Saturday, June 6, 2009


I am convinced I saw Bernie Madoff going along the Rue de Rennes on a Velib. I will swear on a stack of Bibles that just around the corner from our apartment William Shatner was waiting for the 69 bus. My wife is understandingly skeptical. She sees these as hysterical sightings of a desperate man.

It is easy for her to be blase. Over the past year she has seen on, and around, the streets of Paris: Gerard Depardieu getting on a motorcycle, Katherine Deneuve (twice) shopping, Sharon Stone having a glass of wine at Brasserie Lipp, Julia Delpy pushing a stroller near Saint Sulpice, Bernard-Henri Lévy and Arielle Dombasle out for a stroll, and director David Lynch. I've seen practically no one.

It's a DNA thing. Either you have the Celebrityspotting gene or you don't. I don't. You would think in Paris where Popes, Presidents, Olympic torches and celebrities of all kinds waft through it would be like shooting fish in a barrel or whatever the equivalent French expression might be. And it is, if you have the requisite karma.

Yes, I once saw Juliette Binoche shooting a scene from a movie but that was only because my wife literally took me by the hand and pointed out the massive agglomeration of movie crew and the aforementioned Ms. Binoche standing in the eye of the storm of activity. And yes I also saw David Lynch but that was only because there had been a gargantuan poster in the window of a bookstore on Blvd. St. Germain announcing he would be in town for a book signing.

I think the gene is somehow attached to the female chromosome because my daughter, Deirdre, has it. In her relatively short life has seen close-up or met: Wesley Snipes, Quentin Tarantino, Barack Obama, Wayne Newton, P Diddy, and, for all I know, the Pope. When she came to visit last spring I mentioned David Lynch was signing books. We wandered over by the bookstore that evening where, yes indeed, you could see him inside. Without hesitation Deirdre and her husband, John, went into the store and within seconds purchased a book, ripped the shrink wrap off of it, got David Lynch's autograph in it and were involved in a conversation so long his publicist repeatedly tried to interrupt to move the line along, but he was having none of it. At that point Deirdre had been in town all of about five hours. I had been in Paris five months.

And so it goes. For all I know I have elbowed Carla Bruni out of the way at my local Monprix to get a bunch of bananas and I walk obliviously through the rues and boulevards cluelessly passing celebrities. Wait a second, I think I just saw Mick Jagger get out of a Smart Car on my street. Gotta go.

Fascinating French Fact: France is slightly smaller than Texas.