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Herald Flashback 2001:

Stars and Bars

Whoopi and I were standing at the bar outside the Grand Ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. It was a gala night and we were attending a charity event for the American Spinal Research Marathon. The bar was crowded with people. Whoopi was wearing a silver dress; I looked great in my tuxedo.

I stepped up to the bar.

The bartender squinted at me. "Another double-vodka?"

"Lay it on me, baby."

Whoopi poked me in the ribs. "This is your last one, okay?"

I nodded slowly. "All right."

The bartender handed me my drink. I thanked him and put a $5 bill in his tip jar. Whoopi gave me a kiss on the cheek.

"I’m going to the ladies room. Meet you back at the table?"


I took a sip of my drink. Whoopi walked off through the crowd. I watched her give a quick hug to Anjelica Huston. Then I turned and walked into the Ballroom.

At the entrance to the Ballroom I stumbled across Geraldo Rivera. He was surrounded by a film crew. They were preparing to interview Keanu Reeves. The film crew had hoisted a camera into place. Suddenly a spotlight switched on.

Geraldo and Keanu were bathed in bright light. I took a sip of my drink and walked over to Geraldo. Geraldo gripped a microphone and shouted over the noise of the room. "We’re LIVE with Mr. Hollywood himself, Keanu Reeves. He’s about to be raffled off for the American Spinal Research Bachelor Contest."

Keanu grinned. Geraldo smiled and turned to Keanu. "You’ve made some very successful films: ‘The Matrix,’ ‘Bill and Ted,’ ‘Johnny Mnemonic’…" "Don’t forget ‘Speed,’" I said from off camera. Geraldo glanced at me quickly and turned back to Keanu. "…And of course, ‘Speed.’" Keanu nodded. "Right."

Geraldo switched the microphone to his other hand. "Now, tonight you’re here for a good cause." "That’s right." I took a sip of my drink and stepped next to Geraldo. I put my hand on his shoulder. "Hey Geraldo…can I just say that my buddy Keanu was tremendous in ‘Speed.’ Just tremendous." Geraldo shot me a quick look.

"Uhh, thanks." He turned back to Keanu. "I guess some people are very fond of ‘Speed.’" Keanu shrugged. "Yeah." I patted Geraldo on the back.

"You know, Keanu is the face of Hollywood." I smiled at the camera. "Keanu is better than DeNiro, better than Nicholson, better than Redford—" Geraldo nodded quickly. "Yes, okay, thanks." He tried to pull away from me.

I kept smiling.

"And ‘Sweet November’—what a masterpiece…Did you see it?" Geraldo paused. He stared at the camera blankly. "Uhh…" I nudged him. "It’s a masterpiece, right?"

Geraldo looked at me. "Well, maybe not a masterpiece, but…" Suddenly two security men pushed me away from Geraldo. I clutched my drink and pulled away from them.

I drifted back into the crowd.###


All contents © 2011 by Gene Mahoney