Saturday, January 06, 2007

Hugh Jackman at the Whitney

The Whitney's elevator beeped and we all shuffled off on the Picasso floor -- at the entrance to the Picasso and American Art show. Some guy, buried in the crowd, was standing there reading the entire text of the show's intro, aloud.

There's always somebody trying to read something too loud at every art show.

Except this time, it was a little different. The guy reading aloud was Hugh Jackman, reading to his kids, and I am not lying.

It took me a second to grasp it. The cool thing is, nobody was looking at him or Deborah-Lee or paying them much of any mind at all. Suffice it to say that at least one of his kids was not the least bit into Picasso, much more excited about sprinting around the gallery. When he got scooped up and asked to behave, he complained, loudly.

I thought about offering Hugh Jackman a plastic bag and sharing my disciplinary tip with him, but thought better of it. They moved ahead in the gallery.

You know you'll be at an art gallery and off in another room someone's kid will be hollering all loud and you'll think "PLEASE. Would somebody just break out the narcotic lollipop already?"

This time I caught myself thinking "Dag, Hugh Jackman. Get on this, please." But you know what? He did. He scooped the little screamer up and they went off into the stairwell for a bit of quiet time, and it totally worked. They had nannies, friends, etc with them, and he could have passed that task off to someone else. But he didn't.

I have no idea why that makes me like the guy, but it did. One of the world's biggest movie stars was frazzled by his squirrelly toddler and dealing with it with good cheer.

At one point, I was checking out a Kiki Smith piece and I turned to walk away and nearly bumped into him. Our eyes caught each others' for a second -- his said "Come on, man. Please be cool here -- we're just trying to have a nice time."

We nearly collided again, in the lobby, on the way out. Jus ton the same cycle in the gallery, I guess. He had his toddler high over his head, looking up and laughing at her ... and his fly was very, definitely all the way down.

"Mister Jackman," I mumbled quietly, almost in his ear. "Your fly is down." He looked nervous for a second, seeing a stranger that close, then looked down to confirm my statement and broke into a huge grin, saying "Shit, thank you!!"

The whole afternoon my camera had been itching. If I had a photo for this post, it would have been a shoo-in for Gawker, TMZ, other celebri-tainment sites. I'd have gotten apeloads of visitors, maybe gotten a bump in actual readers, too. And you couldn't have blamed me. Maybe.

But something about the guy being so normal, affable, and that nervous look whenever I almost bumped into him a few times ... I couldn't bring myself to do it. So yeah, I'm doing the right thing here and preserving a privacy that he is sort of choosing to give away by being a public figure in the first place. And as usual, the high road doesn't carry a lot of rewards. But I feel good.

Now though, now that I've taken the high road and written a whole blog post about myself and what a great guy I am ... what does THAT mean, exactly?


At 5:52 PM, Anonymous suicide_blond said...

you did the rght thing...the karma will come back around!

At 6:13 PM, Anonymous mokin said...

I caught an episode of SNL that Hugh Jackman hosted, and he seemed so affable. It may sound weird, but you can tell a lot about someone by the way the host SNL. Like DeNiro is clearly not that devoted to guest appearances.

Anyway, he seemed like a really nice guy or a really good actor. OR BOTH!

Also on that episode was Mick Jagger. I had little respect for Mick Jagger as a personality until he poked fun at himself in one sketch. My esteem for him rose greatly, and has been compounded by his appearance in The Knights of Prosperity. Now I kind of love Mick Jagger.

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous ceilisundancer said...

I think it's awesome, just enjoying people as people:) And art, and parenting by parents. I for one am glad you respected that of him. Not that I know who he is other than what you've written here, but I know what you're saying. -- Robin

At 7:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jeff, you have had what many of us HJ fans would have died for and you handled it perfectly. We all feel that they guy just needs time to be himself in and among us mere mortals. Some who read this blog entry have had close encounters of the Hugh kind and have also respected his boundaries. Thanks for not being one of those butt heads who wouldn't have thought twice about exploiting it. (I will bet you a million dollars that we see a photo in or around the Whitney. Sad but true.) And the whole fly thing...delicately done. Bravo. And thanks for posting. We who stalk salute you! NO NO...did I say stalk? I meant, admire...from afar.

At 8:56 PM, Anonymous fruitbat said...

Well, you know... you said you don't know what it says about you, per se, but this post has been merrily circulating the Jackman communities all day (information can travel at the speed of fangirl, you know) and while you may not have gawker-worthy photos of the moment, the majority of the communities try to be at least reasonably respectful of his privacy when he's not actively publicising things.
So we thank you for the information (because it's honestly pretty damn adorable,) and then thank you again for being polite about it all in the first place.

So you may not make the headlines, but you made a bunch of fangirls pretty happy...

At 10:47 AM, Anonymous A Hugh Fan said...

As has been said, you did EXACTLY the right thing by not taking out your camera. What that alone says about you is that you are an extremely good man. I have no doubt that your good feeling will last much longer than any "reward" you might have gotten had you allowed that "itch" get the better of you. Thank you for sharing your experience.

At 6:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Hugh Jackman. Love, love, LOVE him. I tell everyone he is married to my mother. He isn't really, the name she was born with just happens to be the same as his wife's! Haha!

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are, indeed, a gentleman, and did the right thing.
Oh, and the "fly" business, think of the field day the papparazzi would have had with that one.
Yup, no question, you're a pretty nice guy.
J (from that other site)

At 3:16 PM, Anonymous Sweet said...

Jeff, you're just one smooth operator. Of course you didn't act like a crazy fan. I would have been surprised if you had.

At 8:07 AM, Blogger Geoff_Livingston said...

Way to go, Jeff. These guys put their pants on one leg at a time, and just want normal lives.

At 9:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good job, Jeff. And kudos to Jackman for being a good parent and not letting his kids misbehave in public. I can think of so many people with kids (and some adults without kids, too) who could learn from his example...

At 12:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very classy of you. And great post...

At 10:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did that really happen? I just have to ask because that's alot to take in. Anyway, *puts irration skepticism aside* that was a good thing you did, just being cool about it. Plus, if you hadn't told him that his fly was open, no one would've and it would be in the celeb gossip column. So, as a Hugh Jackman, I thank you.


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