Thursday, March 6, 2014

On the Periphery of the Oscars

In 1989 I was 26 years old, and felt like I was living in an updated version of the Mary Tyler Moore show (in a good way). I had been divorced two years, loved my job, loved the condo I lived in, and life in general was good. In February I took a business trip to Los Angeles to attend a Design Show that coincided with the week of the Oscars. Being a huge movie fan, I was excited by the coincidence.

I spent the first four nights of the week in LA at a swank hotel in the Hollywood area to be closer to my editor and 'the action' of the Design show. One of the Oscar parties was being held at the hotel and the staff was busy setting up downstairs around the pool and lobby.....they were bringing in live lions in cages (which I felt really sorry for), a full bar, flowers, catering --the whole deal, when I left for appointments. The magazine hired black Lincoln town cars to ferry us back and forth that week and I was wearing my typical 'New Yorker/East Coast' outfit of black with black sunglasses that day. By the time I was returned to the hotel early evening, crowds were standing on the sidewalks watching arrivals. The driver drove past the taped-off security line and up the circular drive to drop me off. As I stepped from the car, people actually clapped, assuming I was 'somebody famous.' It was very funny, but I didn't crack a smile and instead pretended I was 'in the industry'  as I swept into the lobby. Later that night I went down to watch the festivities and was leaning against a pillar with my arms crossed, watching the mingling beautiful people and trying to catch a glimpse of a celebrity when some woman came up and asked if I was 'Security!' Since at the time I weighed 125 lbs soaking wet I wondered what she thought I could accomplish.

After my work week I stayed on through the weekend and switched over to the Chateau Marmont. I knew the history of the hotel from 1920s Hollywood crowd on, and also admired the architecture, and had always wanted to stay there. It was well worth it. 

And there was more celebrity spotting: during 'happy hour' in the lobby the first evening, the actor John Shea was giving me the eye. As he was walking towards me two little old ladies rushed up to him to chatter and get his autograph...he looked at me and smiled and shrugged as I got into the taxi for dinner. At the restaurant I saw Bob Hope sitting two tables across from ours holding court. He had his table-mates in stitches all evening. I wish I had been close enough to eavesdrop!

As I was checking out Sunday morning I struck up a conversation with a very familiar looking man. He looked so familiar, in fact, I assumed I had seen him all week at the Design show. I was blathering away about architecture and design when it struck me suddenly I was chatting up the playwright and actor Wallace Shawn! He saw the look of panic in my eyes as I realized I did not, in fact, know him, and he smirked as he leaned towards me and whispered "It happens all the time." 

Thank heavens he had a sense of humor. 


Ms. A said...

Well, at least I know who ONE of those people are! I'd have to Google the name of the other two.

Margaret (Peggy or Peg too) said...

What a great experience.
I'm glad to see that Ms. A had to google these celebrities too. But after googling them I did recognize them from several movies/tv.
Now if only I could run int Gerard Butler I would not only be happy but have a great blog post. :-)

ReformingGeek said...

Sounds fun. Thanks for sharing your memories. It sure is a different out there, isn't it?

Mitchell is Moving said...

Damn those old ladies. John Shea was single back then.

Retired English Teacher said...

What a fun, great memory. Thanks for sharing.

Chris said...

You were born to be famous.

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