People who need people

Dear Ace: Everybody knows about Dave Matthews, but what other celebrities live in Charlottesville?—Teenie Bopper

Put down that subscription to The Star, Bopper. While Ace is no groupie himself, he understands the need for some to live vicariously through proximity to wealth and fame. How better to keep our minds off of the drudgery of our daily existences than by obsessing over the most minute details of people prettier than us? (Did you hear that SJP and Matthew Broderick are on the rocks? Ace’s world is falling down around his Gap-khaki-clad ankles, he assures you.) So if you care to hop on the Charlottesville Celebrity Tour Bus, Ace will happily map out a few of the divas and hotshots who regularly reside in the city and the county.

   As you astutely point out, jam rock god and newly minted movie star, Mr. Matthews, is arguably the best-known celeb whose family calls the area home base. Several other members of his same-named band also live around town (Ace constantly sees them at Whole Foods). They aren’t the only music stars in the area—folk crooner Mary Chapin Carpenter parks her guitar in the far reaches of the county.

   Chief among the movie folk is Academy Award-winning actress Sissy Spacek. CHS students can relax—Carrie has long graduated. Spacek has lived in peaceful proximity in Albemarle County for years with her hubby, filmmaker Jack Fisk, and two daughters, Schuyler and Madison (named after local towns/counties…awwww). You can next see Spacek in the freaky-deaky sequel The Ring Two, opening Friday, and Ace hears she might be popping up for a prominent local event sometime soon.

   Best-selling author John Grisham has an office off the Downtown Mall, and in the past has done in-person signings of his legal potboilers like The Jury and The Rainmaker at New Dominion Book Shop. Another local literati goddess, Rita Mae Brown, is best known for her Rubyfruit Jungle, and now she co-writes a successful series of mysteries with her cat, Sneaky Pie Brown, about a crime-solving Crozet postmistress.

   No list of Charlottesville’s famous would be complete without football legend, NFL commentator and Radio Shack flak Howie Long. Long can be spied getting his signature flat-top cut at Staples Barber Shop in the Barracks Road Shopping Center.

   Ace couldn’t overlook Albemarle’s reigning diva, Patricia Kluge. Kluge has become a multimedia force to be reckoned with, given the launch of her restaurant/gas station, Fuel, plus her Kluge Estate Vineyards, which received an…interesting write-up last year in The Washington Post’s Reliable Sources section.

   As for the next generation of Charlottesville pop-tart culture, look to UVA student Travis Tucker, recently booted off Fox’s “singing” competition, “American Idol.” Ace has these parting words for the good-lookin’ entertainer: Milk it for all it’s worth, kid. Ace wouldn’t get laid much without this gig.

   If that’s still not enough Hollywood for ya, Ace suggests checking out the “Celebrity Culture” colloquium April 12 by the UVA’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture. Maybe they can explain why we care so much about who’s on Paris’ Sidekick…

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