Alibi V.24 No.16 • April 16-22, 2015 

Opinion

Almost Fey-mous

On Tina’s trail in Albuquerque

From left, Tina Fey and Chloe Mizusawa at Bookworks
From left, Tina Fey and Chloe Mizusawa at Bookworks
Bookworks
On a tranquil Monday in March, the Hollywood badass who changed the course of world history with her Sarah Palin impersonation on “Saturday Night Live” during the 2008 presidential race strolled in to Bookworks on Rio Grande to peruse the shelves with a few companions while the store was empty.

“When she walked in, none of us recognized her,” says consignment manager Chloe Mizusawa.

Fey was in town filming a movie based on the wartime memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which wrapped last week.

“She’s just a regular person looking for books,” she says. “You feel like you know these people so well because you see them on TV all the time, and you don’t.”

At the time, Mizusawa was unaware that Fey was in town filming a movie based on the wartime memoir The Taliban Shuffle: Strange Days in Afghanistan and Pakistan, which wrapped last week.

“Usually, I’m not really starstruck. But I was definitely Tina Fey-struck,” said Old Town barista Kyler Hurlock.

“After a lot of debating, my coworker was like, Okay, I’m going to really nonchalantly tell her she looks like Tina Fey ... And she was like, Yep, that’s because I am Tina Fey.”

Bookworks staffers are in the habit of assisting celebrity customers and hosting events for famous authors.

“It’s kind of an Albuquerque gem,” Mizusawa says of the establishment’s attraction. “It’s somewhere that feels very authentic. And it’s just very quirky. It really just has a lot of individual Albuquerque flavor.”

Mizusawa asked if she could snap a pic for her dad. In the photo—liked by more than 560 people on the bookstore’s Facebook page—an unmistakable Fey dressed in a casual sweater with no discernible makeup rests her arm around Mizusawa’s shoulder.

“We told her she smelled really good,” Mizusawa says. “She kind of just smelled like fruit.”

On a Sunday later in the month, down the road at Starbucks in Old Town, barista Kyler Hurlock used the same subtle approach as the bookstore crew when Fey, with two companions, stopped by in a cap and sunglasses for a venti unsweetened passion tea.

“We kind of get a good share of famous people here,” he says. “So as a method to recognize them without being all over them, I always tell them, Man, has anyone ever told you [that] you look like so-and-so? ... So yeah, she came in, and I was like, Watch out, Tina Fey look-alike.”

A coworker confirmed her identity, and Fey shot him “some finger guns.” Since she’d come in during another opportune moment when the usually packed coffee joint was devoid of other clientele, Hurlock asked for a photo.

“Usually, I’m not really starstruck. But I was definitely Tina Fey-struck,” he says. “I made their drinks probably as fast as I’ve made any other drinks just because I wanted to make sure I could get a picture before anyone else came in.”

Just up Route 66 at The Grove Café and Market in the EDo neighborhood, restaurant supervisor Aja Lopez considers the four times Fey has come in as proof that her staff’s special touch works.

“This is a place she can go and be treated like a normal person,” she says. “I’m sure that’s hard to find as a celebrity, especially in a small town like Albuquerque.”

Fey’s brief residence in Albuquerque is already the stuff of hometown lore, for reasons best summed up by Mizusawa: “Because, I mean, who doesn’t love Tina Fey?”