Thursday, August 13, 2009


I arrived way too early for the screening of "Passing Strange" at the Downtown Film Festival—Los Angeles (DFFLA) at the AT&T Center on Wednesday night. The movie was scheduled to begin at 8 and I was there at 6:30.

So I decided to just hang out near the entrance to the South Park high-rise and rustle through the newspaper while I waited for the doors to the theater to open.

I totally looked like a security risk to the festival organizers, who were running around in circles barking orders at one another. Because my face stings to the touch, I haven't shaved since Saturday and the high-profile trach that Dr. B1 gave me when I had my biopsy gives me the appearance of having a spear lodged in my neck, which I guess I do.

As if I didn't look suspicious enough already, I offered to serve as the designated coat rack for two friends who also arrived early but decided to get a bite to eat before the film. Their bulky coats, combined with my own vest, screamed "suicide bomber."

No film festival opening in Los Angeles would be complete without celebrities and the Downtown Film Festival was no exception. I smelled the first celebrity before I saw him. It was Seymour Cassel, puffing on a cigar.

Mr. Cassel and his date stopped just inches away from me, and the flashbulbs started popping. I should have stepped out of the range of fire, but I wanted to be first in line when the doors to the theater opened. I held my line near the red carpet and tried to look disinterested. (If this had been the Carnation Plaza at Disneyland and Mary Poppins and Bert strolled by, I would have been all over them with my Disneyland autograph book, but c'mon —Seymour Cassel?!)

During the excitement, someone snapped the picture below. I doubt Mr. Cassel was mocking my disability, but man, I would kill for a tongue with the range that his has.


Actor Seymour Cassel poses with guest Rebekka Redden at Passing Strange The Movie Opening Night 2009 Downtown Film Festival at the AT&T Center Theatre.

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