I go curling with Sophia Loren and Susan Sarandon
Ok, not really. Here's what happened.
I was walking down Vio Antonio Gramsci, musing about the scourge of graduate students everywhere and wondering what he'd think about the Olympics. Gramsci apparently went to University in Turin. My readership plummets with every Gramscian word I type. Anyhow, a quick turn landed me in a pile of people staring at a hotel, Principi di Piemonte. One of the better hotels in town, apparently. There were about 40 of us there. I asked a guy what we were waiting for. "Sophia Loren," he said.
This struck me as blog worthy, so I stuck around. There were five paparazzi there. Genuine, Italian paparrazi. Two of them had Thunderstix bearing Samsung logos, and they were using them as lightsabers. Someone asked the paparazzi whom they were waiting for, and they said "Sophia Loren, Susan Sarandon, George Michael."
(When I told this story to Les Carpenter, my roommate, he said "From the SportsMachine?")
So we waited and waited and waited. Someone in the crowd heard that Pavarotti might be inside, too. The crowd stayed steady at 40 people or so, but it was a constantly changing mix. Everyone was getting bored. So I left.
Five minutes later, I hit the Today Show set and quickly started talking to Eric Johnson from Denver and Jenece from San Francisco. They had met for the first time last Friday. By Monday, Jenece, who had recently returned from Italy, decided to accompany Eric to Torino. Anyhow, last night they actually saw Sophia Loren and showed me a cell phone picture as proof. Sophia in the middle of a crowd of adoring fans, waving and smiling! Fantastico!
I wanted to know the attraction of the Today Show set, which was surrounded by people wearing dumb hats and holding dumb signs.
Jenece: "It's like a mecca for Americans. An American venue in Torino. You have to pay homage."
Eric: "We're meeting people here for lunch. It's easy to find--look at the size of this set. Everybody in Washington will be like, 'Oh my God, they're meeting at the Today Show set to go to lunch? That's disgusting.' I would be too."
Eric wanted to know if I was going to Club Bud tonight. I said maybe. He offered me 2.10 Euros if I could get him in. He had heard that Tommy Lee would be making an appearance. (Note: A Budweiser spokesman denied this rumor, but said he had also heard Tommy Lee was in town. The spokesman said tonight's gathering at the "Bud Pyramid" would be limited to about 80-90 journalists. 'Nother note: In Brussels, Budweiser and Chimay Blue cost the same, and Corona costs more than either of them.)
Eric is staying in a one-star hotel that cost 325 Euros a night ($9 million U.S.). The normal room rate is 80 Euros. He heard that Best Western rooms booked through promotional companies were going for as much as 795 Euros a night. They also told me that there is a huge number of University of Arkansas students in town.
Read Joe Posnanski's column on the mood in town. It's terrific. Nothing on Gramsci, though. Or cheese.
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