Sunday, February 08, 2009

Rubbing Elbows with the Celebs

I was reading an editorial in Details magazine and there was some responses regarding Keanu Reeves.  I guess in the article there were some simple comments on how Keanu likes to be a normal cat; read books, ride his new fangled motor-powered bicicleta, and (most likely with some amount of humor and a dash of sarcasm) he mentions he likes a good sandwich.

A woman made a comment on how [my words] it's nice to see celeb's having to deal with the trials and tribulations of finding the sandwich shop closed on Mondays.

So I was in the shower thinking of the article and I asked myself what have been my brushes with well known folks?  I thought for a minute and the first thing that popped into my head; freakin' Walter Payton.  Um yeah, I couldn't make this shit up.  I had been working on a project at the place I was working at where we took a golf cart and modified it to transport a video crane, it was ultimately (and ridiculously) called the CamRyde.  The Broncos had made it into the playoffs in '98 and so CBS was airing the game(s).  I grabbed MegaMex and we loaded the trailer and took this over to the field the day before and they were preparing for the game.  I introduced myself to the director and he walked over with us to the trailer and saw this thing we had built and was stoked.  He immediately wanted to use this for the game.  Sweet.  So, the next day we're in Mile High Stadium building the crane (Egripment Scanner) and cabling the camera.  We're standing there talking and Walter Payton walks by, like 5 feet away, and says "Hey guys."  I look over at MegaMex and say, "Dude, can you believe that shit?  You know who that is right?  Fucking Walter Payton man!"  I remember being pretty star struck for about 7 seconds.

Then I got to thinking, who else?  The second so called "brush with greatness" was Michael Biehn.  You'll see that I included quotes to emphasize my sarcasm.  Back in 1997 I was a Crane (Enlouva II) and Remote Head (PowerPod) tech on the last few days of Asteroid and this guy was being interviewed over by the craft services table not far from where I had the crane setup.  You could practically see the ego drip off this guy.  Blech.  Annabella Sciorra was also in this film, and though I saw her walk on set, the only fucking retarded shit she did was to do the whole thing where she was throwing a tantrum in her trailer and wouldn't come out, everyone on set was having to be super cool and walk on egg shells cause she her ego was getting in the way.

Ah, then there's one of my more favorite stories. I had made a really short blog about this a couple of years ago (link) but never really did tell the story.  I was hired alongside of Quint as a Crane (SwissJib) and Remote Head (PowerPod) tech on the last day / night of shooting on Dee Snider's Strangeland.  This was a night shot, and as the story is told at the end of the movie.  Besides Dee Snider, Robert Englund was in it as well, though I only saw him from a distance.  Actually, the more I think about it the more I realize that I only saw Dee from a distance as well.  My elbow rubbing came along with the most unlikely of people.  So, here's the skinny.  Quint and I setup the crane and mounted the remote head.  A 40 foot crane takes a while to setup, so we were busy for quite awhile. We had the remote head mounted and started cabling and getting the wheels and monitors setup.  Once we got done, we sat and rested and watched the production for a bit.  Behind us, there were a few people who had taken up chairs and were just sitting there watching.  There was an older couple sitting there, and out of the blue they just ask what all of the equipment we have does.  So, the first thing is that we were clearly under the assumption that they were just folks off the street watching.  So we ran through the gear and telling them how things worked and why we had to setup the gear the way we did.  After a bit, Quint naturally asks, "are you guys just here watching the shoot?"  And once again, I couldn't make this shit up.  The lady says (I wish I knew their names, but I never did remember if they gave us their names or not) "no, we're Dee's parents."  And we're like, you have to be shitting us.  Although, I believe the words were, "Seriously?".  So, we talked to them a bit more and asked about Dee and how he got to be how he was.  His mom and dad were the coolest folks.  They had a rather large family and just spoke as if they were your neighbors.  So the more we spoke, the more enamored I became.  So eventually, she pulls out her wallet from her purse and begins to show us family photos.  There's Dee, in the back of a large family photo, giant white hair standing next to his [normal] brothers, sisters, and who knows who else was there.  His parents near the front and everyone looked super happy.  It was a cool photo.  Aside from the fact that it was Dee's family and life, it was a cool because how absolutely fascinating it is to see "behind the scenes" of people's lives.  I mean, I'm on set with the guy, someone I'll never meet or have an interesting conversation with even though I would dig that very much, but I get a glimpse into his past for a few moments.   I get fascinated with my friends past when they share.  It's neat that there are so many people with so many stories.

I am going to dig through the mental archives to see if I can find some more.  

Have a nice Sunday and if you are traveling, be safe, have fun, and think of me.


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