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Journal of ASPR - Fall 2012 - L.A. Live Was Definitely Lively!
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L.A. Live Was Definitely Lively!

Behind the Scenes at the ASPR Conference

By Lori Jackson Norris, FASPR, Physician Recruiter, Dignity Health, Chandler, AZ

Steve Jacobs and Guy Fieri
ASPR Member Steve Jacobs (right) and the host of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives himself, Guy Fieri

What do celebrity chef Guy Fieri, movie star Bradley Cooper, and ASPR have in common? The 2012 ASPR Annual Conference in Los Angeles! What great timing to hold the conference at a venue such as L.A. Live! Members who arrived a bit early were treated to a star-studded weekend as the L.A. Food and Wine Festival was in full swing at both L.A. Live and the JW Marriott Hotel. Food and wine enthusiasts jam-packed the hotel lobby, lounges, meeting rooms and eating venues in their quest to learn from experts. And many of these experts were celebrity chefs! ASPR member Steve Jacobs, FASPR, a self-admitted “Foodie-Groupie,” racked up a record number of celebrity sightings, garnering photo opportunities and autographs from many. I admit that I, too, got caught up in the excitement when Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives fame suddenly appeared right in front of my eyes on Saturday evening in the hotel lobby. I immediately alerted fellow groupie, Steve, and he was by Guy’s side in a heartbeat. Not only did Steve convince Guy to have his photo taken with him, but the spiky-haired chef even offered to send a text on Steve’s cell phone to Steve’s son, also an adoring foodie-fan who is following in his dad’s footsteps. Steve said the best part of all of this “was the look on my son’s face when I shared the pictures.”

A “short list” of other celebrities to whom Steve introduced himself over the weekend included Andrew Zimmern, chef, Bizarre Foods; Ming Tsai, chef, Ming’s Quest; Graham Elliot, chef, MasterChef; Anthony Anderson, actor, Law & Order; Mark Cuban, Dallas Mavericks owner and Dancing with the Stars contestant; Fritz Coleman, NBC weatherman; and Zachary Knighton, actor, Happy Endings.

When I asked Steve how he finds the energy and enthusiasm for all of this effort, he said, “I love people-watching and especially love seeing celebrities that I know from the shows I enjoy on TV or movies I’ve liked. To me, it only took awareness and not energy. Recognizing people is the key. Approaching them....well… anyone who knows me, knows that is not an issue.” You can just imagine how Steve’s energy and enthusiasm translate into sourcing and engaging physician candidates!

Bradley Cooper
Bradley Cooper, star of Hit and Run, signing autographs

A few days later, more star-studded excitement occurred when I found myself in the vicinity of the L.A. movie premier for Hit and Run. Colleagues Angela Jamison and Kara Balliet were walking with me to the Conga Room for the big ASPR party event. We were distracted by horns honking, engines revving and people screaming. We knew about the premier, and that it was happening right around the corner from the hotel, but all agreed we would not get involved with the ensuing hysteria. However, when I clearly heard voices shouting “Bradley, look over here…Bradley, Bradley…” I knew who they were shouting at…and suddenly I couldn’t help myself! I convinced my friends to take a quick detour. On our way, we helped an overly excited young woman up off the ground because she was running so fast to get a glimpse of “Bradley” that she tripped in her high heels and took a nose dive onto the pavement. (I’m sure that left a mark!) After that, we turned the corner to see hundreds of fans lining the street behind a short barricade. Actor Bradley Cooper, People magazine’s 2011 Sexiest Man Alive, was making his way down the line of fans. I stepped into the right place at the right time, up close and personal, and snapped a photo of the star with my cell phone just before he turned around to cross the street, heading for the red carpet and a throng of paparazzi.

My ASPR colleague Marjorie Creagh admits she caught celebrity fever, too. “I was determined to just stand there and watch the craziness and then when I saw the celebrities, I screamed just like everybody else!” Marjorie confessed. Thinking quickly, Marjorie used her ASPR name badge for autographs from Cooper, as well as co-stars Tom Arnold and Dax Shepard. That ASPR badge of hers will be a long-time memento and conversation piece!

Journal of ASPR - Fall 2012