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Monica Bielanko
A chronicle since 2005 of my marriage & move to Brooklyn in my twenties; becoming a mother in my thirties; moving to Pennsylvania and learning to amicably coparent after divorce in my forties while living 3 doors down from my ex-husband in a small country town.
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Wednesday
Sep272006

Great Balls Of Fire!

No, The Surge does not have an itchy case of crabs taking over his nether regions. I'm talkin' Great Balls Of Fire!! Jerry Lee Lewis style. Of course, knowing Lewis, a bad bout with crabs or maybe a severe case of blue balls inspired the classic tune in the first place.. but that's neither here nor there. What I'm laboring to impart to you, gentle reader, is the fact that I sat in on a Jerry Lee Lewis piano extravaganza! "The Killer" (Jerry's handle round most parts) tickled the ivories of the blood red piano with panache and his voiced sounded superb.

The Surge, who, along with millions of other citizens of rock, considers Lewis the king of rock'n'roll, stood there in the record store with an enormous grin splitting his beard nearly in half. Really. You would have thought I just handed him a home-made coupon book with 100 "Bearer Entitled To Sex With Monica Today" coupons tucked inside. Although come to think of it, if this unemployment thing continues into December that coupon book may very well be all The Surge can expect under the Christmas tree.

Fifty years ago Lewis recorded for Sun Records with Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and Carl Perkins. All of 'em are dead now, of course. And still, Lewis plays on. If you've seen Walk The Line, the Johnny Cash biopic then you probably remember the depiction of Lewis as the crazy-talented, wild boy who loved the ladies (including his 13 year old cousin, once removed) and was known to upstage Cash and even Elvis. He used to set his piano on fire for Godsakes! In short, dude's a legend.

As he made his way out of the in-store performance Jerry Lee Lewis approached The Surge, shook his hand and smiled. I was so flummoxed by my proximity to the man, the myth etc.. that I only managed to snap a few poorly framed photographs. I guess you could say he shook my nerves and he rattled my brain. (hey-OH!!)

What, you ask, could possibly top a close encounter with Jerry Lee Lewis? I'm going to play a Leonardo DiCaprio and raise you a Jack Nicholson. And a Martin Scorsese and a Bono and a Matt Damon and a Lou Reed and a Billy Joel and an Alec Baldwin. That's pretty much a royal flush, by Hollywood standards. No shit. After the Jerry Lee Lewis gig we rounded the corner and walked smack into a premiere for The Departed, Scorsese's new flick starring DiCaprio and company.

We stood there, mouths agape as sleek limousines slid up and spit one famous celeb after the other onto the storied street in front of Ziegfeld Theater. First Matt Damon. Then Alec Baldwin and Billy Joel. Lou Reed nearly sprinted down the red carpet into the theater in an effort to avoid the screaming press lines. Bono and The Edge pretty much ignored the crowd and headed straight to the red carpet and the phalanx of reporters whose constantly flashing cameras nearly sent those of us perched across the street into epileptic fits. Then Jack arrived, stepping from his limo and flashing his trademark grin to the assembled before he was promptly swallowed by the crowd of mucky-mucks shmoozing on the red carpet. Bummer. No time to get any good photographs of the man who alternately scared the shit outta me (The Shining) or had me crying (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest) during my formative years.

"Mommy why won't the movie stars come to this side and visit us?" A sweet, little girl clutching the metal barrier nearby asked.
"I don't know honey. I guess they want to make it inside before the movie starts."
Just then, a small, eco-friendly car rolled up. Eyes scouting for limousines and giant SUV's, most of us in the crowd ignored the tiny car. Until Leo DiCaprio popped out and strolled right over to the barrier behind which I stood. I, who up until this point had managed to keep my cool, rolling my eyes at the giggling gaggles around me who screamed like banshees every time a limo rolled up, immediately lost my shit and screamed louder than the adorable nine year old standing next to me. Jesus, I probably knocked her down and trampled the poor thing in my excitement that Leo was standing not two feet from me!

