Looking for celebrities easier than contacting them

So the other day, I remembered I needed to contact Michelle Branch.

This seemed like a simple goal at the onset, but there were various problems: How would I go about actually doing this? What did I need to tell her? Who is she anyway?

Of course I know who she is. Just in case you don't, she's a songwriter and musician. I did a little investigating, and interestingly enough, we have a couple of things in common:
• Our last names deal with trees.
• Our birthdays are pretty close (hers is July 2; mine is July 4).
• We each took piano lessons at a young age (although while she's out making a career off her talents, I piddle around on a two-octave keyboard).
• We share a common love for pirates, yet we do not have peg legs.

OK, our commonalities are not so, er, common, but I got to wondering: What's the easiest way to contact a celebrity? As usual, the Internet is ripe with answers, although these aren't the answers you are looking for.

The first step in finding info about your favorite celebrities is to check out their Web sites and message boards. If you think a person is a celebrity, then surely the person has a Web site. If not, you should just build one and become a celebrity yourself! Michelle has a couple of Web sites and message boards. While I found some of the stuff on there intriguing, I was amazed at the amount of traffic and posts. It appears she has found a niche among Internet users with Play It Forward, the official Michelle Branch Street Team. Fans who sign up spread the word about Michelle's music, and in return receive the latest news and chances to win prizes.

But if you want to contact multiple celebrities, especially ones with pirate themes, you would be hard-pressed to visit Web sites and message boards for all of them. I found a couple of sites that might make this a little easier.

CelebrityEmail.com has been in operation since 1997, and the site lists close to 23,000 celebrities. For $10 a month, or $30 a year, you can have access to email and street addresses, if they exist, to all of these people. For those of you who don't want to subscribe, you can still leave a message in the public mailbox. Then again, this might be the lamest feature ever to be associated with a Web site. Would celebrities really visit this site and read posts with seemingly no contact information? Apparently Michelle didn't make the cut, as she's not one of the 23,000 listed.

At least addresses.com lists simple contact information – physical, Web and email addresses – for free. It's easy to search and find what you need fast. If you scroll down on the main page, you can also view Today's Celebrity Birthdays, just in case you feel the need to have a celebration.

The Online Celebrity Database makes finding celebrities easy, searching by name, address, states, type of celebrity and/or cause. I even found Libby Riddles, a dogsled racer! The site contains over 13,000 or over 16,000 celebrities, depending on which page you visit, and it costs just $9.95 a month (A SPECIAL!) to join. This site is also accessible from Contact Any Celebrity, located on AllMoviePortal.com. The trick, though, is the site doesn't list email addresses. From the FAQ, celebrity email addresses are either fake or have been changed because of popularity. And according to Jordan McAuley at Contact Any Celebrity, snail mail is screened by an assistant, and as long as it is legitimate, it's usually forwarded to the celebrity.

Still out of luck? There is a surefire way to at least listen to a celebrity. Through Hollywood is Calling, you can have a REAL CELEBRITY call you or someone else for $20, or $30 for a brief customized message. The list includes The Incredible Hulk (Lou Ferrigno), Mr. Belding (Dennis Haskins), Willis (Todd Bridges) and the Professor (Russell Johnson). I wonder how much it would cost to have one of these celebrities call another celebrity and just say "Arrgh!" I checked the FAQ and couldn't find an immediate answer.

To complete the column, I obviously needed to contact a celebrity. I found Michelle's address on her Web site, so I sent her a simple letter and requested an "autographed" photo (the autograph was stamped and may have even been missing a few letters). OK, so I sent a photo of me dressed as a pirate too, but that's not important. A week and a half later, I had my photo, so I was pretty impressed at the speed. I also received an email from Play It Forward with Michelle's newest single, "Til I Get Over You." It is, of course, just as good as all of her other releases.

While it's easy to find information regarding your favorite celebrity on the Web, it appears the best way to contact them is still through conventional methods. Unless you are a close friend or relative, email isn't the way to go. I would also highly discourage stalking, unless you truly are a pirate, or a dogsled racer, or both.

 

Letter to Michelle Branch

Me beauty Michelle,

There's a great tale spinnin' o'er our ship that you's a true sea-farin' lass.
And when me hearties told me the news, I could say only avast!

Oh, a true jack finds piles of scallywags among landlubbers both near and far,
But rarely he lay his deadlights on a creature that glistens like the northern star;

I'd turn over me booty smartly to hear from yer sweet voice a chantey or two;
The melody would perhaps make a stern swashbuckler turn into slimy stew.

So now, me love,
What will it be?
Marooned on the land,
Or in the water and free?
Yer choices are endless,
So walk the plank with me.