellini. I am forever grateful to JLF for inviting us to see a benefit performance of the Vagina Monologues during V-DAY in London featuring an amazing cast of celebs. But no one drew me in as much as the ever graceful and divinely beautiful Isabella. During her performance, I was on the edge of my seat drinking in her every word and searing her image into my memory forever. If I had known I’d be meeting her face to face at the after-party, I think I would have passed out in my seat.
And then the moment arrived. What to say? “I’m a big fan?” “I think you’re really really pretty?” “When I saw you in that sick movie Blue Velvet, I knew you were the kind of little minx I could love forever?” Um, no. So I says to Isabella Rossellini, I says, “That was a wonderful reading. How is it that you came to read for the show?”
D to self: Ok, that was normal. Now just listen and nod and try not to make it obvious that you’re imagining the two of you locked in a naked body embrace.
Isabella: Well, I had seen the show, and I found it so moving and important. And then Eve called me and asked me if I wanted to participate. Of course I wanted to be a part of it, and I said to her, ‘Please, please you must use me!’
And then I sucker punched my super ego in the face allowing my id to escape and deliver a horrifying reply.
D: “Wow, I wish I had been on the other end of the phone when you had said those words.”
Nervous laughter from Gabriella and a couple of friends who had witnessed the exchange. Isabella wasn’t laughing. She had already politely excused herself to follow a platter of appetizers. Guess she wasn’t too impressed.
I’m going to prepare for Whoopi. I thank Donna for tipping me off to her literary works. I’ll be carrying Whoopi’s Big Book Of Manners with me everywhere I go so that she can sign it during our chance meeting. I doubt she'll want to hear me say, “Hey Whoopi! I’d Act like your Sister if you'd let me! (wink)”