Thursday, May 29, 2008

Celebrity Locations

Why do people spend their hard earned tourist time and money flocking to places that are merely a representation of celebrity?

Think about it. Practically everybody that goes to London will seek out Abbey Road and take their picture where the Beatles took that picture for their album. And they will look stupid doing so. Might was well wear a big neon tourist hat while you are at it.

It’s hard to know which of these get sought after and which do not. Lots of people spend countless hours in the desert looking for THE Joshua Tree from U2’s album. Guess what? Some poor sap did extensive research only to determine that the tree has since died and only the tree’s pieces remain in a pile out in the middle of the desert.

I suppose it isn’t too much different than visiting ex-President’s houses around Washington DC except that at least there is a good historical story to go with it. The U2 thing…they wandered out into the desert with a bunch of camera guys and shot some promo pictures for an upcoming album. Sure, it turned out to be a landmark album but it’s not like seeking out the holy grail here folks.

It’s like the tours of the stars homes. How interesting is it really to see the outside 10 foot high cement wall and the gate of Brad Pitt’s estate? Did you really think Brad would be pushing his strollers with all the kids right as you drove by and he’d wave and maybe even sign an autograph?

I mean unless you’re going to pull weeds for free while hanging out in front of Jeff Bridge’s home; he’s not going to like it. Chances are he’s not home anyway. First off, he probably has several homes and second off, he’s probably on location anyway.

I recently read that tourism is up dramatically outside of Fairbanks, Alaska. Is there some great natural wonder they are all now flocking too? No, they are making the 40 mile trek to see the bus from the book and movie Into the Wild. Talk about a bit morbid; a real person died of starvation trapped in that bus. Why on Earth would you want to go there for a vacation?

Sure, there are natural destinations that have lured me into going to check out for myself. But not because I might have the opportunity to step in the very same mud puddle as Gene Kelley did in dancing with the rain but because it looked like an interesting place to visit.

So before you seek out that famous restaurant in Chicago just because the Blues Brothers tried to buy some children in it or because Ferris Buehler scammed the employees to get in doesn’t necessarily make it a destination.

I mean, I don’t see anyone trying to find that hallway where the creepy twins are standing in the movie The Shining or where the bush where George Michael got busted with that other guy. How many book their vacations to find the launching spot for ET’s spaceship? Do you fly to San Francisco and rent a Mustang just to reenact the chase seen from Bullitt? Are you writing 69 cent checks at a grocery store in LA because “The Dude” did so? If you aren’t, then why would you be checking out these other things? It makes no sense to me whatsoever.

36 comments:

cathouse teri said...

You mean that puddle is still there that Gene Kelly splashed in? (Funny thing is, you could probably convince SOMEONE that it is!)

I'm not going to go for any of that stupid shit. I'm going all the way.

I'm looking for the burning bush on Mt. Sinai. I'll settle for nothing less.

Jacki said...

You know what other type of tourism irks me? Eco-tourism. Would I love to see the Galapagos Islands for myself? I'd love to. But once thousands of people start flocking there, it will eventually destroy the natural habitat of all the creatures. Hence, I just watch the documentaries and read the articles.

Kurt said...

I'm so pleased to discover that you also think a lot about meeting Jeff Bridges.

Alan Smithee said...

Alan Smithee used to sell big neon tourist hats in London.

VE said...

Teri - Ha ha. Good one. I agree...on to Mt. Sinai! Oh, and there is one more Bush I'd like to burn...

jacki - I agree with you on that. I hate the mass tourism places like Niagra Falls. I mean, the falls are spectacular but one has to wonder what it looked like BEFORE the 12,000 get married places, etc.

Memarie Lane said...

I grew up in Palm Springs, playground of the stars, so we saw a lot of that sort of thing, people wanting to see the house where Elvis spent his honeymoon, stuff like that. The stupidest thing of all is that Palm Springs has it's own walk of fame, with stars and everything, except the stars don't put in footprints and don't show up for a ceremony. In fact there aren't any ceremonies. And yet tourists try to find their favorite stars' star and get their picture taken on it.

Megan said...

Not quite off topic -- I like watching movies that have filmed scenes in my town. That little, "Hey! I know that house/store/corner!" is fun.

Unfortunately, the last one was Benchwarmers...

VE said...

kurt - Yes, I know of your infatuation of all things Jeff Bridges ;)

alan smithee - VE isn't surprised! ;)

marie - I was just there last fall and noticed those stars...a lot of them I had no idea who they were...like some obscure cinemaphotographer etc. No photos were taken with them though...just in case you were worried.

megan - I do that too. I laugh when they put together scenes that couldn't possibly take place: Like they're driving down one area of town and a second later there some place that is 40 miles away. Only a local would know...

Beth said...

Equally unfathomable is why people line up for celebrity autographs. Which is not to say I haven't done it (in my youthful, ignorant days) but I still don't understand why.

Kanrei said...

I will admit that I did the "Rocky Dance" when I went to Philly. I did not go to Philly to do the Rocky Dance, but I did it. How can you not?

I also, at the Grand Canyon, stood there, said "yup, let's go" in honor of Vacation, but again, I did not go there just to do that.

I wanted to speed a Ford through San Francisco al la Bullit, but could not find the right muscle car to get it done and yes, I did travel there just to do that.

Preposterous Ponderings said...

Awwwww now come on,are you saying it would be a waste of my time to visit the very spot under the White House desk where Monica once was?

Damnit you ruin all my fun!

