Meeting Lee Tergesen: FOURTEEN

By Anne (

Aug. 17, 2013

I arrived in Los Angeles for the first time in 26 years on Friday, Aug. 16. I was very excited to be there and did a lot of tweeting about my adventures.

During the day on Saturday, Aug. 17, Merrily (wrstlgrl on LJ) and I went on a celebrity tour after much cajoling from the tour salesman. We had more fun than we expected to. The biggest surprise, for both of us I think, is when the tour guide pointed out a house that Chris Meloni was allegedly renting somewhere off Sunset. We saw two dogs in the doorway but no sign of a person. We both agreed it was a good way to start our LeeFestLA adventures.

Later, when we got to the theater, we ran into Colleen (colleendetroit on LJ)and her husband (Mr. D) and her mom (MommaD) just as we came out of the parking garage. It was fortuitous timing. Colleen, Merrily and I posed for a picture taken by Mr. D, and Colleen tweeted it. I tweeted my reply: "Looks like an army recruiting poster with you flexing your muscles." :-)

I was lucky enough to have front row seats. (You may recall that I also had front row seats in 2012 when we saw the same show in New York City. After that show, Lee told me that he saw me during one scene and said, "Don't ever do that to me again." So when I tweeted him that I had the front row again for the L.A. show, he replied, "No pressure."

He later told me that he saw me in the audience again and said he looked at me several times. "I'm the worst actor ever," he said. I disagreed. I, oddly enough, never saw him looking at me. Usually, I watch him constantly when he's on stage, even when others are speaking. This time I tried to be more polite and watch the others. I was also a tad nervous that I might make eye contact and distract him or something.

I thought the show was better this time. Maybe it was because the actors had a chance to work together longer and knew the show well, or maybe because they got to try different things. Whatever it was, it worked better. Smoother.

There was one hilarious moment where Lee surprised me because he did something a bit different than when I saw the show in New York. It's the morning after he and Amy have been up all night making love and watching Bergman movies. He goes over to his house to smoke some pot and he comes back in the house with a leaf and proceeds to share the wonder of the leaf with Amy and the babysitter, Avery (played by Virginia Kull, who was once again AMAZING). His absolute joy over this leaf was a wonder to behold and when he went running out of the house like a gleeful 6-year-old, I seriously had to control myself from squeeing out loud. I was smiling from ear to ear.

When we came out the of the show to wait for Lee, we got nice hugs as usual, and Lee met Mr. D (who decided he wanted to remain the mysterious Mr. D until Colleen inadvertently let his name slip when Lee came out. Too funny.) Lee was looking around the theater as if expecting someone. He said he thought a friend was coming and then revealed it was Margaret Cho, who he met on the Drop Dead Diva set. But then he remembered she was out of town. Damn. That would have been great to meet her. What a tease, Lee!

Lee then led us down the alley beside the theater and around a small neighborhood in Westwood to the Napa Valley Cafe. On the way, I told him that it had been 26 years since I'd been in LA. He did the math and said 1987 and asked why I was here then. "My honeymoon," I said and he made a faux-pas face and said, "Sorry." Please, I'm way over it. He knows way too much about the nightmare years of the divorce.

We had a table outside. It was chilly but they had heating lamps outside and it was perfect. A friend of Lee's from the theater, Mutt, and his pal, Karen, joined us. They were both DE-lightful company. Karen hadn't seen the show yet, so we tried not to reveal too many spoilers.

When we sat down, there was a group of folks at a nearby table who had been to the show and recognized Lee. They said they enjoyed the show and Lee made a snarky comment. Something like, "It's about time" or "I should hope so." We all laughed but he went over to the table to apologize ("I didn't mean to be a dick") and chat them up for a few minutes. Not everyone gets the Tergesen snark.

I brought some extra programs with me, and I asked Lee if he could sign one for our peep Milti. He signed several until Colleen's pen started to fade. She also brought some extra programs for him to sign. Lee sighed dramatically. Merrily remarked, "I was going to ask you to sign mine, but it can wait until later." Lee snarked, "OK, but I'm not signing your ass again!" Merrily had a quick comeback: "Lee, I thought we agreed to keep that between us." Lee made a shocked face and apologized. Too freaking funny. Itís very cool when the peeps can keep pace with Leeís rapid-fire wit.

