A case of mistaken celebrity, Malibu, California, 2009


With the exception of a Kardashians family reunion, the City of Angels is arguably more densely populated with celebrities than any other place on earth. Derek Green is on a mission.

I’ve often wondered why L.A. is such a coveted destination for so many Americans. Not that they just want to visit mind you, nearly every American I’ve met either wants to move here, live here or die here, preferably in that order.


I enjoy talking to the locals, and have been known to deftly insert this mini-phenomenon into conversation. Where I can get a word in that is. Not that Americans are rude, not at all, they’re generally warm, friendly people who like to chew the fat, make sure you’re up to speed on events in their personal lives, and tell you how much they loved that movie ‘Crocodile Dundee’. And in the case of service people, remind you that they do, in fact, accept tips. Aussies have a reputation as poor tippers.

I’ve concluded that for the visitor, like deep fried pork burritos, eye stinging smog and rampant egomania, L.A. is an acquired taste, and for many Americans, once the dream of becoming a superstar has faded, they will happily settle for spotting stars, mingling with them and (occasionally) stalking them.

Of course, there’s also the weather. When you consider LA’s Pacific influenced temperatures; warm, rather than hot in summer, and mild throughout winter, LA has year-round appeal to the rest of America who are either frying or freezing. Conversely, a popular joke about Melbourne’s famously fickle climate is “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes”. The same could be said for the game of ‘celebrity spotting’ in LA. If you’re too young to appreciate the stars of Melrose Place then the stars of Vampire Diaries are bound to stroll past soon enough.

Take one of my favourite celebrity spotting sites, Malibu. My party and I arrive at the famous Malibu Pier (23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA) for an early lunch, and somehow drive straight into the only available parking space. We are quickly seated at the newly established ‘local and organic’ Malibu Farm Cafe, and while waiting for a plate of fried calamari to be brought to us by a waiter straight off the set of The OC, our celebrity radars are in the full upright position and humming.

“Hey that could be Heather Locklear!”

“Nah too leathery”

“What about that guy – Owen Wilson?”

“Nope, nose is too straight!”

And then it happens; I make a visual, and I’m struck dumb for as long as it takes my target and his group of friends and hangers-on to walk past and be given a table in the precise location I have been told was unavailable ten minutes earlier.

“Hey, check it out! Its, um, oh gosh what’s his name? Pamela Anderson, Heavy Metal, oh yeah, it’s Tommy Lee Jones!”

I could tell you what beer I drank that afternoon (Anchor Steam ale) but I’m terrible at remembering names and faces at the moment when it’s actually useful.


Meanwhile, all at our table are scouring the restaurant for everyone’s favourite no-nonsense, tough but fair, heavily pock-marked action man with the Southern Fried accent, but he’s nowhere to be seen, mainly because our view is blocked by Tommy Lee, the skinny-arsed, tattooed ex-Motley Crue drummer and his entourage.

Opportunities like this don’t tend to present themselves often, and I silently scowl at my wife, who years earlier discarded my last links with the rock world; an immobilising leather jacket and manky old Skid Row t-shirt. As a result I have zero remaining rock credibility. I’m not quite Clark Griswold, but I’m hardly Jon Bon Jovi.

Just as I summon the courage to go over and ask for a photo, our calamari arrives and I’m distracted by our waiter who reminds us that yes, he does in fact, accept tips.

The moment passes and I console myself with another Anchor Steam ale, and find comfort in the thought that, like the weather in LA, approaching celebrities who are just trying to spend a quiet moment with their friends and family is never ‘cool’.

The writer travelled independently, and paid his own way.



Taxi from LAX approx. 45 mins, $50



Malibu Motel – 22541 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Go like a celebrity

Malibu Beach Inn – 22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265



The Malibu Farm Pier Café, serves ‘Fresh, Organic and Local’ for  lunch and dinner – 23000 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu
Dukes – 21150 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265-5219 (great views!)

Go like a celebrity

Nobu – 22706 Pacific Coast Highway, Ste 18, Malibu, CA 90262


Malibu Country Mart – 3835 Cross Creek Rd Malibu, CA 90263

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