Where can I see famous people?

First Avenue
The First Avenue nightclub in downtown Minneapolis.
MPR Photo/Chris Roberts

Take a quick look down the list of celebrities coming to town during the RNC, and you'll notice that many of them aren't household names. Richard Schiff? Steve Harwell?

For the scoop, we called Minneapolis Star Tribune gossip columnist C.J.

"It sounds to me like most of these are B-listers," said C.J. "I just don't understand why we are getting such sorry acts coming to town. There's just nobody good here."

There are some names you will recognize. The Beach Boys will be here. So will country star LeAnn Rimes, 70s rockers Styx and American Idol star Chris Daughtry. However, most everyone will be playing at private parties. There will be close to 200 bashes, mostly Republican but some Democrat, sponsored by companies like Google and AT&T. Thousands of people will get invites, but unless you're rich or powerful, it's not going to be you.

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So how can you see some famous people? You're going to have to go looking.

C.J. suggests hanging out at the backdoor of Minneapolis clubs. You might try First Avenue, Epic, Trocaderos, or The Depot. She also suggests the airport and fancy steak houses. Another tip: Pay attention when you see people getting out of limousines.

Hotels and hotel bars are a good bet. Fifteen-thousand journalists are expected, among them The Daily Show's Jon Stewart and the CBS anchor Katie Couric.

Of course, some of the people who run our country will also be here, including presumed Republican nominee Sen. John McCain. President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney are both scheduled to speak on Monday. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger may or may not show; he's vowing to stay home if California lawmakers don't reach a budget deal.

However, unless you have credentials to get into the Xcel Center, you won't get past security. Convention organizers aren't saying whether these politicians will show up around town. Your surest bet might be turning on the television... or Minnesota Public Radio.

By the way, Richard Schiff? He was Toby on the West Wing. And Steve Harwell? Lead vocalist for Smash Mouth.