“Hey Amber! Doesn’t this guy look like Luke?”
The gentleman in question is to my right. He has shaggy brown hair and an unkempt beard. For better or worse, this reminds me of Luke, who fits a similar description. I am saddled up to the bar at a bar called The Bar, not getting a drink because I don’t drink. Amber’s red hair spills over her face as she gives an affirmative “Uh huh” and snickers gently into her drink.
I nudge the aforementioned doppelganger. “Hey! You look like my friend Luke!” I yell over the clatter of cheap drinks and a Gang of Four song being played for the 800th time this year. He says something along the lines of thanks and he hopes this is a complementary statement. I assure him that it is, he turns back to attend to his beverage, Amber and I leave soon after.
We open the door onto a dirty stretch of Sunset Boulevard. The bar is sandwiched between a Mobile gas station and an old apartment building turned half-way house. Toward the end of the night, the patrons of the bar and the occupants of the building would be on par in their stammering belligerence. The difference between them being that the drunkenness was temporary for us, while the others existed in a permanent state of poverty induced perma-fry.
As soon as we’re breathing smokeless air, Amber grabs my arm.
“That was Vincent Gallo!”
“The guy who looks like Luke!”
“Who’s Vincent Gallo?”
Amber laughs. She thinks it’s funny because I’m new to Hollywood and I don’t know who anyone is yet. Celebrities, restaurateurs, overly friendly music managers. Unless you’re Tom Cruise, you’re as much an unknown as the next schmuck. The result is that I am unintentionally charming and carefree. Social democracy is achieved for this brief moment in my history of interacting with such people. I act like these people are regular humans because, well, I don’t know any better. Los Angeles is like a village and we are all common folk, swapping stories about sick pigs and crop yields. I quickly lose this naivete.
Later I do some research on Vinnie. I make my TMZ discoveries:
- Previously a Calvin Klein model back in the Kate Moss 1990s hay day
- Independent writer and actor
- Given an on-camera blow job by Chloe Sevigny in movie (Brown Bunny)
I am now fully abreast of this man’s life and famous quotes. I am prepared for the official and informed Hollywood interaction.
The next time I see him is at Teddy’s, a club under the Roosevelt Hotel. He was living in the hotel temporarily and I was practically living on the dance floor. Needless to say, both of us where there far too often. And, of course, as social protocol would have it – successful older man/ pretty young girl – we are introduced. I do not tell him I met him a few years back and I do not remind him that he looks like my friend Luke.
Over the course of various Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night run-ins, Vincent and I established the familiarity that occurs when two people often share witty banter that involves talking about shoes and making jokes about the family dog. It was amiable and superficial and all within common practice standards of “going out.”
My friends met Vincent, and they too became friendly. I watched Karen play Hide-and-Go-Seek with him, dodging behind a gray cement piling with his grubby fedora on her little head. I stood watching as he peered around the column like the “Where’s Johnny?!” scene in The Shining. These were the moments I left my house for.
One day while walking down a New York street, I passed a newspaper stand. There was Vinnie, staring out from a cover of Purple magazine, wearing a magenta dress and a black riding hat. Naturally, I had his number in my phone, having been ordered to exchange mine for his one night around 1:47 in the morning. This is waht happens when a sleazy, vaguely famous nearly 50 year old celebrity thinks that all of the previously listed qualities will be enough to impress a 21 year old girl enough to bang her a few times until it gets boring (an often successful tactic), and when that same girl thinks that she can just keep this sort interesting famous man as a dear friend (always impossible).
Wanting to express the excitement and pride for my club friend’s magazine cover, I texted him a joke about the stylist stealing that hat from me before the shoot. Maybe my bad humor didn’t quite translate. What I received back was a rather scathing message telling me I was never to contact him ever again. I felt as though I had been attacked by a rapid dog. I was embarrassed. My cheeks burned. I thought it was rather unprovoked. There were boys whom I had actually stalked who treated me with less disdain than this. I couldn’t think of a response like “Fuck you, crazy asshole” so I just deleted his phone number and avoided him from that point forward.