Friday, April 4, 2008

Gossip mags play telephone: confusion, hilarity ensue

Posted By on Fri, Apr 4, 2008 at 8:19 PM

This blog post necessitates an embarrassing confession which I'll just get out of the way now; I, dear reader, am a stringer for a celebrity magazine. That's right - when you're in the checkout line at Rouse's, skimming a headline about Brad and Angelina's latest baby or Britney's latest self-inflicted debasement and wondering who comes up with this stuff, wonder no more. It's shameless**, underpaid (hint, hint, Gambit Weekly) freelancers like me.

On a recent Saturday night, my cell phone buzzed multiple times, displaying an unfamiliar Los Angeles number. Like all good paranoiacs, I ignored it. But after five calls, curiosity got the better of me and I answered. It was the celebrity magazine.

A voice chirped: "Hi, this is Heather?** And we just got a tip that Brad and Angelina are getting married right now, in the French Market? Can you go check it out?"

As it happened, I was already at a wedding - at sunset at the Truck Farm on St. Claude Avenue, the Happy Talk Band's frontman Luke Allen had just exchanged vows with his longtime girlfriend Meghann McCracken, and we guests were already happily into the champagne (and the champagne of beers) at the reception. Hey, I was already dressed for a wedding; what better time for my paparazzo self to infiltrate celebrity nuptials? Plus, maybe Brad and Angie were still passing the canapes.

As it turned out - and as has been well reported this week - the Pitt-Jolies were not the ones pledging their troth in the Quarter that night. The hubbub surrounding a particularly grand wedding at St. Louis Cathedral, who had shut down the French Market for their reception, had caused the gossip wires to buzz with increasing mania, assuming that such an over-the-top spectacle could only be perpetrated by Hollywood golden children. (Obviously, they don't know much about New Orleans debs.)

Adding extra indignity to my failed investigative mission was the fact that the caterers had already packed up the bar and food, and there was nary a plastic flute of bubbly or a miniature quiche to be had. And so, this reporter got back into her illegally parked Honda and headed back to the wedding she had actually been invited to.

Back at the Truck Farm, my date, who had been availing himself of the champagne and Miller High Life, suggested that maybe the concentration of celebrities present at Luke and Meghann's wedding had confused the gossip reporters. Celebrities?

"Hey, Washboard Chaz is here," he said.

**I do have some shame, and have been trying to quit, especially after a brutal stint of lurking outside Brad and Angelina's house for days and pretending I was window-shopping - for six hours - at Wicked New Orleans on Decatur. After all, how much time could one plausibly consider bondage pants without looking like a creepy stalker?

**Almost all the female employees of the celebrity magazine are chirpy, and named something like Heather. Almost all the male employees are English, and impossibly suave.

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