Archive for May, 2012

Doppelganger

 My mother determined my celebrity doppelganger twenty years ago while ironing shirts in the family room of our Ohio home. Lifting a horrifically wrinkled oxford shirt belonging to my younger brother from its burial place deep within the laundry basket, she had little regard for what was on the television that afternoon, until her slim hips began to sway in time to the sound of the synthetic string orchestra being broadcast. This song has a good beat, she thought, moving rhythmically. Not a moment later, as she yanked the fabric forward to flatten its next few crumpled inches, the crooner’s disco serenade began- “We’re no strangers to love/You know the rules, and so do I…”- and she continued to dance, her focus turning as much to the song as to her housework. What a terrific voice, she thought. Finally, after a few more bars of mish-mashed elevator- and dance music played out, her own dancing grew with such fervor that she felt compelled to see who the singer was that she lifted the iron to a standing position and looked. What she beheld made her jaw drop. The man juggling invisible barbells and gyrating while lipsynching to his tune could have been my twin.

Chris Lister, who worked alongside Spiaggia’s venerable first maitre d’, Jeff Hurley, handpicked Kevin Bacon’s doppelganger when the currently ubiquitous actor arrived during cocktail hour one late afternoon in either the fall or early winter of 1986.

“It was the ’80’s, when people were throwing money around like there was no tomorrow, and we got everything. The governor came in a lot, and we had a lot of celebrities.”

In Chicago to film John Hughes’ 1988 comedy, She’s Having a Baby, co-starring Elizabeth McGovern, Mr. Bacon was on a break from filming in neighboring suburban Evanston, when he and a few acquaintances claimed stools at Spiaggia’s bar. A few girls finishing dessert at Cafe Spiaggia, Spiaggia’s casual  next-door offering, noticed the handsome young star, sunk their spoons into their gelati di gianduja, and bolted for the posh restaurant’s entrance.

As they rounded the corner, Chris stopped them and said,” Girls, he’s not who you think. It happens to him all the time. He’s actually a dishwasher here.”

Disappointed, the fans slunk back to their original posts, picked up their spoons, and resigned themselves to their previous enjoyments.

Sensing a patron behind him, Chris turned.

“Unbeknownst to me,” concluded Chris,” Kevin Bacon was standing right behind me when I said that.”

The Footloose star grinned, “I’ve never gotten something like that before. That’s amazing. I’ll use that again.”

Since then, one can assume that Mr. Bacon has always six degrees from himself, thanks to Chris Lister’s quick wit.