Monday, May 01, 2006

Celebrity Stalking

I got a call Sunday afternoon from a glossy celebrity magazine, asking if I could go to Napa to track down some movie stars. The celebrities, whom I will not name, are involved in a messy headline-making divorce.

The assignment was to hang out at some exclusive spots in Napa, eat dinner, and see if I could spot the couple, preferably kissing one another in a loud and public way.

I am not very experienced at celebrity chasing, but I know it’s a growth market, so I accepted the assignment. What made the event a real experience was that I brought my 13-year old daughter.

Let me tell you, a 13 year old who reads Teen People, Elle for Girls, Vogue for Girls, who actually knows how to download songs from I-tunes, and even knew more details about the canoodling couple than I did, is a perfect celebrity-stalking companion.

We got up to the Napa airport in the early evening. I had planned to hang around and ask anyone if they had spotted the celebrities. As soon as I had parked, and my daughter had gotten out of the car, I spotted a stretch white limousine in my rear view mirror. I signaled to Charlotte, who jumped back into the car. We raced to follow the limo.

It pulled up at an electric gate permitting access to the air field. As I slid my car into an illegal spot, Charlotte jumped out with a camera in hand, and ran and hid behind some parked cars. She darted back and forth to get a better view of the limo, always hiding herself from view.

I have to say, this did my heart good. My daughter is a natural celebrity stalker! She had no compunction about spying. In fact, she was even better than I.

I took over after that, wandering the airport and talking to the limo driver, who was there to pick up wealthy Japanese businessmen, and others hanging around the airport.

Once the airport didn’t pan out, we headed further north to our Napa hotspot. It was a grueling evening. First we were forced to have drinks on the deck, looking out on the beautiful Napa Valley. The temperature was 81 degrees. Then we had to have a four-course meal that lasted at least three hours. It was tough.

Of course that description doesn’t include all the furtive side trips to canvas the pool, the spa, the tennis courts and the bathrooms. I had a lovely visit with the valet. The waiter was also helpful. They all made it clear that the canoodling couple had not visited that Napa hotspot. My daughter took as many trips around the restaurant, peeking into intimate nooks and crannies.

As we drove back to Berkeley close to midnight, our investigative talents exhausted, I felt slightly disappointed. My celebrity sighting score was zero. But I was proud that I was training my replacement. Maybe the next time the glossy magazine calls, I will hand the phone to Charlotte.


ad said...

How fun for Charlotte! And how amusing/fun, besides.

julie said...

this is a truly funny story, frances...maybe i'll bring our 10-year-old along on one of my reporting expeditions some time. he'd probably have a ball!