Wednesday, March 07, 2007


After a friend's recent experience in the celebrity world, I decided to transfer this blog from last September (Toronto Film Festival) here to my blog page.

Sept. 2006
This is the week of the film festival in Toronto so there are many opportunities to observe the behavior of celebrities and the public reaction to celebrities.

To begin with, I'm not a stargazer.

I don't ask for autographs. What does one do with an ink scribble on paper anyway? I don't take pictures. The photographers lights are bright enough to light an airport runway and are blinding to a passerby, so they must cause retinal damage to the celebrities. They don't need another flash from my camera. And what do I want a crappy picture of the back of someone's head for? Bragging rights? For what?

I went to see a film last night and arrived a half an hour early so I could at least get a decent seat. The line extended down the street, around the corner, down that street, around the next corner, and down a third street. The people at the front of the line by the red carpet must have been there for the rain.

Do take note that this line is for people that already have tickets, so we're all getting in.
So why does one arrive hours ahead to stand in the rain when one is guaranteed a seat? This has nothing to do with getting a good seat since these people were still there when I entered the theater. They were there to catch a glimpse of the celebrity (that night it was Viggo Mortensen) and hopefully get an autograph or say hi or something. (One grown woman yelled "Viggo, you look awesome!")

I don't get it.

Do people think that their lives are going to be changed by such a superficial encounter? A life-altering event would be the only thing that would entice me to wait hours for anything...or at least some situation where I would have a really really good time.

If anyone reading this has waited hours for this kind of encounter, I'd really love to hear from you.

Then there's the way some people think celebrities should be treated...

After the movie ended, the audience filed out and we all walked along the sidewalk in the rain to go our different ways to head home. At one point we were stopped by some bodyguardish guy who told us we would couldn't walk on the sidewalk...we'd have to walk around a limousine..into downtown the night.

Apparently, the celebrities needed to walk a distance of 10 feet undisturbed from the private room where they were offered champagne to drink while they waited the brief moment before climbing into their limo.

I wasn't offered champagne to ease my walk to my car...which, by the way, wasn't parked in front. I had two blocks to walk. Champagne would have been nice. No hulking guy protected me from other people's elbows or umbrellas. Oh well.

After being directed into oncoming traffic by the Hulk, my husband grumbled. "...and if I get hit by a car I'll sue your sorry ass." He doesn't deal well with classism and unnecessary degredation. I consoled him by trying to find reason for this we're-more-important-than-you thinking.
...after a movie where characters were often called "Excellency", I said to my husband "I guess they called each other 'Excellency' so many times that they took it to heart."

"Ooooh....there's a Tim Horton's. Let's grab a coffee." he said, distracted already.

All was forgotten.

Edit: Sept 14...Case in point: Apparently, there's a big fuss going on now because Sean Penn was smoking a cigarette during a press conference despite anti-smoking laws. The discussion is about whether he should be fined like 'regular folk'. $125. Do you think he would care?

Edit #2: A friend had bought a house in Yorkville (the neighbourhood where celebrities and celebrity hounds gather). My friend can't even find parking close to his home during the festival. Thank god we had advance reservations for dinner or that would have been out of the question as well.

Our walk to the restaurant took twice as long because of the people in clusters on the sidewalk either waiting in line outside of restaurants or just lingering out front hoping to catch a glimpse of a celebrity. One group of fashionably painted and frocked women looked sadly like a gaggle of whores. I don't believe that was the effect they were hoping for, but then again you never know.
Maybe it was my imagination, but inside the restaurant I felt like I was being sized up a few times by other patrons. Was it my stunning good looks? (cough, puke) Were they regular patrons or stargazers trying to figure out who I am.

I did get to sign an autograph, though. Too bad it was my VISA bill for dinner. Oh well.


Anonymous said...

Lisa, I have waited in long lines and/or for a very long time for events at which famous people appeared. For example, Bruce Springsteen or U2 concerts (the long wait was to get near the stage for GA seating), a campaign stop by Bill Clinton & Al Gore in 1992, and a Lord of the Rings marathon showing (of all three movies) with appearances by several of the stars of the movie and a conversation by satellite with the director. In all those cases, the point for me was not to see the star or get an autograph--although I did see them and have a couple autographs). I waited (mostly) patiently not because I wanted to see the celebrities but because I wanted to hear, feel, experience, or contribute to whatever they were sharing at that time.

Whatever it is they've created is what interests or excites or inspires me, and the person's contribution becomes very much tied to it. In fact, in some cases, the person's public persona becomes so close to his or her product that, if that product is very inspiring to me, the person becomes very inspiring to me.

I find it a real conflict when I get too carried away by the inspiration and focus on the person instead. Because in general I feel the same way you do: what's so wonderful about these people that they get limousines and champagne and 10 feet of space free from jostling?

Lisa said...

I can see the point if your wait or efforts get you a better seat or to a place where you can watch an interview or something, but not just for the sake of being in someone's presence.
I think there's an 'Us' and 'Them' thing that goes on and people want to be part of the 'Us' group. It sure as hell feels better than being one of 'Them'. It's social currency. But the point is that you are who you are and that doesn't change because of an autograph or picture.
I was once at a party with celebrities. The celebrities were in a VIP section, separate from us 'commoners'. After helping a photographer carry her equipment to the VIP area, she invited me in. So I would finally get to feel like a VIP instead of a commoner. Wrong. I felt self-conscious and more like an outsider in the inner circle than I did when I was outside of it. Would you have a better time at a party with your friends or at a party with total strangers? I determine my social worth intrinsically...not because of who I'm standing next to.