Interior designer Thom Filicia had an Epiphany at Manny's Steakhouse.
It did not foreshadow what would transpire later Monday in a lovely VibrAcoustic bathtub at Edina's gleaming new Kohler Signature Store, which is open to the trade and the public. An Epiphany is one of the Manny's martinis, normally prepared with St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Grey Goose pear vodka and Prosecco, then garnished with an orchid. But Filicia had Harley the bartender substitute Stoli Blueberi vodka for the Goose. Filicia reportedly thought the drink was pretty good.
Filicia, who skyrocketed to fame as a star of Bravo's "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," was the celebrity guest at a private party at the new bathroom and kitchen fixtures store. Filicia, who uses many Kohler products on his projects, autographed copies of his new book, "American Beauty," and slid into in a vibrating bathtub with me. Clean it up -- we were fully clothed. He was drinking a little champagne while I was holding a glass of bubbly but partook not because I don't even sip and drive.
The sight brought out the paparazzi in at least three guests. They whipped out cellphones and snapped photos. I'm surprised to say none has yet turned up on the Internet, as far as I know.
Our water-free tub interlude will definitely be on the video I'm editing for Sunday's interview of Filicia. (A clip of our time in the tub is scheduled to air Thursday, around 9:45 a.m., on the FOX 9 "Buzz." That is, if my weekly appearance doesn't get jostled by Valentine's Day segments that may show me, of all people, providing romantic tips fed to me.)
Although Filicia normally eschews socks, he respected winter in Minnesota by wearing a pair. When Filicia was chit-chatting with a party guest about how impressed he was with the Minneapolis area, the guest expressed surprise that Thom could appreciate our love of art, design and culture without referencing the weather.
"I don't mind a cold city," said Filicia, "I mind a crappy city."
This was Filicia's first visit to the Twin Cities, and he found it as exceptional as his friends told him this area is.
"He can't wait to return during summer months," said Brianne Bauer, the Kohler PR consultant and Filicia's escort.
After the private party, Bauer took Filicia to dine at Bachelor Farmer. "He loved the decor, the cuisine," said Bauer. Filicia was amused that a restaurant called Bachelor Farmer employed a logo that uses rainbow colors. Hmmm.
That Kohler store is lusciously designed.
The store is sleek and elegant enough to look as though it jumped off the pages of Architectural Digest. I could live there, I told James Beard award-winning journalist Sue Zelickson. She said she could, too.
Why is Zelickson pretending that her residence doesn't already look like this place? I asked her. She claims she needs to redecorate.
Dance like Ellen?
If you see Brianne Bauer around, ask her to dance like Ellen.
I can't remember how the talk show host came up in our conversation, but she did, and I asked Bauer if she had noticed that Ellen is limiting her show's opening dance session to the stage.
I don't watch every day, but lately when I have, Ellen has not danced up into the audience. This is an observation. This is not an indication that I enjoy Ellen's dancing, because while she has great rhythm, she is by no means a fab dancer.
I think Ellen knows that, just as members of the audience know that if they touch her when she dances by, they'll probably be dismissed from the studio.
Our chat about Ellen's dancing prompted Bauer to do a favorite Ellen wide-legged dance move. Ellen wishes she danced this well.
C.J. is at 612.332.TIPS or firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mailers, please state a subject -- "Hello" doesn't count. Attachments are not opened, so don't even try. More of her attitude can be seen on FOX 9 Thursday mornings.