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My Star-afesto vs Alton Brown’s Fanifesto

September 20, 2011

“Lowly cook” Alton Brown has cooked up a manifesto to help his fansbehave. His directives include no wire hangers, I mean no cell phone photos.

He writes, “I love making memories as much as the next guy but we’re having to put the kibosh on phone pictures because they’re slow, ponderous and most people (not you of course) don’t know how to use them. As a result we end up standing there long enough for an etching, which can get a little awkward. If you want a picture, bring a camera and have it ready. I will have someone with me who is well versed in its use and we’ll look great when he’s done. ”

When wearing my journalist hat, I’ve met and interviewed hundreds of stars– from the realms of TV, movies, politics, sports, music and literature. My worst experience happened a few weeks ago when I ran into ersatz star, Angelyne, who asked  for $20 in order to take her picture.

“I have to make a living,” she said. As I turned to leave, she asked me, what is your name? I told her she would have to pay me for that information.

While I’ll concede that there is plenty of bad fan behavior, but as Faye Dunaway said in “Mommie Dearest,” the sword cuts both ways.” Between Angelyne and Alton, I’ve now decided that there needs to be another manifesto. One that instructs stars on how to treat their fans.

The following directives are at the top of my list:

  1. Don’t take yourself so seriously. The annoyances you that come with celebrity don’t hold a candle to the serious challenges the less-fortunate endure everyday. Enjoy all that is good.
  2. Don’t look a gift hydrangea in the mouth. If a fan offers you a gift, hide your disdain until you return to your expensive hotel room.
  3. Think of the millions of people on Facebook and Twitter–and who are producing home sex tapes who wish they were you.
  4. Don’t write a manifesto. It’s too much like going to a store or restaurant and being told all the things you can’t do before you even think about doing them. Really, you don’t have to  post a sign telling me to wear shoes and a shirt in order to get service. When you do, it just makes me not want to come back.
  5. Just be good to your good fans. Do you really think the bad ones will even read your manifesto? And Alton, even you concede  99 percent of ” fans are completely cool.”
Got that stars? I’ve had a celebrated friend or two in my life and I’ve watched them behind the scenes and I must say that they have instinctively followed my newly-minted star-efesto.
And about that cell phone thing, I went to a party a couple of years ago in honor of architect Frank Gehry.  When the governor at the time, Arnold Schwarzenegger, unexpectedly showed up, I pulled out my camera and got a photo with him. I was too slow to get a photo with Gehry.
I hated the photo I did get, so when I ran into Schwarzenegger again at the Beverly Hills Barneys, I cursed myself for not having my camera. The governor suggested that I use my cell phone  to take a photo and he even enlisted his daughter, Katherine to take it. That was a good thing because at the time, I had not figured out how to take cell phone photos.
Just last week I saw Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver at a party hosted by their daughter, Katherine. All of the aforementioned posed happily for photos–even with me.
Ricky Gervais is in my Star-afesto Hall of Fame
And then there is Ricky Gervais. I advised visiting friends that we should meet at The Ivy for lunch. Not because the food is good, because it isn’t, but because my visitors would have the best chance of meeting celebrities.
The reason they were visiting Lala was to see Ricky Gervais perform. The next morning, as they made their way to our lunch date, they ran into Ricky Gervais. While the Brit famously skewered celebrities when he hosted the Golden Globes last year, he’s much kinder to fans.
He not only took photos with my lunch dates, courtesy of his girlfriend, he got on the phone with Anabel, she’s on the right, and left a message with a fan who introduced her to Ricky in the first place. He did all of the above with joy, even though such activities are verboten in Alton’s fanifesto. He writes,   “Please don’t ask me to talk to someone on the phone. This is crossing the line.”
Fair enough Alton. While I’ve enjoyed “Good Eats”over the years, I think it’s both informative and creative, I’d never deign myself fan-worthy.
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