Your Uncle Grambo spent a few days out on the Best Coast last week, trying to get a sense of what life is like on the ground out there these days (in a word, scary). I holed myself up at The Standard because, well, I've seen Ocean's 12 and I wanted to be as close to a potential Topher Grace meltdown as possible. But instead of staying out on The Strip, I thought it might be more adventurous to stay at The Standard's downtown LA location (notorious for its proximity to Skid Row, a choice place to score smack for Angelenos of all income levels). And after encountering two titans of the reality-television addiction format, Leif Garrett and Tom Sizemore, killing time there in just a four-day span, turns out I made the right choice.
My first encounter came when I spotted Leif at The Standard during a quick sojourn for lunch last Wednesday afternoon. As I walked downstairs to their yellow-accented diner to snarf down a quick sammy at approximately 2:15pm, I immediately recognized the `70s teen icon from his myriad appearances on Video Hits One. He was wearing the same bandana and same oppressively large sunglasses that he always wears on teevee. I recognized him right away, but being a semi-seasoned person when it comes to celebrity encounters, played it like I had no clue who he was. That is, until a voice bellowed across the room in my general direction, "Bro, how's that turkey panini?" I looked up from my sandwich and realized it was none other than Leif, asking me for an impromptu food review like I was a guest judge on Top Chef. I stammered out a quick response (I cannot tell a lie, it was a damn good sandwich), and Leif replied that his B-A-L-T-A (a BLT with avocado, hence the extra As) was "killer" and that I should order it the next time I come back. He then proceeded to get two phone calls in rapid succession, and quickly left the diner. Considering he got arrested for scoring drugs at Pershing Square (within walking distance of The Standard) less than two years ago, one would've figured that Leif would be avoiding the area, not rushing off to meet someone down in that `hood. Curious spice.
Next up was Tom Sizemore, last seeing co-starring with Katherine Heigl and leading "Zyzzyx Road" to a powerhouse $30 opening weekend. I spotted him on Saturday morning at the crisp hour of 5:45am (which is either REALLY early or REALLY late, depending), as I was hurriedly checking out of the hotel. He was wearing pink and black Zubaz pants and was carrying a teacup-sized dog of unknown origins. As dutifully patient and attentive hotel employees listened to Sizemore speedily prattle on (sample convo: "Youlikefootball? ILOVEfootball!! Ican'twaittowatchfootballlatertoday!!!"), I finally put two and two together and decided this story had more to it than just being another graf or two in this week's Privacy Watch. While I realize that two instances are just coincidence and it takes three events to make a a trend, I'm not betting against the possibility that I would've seen Brad Renfro wandering around the lobby had I stayed there a few more days. Here's hoping that both Leif and Tom were there to enjoy a meal / walk their dog (respectively) and not to reacquaint themselves with Mr. Brownstone.