Spent the better part of Friday with Chris and his new girlfriend, driving to (and checking out) the Beverly Center's exhibit for the upcoming film adaptation of "Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."
We began checking out the exhibit shortly after our arrival. Unfortunately, ABC television was filming some sort of news report or update directly in front of the exhibit, and the mall representative forcefully requested that we vacate the exhibit space (a relatively small, mostly enclosed area; a large portion of which was large, clear, snow-globey things) until the station finished filming their segment.
After a short period of waiting, we resumed our immersion in all things "Narnia."
Before we left the mall and headed back to OC, we decided to go down to the parking structure area and take some photos along a small walkway connecting the lower bowels of the structure with the outside street. There was a corrugated gate or wall of some kind, and it made for a good background for photos.
Anyhow, after several photos were taken, I looked up and noticed - walking in my direction - will i. am, one of the members of the popular group, The Black Eyed Peas. Upon the nigh-instantaneous recognition of this event, I made some hand gesture (remember: he's still walking towards me down the corridor at this point) signifying that I recognized him. Probably the same dumb "hollywood gunslinging" hand gesture that I often resort to when at a loss for words.
The Black Eyed Peas dude continues walking. A split second after passing me, he stops, whirls around for an instant, and makes eye contact with me. I nod, approvingly, as if to say, "Job well done. I approve of your musical talents, but presently lack the verbal wherewithal to say so." And the moment is over. He turns back around, and exits into the greater world of the underground parking garage.
Perhaps its sad to say: but by these actions, I finally fulfilled what has been a long-time desire of mine (probably dating back to childhood). I've always wanted to see a celebrity in a public place, tacitly acknowledge their presence, and let the moment pass. I'm sure I'm far from the first person with this urge, but its the first time, I myself, have pulled this off.
I don't think it counts when you're at a convention (comic, sci-fi, hollywood collectible), because at such venues, there are probably numerous idiots pulling the same stunt. And in those environments, you're almost encouraged to strike up a verbal interaction.
For instance, my brief conversation with Asia Argento, several years back, consisted of me making a joke regarding the (ha-ha) unique nature of the inset Maxim photo spread I was having her sign in gold ink. Now, to my embarrassment, I had been in line at Comic-Con to have her sign this particular item. Therefore, it does not fall under my random-encounter-with-celebrity rule. And, of course, she's not exactly a worldwide superstar. Attractive, yes. Did I enjoy her turns in both XXX (also feat. Vin Diesel) and Land of the Dead (also feat. John Leguizamo)? Yeah, sure. In fact, I found her to be - visually and otherwise - the most memorable part of either of those films. And her dad's a legendary film director. But neither random or particularly earth-shaking. Though she did laugh at my feeble attempt at humor. I imagine compared to the drooling masses she encountered that day, I rivaled Jerry Seinfeld in his prime when it came to my comedic acumen.
The only other encounter I can currently salvage from my mental recycle bin would be the extremely brief Q & A session I had with film director, John Singleton, following a theatrical presentation of Craig Brewer's film, Hustle and Flow. I was with a friend, and having arrived slightly late to the screening, we found ourselves sitting in the front row. During the official
Q & A session, nearly all the questions were directed to Brewer and Singleton regarding the film we had just viewed. Sensible. Reasonable.
Meanwhile, I found myself racking my brain, attempting to somehow squeeze some comic book-related news from this opportunity.
I remembered that there had been rumors going back quite some time regarding Singleton possibly being involved with and directing a LUKE CAGE* (for those of you who don't know: "Power Man" - Luke Cage was the real name of Power Man, who had ruled late 70s-mid 80s Marvel Comics, alongside his heterosexual lifepartner, Iron Fist (aka Danny Rand) movie.
Anyhow, as people began to exit the auditorium, I seized my moment of geek glory!
"Mr. Singleton, what about the rumors of you doing a Luke Cage movie?" He responded with a brief wish for the studios to get things rolling, began another sentence, trailed off ... and made his hasty escape.
Later, after I had exhausted the novelty of the Arclight reception area with my erstwhile friend, whom we'll call "Gloria," we casually strolled in the direction of parking.
Suddenly - I noticed Singleton chatting with a friend! I felt compelled to drop another comment regarding Luke Cage as I sauntered through the crowd, never knowing if he picked up on it, or if - indeed - my very presence that night had insured that he would never be involved with a LUKE CAGE film.
Anyhow, due to my somewhat uncool behavior that night, I have somewhere in the bowels of my being desired a "do over" when it came to randomly encountering famous folk.
So thank you, will i. am! Thank you, oh mighty Black Eyed Peas dude with cool name and unassuming manner. Thank you for allowing me to purge my negative memories of the Singleton event with a much-cooler, nonverbal "what's up?" to you, as my friends and I finished taking random photos of ourselves before deciding to cross the street for Jamba! refreshment.
* The "CAGE" in LUKE CAGE, is the source of the "CAGE" in Nicholas (formerly Coppola) Cage. Don't believe it? Check the random stoner in "Fast Times at Ridgemont High." No Nick Cage there, my friends!! All Coppola! And now he's named his child Kal-El! Next year, the balding actor will grace us with his turn as "Ghost Rider." Hopefully, the flaming skull will dominate the movie. I did like Cage in Matchstick Men, though.