Monday, August 15, 2011

Meeting Celebrities Part 3: The Celebrity Who's Not That Famous

Part 1 here.

Part 2 here.

Now you're caught up. Good.

The Celebrity Who's Not That Famous

I know you've all been waiting in anticipation for the last couple of weeks for me to tell you what the fuck I mean by "not that famous." I also know some of you will yell at me and tell me I'm everything that's wrong with my generation for not recognizing Lou Diamond Phillips.

First of all, he's pretty handsome. Look at this guy. What a handsome man! I can see that there's a reason you've sort of succeeded in Hollwood, Mr. Phillips.

Second of all, he had a lead role in one big movie. However, you'll have to forgive me, readers, because I haven't seen that movie. And that is the reason why I didn't recognize him when he and I were patrons at the same bar: I have yet to see La Bamba.

"Lou Diamond Phillips" is, I would wager, one of those names than many of my fellow Generation Y-ers (or are we Generation X? I think we're like X.5) have heard but can't quite put a face to. Like that person at your high school who sort of hung out with some of your friends back before you were really a part of that social group and so they talk about them from time to time but you're totally incapable of drawing up a coherent image of the person. We know the name Lou Diamond Phillips, and although I imagine there's a whole lot of us know who he is, there's still a whole lot of us who don't. I think it looks something like this:

I'm pretty sure that I don't know how to do math like this....
So if you do know who Lou Diamond Phillips is and you think I'm ignorant for putting him in the "not that famous" category, then congratulations. You win a cookie.

But I am placing him in the category of "not that famous," because he's obviously not at the Brangelina level of hiding-from-the-public-eye fame. He's the kind of guy that could walk to the grocery store and do his shopping and he would almost be guaranteed to be recognized, but he probably wouldn't be harrassed and he definitely wouldn't be ambushed with his hair ripped out of his skull and traded on Ebay for someone's firstborn son.

A couple of years ago, Lou Diamond Phillips (who my friends have now lovingly nicknamed LDP) was in Ottawa filming a movie. I don't know what movie it was or why they were shooting it here or anything else about the project, but there was some quiet buzzing around town that a movie was being filmed here, because we don't get that too often in Ottawa. My friends and I went to a little pub in the downtown area, and some of the group I was with knew our bartender, so we were sitting along the bar and she was telling us about how LDP and some other movie people had been in the pub lately and it was pretty exciting. I was a little left out of the conversation, because I didn't know who LDP was. Everyone was saying "ELLL DEEEE PEEEE!" and laughing about Ottawa's temporary local celebrity. I wanted to take part in the joy, but I couldn't for the life of me picture who LDP was.

Then, out of nowhere, he showed up again. At the same bar! While we were sitting there! He and his little entourage grabbed a table behind our backs, right by the door. The bartender shushed us and mouthed that he was there, and we all tried to look without being completely and lamely obvious. My friends got even more excited and started giggling about it and we were all whispering at each other. I was growing frustrated that I still had no idea who this LDP character was. I asked my friends to try and discreetly point him out to me, and to tell me which movies he had been in to help me figure out why it was awesome that he was there.

The problem was, like I said, we were sitting along the bar. If you've ever tried to sit along the bar in a row with a group of four or five people, you know that proper socializing is kind of out of the question. Add to this the fact that I was sitting at the left of the group, and I'm extremely hard of hearing in my right ear, and I could barely hear a word anyone was saying to me.

This pub was also on the smaller side, and LDP's group was sitting right behind us. So craning my neck around to get a good look at the Famous Table was diminishing my subtlety even further. I'm pretty sure that this is the scene LDP saw from his table, in plain sight - and earshot - of the row of twentysomethings who couldn't keep their voices down enough:

Deaf girl on the left: Who's here?? Who's famous??

Friend #1: Shh! It's Lou Diamond Phillips!

DGOTL: Who the fuck is that?

Friend #2: The guy from La Bamba! He's over there!

*Friend #2 starts to glance over his shoulder, realizes there is no way to do so discreetly, and tries to gesture with his eyebrows*

DGOTL: The guy in the black shirt over there? 

*Friend #3 sneaks a daring glance*

Friend #3: No! Beside him! In the toque!

*DGOTL looks over her shoulder, pretending to care about some beer company

DGOTL: That guy's famous? What else has he been in? I never saw La Bamba.


Friend #1: Wasn't he in...that movie? With whatshername? About the things? And stuff happens?

Friend #4: No, no, that was the other guy. With the face.

Friend #2: I think he was also in that show about the people.  

DGOTL: Seriously, I have no idea who this person is.


So as you can imagine, our attempts at discretion were not working out. After a few minutes, during which time I imagine LDP and his entourage were snickering behind our lowly commoner backs, my friends gave up trying to educate me in 1980's B-movie pop culture and we went on to discuss other things.

Some time after our conversation had drifted from that topic, however, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I twisted around on my bar stool. My friends all looked up.

Lou Diamond Phillips smiled down at me, stuck his hand out, and said, in the friendliest voice imaginable, "Hi! I'm Louie."

Dumbstruck, I placed my own mornoic hand into his.


"Nice to meet you!" He gave me a little wink and then turned around to leave the bar. We all watched him go without speaking for a solid thirty seconds. Then they all turned to me, asking the same question with their raised eyebrows and gaping mouths.

My only answer was "I don't fucking know."


So there you have it, Internet. This concludes my three-part series of meeting famous people. And you know what? All five of them were class acts. Green Day's band members were humble, down-to-earth regular guys. Jack Layton was gracious in trying to navigate unfamiliar territory (a hard job for a politician with a specific public platform). And Louie - I can totally call him Louie, guys, cause he straight told me to - just got a kick out of the whole thing. I guess when you're sort of a Hollywood one-hit-wonder, you learn to laugh at these kinds of situations. (If you read the above dialogue as sarcastic or snotty at all, I assure you it wasn't; he really is a nice guy.)

So remember, reader: when you meet a famous person, they're just a regular person like you. A person with a lot more money and power than you, who's probably cooler and almost definitely better-looking who has maybe had a lot more sex than you! But they're a person all the same.

And if they tell you to call them Louie, then just smile and nod like a moron. Because no matter how you respond, no matter how you react, you know he's going to be telling the story later on tonight; and however he spins it, you're going to sound like a jackass.

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