Everybody should have at least one hobby. Some people enjoy bird watching—filling their fanny packs with binoculars and guide books in hopes of spotting that rare triple-horned, green-bellied finch. For those who prefer People magazine to tiny pecking beaks and hay fever, there’s another, more urban, pastime sweeping our city: celebrity watching.
The relatively low cost of filming in Nova Scotia, along with some helpful government tax credits, have inadvertently created a mini-fad that anyone—who uses our tips and some basic human empathy—can enjoy. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll use Rob Lowe, who’s already been spotted about town while filming the Lifetime cable network mini-series Beach Girls, as our subject.
While binoculars are accepted bird watching gear, they are definitely not cool when scoping out celebrities. In fact, use of binoculars or one of those telescopic cameras is more likely to lead you to prison, or to a well deserved, solid whack in the noggin. However, like bird watching, a notebook is still a celebrity watcher’s friend. Don’t forget to dash down a quick filmography (available at the invaluable website imdb.com) for clever conversation references before leaving the house. The notebook is also handy for doodling in while you while away the hours for your next sighting.
Also, keep the script at home. Although it’s probably true that Rob Lowe would be perfect to star in your “The Ring-meets-Shrek” blockbuster film idea, it’s not going to happen.
Habitat & Patterns
Humans, like our feathered friends, are creatures of habit. Understanding their patterns will get you one step closer to a meaningful encounter. For instance, Rob Lowe is known around town for his insatiable lust for the sweet stuff. Candy, that is. He’s on a first-name basis with the city’s finer confectionaries, so that’s a good place to start. He’s not a fad-driven candy consumer either, preferring more traditional delicacies such as Dubble Bubble Gum (for the comics perhaps?). According to our sugar spies, he likes to wash it down with a little cream soda or grape pop, before returning to his other vice—the cigar. It’s hard to say if Mr. Lowe still sports the same washboard stomach that he did on a steamy, ripped t-shirt poster that hung on many teenage girls’ bedroom walls, but he does keep the candy-gut down to a minimum by running along the waterfront and working out at a certain south-end gym.
If you do decide to approach a star, be sure you’ve identified the correct one first. For instance, it is not cool to say to Rob Lowe, “Hey, I loved that part in Risky Business where you danced in your underwear.” However, a little preamble about how Sodapop Curtis was, like totally, your favourite Outsider, while still a tiny bit crazy, is not as rude.
It’s also not cool to approach a star: a) while they’re working b) enjoying a well deserved meal c) playing with their kids. Like a momma bird building a nest or foraging for worms, they will rightfully get defensive and you risk being pecked or flapped at.
It’s also best to avoid any discussion of scandals. Would you want to be reminded of the time that you got an erection during your grade 9 English presentation? Chances are that no star wants to discuss anything to do with sex, videotapes or community service. Enough said.
Building your Skills
Know your own skill level and don’t try to approach any star that you’re not ready to handle. For instance, the fine actor Billy Bob Thornton, who will arrive in July to shoot the Michael Cristofer film Fade Out, may not be suitable for an amateur celebrity tracker. Thornton, who admits to having “intense” phobias about plastic cutlery and antique furniture, is best left alone—unless you’re completely sure of what you’re doing—although there are those of us who have fantasies of seeing Thornton whacking a drum kit at The Seahorse.
Throw away the Guide
The problem with fame is that we think we know celebrities based on what they eat, wear or fuck. Celeb-shopping-porn magazines such as InStyle have responded to our overwhelming desire to dissect every detail about what lotion stars put on their back acne or what dental floss they use. Do we really know anything more about what makes Rob Lowe tick just because we think he prefers cream soda over cola?
You can study all you want, but you’ll never really know a person simply based on the knowledge that they saved Demi Moore from a coke habit. (No wait, that was in St. Elmo’s Fire). For instance, how does Rob Lowe really feel about Halifax after waking up to a week of torrential rain? Does he think that the giant painted lobster outside his hotel is quaint, or does he secretly wish for a giant tub of butter to wash it away? Does he occasionally get the urge to shout out all the words from Robert Frost’s poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” from The Outsiders? We’ll never know.