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Saturday, March 11, 2006

celebrity sightings

during the course of my marathon travels, when people learn that i'm from la-la land, they immediately ask me if i run into celebrities every day. my answer to them is always the same: no. it's because i really don't go around checking out everyone i run into, trying to figure out if they're "someone" in disguise.

it is true, however, that you can, on occasion, run into a celeb in LA. i've attended parent-teacher meetings with farrah fawcett and OJ simpson (at catholic schools, no less, which makes for interesting conversation), and have looked up from my dinner plate at restaurants to see sarah jessica parker or ted danson sitting at the table next to me.

anyway, one warm sunny day, i decided to find out if los angeles was truly teeming with stars. i bought myself some chicken and fries from reddi chick and a vanilla sugardome cookie from the city bakery at the brentwood country mart, plopped myself down at one of the picnic tables, and observed people as they walked by. after all, many of the celebs live in or near brentwood, and the mart is one of those local places where they're not mobbed by tourists. it's been said that michelle pfeiffer, tom hanks, gwyneth paltrow, and steven spielberg had dropped by at one time or another. so i figured the odds were good that i would recognize someone, even if it were just someone i knew from maha yoga next door or from my kids' school down the street. nada. just a bunch of moms who were trying to keep their kids from running amuck. but then again, they could have been the families of big name producers and directors. see? i told you i never recognize anyone...

so it was interesting to find out after my yoga class this afternoon that it was taught by a relatively new celebrity: aras baskauskas, of survivor: panama - exile island fame. it's been years since i last watched a survivor episode, so it was only after i googled him to get his yoga background that i realized who he was. and to think that i placed him as just another california surfer dude who was teaching yoga to make ends meet.

and since this IS los angeles, there are other yoga teachers who have ties to the movie and/or music industry. of the ones i've taken classes with, here are snippets from their bios:

christine burke - "I stepped into Yoga as an actress in New York at Jivamukti in their earlier days."

sydney coale - "Sydney Coale Phillips has starred briefly on Beverly Hills 90210 as well as in such movies as Princess Warrior, The Colony and Mutual Needs."

brad keimach - "With a background as a symphony and opera conductor, Brad has been profoundly influenced in his life and teaching by the heart-first example of his mentor, Leonard Bernstein."

bibi mcgill - "She hooked up with Pink for her promotional tour in November and started blazing the stages of London, Spain, Singapore, Germany, and Australia with her high-voltage licks and stage moves. She continued the tour onto high-profile TV shows, including Saturday Night Live, MTV's Total Request Live, the Billboard Music Awards, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Britain's Top of the Pops."

ross rayburn - "Moved to LA originally to pursue an acting career and can still embarrassingly be seen from time to time on re-runs of “Sweet Valley High”"

lori rischer - "Having spent 14 years as an executive in the music business, she went through her third corporate merger. Tired of the stress caused by her fast paced record company job, Lori decided to use this opportunity to change her lifestyle into a more fulfilling spiritual path committing full time to her Yoga practice."

steve ross - "Ross began playing the guitar when he was 12 years old and went on to play with such bands as Fleetwood Mac, Men At Work, The Beach Boys and Stevie Nicks."

so the next time i'm asked, i can now confidently say: "sure, i run into stars all the time... it's hard NOT to!"