Back during a certain era of my L.A. days—when we had a kosher butcher at one end of the block and a yeshiva across the street from my favorite sushi bar at the other—I'd ask friends and family who showed up to our 2-bedroom townhouse to stand against the blank white wall in our living room and strike a pose for me. I had just paid a grand for my 1st digital camera—an Olympus C-3030 with a whopping 3.3 megapixels—and I was eager to use it. My requests led to pictures like these. I haven't seen many of the friends in these photos for close to a decade. Like my old friend Cojo. I met Cojo 20 years ago when I was a staff writer at the Australian incarnation of People magazine (WHO Weekly) and Steven was a freelancer we hired to help us out with reporting on some ridiculous celebrity-related story. (I think it was an eyeball-gobbling piece on "nudity in films.") A few years later when he got hired to write a weekly fashion column for People, Cojo dished me his nationally syndicated show biz gossip column ("Hot Shots") that ran in over 60 newspapers around the U.S. and Canada. (Which led to a year of me writing under my 1st and only pen name: "Jackson Doheny") By this time we were fast friends and fellow herb enthusiasts who, at times, felt painfully out of place and unworthy of the glitzy show biz mind fuck. The TV Personality Red Carpet Awards Show Cojo is vastly different—usually—than the Hanging Out In Your 1-Bedroom Bachelor Apartment Cojo. He gave me shit about being a yokel from Covina. I gave him shit about his crappy little Chevy Cavalier. He loved my girlfriend and we loved hearing his lacerating Hollywood opinions or watching him break into song as Cher, one of his heroes. Cojo showed up to my surprise 40th birthday party in Santa Monica with a 4-foot tall red hookah, a gift I'm still explaining to the family. In the years since we hung out and crossed paths semi-consistently, Cojo went on to become a much-loved weekly presence on The Today Show, then a red carpet fixture for Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood. He's been on The Daily Show, he was a regular for 2 seasons on American Idol and he was spoofed in an SNL skit. (Jimmy Fallon as Cojo!) He's written a pair of memoirs and had a pair of kidney transplants—which has led to a pair of episodes devoted to his story on Oprah. The guy's been through a LOT since this photo was taken. The Cojo of this picture doesn't look much like the Cojo of today. I think they're both pretty badass. I'm sure the internal transformation has been hugely significant too. Cojo always was a seeker, a good soul trying to grow and evolve and love. I miss the days when he was just our hilarious, tortured friend cracking us up on our living room couch with his rendition of Madonna as a low-rent, Inland Empire Evita Peron: "Don't cry for me West Co-viiiii-naaaa...."
Do I know you? One man's attempt at a lifelong head count.
NOTE: If you think I might have a photo of you—most likely at least one great photo of you—don't be afraid to ask me to post it (firstname.lastname@example.org) along with a brief entry about how I know you. And if I've met or known you but don't have any photo evidence, feel free to send along YOUR favorite photo of you. (I'm fascinated by what that slideshow might look like.)