Guilderland boy does Hollywood

— Photo from Jim Meade

Lance Reddick, left, poses with Jim Meade. Reddick played Cedric Daniels, a Baltimore Police lieutenant on the HBO drama “The Wire.”

— Photo from Jim Meade

Good Vibrations: Mike Love, co-founder of the Beach Boys, at right, dines with Jim and Nina Meade.

To the Editor:

Growing up as I did in Westmere, I knew the Beach Boys only as, you know, a few songs about things like my car. “409, 409.” My car was only a 383 cc, and, anyway, it was my mom’s. I didn’t know which songs were the Beach Boys and which were Jan and Dean or Chuck Berry. The reception on my transistor radio was a little tinny, and my car radio had static and lots of ads.

So this morning I’m trading emails with Beach Boys lead singer Mike Love, who’s in Lake Tahoe in one of his many homes. “What time is it there?” “8:15.” “Does your cell phone work there?” “Yes.” “That’s pretty cool.” What’s pretty cool is actually that I’m sitting here in Thailand (a story for another time), and the guy texting me is the lead singer on “Good Vibrations.” Pinch me.

For me to be mixing it up in Hollywood is a modern-day version of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” I don’t belong there. I never planned to be there. I’m a Guilderland boy. I’m a victim waiting to be eaten, and I am just starry-eyed at the people I meet.

How do I happen to meet them? I have something they want. I’m like a cleaning woman. Writers are like that. “You never have to retire,” the passport agent explained to me a few months ago. “There’s always work for writers and cleaning women.” (Then he said the cherished words, “Welcome Home.”)

Various Hollywood standouts pass my way either because I can write for them or because I can relieve their stress. I teach Transcendental Meditation. It’s kind of like yoga.

I’m always asking if I can have a picture with them. If they’re young, I ask them, “Are you good with selfies?” and they always are. They take the picture. Then I post the pix on Facebook, which takes me a long time and often ends up in an unprintable verbal barrage.

Back to my adventures. Like who did this local boy, often haunting the streets of Altamont, come across in Hollywood? Bo Zenga. “Who’s that? Right?” But he’s a player. One of the top 100 movers and shakers in Hollywood. He made “Scary Movie” for one thing. I love saying his name. Sat and talked with him once for half an hour.

One night I’m leading a meditation for a group, and there in the front was this guy with serious girth. Introduces himself afterward and also comps my wife and me for his show the next night in Burbank. Jeff Garlin. (You’ve seen him. He’s on “The Goldbergs.” A regular.)

Another comedian I taught to meditate insists she is not a star or anything. Don’t tell me that. I’m from Westmere, and people from Westmere don’t often just pop up with a Netflix Special.Christina Pazsitzky. She is so funny. Crude and foul-mouthed, too, of course.

I realize I’m not saying “George Clooney” or “Sylvester Stallone” or most of the names that would cause a stir around Altamont, that I’m just saying the I’m-sorry-who’s-that? people. But they thrill me.

One time I’m sitting and interviewing this tall African-American fellow, and I tell him he looks familiar. Then I notice that he’s not surprised even though he doesn’t help me out at all about who he might be. “Haven’t I met you somewhere?” I’m asking.

In Guilderland, you know, the outcome is usually, “Oh, I saw you in the supermarket,” or “your niece dated my cousin,” or something ordinary. This tall, handsome guy? Turns out that he’s Lieutenant Daniels from “The Wire.” OMG. Of course I ask him for a picture with him, and he complies.

Now I don’t, it’s true, have Clint Eastwood. But I have a picture with an actress who worked with him on “Jersey Boys” — Renee Marino. She writes to me sometimes (my wife and me).

So, I’m not the main place that the stars go for help with their stress. That would be the TM Center in Santa Monica. I’m in “The Valley.” But, for example, one guy came in for TM with me expressly because he wanted to be under the radar and not go to Santa Monica. Later, when I was watching the featured movie on an airplane, it turned out he was the producer. One of the superheroes movies.

Know who sat next to him in a series of meetings I led? The producer of one of the best-known sci fi series of all time, probably the best known. I’m playing it safe and not putting in his name because he might not want that. But even that other producer, the one who’s movie I saw on the airplane, was impressed that he was there.

I’m just getting started really, meeting these movie people because I’ve been in LA only for four-and-a-half years now, and LA is movie town. Everybody is in movies, except the ones who are in real estate or health care or auto sales.

I was a drummer in the band at GCHS. Took drum lessons from jazz drummer Chuck Chibukis. Got a drum set given to me by Judi Walters Dineen’s dad, from Altamont.

So, for a spate of time, I seemed to meet a drummer every week. Sometimes they were big, famous drummers. Sometimes they were big drum instructors. Sometimes they were trying-to-make it young drummers. Sometimes it was just a hobby.

I took a picture with Dave Weckl, and he gave me a set of sticks. I got another set from the drummer for Jane’s Addiction, Stephen Perkins. Did a talk with Ron Wagner, drummer for Cirque du Soleil.

Composers and songwriters and singers. Commercial actors. I’m good friends with Clay Bravo, the police woman in the Subaru commercial with the kid who spills his oranges. Tucker Smallwood. There’s a guy and a half. Prudence Farrow (“Prudence” in the song).

I met a grip, my first real grip. Then later I met a female grip. Talk about exuding cool. OMG. A female grip. I thought about taking a picture with her the first night, and I should have, because I never saw her again.

I met a hairdresser and a few more. Not just a hairdresser. A hairdresser to the stars. One of them took us to a show (“Two Broke Girls”) and then invited us backstage where we met Garrett Morris. I met David Lynch a couple times, like on an elevator.

So, Altamont and Guilderland and Albany — those are the right places to start out. If the twists and turns of life happen to land you in Hollywood, you can’t get enough of it. You walk around starry-eyed all the time and just pay no attention when the people insist, “I’m not famous, Jim. I’m really not. Quit looking at me that way.”

Jim Meade

Los Angeles

Editor’s note: Jim Meade went to Guilderland Central High School where he played junior-varsity baseball, was a drummer in the band, and was vice president of the student council. His newest book is “Dynamic DNA.”

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