Near Celebrity Encounters


We had only been in Palm Springs for a few hours when Meka and I had our obligatory celebrity sighting.  We had just had lunch and were walking through the downtown area to burn off a few calories and revel in the concept of being outdoors without protection.  A large crowd gathered in front of one of the stores.  A television cameraman was wandering around the edges, looking for a place to plant his tripod.  A sound engineer wandered through the crowd, fishing for sound with a microphone attached to a long pole.  I flew to California that morning with my HD camcorder and not one, but two digital cameras.  However, I didn’t actually have any of them with me at that moment. 

There was a significant police presence with a squad car and half a dozen officers managing the crowd and trying to direct traffic.  Cars would slow down and I’m assuming the drivers were asking what was going on.  I couldn’t hear the questions, but I heard a few of the answers.

“Kathy Griffin.  Move along.”

“Kathy Griffin is getting a star on the walk.  You can’t park here.”

“I said Kathy Griffin, not Andy Griffith.  Please keep moving.”

Meka and I crossed the street to take in the whole scene.  Soon, a van from one of the local resorts pulled out and out stepped Kathy and her mother.  They disappeared into the crowd.  I assumed she kneeled down next to her star, probably along with some local politicians who helped make it happen, and pose for photographs.  As a comedienne, I’m sure she said a few funny things off the cuff.  We could hear the crowd laugh except for the religious guy holding a ten foot Bible Banner.  He kept shouting she was going to Hell.  I didn’t think Suddenly Susan was all that funny either, but I don’t think it warranted eternal damnation.  I think most of the crowd agreed with me.  They cheered when he finally stomped off with his sign.

There were a pair of portable PA speakers set up on either side of the store, but they didn’t seem to pump out much volume.  We couldn’t hear much of what was going on.  We hung around a few minutes longer so Meka could text her friend back in Illinois.  Every now and then, the crowd cheered some new celebrity.  I think I saw the hair of Suzanne Sommers.  Barry Manilow might have been standing deep in the shadows under the awning of the storefront.  I was wearing my sunglasses, so it was hard to tell for sure.  Even we clapped when “singing legend of stage and screen” Carol Channing was introduced.  Neither Meka nor I actually saw Carol Channing, but we didn’t think they would make her up.

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