This is a picture of spiritual guru Deepak Chopra, Yours Truly, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom. Quite a handsome bunch, eh?
I did not see either Gav or Deep while working in San Francisco this week. But I did meet with two of our company advisors for my new business. One arrived following a meeting with Gavin, and the other just after a meeting with Deepak. Clearly our advisors are keeping good company. Through the transitive property, so are we.
In honor of the opening this weekend of "Running
with Scissors," I am posting a picture of me and the author of its book, Augusten Burroughs. I am in the middle with the bad hair and scary shorts. Augusten is ... the other guy.
The picture dates from 1990. The occasion is a commercial shoot for American Express. The location is Black Sand Beach in Hana, Maui. I was the client. Augusten was the copywriter for Ogilvy & Mather. Strangely, there was not one word of "copy" spoken during the commercial. It was visuals and sound effects only.
We had a great time. We spent $2 million. And the commercial never aired. A few years later, I'd become a minor gay celebrity entrepreneur. A few years after that, Augusten had become a mess, and then a major gay author. I bumped into him once about 6 years ago. I hope to again soon.
On Sunday night, I saw The History Boys on Broadway. It won this year's Tony® Award for Best Play, and if you are in NYC anytime before October 1, do yourself a favor and go.
The performance I saw was a special one, benefiting The Actor's Fund. Normally Broadway theaters are dark on Sunday nights ... but the cast donated its performance and all proceeds went to the Fund.
I mention this because Sunday was also the Emmy® Awards, held in hot and sunny Los Angeles. As such, one might guess there'd be few stars around to attend a show here on little old Broadway. But that would be a wrong guess. Stars of stage and screen were indeed in the house. Vanessa Redgrave sat a couple rows behind me, and Bebe Neuwirth was gabbing in front of the theater after the final curtain fell.
So take your pick. New York at a Broadway show with Vanessa, Bebe and me. Or LA at the Emmys with Dick Clark, Barry Manilow and my fabulous sister Sibyl. Tough call.
My friend Rob was recently on a JetBlue flight originating in Portland, Maine, and he spotted Glenn Close in a nearby row. Apparently her new hubby lives in Maine.
I'm not going to comment on the fact that Rob reports she was sitting in a middle seat. But I will comment on the news that she was reading The Secret Life of Lobsters. I'm a big advocate of reading books that evoke the place you are visiting, so here's to Glenn for being a true literary traveler.
Rob's friend Nina first broke the story, over at Queercents, and then it was picked up by the author of the book itself, Trevor Corson, and posted on his blog. You gotta love the blogosphere. (Credit to Trevor for the photo above.)
I was going to make a joke that JetBlue would probably consider serving lobster on their Portland flights if there were such a thing as a blue lobster. And guess what ... there is.
As if it wasn't enough that I got to hear Beethoven in Austria, my Vienna leg of this trip ended on an absolute high note. I bumped into none other than Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the Vienna airport.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of Mozart's birth, and I've gotta tell you: He looks fantastic! Don't you agree?
I literally flew out of Vienna on the excitement of seeing him, and I'm now flipping out over how gorgeous Paris is. This is my 6th time in Paris, but it's been over 10 years since I was last here. Reflections to come. I've gotta take a nap, then make my way back to "The Le Marais."
Vienna. I'm not sure how I'd missed it for so long. When I came to Austria in 1979, I only went to Innsbuck. I guess that's because I'd been so into the 1976 Winter Olymipcs. From the little of Vienna that I've seen so far, I like it a lot. It's pretty stunning: high on charm and grand 19th century buildings, many rebuilt since the war. Not chic or happening, but defintely alive. Work is going really well ... I managed to plow through the jet lag and go straight from my overnight flight to 5 hours of meetings.
But let's cut to the highlights:
NEAR BRUSH WITH CONDI: The U.S. and its "allies" (using the term very lightly) are trying to get Iran to the table to talk nukes. Where have they converged to strategize? Vienna. Where am I? Vienna. Where are we both staying? At the Bristol/Imperial hotels. I missed seeing Condi in the flesh by about 2 minutes. But we kind of brushed paths – I had to shift one of my meetings so that the hotel staffer could attend to her needs first. W-ever.
ACTUAL BRUSH WITH HENRY: Yes, I passed Henry Kissinger twice today in my hotel. He looks fantastic. Short, but really robust and together. I didn't tell him "You're Awesome!" like I told Liza, but then again, he's a Republican.
FANTASY EVENING WITH LUDWIG: Better than either of these brushes with fame, I had the enormous pleasure of hearing the Vienna Symphony perform Beethoven's Ninth tonight, from an orchestra seat in the sold out Musikverein concert hall. (Thank you concierge at the amazing Hotel Imperial!) I'm telling you, God was in the house. It was one of those travel experiences where it all comes together and you're just floating on air. Over 100 musicians and singers. A breathtaking, historic room. One of the greatest pieces of music ever created. All in the heart of Vienna.
This was the kind of day this made me remember why I've spent my whole career in travel.
Special call-out to my friend Al, who pulled me in on this project and got me here. You rock.
This is not a photograph of my friend Scott from San Francisco. It's a picture of Gene Simmons, who co-founded KISS more than 32 years ago. I never much cared for KISS, though I was definitely drawn to the Simmons tongue thing. But that was during my raging hormonal adolescence stage, and even at age 12, I knew I did not want to have sex with this freak.
Okay, David. Connect the dots already ...
So Scott called me from the Burbank airport yesterday with a great idea for Upright & Stowed called "Celebrity Travel Sightings." It's a series that will feature your and my stories of brushes with fame while on the road. Here's how it works: When you have a celebrity travel sighting, e-mail or text me immediately, and together we'll craft a story for the burgeoning world of Upright & Stowed readers.
Get this: Scott caught his glimpse of Gene Simmons at the Burbank airport (code: BUR) ... getting his shoes spit-shined. Musta been quite a site. Though apparently no tongues were used.
Just in case you're wondering, Scott is the lucky center in this shot. Steve is on the right ... his BF. Yours truly is wearing the always safe color classic: Sunkist Orange. The location is pretty obvious: The Pier Dance, NYC.