We’ve all been touched by that haunting Citizen Kane moment when the elderly Mr. Bernstein (Everett Sloane) recalls glimpsing a beautiful young lass in a white dress on the Staten Island ferry. No conversation or eye contact — just a glancing whatever when Bernstein saw her and melted, and then the ferry pulled out and that was it…”I only saw her for one second and she didn’t see me at all, but I’ll bet a month hasn’t gone by since that I haven’t thought of that girl.”
Being the impressionable type and certainly a lot more impressionable than Bernstein, I’ve experienced several such moments over the decades. Probably dozens. But there was one in particular…oh, man. Early Clinton era, ’93 or ’94…yours truly inside West Hollywood’s Monkey Bar (8225 Beverly Blvd.), a highly magnetized, hard-to-get-into joint that had opened in October ’92 with a general understanding that Jack Nicholson liked to drop by now and then…probably the hottest place in California or maybe even the world that night. How do you calculate this stuff?
And suddenly my gaze fell upon actress Joan Severance, a total smoke show and a reasonably decent actress who was known for Red Shoe Diaries and Lake Consequence…around 35 at the time. Severance had risen from her seat at a well-located table and was staring at something or someone across the room, and my first thought was “she’s standing there because she knows everyone is looking at her and she loves the attention, and who can blame her?”
But my God, the beauty…those eyes, the cheekbones and that mouth, that exquisite jawline and the perfect hair and tanned skin…nothing happened and she certainly didn’t notice my marginal journalistic ass, standing at the bar some 30 or 40 feet away. But here we are 30 years later and this moment is a memory tattoo.