Me, the girl that viciously decried all the swooners that fell in love with Leo after the Titanic phenomenon swept the world - I was screaming like a bobbie soxer for a 25 year old Sinatra. "Sure Titanic was a good movie", I'd say as this friend or that cranked up that damn Celine Deon song and cried for the drowned Jack Dawson. "It was historically accurate, excellent action etc.. But the script was for shit! I'm the king of the world. Please. I've witnessed better dialogue on Days Of Our Lives for crying out loud!" They just snuffled, called me callous and turned up that oversinging automaton Celine in all her chest thumping annoyingness.

I longed for the days before Leo rode the Titanic to superstardom, when he turned out performances like What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Marvin's Room and The Basketball Diaries. I was even okay with the acid trip that was Romeo and Juliet regardless of the fact that I wanted to sock Clare Danes squarely in the jaw. I don't know why. I just did. Some actresses have that affect on me. That priss Nicole Kidman, for example, could use a painful nipple tweaking and I hate Catherine Zeta-Jones on sight. It can't be explained. I wrote off Leo as another blockbuster chaser and gave him over to the millions of tween girls the world over. Yet there I was last night, nearly kneeing The Surge in the balls then vaulting over the metal fence in all my twenty-nine year old glory and pouncing on my new husband Leonardo DiCaprio.

He was lovely. And unlike my encounter with the aforementioned Ms. Kidman in which I panicked and failed to properly document my celebrity elbow rubbing for posterity, this time I managed to collect my senses long enough to take a photograph so you don't think I'm making the whole thing up.

Reader Comments (26)

Talk about reach out and touch someone. Damn.
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHeather B.
You had quite a nice evening!
September 27, 2006 | Registered CommenterErinS
Yo, that shot looks so professional. I used to be in love with him when he was on Growing Pains.

Something about Jerry Lee Lewis with his 13 year old cousin has always made me feel dirty. Just the idea, dirty dirty dirty.
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLiz
Talking about the Surge reminds me of when my dad met Les Paul. My mom had gone to NYC to be on WWTBAM and dad went with her. THey went to some lounge in the basement of their hotel, and Les Paul was playing! Got a pic of my dad and Les Paul, I have never seen my dad smile so big! Very cool!
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJen
Jerry Lee Lewis! Awesome!
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterKittenwtw
Great stories. I love celeb sightings. I used to work right across the street from the Ziegfeld and would often stop and gawk on my way home from work.

I had a completely random sighting myself today. I was walking down 57th Street when I swore I saw Bono. After a few more conspicuous stolls back and forth by where he was standing, I was sure it was him. And, now I know he indeed in town. (Sadly no Edge sighting though - I totally dig The Edge!) Unfortunately, I'm terrible with celeb sightings and was too embarrassed to go up and speak to him or to take a picture. Ah, there's always next time ...
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
I've been meaning to compliment you on your writing, and this is as good a time as any. I really like how you use figurative language. For example, I loved the image of the sleek limos spitting out celebrity after celebrity. It's nice to read your original way of wording something as simple as "a bunch of black limos pulled up and let out celebrities" in such an interesting and descriptive way. It's just one of the reasons I enjoy your writing and check here regularly.


As for the celebrities, my husband really wants to see The Departed, so I had to tell him about your encounter as soon as I read the post. Personally, I don't care much about Leonardo DiCaprio, but I love Jack Nicholson, he is definitely one of my favorite actors.

September 27, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermm
P.S. Next time I see you remind me to tell you my Johnny Depp encounter story. There is no celeb better to his peeps than J.D. Love him!
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLaura
i saw jennifer connolly and paul bettany at the grocery store in brooklyn today. they are a stunning couple! it was hard not to stare...
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterLc
I seriously want to be your best friend
September 27, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterHoopla
God I'd love to live in NYC.

