So there I was at Heather Graham's birthday party Friday night. I had tagged along with someone who'd tagged along with someone who'd tagged along with the DJ. That's right, people: I was just three degrees of separation from the help!
Well, there we are, waiting outside Tokio on Cahuenga Boulevard because it's jammed inside the tiny club, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen are chilling on the sidewalk, and up walks Liev Schreiber!
Who? you ask. Because, really, he's not that famous.
Okay. He was in The Daytrippers? Where he played Parker Posey's boyfriend who wrote the hilarious novel? No? Okay. He was the ex-boyfriend in the Meg Ryan time-travel romance Kate & Leopold? No? Well, he's not that famous.
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Still, he's one of the few (maybe half a dozen) actors I would freak out to see in person because he's so tall and Jewish and droopily handsome, and I even know how to pronounce his first name (rhymes with Kiev), and his parts are so witty and intelligent! (The Orson Welles biopic RKO-281? No? Okay.) He's so intelligent, in fact, that if you web-stalk him, you'll come up with this quote from the Yale website: "[Yale] had a huge effect on my life and my career as well," he said at some pooteriffic Yale shindig. "Yale has solidified my love of text."
See? Liev Schreiber "loves text"!
Now, we'd already been at a small cocktail get-together, poolside at the Avalon Hotel, for novelist, Vanity Fairguy and bona fide CG-pal Neal Pollack, who was in town pitching to the movie folk (and who got Vanity Fair to pay for it; clever Neal Pollack!). At this cocktail thing, we listened to girl agents talk about their $240 pants and say things like, "Well, you know, if I just need staples and I want to go cheap, then I'll go to Banana Republic." And then we listened to this woman talk about how Maya Lin (you remember Maya Lin from such projects as, oh, the Vietnam War Memorial) was redesigning her house. We decided the girl agents were probably less lethal. But then a weird thing happened! After the girl agents left to go to their pole-dancing aerobics class, we talked more to the woman with the house, and she turned out to be supercool and not nearly as pretentious as the conversation had at first suggested, and she was actually groovy and kind of reckless, too, and she invited us to go to Heather Graham's party with her because she knew the DJ! So that's why we were sitting there on Cahuenga Boulevard, waiting to get into Tokio, but not for terribly long: someone who promised to get us into a party, it turned out, could actually get us into a party.
So up walks Liev Schreiber! (Who?) And I'm freaking out, and I decide it's time to grow some balls and go say something clever and hopefully charming. He's outside because he can't get into the party (because, really, he's not that famous), and his back is to me when I walk up and gently touch his shoulder and say, softly, "Excuse me." That's when he turns farther away.
Maybe he didn't hear me. I slink back into line.
We get into the party a solid 20 minutes before he does because, really, he's not that famous, and we're having a fabulous free-drinky time in the soup of sweat coming from the dance floor. Well, finally Liev Schreiber gets into the party, and I decide to stalk him once more. He's not there with a date; he's not trying to finish a meal in peace for once, god damn it, just once; I am not waving a camera lens in his face; and we are guests at the same private party, even if I am tagging along with the help.
He's talking in a desultory manner—he looks bored, actually—with some guy he knows, and I go stand at his elbow, waiting for a break in the conversation so as not to interrupt. I stand there, the smile pinned to my face becoming less and less natural and buoyant, for five minutes. Maybe seven. Far too long. And there's no way to extricate myself gracefully from this situation because I have fearlessly stated with my presence that I have come over to say something clever and charming—something like "Hello!"—and he has clearly stated his intention to refuse to look down in the region of his right elbow and smile or nod or acknowledge in any way that I am a person standing there waiting to say something to him. I wasn't important, pretty or good enough even to nod to.
I'm sure I've been more embarrassed but never when it didn't involve accidental public nudity or an ill-timed vomit.
A tip for you, Liev Schreiber: way more famous people than you have also not wanted to talk to me. They do anyway. Because we're people, we smile. We nod. We exchange a sentence or two even if it's just "It's inappropriate for you to follow me to my home," or "Stop hitting me, Liza!" And then we graciously excuse ourself if need be. It's perfectly acceptable, and it's what people do. Think of all you miss—like my "text." If I had been all snobby and horrible and cold and cadaverous and incapable of human emotion, like you, I wouldn't have had any fun at Laguna Beach's Marine Room the next night. I would have shut myself off with a scowl from talking and dancing with the two 23-year-old, six-foot-three Marines trying to buy me birthday drinks (and succeeding—semper fi, darlings!). And I couldn't have danced joyously to the band at the Sandpiper, who were pleasing me with their poppy Oasis and Squeeze (and the singer had a funny constipated intensity) until my sister decided she wasn't having a Hessian enough time, and we had to leave. I would have no friends with whom to wander the night, no human contact whatsoever. Oh, well. You'll always have text.
