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From NY II: celeb spotting

May 1, 2008
I'm jazzed to write about both the Lincoln Center revival of "South Pacific" and the new Broadway musical "Cry-Baby" when I return to Indy. And to catch two more shows Saturday. And to share, perhaps tomorrow's blog, some thoughts on my visit to Birdland for some jazz.

For now, though, a few words about celebrity spotting.

This is not, of course, a uniquely New York phenomenon. Just the other night at the Indianapolis International Film Festival, there was "X-men" star Famke Jenssen, sitting in the lounge. But obviously New York and L.A. are the places where this is most likely to happen.

What I find fascinating is how difficult it is not to share these inconsequential stories with friends, family and co-workers upon one's return to the real world. For instance, Kathy Lee Gifford was two rows behind me yesterday at "South Pacific" and that fact has come up far too often in the day's conversations. (She seemed to really enjoy the production, by the way).

On a previous trip, I walked near the Public Theatre and saw a dead pigeon on the sidewalk. When I looked up, Willem Dafoe breezed by me (the two things, I believe, were unrelated but added up to strong New York moment--or at least that was my excuse for telling the tale over and over again).

And then there was that moment when Jim Belushi walked across 7th Avenue (amazing, huh?) and when Christopher Guest sat in the same theater seeing "Gypsy" (the last revival, not the present one), and, OMG, when the woman from "The Drew Carey Show" was actually buying groceries in L.A.

And how about when Al Franken cut into the front of a long line at Grand Central Station?

Why are these nothing moments, these not-quite stories, so lodged in our brains? Why do we have such an urge to share them? Why do the Us magazines of the world get so much mileage out of the photos of celebs walking, shopping, eating, etc.?

Your thoughts? (Or, if you want, your favorite celebrity-spotting stories?)

Famke Jenssen looked great, by the way.
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