April E. Clark
April in Glenwood

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May 20, 2014
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Star struck under the western stars

Visiting and living in Glenwood Springs often comes with the chance to meet famous, or at least semi-famous, TV hosts, movie stars and all-around celebrities.

Glenwood is famous in its own right.

The city where two rivers meet is well-known for the world’s largest hot springs pool and being the place where Doc Holliday took his last breath. In Gary Roberts’ 2001 biography, “A Living and Dying Legend,” Holliday reportedly died at the Hotel Glenwood, which later burned down, after requesting a whiskey shot.

Makes sense to me.

Gray wrote that after Holliday was turned down for the hard liquor, he found humor that he wasn’t wearing his boots. He reportedly said, “Damn, this is funny.” According to his research, Gray said no one expected Holliday, a famous Wild West gunslinger, to die in bed without his boots. I’m hoping to create a similar stigma for myself.

But with sandals.

Glenwood is also famously down the road from the Aspen area where musicians such as John Denver, John Oates and Jimmy Ibbotson have called home. That’s just the beginning. A surplus of celebrities and movie stars, including Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell, and professional athletes such as Martina Navratilova have been drawn to the Rocky Mountain life. Anyone who has lived in the valley has probably heard the celebrity-sighting stories of Goldie and Kurt shopping downvalley at Walmart. Or “The Mask of Zorro” actor Antonio Banderas dining with actress wife Melanie Griffith at White House Pizza.

Carbondale does make a mean pie.

Throughout history, politicians, athletes and purveyors of the arts and entertainment industry have caught the fancy of the public. Practically every Irish-American grandmother had a photo of John F. Kennedy hanging on her wall in the early ’60s. In the Roaring Twenties, Babe Ruth was nearly everyone’s MVP, from baseball to the ladies. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was huge in Vienna in the 1780s. Famous lovers Cleopatra and Mark Antony were our present-day Beyonce and Jay-Z.

Let’s hope Marc’s sister-in-law didn’t behave as badly in elevators.

In journalism, and in comedy, I’ve been advised not to become star struck when meeting famous sources or performers. But coming from a small town in Indiana — we don’t see a lot of celebrities come through New Palestine — I sometimes can’t help myself. I know I’m proud of New Pal alumna Angela Ahrendt, former Burberry CEO and now senior vice president for retail and online stores for Apple, who graduated from Ball State University. She ranked as the ninth most powerful woman in the UK in the BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour 100 Power List, No. 4 in Fortune’s 2013 top people in business, and 53rd in Forbes’ 2013 list of the most powerful women in the world.

Talk about a role model for little girls from New Palestine, Ind.

If I ever meet Angela — I’ve read she went by Angie in high school — I picture myself saying something ridiculous and stammering over my words. I’ve been known to do that anytime I see Santa at the mall. I’ve done it after meeting national touring comics I’ve just seen on stage.

Caroline Rhea knows what I mean.

As much as I try, I want to keep my cool when I see Hollywood right in front of my eyes. Then the small-town girl in me comes out and I forget all the rules. All it takes is a Travel Channel crew to come to town and all the rules fly out the window like something creepy Andrew Zimmern might eat on his show, “Bizarre Foods.”

I would eat his sweet-and-sour, Bangkok-style quail with red chiles dish in a heartbeat.

I’ve never met Andrew Zimmern, and if I do, I imagine I will ask him something groundbreaking like, “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever eaten?” I’m not sure I want to know the answer.

He would probably laugh at mine because I think it’s tripe.

I’ve heard the Travel Channel was back in Glenwood this week, filming at Zheng Asian Bistro and other hot spots. This brought back some memories of my own. Several years back, in 2006, best friend, former newspaper colleague and then-roommate Kendra and I found ourselves looking like cartoon characters with big stars coming out of our eyes when we met a film crew from the Travel Channel. They were in Glenwood to shoot a show about children picking their family vacations, called “The Kids Are in Charge.” Glenwood Springs won this particular episode.

We weren’t voted Rand McNally’s “Most Fun City” for nothing.

The host of the show, Jonathan Torrens, was a former star of “Degrassi: The Next Generation,” a Canadian TV teen drama I hadn’t heard of until I shared an abode with Kendra. She has an amazing knowledge of pop culture, even Canada’s, and I was quickly hooked on the storyline of Canadian actor Aubrey Drake Graham, better known today as the rapper Drake, who played Jimmy on “Degrassi: The Next Generation.”

By meeting Jonathan Torres, we were technically one-degree separation from rapper stardom.

Kendra and I, and that dad from “Degrassi,” ended up having a night to remember hanging out with the Travel Channel film crew at Doc Holliday’s Bar as well as other Glenwood haunts with our friend Caleb Liston (he introduced us). If memory serves me, Rocky Mountain Oysters and beer were involved.

Andrew Zimmern, eat your heart out.

April E Clark will be star struck at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway this week. She hopes to meet Florence Henderson, finally. She can be reached at aprilelizabethclark@gmail.com.


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The Post Independent Updated May 20, 2014 11:00PM Published May 20, 2014 11:00PM Copyright 2014 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.