Saturday, June 14, 2008

Star Gazing

I am easily star struck. One of the great joys of living in Nashville was the accessibility of famous people -- Amy Grant at a book store, Elvis Costello directly in front of me at a Tower Records, Susan Ashton, John Berry, Donna Summer, both Brooks and Dunn, and the drummer from Lucious Jackson all coming through the same school-related door. Part of the fun of being out at any restaurant or any place that had music was the high percentage odds of seeing someone you'd only seen in photos before. I absolutely loved it. As a Train song says, it makes me feel like we're all kind of friends in a way.

My sister has a great story about waiting for some work to be done on her car when a familiar face came in and needed the same thing -- Hootie (of the Blowfish) sat down and waited too.
Even that one degree of separation gets me excited.

Washington DC is certainly celebrity rich, no doubt about that. They are a different kind of celebrity, though -- you have to be up on you C-SPAN to be able to pick someone out of a crowd. They aren't as accessible as the Nashville ones -- they only eat in fine restaurants, their DC homes are secluded and in the swanky 'burbs, they don't just pop in to places to hang out with the common man. My DC celebrity sightings have been only work related -- a senator with a heart of gold, Bob Woodruff, a Redskins legend, a couple of princes. I thought I've seen people before, including James Carville, but immediately thought, nah. But, one night this past December I was having a delicious and very fun dinner with a friend in Washington before heading across the street to see a choral Christmas concert at the National Cathedral, when my random celeb sighting wish came true -- Tim Russert walked through the place with the same rumpled, relaxed look he always seemed to have on TV. He looked a lot like Randy Quaid, but it was definitely Mr. Russert.

Because I do feel like we're all kind of friends in a way, deaths of celebrities I feel like I have some connection to are inappropriately sad to me. I had a reaction of "I have to tell someone about this" when a good friend of the morning radio show I listen to was killed in an accident, and the same reaction plus an irrational amount of grief when the wife of the afternoon radio guy was killed. I guess a lot of people must have felt a connection with Tim Russert, as word of his death traveled through my work circle like it was a close friend of someone we actually know -- people called each other with "did you hear?" with the follow up of "I just can't believe it". It is certainly sad.

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