My Sydney celebrity sightings have been limited to Tom Cruise (my dogs bowled over his kids at the park..fortunately he was cool about it) and Ewan McGregor...once again the dogs initiated that one.(I was sufficiently drunk so as not to realise who I was talking to until one of the barmaids told me)

Agree about Nicole though.....shopping on Oxford Street and walked into a shop to see Nicole and her sister there. I think she is the tallest woman I have ever seen. And looks just like she does in photos - flawless.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commentersfh
Wow, that's incredible!!!! SO close!
I need to move my butt up to NYC so I can have me a celeb sighting!
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterfancythis
One of the coolest things that ever happened to me was a few years ago my wife and I (she was my girlfriend at the time) planned this big two week road trip up the east coast down the midwest through Nashville. A week before we left Johnny Cash passed away. I am a huge fan and even have a tattoo for him representing the Love, God, Murder box set. Well I found out where he was buried and went to visit. It was amazing. The ground was still soft for the buriel a few days earlier. June had a ton of flowers around her grave. It may sound a little sick but it was probably the coolest thing ever for me!
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterBrian
I never have any good celebrity encounters and I've lived in New York City way longer than you. I guess I need to get out more. Thanks for letting me live vicariously.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterGemma
Brian - that doesn't sound sick at all. I'd probably roll around in Johnny Cash dirt. I wouldn't mind a Jack Nicholson sighting either. One of my all-time favorite actors for sure.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterJib
Thats a really good photo of LDC. Have you ever considered selling it?
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
wow ... that's quite a night! i would have been giddy for hours. :) i once saw bryan brown (the old bartender guy from "cocktail") at the movie theatre here in halifax ... he walked by my ex and i, and we both did a double take, "was that ..."? i also watched jane seymour film a scene for a tv movie from my office window. and i saw phil collins at universal studios in california in 1986. none of these moments made me giddy.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commentermichelle
I served Dick Van Dyke a drink when he was supposedly on the wagon. Vodka and Coke. And who was that short guy with the flat top -- oh, yeah, George Gobel. Scotch and water. Yeah -- do I know celebrities or what?

September 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjls
awww- leo looks precious. he can be such a shithead in real life. lol he's just unique.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterjennster
Cool Night! I like Leo's tie.
September 28, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterThe Mayor Of Awesometown
Your writing skills are above par. Too bad you have nothing interesting to say.
September 30, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterDutch gay
the departed can't possibly be as good as i think it's going to be.

either that or it will be the GREATEST FILM OF ALL TIME.

and why take pictures of leo when the real prize, nicholson, was in your line of sight somewhere?
October 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
"no time." she says. we MAKE TIME to take pictures of jack nicholson.
October 1, 2006 | Unregistered Commenterkasey
I was ALL about Jack.. but he got out on the other side of the limo and disappeared into the crowd before I could get a good shot. His date was a 22 year old "aspiring actress". The Post had a shot of him with her the next day.
October 1, 2006 | Registered CommenterMonicaBielanko
I don’t like these guys who use their position of power to extract what they want from other “weaker” (so to speak) individuals. Especially when its sex. I remember this hot girl who was about 22-23? And sleeping with the IB college professor. His age? 55. Its just not Kosher.

And now we have the shining Jack Nicholson. Sorry people. I’m a fan of Jack too. But Jack Nicholson is an old prune. It’s just not really an appropriate relationship.

If the press poked fun and ridiculed this sort of behavior it would help show others it’s not appropriate and maybe drive it back into the shadows where it belongs. Instead they collectively choose to celebrate it.


I really think we are all being tested here as we pass thorough this earth. Certain people have and are being more tested than others.To sort of "observe" how we behave independently when given the controls (so to speak). Its just a personal belief. I think Mormonism has a similair belief about this to no?

Anyways - Jack Nicholson is just another Mick Jaggier or Sean Connery who uses his prestige and power - to nail as many women as he can.

This “aspiring actress” in question is only 22 years old. The age differnce is just too much. It sends a certain message to the rest of society.
October 1, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterMichael
I was there that night. Leo was really nice to his fans. After the movie showed Jack stood in the street and posed for the fans. It was an amazing night!
October 19, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCait

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