June 26, 2001
By Brian Bentley
I had the unique privilege of walking down an almost deserted Melrose Ave. on Tuesday afternoon, suddenly in lock-step, right next to Britney Spears. As just another fellow pedestrian, Britney was sans bodyguards of any kind, store-trolling with a small entourage – her mother, three sisters and another girl who looked like her mirror image. It was weird, because it occurred to me that here's the biggest music star in the world, at this exact moment, just another 19 year-old, hanging with her mom in plain sight.
The group had that "just stopped by from Universal City Walk" Midwest Geek-Chic look down pat. Britney was wearing black hotpants and heavily detailed make-up, resembling one of those porcelain, baby doll AVN girls who promote the porno conventions downtown. Out of nowhere, Dennis Woodruff (you know, the ubiquitous, self-promoting actor who drives around in those painted-up 70's jalopies?) joined the procession, babbling incoherently, completely unaware of who he was talking to. As they disappeared down the street, Dennis, the space cowboy cum minor celebrity, was earnestly soliciting Britney's mega-celebrity mom for donations to his motorcycle youth club.
As a perfect capper to an "Only in L.A." nightmare, a sarcastic group of Mohawked teenage punk panhandlers in leather got whiff of what was happening and started following Britney and her clones. I quickly realized that no typical 19 year-old has to put up with this. Before you could say, "Stalker Laws" – at the crosswalk of Curson and Melrose, the loudest punk, who looked kinda like Courtney Love at 16, raced up and pinched Britney's booty hard. Britney swung around in ass-kicking mode, mouthing the word "bitch," while her attacker ran off with her DNA souvenir, giggling manically like a sociopathic 12 year-old.
Oh My God!