Saturday, January 29, 2005

Star gazing in the desert

It was a star-studded day, and evening, here in the desert. My friend, B, and I were on a mission today to do a little celebrity spotting at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic. Neither of us are big golf fans, but we wanted to go out to the tournament and check it out, just because we could.

We ventured to PGA West in La Quinta to hobnob with the elite set. OK, mostly we went to people watch, including the characters in the gallery as well as the pros, amateurs and celebrities on the Arnold Palmer Private Course at PGA West.

Most of our time was spent along the 16th, 17th and 18th holes. Among the celebs gawked at were: Comedian George Lopez, actor Kurt Russell, former football player turned broadcaster Ahmad Rashad, current KISS guitarist Tommy Thayer, actor Joe Pesci, Houston Astros pitcher Roger Clemens and TV talk show host Carson Daly.

Afterward, B and I ran a few errands and sat around his apartment BSing before realizing we were both hungry. So we decided to have dinner. At B's suggestion we dined at a Mexican restaurant called El Mirasol on the edge of downtown Palm Springs. The food and conversation were good (and the margarita wasn't bad either), but the restaurant was crowded and loud. A sign of the popularity of the place, belying the somewhat ramshackle appearance of the place from the outside. It's really just a dive place serving good food at a good price. Can't go wrong with that.

We had thought our celebrity sightings were over for the day, but as we were walking through the outdoor patio on our way to the car, a familiar face was spotted at one of the outdoor tables. The face was familiar, because it belonged to former Bette Midler piano player, turned jingle-writer, turned soft-rock crooner Barry Manilow.

OK, yes, I was a Barry Manilow fan back in the day. My junior high cassette collection was dominated by make-up metal band KISS, and Barry Manilow. So, there is some irony to seeing a member of the band KISS and Manilow in the same day in my community (even if I didn't know Thayer was the name of KISS' guitarist. Ace Frehley I know. Thayer? Saw him in concert last year, but didn't know him from Joe Pesci's caddy).

B had to call his mom as we were walking to the car to tell her we had an encounter with Barry Manilow. The pressing question on B's mom's mind: What was Manilow eating? Sorry mom, that's intelligence we did not gather. We'll remember to check next time.

Excuse me Barry, is that the carne asada? And would you hum a few bars of "Mandy"? "Copa Cabana"? "Weekend in New England"? I used to be a big fan, well, way back before I, you know, grew some hair on my nuts. Enjoy your dinner. See ya around neighbor!


MJ said...

The Man Who Writes the Songs is a semi-regular at El Mirasol from what I gather. And apparently, they graciously accommodate him by letting him enter and leave through the kitchen. I've seem him there a couple of times whilst enjoying what I like to call "The Bird Bath Cadillac Margarita." Mmm, margaritas... Where was I? Yes, the first time I saw Barry there, we had to call the missus' mom as well - she (my mother in-law) calls him "My Barry" in a very think Jersey accent... Precious!

3rd Times a Charm said...

LOL! My Barry Manilow story dates pre puberty as well G-man. It was a Barry Manilow song that was playing on one of my records (one with 20 asst'ed hits) that I was singing along with, with all the heartfelt angst of any pre pubescent teen, when my father decided to tape me. And play it for a huge family get together. This was the day I discovered, that no, I don't sing like Barbara Streisand, not even close! That I could not carry a tune, or even hit one correct note. And my adoring family got to laugh until they cried. So Barry will always hold a special spot in my heart. At least I think it was Barry. Remember the song Feelings? That was Barry wasn't it? (Feelings, nothing more then feelings...trying to forget myyyyyy feelings ooooooofff loooooove....) And; on another note, Where are you? Your another site I check daily, and your posts, they are gittin' a little further and further apart.....:-(

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