Working the red carpet: Where are the celebs?

The absurdity of it all was punctuated early on when Fisher, the morning guy on 97X, took the stroll. The microphone-wielders jumped on him, eager to interview just about anyone, apparently to quell the boredom and keep their chops together. This isn't a knock on Fisher; he's a good dude, and he looked a little puzzled at all of the attention. Rule No. 1 for E-listers: Show up early.

I was a terrible red carpet reporter. For starters, how do you compete with folks backed by camera men and holding mics with TV logos on them when all you have is a small, hand-held videocam? Oh, and I don't have any still photos to go with this blog, although we'll have some video up in a little while.

Here's a few oddities I experienced during my first, and hopefully last, stint as a red carpet reporter.

• I looked away from the carpet over at the line where the rabble were being herded in, and there I saw David Price, the Tampa Bay Rays pitcher who is earmarked for greatness. "Hey Dave," I hollered. He looked up. "How come you're not doing the red carpet, man?" He smiled and shook his head. "You don't roll that way?" I asked. He scrunched his face as if to say he didn't give a damn about it. I wanted to ask him if he paid, but I figured that would be too crass.

• As the clock wound past midnight, I looked over my shoulder as Terrell Owens, the Cowboys prima donna receiver, whisked by. He sneaked through the media section behind the reporters, and none of them seemed to notice. If I had been a red carpet hack worth my shit, I would've screamed "T.O!" and rushed toward him, leading the charge -- but, like I said, I did a terrible job.

• A tall, African-American woman with blond-frosted hair started her walk, and one of the media people asked, "Is that Tyra Banks?" I looked, the woman was about 50 feet away. "No, it's Beyonce," I said. The woman made her way virtually unnoticed, so it must not have been Beyonce. Couldn't have been, right? Hey, from a distance, it looked like her.

While the celebrity turnout was disappointing (unless there was a deluge late), that didn't stop hundreds of dolled-up (some of them beautiful) people from paying three-figure cover charges to shoehorn into The Venue, a beautiful, elegant, two-tiered club that I'd like to attend at another time.

My wife Bonnie and I showed about just before 10 and a guy in a black suit asked if we wanted a peak at Diddy's VIP box. I wanted to laugh, but said yes instead. It had billowy white curtains, nice couches and lots of champagne, vodka and red bull. We didn't steal anything.

We bought two Perronis for $5.50 each and milled around as the DJ played hip-hop hits. Bonnie put down her debit card and left the tab open. Bad idea. When we decided to head home, she had to wend her way back inside, up the stairs and settle up. The place was shoulder-to-shoulder crowded, she told me. She's a petite thing and could barely find her way to the bar to pay.

As we jumped in the CRV and headed for home, the limo queue was backed way up, people were swarming in from the parking lots and the line to get in was still very, very long. It was about 12:45. The club closed at 2.

Maybe Will and Jada, Ashton and Demi, and Paris showed up later — a spokesman for The Good Life Experience, the three-day bash that culminated last night at the The Venue, said they were expected. But when I bailed media row (around 12:30) at the red carpet (actually it was white) they hadn't shown yet, nor had many celebrities of particular renown.

To say that the red carpet is an absurd phenomenon would be stating the obvious, but until you've "worked" one, it doesn't really sink in. I mean, I get the red carpet at the Oscar-type things, but at one of a dozen Super Bowl parties around Tampa Bay, the ritual just seems an unnecessary contrivance.

The only legitimate celebs I saw traipse down the other side of the velvet rope were Deion Sanders (one of the hosts with Diddy and Winky Wright) and Jordin Sparks, the bubbly singer and former American Idol winner. Winky is a celeb of sorts, but he lives in St. Pete.

About The Author

Eric Snider

Eric Snider is the dean of Bay area music critics. He started in the early 1980s as one of the founding members of Music magazine, a free bi-monthly. He was the pop music critic for the then-St. Petersburg Times from ‘87-’93. Snider was the music critic, arts editor and senior editor of Weekly Planet/Creative...
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