I almost ran into Sarah Jessica Parker in West Hollywood. She was coming out of a boutique. As she walked past me I said to myself: “I think that was Sarah Jessica Parker.” This was probably 1999, so before Sex in the City? So I knew her from...Square Pegs? Mars Attacks? L.A. Story? Also: she was theees beeeg [holds thumb and forefinger very close together]
I also nearly ran into Pete Buck in Belltown, Seattle, in 1999.
While riding my bike past Powell’s Books on the day of the Rose Parade (2002) I saw David Cross talking to someone. I didn’t know David Cross’ name at that point in my life, but I remembered seeing Mr. Show about four years earlier. I wanted to say “hey I know who you are,” except course I didn’t so I shouted “Mustardayonnaise!” at him. He gave me a smile-and-nod, the kind of motion you make when a drunken friend yells at you from across the beach.
In 2002 I went with a date to a reading by Michael Ondaatje at Powell’s. My date knew his son, and he recognized her. We only had one date.
I saw Robin Williams running through the Presidio in 1992. He was very sweaty and very hairy. This was at some great distance so I didn’t yell anything at him.
Sitting in front of my office in Old Town in 2000 I saw Tommy Larkin walk by with someone else dressed in leather. I thought, “hey, I could get Tommy Larkin’s autograph.” Then Jonathan Richman walked by. I was far too excited to think anything at all, and completely failed to get his autograph.
At the Rimrock Mall in Billings, Montana (late 1997), I passed a man who presented a kind of conspicuous inconspicuousness. He wore a plaid jacket, a baseball cap, and round eyeglasses. Something about his style and carriage seemed all wrong for Billings, Montana, as if he were a Martian anthropologist trying desperately to look like a Montanan. When I got to County Seat (the shop in the mall where I habitually bought blue jeans) all the County Seat shopgirls were standing outside the shop tittering. Apparently Mel Gibson was in the mall and they were trying to catch a glimpse of him. I think the Martian anthropologist may have been Mel Gibson.
At an all-ages show at Duffy’s Tavern (Lincoln, Nebraska) in 1991, Lori Allison of the Millions sang a capella while standing on an overturned bucket and leaning on me.
I saw Art Alexakis (of Everclear) at a movie in 2003 or 2004. Around the same time I saw Janet Weiss (of Sleater-Kinney) on Hawthorne Blvd. I also saw Marlee Matlin on the North Park Blocks, where they were filming What the Bleep Do We Know.
At Duffy’s in 1990, Nirvana sat at the bar before their set and watched their first episode ever of the Simpsons. I wasn’t there, but Krist Novoselic told this story between songs during the In Utero tour show at Ak-Sar-Ben in Omaha Nebraska in 1994, and I was there.
I never once, not ever, had the presence of mind to ask any celebrity for their autograph.