VE said...

beth - Yeah, that one is weird too. I could care less for somebody's signature; it means nothing to me

kan - Ok, ok, I did the Rocky dance on the steps too. As long as you weren't there just to do that stuff, why not. Those steps aren't in some obscure neighborhood you have to seek out. As for the Bullit scene in San Francisco...never tried that and I lived around there briefly. I did inline skate (with no brakes) down some of those steep streets though...how's that for adreneline rush?

Bee said...

VE, don't discourage people from coming to Chicago to visit the places where ordinary people became legends! I'll give them a personal tour for only $399.

(Then you'd find them in their undies freezing in an alley after I'd taken their money -Al Capone style!) Shhh.

leelee said...

I always got a kick out of people being photgraphed "holding up" the tower of Pisa. Whe I visit I will definitely do that! and I don't care who knows it....so there

It's shmalzty but its fun!

HUGS!

VE said...

bee - Sounds like you should be on the tourism committee for Chicago!

leelee - Funny, I never did that when I visited it. Don't know why...I did take a lot of pictures though.

VE said...

preposterous - Ha ha...you could bring some black light goggles to REALLY see what went on!

Theresa said...

The REALLY crazy people are the ones who dig through celebrity garbage cans in search of "treasures".

Serena Joy said...

I'm so enamoured of everybody else's comments today that I can't think of a thing to say myself. Oh, of course I'm disappointed that the Joshua tree is dead, but I guess that's to be expected after all the tsunamis, 10.0 earthquakes, alien invasions, and -- but wait. You're not going to tell me that never really happened, are you?:-)

justacoolcat said...

"Are you writing 69 cent checks at a grocery store in LA because “The Dude” did so?"

Yes. Mind if I do a j?

Jeff said...

The first time I went through Wyoming I had to stop at Devil's Tower because I was so fascinated by Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Sadly though it didn't cause me to carve my mashed potatoes into a little mountain-shaped pile. Even more sadly, I didn't see Richard Dreyfuss or Teri Garr. :-(

lime said...

i grew up near where the diner is that was featured in "the blob." no one ever flocked to see it and it fell into disrepair. then some schmuck paid goo gobs of money for it and hauled it away. i don't think it was missed.

VE said...

theresa - You're right...that's stupid too! You see that crap on ebay all the time.

sj - You have to free your mind! At least that's what they said on The Matrix and its good enough for me!

justacoolcat - My advise to you is to do like your parents did: Get a Job!

jeff - You didn't play that little music theme in your band did you. Tell me you never played it...please! Oh, am I'm glad about the mashed potato thing too. Whew!

lime - See how some things are of interest to stupid tourists and some are not? Totally random...

Maureen said...

Well, unlike many commentors, I DO love collecting autographs.

And one of my favorite spots I've visited was Skywalker Ranch; not many have been allowed behind those gates.

I even saw Indy's hat, whip and golden idol from the first movie while there.

So I am a tourist. I admit it.

VE said...

maureen - You are so sci-fi famous; we're all secretly jealous! I almost went to work at the Skywalker ranch. I turned it down because I couldn't afford housing anywhere near there and hate a commute. It's one of the few work campuses that compare to my work campus (but of course I've moved on from actually showing up at work as everyone knows)

Alex L said...

I'm surprised Alan Smithee put his name to that comment... oh thats a terrible joke isnt it. Hey do you reckon you can go to where Dorothy landed that house on that witch, you know with all the midgets.

ELASTICWAISTBANDLADY said...

I used to drive by the houses of boys we liked with my friends.....but that kind of lost its charm when I GREW UP!!

Seriously, I don't get people and their celebrity fixations......unless we're talking Mrs. Fields, Betty Crocker, Sara Lee, or Ben&Jerry. Those I'd make an exception for.

MJ said...

I think the worst thing to me is not necessarily that people visit these places, but being a tourist instantly turns people retarded. They carry huge cameras, wear typical tourist clothing (like Hawaiian print shorts), and instantly become louder and more obnoxious than usual.

VE said...

alex l - No, but you can go to Disneyland and take the "It's a Small, Small World" ride and it will be just as chaotic

elastic - Ha ha. Mrs. Fields. Yes, I've been stalking her for year too!

mj - IS THAT WHAT YOU REALLY THINK? Oh wait, I'm not on vaction...I'll quiet it down...

colbymarshall said...

I love it when tourists visit places because someone died there...that's a cheerful vacation!

VE said...

colby - Yes, I've got all my vactions planned around celebrity cemetaries...

SarahM said...

Dont knock my hawaiian print shorts.
_> i dress up like a tourist and annoy the tourist when going into my city.
i just like making other people uncomfortable :P

Dale said...

My favourite moment there is the "Imagine" in the Beatles photo, ha ha ha.

VE said...

sarahm - I like to wear a clown suit and act like a mime to make people feel uncomfortable. Studies show the majority of people don't like either of them...

dale - Thanks for noticing that. It's the little details that crack me up sometimes and I do chuckle at that one everytime I see it again...

Eb the Celeb said...

IDK... for me its more so not hearing about certain places until a celebrity has been there and said something about it. I went to turks and caicos after lisa raye because the 1st lady... I hadnt heard of it before and wanted to see why she called it one of the most beautiful places on the caribbean... and i love it

RED MOJO said...

If you're looking for worthwhile destinations forget the celebrity crap. Go for the "world's largest Cheeto" in Algona Iowa, or the "world's smallest museum" in Superior Arizona!

VE said...

eb - That's cool...as long as you didn't go there just to see where she carved her initials in some bench or something.

red mojo - dang, the largest cheeto is all the way in Iowa? Ha ha