TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Big-star tardiness is a big-time problem forcelebrity publicists

The timing was off. Only by half an hour, but it made all the difference.

The timing was off. Only by half an hour, but it made all the difference.

Having managed to crash the party, but knowing only a couple of people, I was free to sit and watch the unfolding miscalculation with an experienced, detached eye. A detached eye (but not retina) is good.

Big entrances are important to stars. It's what they do. Whether in a film or at a party, they like to enter the room at the peak moment, when the anticipation is so thick you can cut it with one of those Ginzu knives advertised on TV. Publicists are often called upon to act as advance teams for stars, arriving early and alerting them when the time is approaching for a grand entrance. I witnessed a publicist for a Very Big Star (VBS) do this last year at a party, and she timed it perfectly. Couldn't have been better.

Unfortunately, at the party mentioned at the top, the scout misfired.

At 11:30pm, the room was packed and buzzing with the anticipation of "Where's Waldo?

But by the time the man of the hour - a hot new commodity who starred in a huge surprise box-office hit last year - arrived past midnight, much of the crowd had thinned or moved to the dance floor upstairs. Virtually no one remained on the first level to witness his appearance.

"I thought you said the place was packed,

he tersely said to his poor assistant.

"It was,

he replied, "half an hour ago."

Pity, the lad had failed to stay ahead of the game. Crucial to success in so many areas of life, one must anticipate approaching peak moments, not wait to act until they're already occurring. The star and his throng walked disconsolately up the stairs, where loud music, a throng of crowded dancers and dim lighting were sure to diminish the impact of their arrival.

And, sadly, regrettably, the chance for memorable celebrity magic lay in waste. I chose not to witness the profoundly disappointing continuation of this failed event, but instead adjourned to the abandoned bar station to avail myself of copious quantities of free beer.

It is as refreshing as the free beer I was enjoying to note, however, that not all stars are obsessed with appearances. I recently attended (actually invited this time) a birthday party for a VBS who arrived early and stayed late. He danced a little, drank a little (OK, a lot), and mingled freely with the guests. The hell with making a big entrance! The VBS even gave me a cigar, which I had to take directly in my mouth, owing to the fact that both hands were occupied with free beer.

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