Volume 95, Issue 6

Tuesday, September 11, 2001
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Our Lady striving hard for an American Peace

Lights! Camera! Action! We've got your movie guide

Writer knows and reveals all

Oh what a musical summer

Live shows

Does Busta know your name?

Your weekly horoscopes

Gryner does the boys and alt-metal lives on

Does Busta know your name?

Road rage. Lineups. Fanatic tourists. Celebrities incognito. Dirty clothes containing smuggled animals. Ignorant Americans. Strip searches. Beautiful British Columbia. These are the words of my summer.

While a "real" Arts & Entertainment editor should boast a summer of intense schmoozing with the "who's who" of the entertainment industry, my version of schmoozing was much more formal and much less fantastic.

My life as a high-profile, uniform-clad, hard-core customs officer in Vancouver allowed for endless hours of monotony highlighted by the odd, unusual celebrity encounter.

With a life of shift work and a crappy commute, my entertainment scene was unfortunately limited to frequent interactions with musicians and actors coming to work in Vancouver.

When interacting with "celebrities" in a totally formal and work-related environment, maintaining professional distance is difficult. It's hard not to confess your admiration when searching through the dirty undies of people like Dave Navarro.

Among his leather pants was Radiohead's Amnesiac, three weeks prior to the release date with a signed Post-It note from Thom Yorke. Pretending I didn't want to confiscate the album was rough.

Because of work, I couldn't get out to many of the major shows I wanted to see, so processing performers' entrances into Canada became essential to maintaining some sort of connection to the outside world.

When artists like Paul Oakenfold, The Roots, Moby, Ben Harper, David Gray, Green Day and more came through customs, my bad luck only allowed for a few glimpses of the backs of heads and randomly recovered customs cards.

Instead, I frequently saw the people I could care less to have met like Janet Jackson, Crash Test Dummies, Snoop Dog and other numerous names I have no love for.

Being a professional judge of character, "celebrities" are rarely as beautiful or cool in real life as they are when placed upon the pedestal of stardom.

For example, Angelina Jolie looked skinnier, more tired and less awe-inspiring walking off a plane than she does in movies. Kevin Bacon hasn't maintained the youthful appearance he sported in Footloose, when I first had a crush on him.

On the other hand, Seann William Scott (aka "Stifler") was more stylin' and friendly in real life than I thought he would be. Kathy Ireland is much shorter and more beautiful and Jim Belushi is more washed-up and unnecessarily cocky than I remembered.

However, the truth remains: Busta Rhymes (who's real name is very un-rapperish) knows my name so it was all worthwhile in the end.

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Copyright The Gazette 2001