Wonk'd: Man Cannot Hide in the House of Wonk'd
You need keen eyes to spot celebrities in this town -- unless, of course, they herald their own presence, as did Bill Cosby and Thomas Friedman this week. It's also hard to keep a low profile if you're sporting a shock of silver hair, like Anderson Cooper, or have a nuclear-family-sized security squad, like Anthony Williams.
George Stephanopoulos must have a fetish for being Wonk'd, because he can't seem to stay hidden. But even discretion doesn't work all the time, as Condi Rice found out. It's also totally impossible to be inconspicuous if you're 7'2" -- and Dikembe Mutombo doesn't even try.
We all know they're dying to be seen, so just help feed their celebrit-ego by sending us all your sightings, by email, with "Wonk'd" or "Sighting" in the subject line (along with of the name of the spotted celeb). On behalf of all the dying-for-attention famous people out there, we thank you.
* The Sunday morning [6/4] brunch crowd at Ben's Chili Bowl witnessed unscripted comedic genius when Bill Cosby, upon entering, caused everyone to look up from their mounds of chili cheese fries and half-smokes. He casually smiled, lifted his left arm in acknowledgement, and announced, "I'm here, just passing through." He then assumed a table in the back room, leaving the other patrons dazed, wondering what Bill Cosby orders when he comes to Ben's Chili Bowl.
* Thomas Friedman was at 16 & K this morning (June 2),
at about 7:45am. He was dressed casually and CARRYING A HARDCOVER COPY OF HIS OWN BOOK -- The World is Flat. Maybe it's the new product placement -- walk around the K Street corridor to give the impression that your book is the new 'it' summer read?
* Meg Ryan was on my plane from Dulles to LAX this morning [6/8]. No entourage, just her. A handler did guide her to the gate, but she stood in line in the jetway, or whatever it's called, just like a mortal. She looked more Meg-like than in recent years, but her lips are still troublingly large -- maybe it's permanent? She was wearing dark boot-cut jeans and a long, camel-colored jacket with visible raw edges and random patches (of the same fabric). Probably designer, but come on. Surprisingly tall, I'd guess 5'8", and of course super skinny.
* I saw Anderson Cooper walking down 17th St., NW this morning [6/5]. He was walking south on 17th between Q and P around 9:30 am. Walk of shame, perhaps?
* Spotted ABC's Jake Tapper shaking hands with new Village Voice editor Erik Wemple outside Sesto Senso this evening [6/2], 7ish. If memory serves, Tapper worked under Wemple while both worked under David Carr in the late 90's. Wemple was sweaty, had been running or something. Tapper was dressed up like a TV person, maybe even still had makeup on, but looked friendly. Tapper looked a bit like he wished he hadn't shaken the hand of the sweaty Wemple.
* Saw Charlie Cook, James Carville, Mary Matlin and crew having lunch at the Palm [6/5]. They were there for 2 hours and looked like they were having a fun time.
* Mayor Anthony Williams dined at Lauriol Plaza on Saturday Night (June 3rd). Keeping a low-profile with his 4 security men on a busy Saturday night. To his credit he was without bowtie -- sporting a grey sweatshirt and baseball cap. The waiter didn't realize until halfway through the meal that it was in fact the mayor of DC!
* [Same tipster as prior item] Long-shot-for-Mayor Vincent Orange goes to Lauriol Plaza quite often to annoy any table with African American customers. Claiming he's the only one who can "make the city ours again," or something like that. I've overheard a lot of these African American customers notice that he doesn't approach one Caucasian table.
* Walked past George Stephanopoulos around 4ish this afternoon [6/5] on N street between 21st and 22nd. He was looking very Alex-P-Keaton-casual in blue jeans and a blue oxford shirt, with a sweater wrapped around his shoulders. My god he is SHORT. At five foot five, I towered over him. Great television hair. No entourage, no briefcase, no papers, he was just strolling down the street looking like he had not a care in the world.
* I saw George Stephanopoulos walking down M St. at 20th last night [6/1] about 6:30. He was shorter than I thought (as if that were possible) and seems to have that Maria Shriver "skeletor" look going on, but was otherwise not doing anything special.
* Saw former VA governor and potential WH candidate Mark Warner in Old Town on Sun. June 4 2006. He was with his wife and two young (teens, I'd guess) girls who were presumably his daughters. This was about 12:30, so they were probably just leaving church or on their way to brunch. He's a lot less weird-looking in person than in pictures.
* Just [6/3] spotted pianist Condi Rice at the Kennedy Center for the National Symphony Orchestra's performance. She was looking very informal (for Condi) in a white blouse and brown skirt, hair pinned back -- I had to borrow binoculars to confirm the sighting -- and I probably wouldn't have noticed her if she hadn't been in the #1 box and the SS agents weren't standing around. She slipped in after the lights went down both in the beginning and after intermission, so I doubt many people noticed. She must have jetted back from Vienna in a hurry -- not surprising, since she told Bono that Beethoven's 7th (the second piece NSO played) is one of her favorites. She was one of the first to stand for the ovation at the end of the piece, so I'm guessing she enjoyed it.
* Saw Ralph Nader on P & 16th at around 2pm this afternoon [6/6]. He was dressed casually and I guess carrying some groceries.
* On Friday night [6/2], I saw Andrew Sullivan and three friends eating at the Duplex Diner. They were sitting in a booth by the wall. Sullivan had a salad for dinner, and then the party shared a brownie sundae (YUM!) for dessert. As they were leaving, a cute blonde woman approached Sullivan, introduced herself, and told him what a huge fan of his work she was. Who knew that bloggers could have groupies? They're the new rock stars!
* Last Friday evening (June 2), I was playing basketball at the Sports Club LA. At around 8 or 8:30, the games were dwindling down so we were scrounging for players so that we could play another game or two. At that moment, our eyes immediately lit up as we witnessed none other than Dikembe Mutombo walk out of the locker room. People were stumbling over each other to make the predictable "he's on our team" joke. Unfortunately, not only did he refuse to play with us, but he also didn't belt out, "Who wants to sex Mutombo?" That would have made my weekend.