Due to a hot tip from an anonymous (and now deeply loved) blog reader, we changed our reservations from one Mill Valley hot spot to another, assured that we’d run into the entirety of in-town celebrities.
Last night was the opening night of the Mill Valley Film Festival.
Many (3) years ago, I was the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator, and while I got paid pennies, I also got to go to all the parties.
Therefore, I also know how to sneak into all the parties.
But wait. I’m getting ahead of myself.
Our movie started at 9:30 in downtown Mill Valley, so beforehand, thanks to anonymous tipster, we made 7:15 reservations at Frantoio, where Dori joined my folks and me for celebrity stalking and dinner.
Craning our necks, we barely spoke until all of a sudden, in walked the head of the festival with a huge group.
“That’s Laura Linney!”
“And that’s Ang Lee!”
“The Asian guy.”
“There are two Asian guys!”
“The one that looks more Brokeback.”
We eventually got over it, until my mother, who had the best view of the big celebrity table, leaned in.
“Laura Linney is going to the bathroom. “
You don’t need to tell me twice. I was 10 feet behind her.
I walked into the bathroom to discover one stall occupied and no one else.
OMG. LL peeing.
Here’s the problem. I didn’t have to pee. At all. I tried.
So I waited a second, flushed and went to wash my hands.
Laura Linney exited the stall (looking motherfucking flawless) and smiled at me.
“Oh my god.” (fake shock at celebrity in bathroom.) “Hi!”
“You’re not going to your own movie tonight?”
“Oh god, no. I never watch myself.”
“Well, you should. You’re fabulous.”
“I just watched Tales of the City.” (Lie.) “It’s amazing.”
“Thanks so much.”
She then tried to leave and like a complete psychopath, I followed her, not so much because I wanted to keep freaking her out, but so my family could see this and thus, laugh hysterically.
I said something rude about my impending film with Owen Wilson playing someone who tries to kill himself and isn’t that interesting because he just tried to kill himself. LL nodded and smiled politely and as she went to her table, I said, “Have fun at the festival!”
My table was duly impressed.
In the middle of dinner, something (minor yet funny) happened with Ang Lee and my dad but Mr. Paranoia says I can’t say what.
Anyway, we headed over to the movie and got in line, dad and I with our “Gold” membership and thus, in the fancy people line and mom and Dori stuck with the commoners.
We saved them seats, schmoozed with the people we ran into and watched the movie, agreeing that we all planned to crash the big Opening Night Party going on in the square, a block away.
I will admit, when I worked at the festival, I was in charge of the wristbands for this very party. And I will admit, when I worked at the festival, I stole some wristbands and gave them to my friends.
And my mom.
I mean, we’re talking hundreds of people. Open top shelf bars. Really fancy food. And celebrities.
What’s it hurt?
My father, former mayor of this very town and the only one of us who could actually wander in there and no one would kick his fancy ass out, was the only one too chicken to try.
But I’d already run into several old employees from my old days there, all of whom responded to my, “So I’m crashing the party” with “Fabulous!”
It was winding down anyway, now 11:30.
I just walked right in like I owned the place, pretending not to notice mom and Dori stopped behind me. I made a bee-line for the bar.
But I could just feel this one volunteer was tailing me, aware that I was with those two well-dressed ladies she'd had the immense authority to ban.
These are people that get a fucking t-shirt and think they run the place. And these are people I used to tell what to do. You know what I used to tell them?
“You can figure out who to kick out and who you should just let in and pretend you never saw it.”
Obviously, I regard myself as the latter.
But green t-shirt was having none of it.
So grabbed a drink, found the most important person in this huge tent I knew, and did a big dramatic, Euro-kiss hello.
“Beth, you look fabulous! We’re having dinner next week?”
“Yes, darling! Are you having fun? I peed with Laura Linney!”
I could see her out of the corner of my eye. Oh god.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my arm.
“Do you have a wristband?”
Some Nazi housewife in a green t-shirt stared me down.
My fancy friend protested. “Can’t I just give her mine?”
“No, we’re really cracking down this year!”
Oh god. The place was half-empty and my poor friend was freaking out, trying to explain how fabulous I was and how I should be allowed to stay and “class this place up.”
“Forget it.” I whispered to him. “I snuck in. Daddy’s hiding outside. You should go say hi. I’m about to be arrested.
Nazi housewife was joined by another volunteer, this one someone I’d “coordinated” 3 years ago. But while sweet and apologetic, he was clearly whipped by this bitch who was now physically pulling me to the front door.
In the commotion, I didn’t have the presence of mind to tell her she might want to get her acrylic pawns off me, but the look of horror on my face made whipped volunteer jump in.
Wisely, he took my arm. “I’ll escort her!”
Very gallantly, he had me take his elbow and in some failed attempt to restore my dignity, walked me out of the tent, just as mom and Dori waltzed in.
I stood on the red carpet, finding my father drinking a scotch or something and talking to a Supervisor. Thrilled to see me, he called me over. “You know my daughter, Beth. She’s a writer for the Chronicle’s website AND, you’ll love this, she’s Mark Leno’s date to the Sierra Club thing tomorrow.”
“Yeah, here’s hoping I won’t be physically removed from THAT. Jesus Christ.”
But then I noticed that even outside, where Nazi housewife had banished me, had a huge bar set up. People were just wandering around, the scragglers having cigarettes and wine and schmoozing.
I got another drink, found my family and noticed all the volunteers heading home.
Great. I’m glad I showed up just in time to get thrown out.
I bet Laura Linney didn't need no stinking wrist band...