Eight Days Thurs/Feb 26: Poetry, music, art . . . you guys should go to Underground Poets & Musicians before the ladies who run Misfit #9 Gallery get bored or overworked and stop holding it without notice. It's hosted by petite South American spitfire Sylvia Volcan, who'll probably read you some erotic poetry of her own . . . if you can stand the heat!Sign up, 9:30 p.m. Misfit #9 Gallery, Santora Arts Bldg., 207 N. Broadway, Ste. B-8, Santa Ana, (714) 972-1447. Fri: Have a drink, get behind the wheel, and head out to SnoopTown for a smorgasbord of delightful musical offerings featuring . . . you! First, go to Alex's for New Wave Karaoke and get in touch with your inner Human Leaguer. Then have another drink and get back behind the wheel (again!) and drive the one-point-something mile to DiPiazza to see The Ziggens! The dreamy band of brothers (they're way less old and fat and post-traumatic-stress-disordered than John Kerry's band of brothers) used to actually feature Republican Assemblyman Ken Maddox! How crazy is that? Of course, since we broke the story of Maddox's rock & roll past, some right-wing Internet dick sent out an e-mail blasting Maddox for making a joke about getting dogs drunk, which was a joke. It was actually funny, too. Dicks. 9 p.m. 21+. Alex's Bar, 2913 E. Anaheim Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 434-8292. Free; DiPiazza, 5205 E. Pacific Coast Hwy., Long Beach, (562) 498-2461; www.dipiazzas.com. Call for cover. Sat: In a toss-up between the breasts popping out at Mardi Gras at Huntington Beach's Old World Village and the breasts of Miss Candye Kane playing the piano at Renaissance Dana Point, we'll go with Candye any night of the week. First, her breasts won't try to entice you into buying shots of Jgermeister. (We once saw two shameless Jger girls try to get a mentally challenged guy to spend all his money on Jger shots for them. We wanted to punch them in the throat.) Second, that wasn't a dangling modifier: it's actually her breasts that play the piano, not the other way around. 8:30 p.m. 21+. Renaissance Dana Point, 24701 Del Prado Ave., Dana Point, (949) 661-6003. Sun: So Live Magazine's Martin Brown was in the office a few weeks ago, and I made the mistake of asking him what was new in a friendly, nice-to-see-you-Martin-Brown! manner. Next thing you know, I had promised to attend the Orange County Music Awards "Best High School Band" finals, featuring Point Blank, Joke's on You, Deidre Hughes, Beyond Conception and Stulpigeon. Do you see now why I hate me? However! Brown swears that one of the bands at least is absolutely outrageously great and I will be swept away in a flood of my own lust. Or something. Also? Last year's best high school band winners were absolutely darling, honestly, and we were terribly impressed, except then they started playing music. 1 p.m. $10. All ages. Galaxy Concert Theatre, 3503 S. Harbor Blvd., Santa Ana, (714) 957-0600; www.galaxytheatre.com.
Mo Mon: I love the White Stripes. I really, really love the White Stripes. I am embarrassed to say how much I love the White Stripes, as it's not terribly original to love the White Stripes and lots of people's moms love the White Stripes, and not only am I a mom who loves the White Stripes, but I also originally bought the album for my nine-year-old son, who also loves the White Stripes, although maybe not as much as I love the White Stripes. But according to our Calendar listings, The Dots "give you something a little White Stripes-y with some piano thrown in." I guess I can't really resist that, huh? 9 p.m. Kitsch Bar, 891 Baker St., Costa Mesa, (714) 546-8580.
Tues: Is there anyone who didn't find Mikhail Baryshnikov's character on Sex & the Cityhorribly humorless, pompous and cold? Did you know he used to be a ballerina? Okay, back to Sex & the City: the first time you saw him on there, didn't you think, "That guy looks kind of like Mikhail Baryshnikov?" So you were gathering up your interest, but then within four seconds, you realized he was horribly humorless, pompous and cold? In a bad way? And then you realized that you just don't care about Carrie's love life anymore, and you wished you could see more of Miranda becoming a human being and Samantha letting herself be loved? Weren't those scenes touching? Are we done with that yet? I think, oui! Now Baryshnikov gives us an evening of the Dance: Mikhail Baryshnikov, Solos with Piano or Not. Enjoy an evening of music and dance, featuring Mikhail Baryshnikovand pianist Pedja Muzijevic. The program comprises new works from choreographers including Lucinda Childs, Michael Clark, Eliot Feld, Cesc Gelabert, Ruth Davidson Hahn and Tere O'Connor. Dude may be sexy and 70, but why did he have to be such a manic-depressive manipulative bastard ruining Carrie's party like that? Oh, yeah, and now Big is gonna be Happily Ever After? Tell it to Candace Bushnell. What is wrong with men? And Candace Bushnell? 8 p.m. $30-$100. UCLA, Freud Playhouse, 752 Charles E. Young Dr. S., Westwood, Los Angeles, (310) 825-2101. Wed: How bad do you suppose Marijuana: The Bandis? Couldn't be as bad as the current season of Law & Order, which is pretty much your only other entertainment option this fine Wednesday eve. Remember when Chris Noth was sexy? When was that? Season two? Step away from the television, and head to the charmingly squatterish Liquid Den and hoist a microbrew with the hip, aging punks. 9 p.m. $5-$7. 21+. 5061 Warner Ave., Huntington Beach, (714) 377-7964; www.liquid-den.com. Thurs/March 4: Guest speaker and OC District Attorney Tony Rackauckas helps Investigators Put Spotlight on Identity Theft Crimes. Back when I used to work 50 hours per week, I used to have a nanny for my son—yes, Barbara Ehrenreich, I know I'm an enemy of the people!—until the aforementioned nanny went on a nationwide spree of Me-Impostorness. I mean, I fired her once I realized she was getting fake Codeinescrips because drug addicts are not generally the fine people you want caring for your buttercup of a toddler son. Then I realized she'd already been using my identity and my credit card. And then she went on the nationwide spree. I hate that nanny! Still, I probably hate Tony Rackauckas more. Hmmm. Yes. Yes, I do. And unlike Mikhail Baryshnikov, he's not even fictional! 7 p.m. UC Irvine, Crystal Cove Auditorium, Campus & W. Peltason drs., Irvine, (949) 824-7181.
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