About That Autograph You Got in J Paul’s -or- My Night Being Almost Famous
The picture above is Cameron Crowe, famous director who I referenced briefly in my last post. That reference actually reminded me of one my first “This is Life In DC” Lessons…classic, classic moment in my tenure here in the Nation’s Capital.
See, one of my best friends at the time was English Chris. He’s an LA guy through and through who one day packed his shit and left for England, never to return. He called me from the airport…really…he had a flair for the dramatic. At any rate we were out and about one night at J Paul’s discussing why he could never, ever live in New England and I could never, ever live in LA. My at the time GF Carlita, the bombshell boutique bartender from Spain (crazy as the day is long, but you knew that…different story for another time) was telling us both that Spain is the most real, grounded place she’d ever been…and that DC was superficial and vain…
And that’s when I said it…the spark that lit the powder keg….
DC is great. People here are smart and driven and have aspirations; It’s not like LA, all superficial and hollow!
Carlita and English Chris heard this and both (having lived here for years and years) doubled over laughing. I mean, hanging on to the bar, tears down their faces belly laughing.
“Oh baby you just do not know what you’re talking about”
NO WAY! Come on, look, this town is full of power players and…
“If you were in a bar in Boston and someone famous came in, what would happen?” English Chris asked.
I said, well…define famous? Like, if it was a Sox player the place would go fucking crazy…
“No no…I mean someone kinda famous…just famous enough?”
Well, like who?
We fired off some names and then Carlita said, “Kinda famous? How about Almost Famous…Cameron Crowe”
“Perfect. If Cameron Crowe came in to a bar in Boston or Burlington, what would happen?”
Well, first of all no one would know who he was, and if they did he’d probably get asked for his autograph…it wouldn’t be that big of a deal. I mean, he’s Cameron Crowe, not Larry Bird.
“Right. I will now show you why you are way off base about DC”
Carlita and English Chris then started referring to me as “Cam”…just loud enough so as to attract a little attention. Not much…and Carlita after a few minutes turned to a patron and said “The guy directs a few movies and thinks he’s so fucking perfect”
BOOOOOOOOM. That was it.
“He directs movies?” the patron asked.
“He’s a glorified casting director”
HA HA HA HA…
“Anything I’ve seen?”
Did you see Almost Famous?
“NO FUCKING WAY…you’re that guy…ummm….what’s his name? Hey, what’s the guy’s name that directed…”
“Cameron Fucking Crowe. Hey I love your stuff…”
“Yeah, but hey, keep it on the hush, we just want to have a drink and a quiet night.”
“Oh yeah, totally. No worries.” Nice guy, totally random. No big deal, he walked away.
Dude, that proves NOTHING.
“You’re right…but that’s not my point…just watch…”
Within MAYBE 20 minutes, there was an odd shift in the room. The crowd was coming towards us. Not overtly mind you, but suddenly there were a lot more people just around us being completely “nonchalant” about it…and then…
“Hey, I know you”
You…you sure about that?
“Yeah, I LOVE you! You’re CAMERON CROWE!!! Fast times at Ridgemont High!!! Hey, can I get your picture?”
“Hey, Cameron, cool to meet you…let me buy you a drink”
“Hey, I loved Jerry Maguire, what’s Tom Cruise like?”
It was NON. STOP. People were trying to be matter of fact, but there was hysteria in the air. Someone famous is here! And no one…and I mean NO ONE questioned it. I would guess that I had my picture taken 70-100 times that night. I didn’t pay for a drink. I got tons of phone numbers just handed to me. I signed autographs. I was offered sex. I was invited to parties after hours. In short, I was Cameron Fucking Crowe. One woman making a flirty off the cuff comment is all it took to turn the entire bar into a sycophantic frenzy.
I was told that I looked just like my pictures by several people. The bartender at one point called his GF to tell her to “get the FUCK TO J PAUL’S CUZ CAMERON CROWE IS HERE”…and I just had to meet her. Because why? You guessed it, she’s an actress. (At which point English Chris almost fell off his barstool…not like LA indeed.)
I called it off after a bit. I had to. It was creepin’ me out and the point was proven. We made our escape in to a waiting cab and I didn’t go back to J Pauls for, oh…wait…I don’t think that I’ve been back there since.
Readers, if you’ve ever been to New England you know damned well that would never happen where I’m from. Not unless it was Larry Bird or Carl Yazstremski…and even THEN, people would back off. I’ve seen it myself. It wouldn’t happen in LA b/c celebrities are a dime a dozen. And it damn sure wouldn’t happen in most of Spain. It happens here. I don’t mean that as some sort of indictment or a knock on our town. I don’t. I love it here. But when people talk about how unaffected and over it they are here, I feel like they are wearing their dad’s suit. It’s something we SAY b/c, well, we live in DC. We’re supposed to be somewhat over it and unaffected.
Oh, and just for the record, I did NOT accept any of the offers for parties or sex, I did not audition the bartender’s girlfriend, and I have no idea how the rumors started that Almost Famous II; the Solo Projects was in the works.