Surrounding the Stars

Posted: July 7, 2012 in Side Notes
Tags: , , , ,

I’ve never considered myself a “Bachelorette Party” kind of guy. Remember when we had to do group projects back in school? And remember those teachers who were really bad about hiding the fact that the academic subject in question wasn’t actually the point—it was all about learning how to work in a group? Well yes indeed, that’s how I always felt about gatherings along the lines of a bachelorette party. The few that I had attended brought out in me all the things I couldn’t stand about group projects. But when one of the nearest and dearest tells you to save the date before plowing you with wine, appetizers, wine, pasta, wine, and dessert, it’s time to “man up” and start preparing the necessary outfits and playlists.

Horror stories easily write themselves when it comes to these wedding rituals, but this Hollywood story was blissfully unpredictable. From dancing on the tabletops to watching movies on the couch, we had practically every kind of fun there is to have, but it always helps to cook with the right ingredients. Oh my dear sweet boys, if only you could have seen the eight gorgeous women I was surrounded by that weekend . . . to passersby on Hollywood Boulevard, I may have looked a touch out of place, and admittedly the only thing I was checking out was their shoes (aces, all of them!). Once we hit the street, my blissfully predictable inner tourist come bursting from within—all due respect to my travel companions, I walked about seven blocks with my eyes planted firmly on every star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Since I set out this little movie project of mine, I have come to know not only the great legends of the Golden Age but also those behind the scenes who penned the words, pulled the strings, built the staircases, fluffed the bustles, or rubied the shoes. Since she doesn’t have one herself, I was determined to find the Walk of Fame star for every idol Madonna names in “Vogue,” and had we spent the weekend more sober than we did, I would have had my picture taken with them all. Out of almost 2,500 stars, fortunately the one at the top of my list was right outside our hotel. The other one—okay, she’s also at the top of my list (why can’t I have two?)—was right outside the restaurant where we had our first dinner. I’ll find Miss Davis next time . . . but ladies, excellent planning!

Like visiting Graceland or seeing Coppola’s Oscars at his winery, there was an exciting, almost hunter-gatherer feeling about finding the stars I was looking for on the Walk of Fame. For just a moment, these great (and some terrible) figures from what have become my history textbooks felt closer, as if I were standing there with them (but I promise, not in a Joanne-Woodward or I’m-hearing-voices kind of way). Something new was happening for me, hopefully as a writer and otherwise, but this time I wasn’t afraid of not knowing what it was. Like that Hollywood sign that, despite our amazing daytime view of it, did not light up at night, it was comforting to know something was there, waiting in the darkness.

In the hills behind that well-lit Capitol Records Tower, something was downing its martini and telling me tantalizingly to fasten my seat belt.

  1. OLD FILM FAN says:

    You are a great storyteller, and I love your mix of past and present!
    Great post.


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