A little later, Colleen gave Lee a shirt she designed with a silhouette of Lee in drag from "Oz." She was wearing a matching one. Hers had a white background. His was black. He posed for some pics with Colleen. Lee and Mr. D had this thing going all night where he would look to Mr. D for permission every time he posed with Colleen or hugged Colleen, etc. Colleen asked what was going on. Lee said that it was between him and Mr. D. It was quite cute.

[Colleen reminded me about a funny exchange between Lee, Colleen and MommaD. Referring to Colleen, Lee asked MommaD, "What happened" MommaD said that Colleen was her best work. Lee replied, sounding incredulous: "This is your best work?" MommaD replied: "You should see the others!" Even MommaD caught onto the Lee snark rather quickly.]

Around this time, Beecher Doll made an appearance and Lee showed the swastika tattoo on Beecher Doll's ass to Mutt and Karen. "You know how I know this is an authentic Beecher doll?" he asked before pulling down Toby's pants and revealing the tattoo.

Someone asked how many times I had seen Lee. I said 14 and that clearly, I would follow him anywhere because he's worth it. He turned to Mutt and Karen, "See? You fucks!" as if admonishing them for not being as devoted. He's such a comedian.

Merrily mentioned our adventures, including our sighting of the Meloni house. We asked Lee if he had been invited over yet. He said no, that he thought Chris had only arrived a week earlier. There was some confusion over the location of the house and when we mentioned dogs, Lee was puzzled as he didn't think Chris had dogs. Hmm. He also jokingly commented that he didn't want to go over until Chris' daughter arrived. I looked puzzled and he made a face at me. Everyone seemed to get the joke but it took me a minute. He didn't want to be alone with Chris without a chaperone! LOL. A nod to the Beecher/Keller fans. Got to love him for that.

I also told Lee that I wanted to see the butterfly exhibit at the National History Museum because I loved taking photos of butterflies. He said he knew that because he remembered a picture I posted recently on Twitter. That made me ridiculously happy.

I posed for a few lovely pics with Lee and this is my favorite:

Lee showed us some adorable pics of Lily, including one where she was sticking her tongue out. Clearly she has inherited a long tongue from Dad.

Merrily asked where his Twitter name (leelo65) came from. He said leelo was a childhood nickname that his parents called him.

It was getting time to go and I realized that we hadn't taken any pics of Lee and Merrily, so I had them pose using her camera. They came out dark because she apparently has no flash on her phone camera. Lee was insistent that she did and just needed to turn it on so he took his hand at trying to figure it out. Merrily took the opportunity to get close to our favorite guy. :-) She also gave him this adorable T-shirt from her hometown team. After several minutes, Lee gave up on the flash but Merrily got some great cuddle time and a some nice pics out of the deal.

We all said good night and got hugs all around. We headed out to the street and said goodnight again. I got a couple more hugs and then Lee went off toward his place and we all headed back to our cars. Merrily and I had a moment of panic when the garage looked closed despite the sign stating it was supposed to open until 1 a.m. (It was 12:30 a.m. when we got there.) We called the 24-hour number and went in through the office building attached to the garage and retrieved the car. Whew. This is the second time that's happened to me on a LeeFest. Last time was in 2011 when I went to Brooklyn for the Silver Tongues screening. Since I'd been through it before, I was not as panicked this time.

Such a lovely evening and wonderful memories to add to my collection. Merrily said I talked to myself while I was sleeping that night. She said she heard me laugh and thought I was dreaming of Lee. If I did, unfortunately I do not remember it.

More pics here. Some are blurry because Lee moves too darn fast!

And the topping on the dessert of the evening? A lovely post-gathering tweet from Lee.


Main Page
Meeting Lee

Meeting One
March 19, 2002

Meeting Two
May 19, 2002

Meeting Three
October 7, 2002

Meeting Four
December 7, 2002

Meeting Five
January 28, 2003

Meeting Six
August 31, 2003

Meeting Seven
November 13, 2004

Meeting Eight
January 7, 2005

Meeting Nine
May 31, 2008

Meeting Ten
May 2, 2010

Meeting 11
Dec. 4, 2010

Meeting 12
Nov. 23, 2011

Meeting 13
June 9, 2012

Meeting 14
Aug. 17, 2013

Meeting 15
June 14, 2015

Meeting 16
October 15, 2017

Meeting 17
June 8, 2019