Hey everyone! Here's my own personal Emmys story, complete with sordid details and photos. If you want more, I'll soon be updating my blog with more...and also with a fabulous Emmys wristband contest! Hope you enjoy my story!
In the six years I've lived in San Francisco, I had never once managed to make it all the way down to Los Angeles. Just weeks ago, I learned that that was about to change--I was going to the Emmys! Missribs, Waltmor, Danmod, and several more members of the TV.com crew were given the amazing and surreal opportunity to be packed like sardines into the bleachers overlooking this year's red carpet. What would it be like? We had absolutely no idea, but we were definitely excited...and a little unnerved by the mandatory background checks!
In the days leading up to our big trip, things at work became increasingly hectic--and not only because of our constant daydreaming about all the stars we were going to meet, hang out with, and befriend. My personal plan was to go shopping and run into George Clooney, who would be so smitten by me that he'd buy me a new wardrobe, take me out to dinner, and then spirit me away for a long life of luxury. Good times were definitely on the way!
After a hectic two weeks, it was finally time to go. Missribs and I came to work for a morning of last-minute preparation, then waved goodbye to our jealous coworkers and headed for the airport.
The security line was disarmingly short, so we had time to relax in the airport bar with some sweet potato fries and a glass of Pinot Grigio before boarding the plane. The flight from San Francisco to LA was just long enough to down a glass of water and begin to slide into a catnap...until we were rudely awakened by the pilot's super-loud, smack-in-the-face "prepare for landing" announcement. Ouch. We groggily lugged our bags out to the sidewalk and took our first deep breath of smoggy, humid, and deliciously warm Los Angeles air. A far cry from what passes for "summer" in San Francisco!
After picking up our rental car and making our way to West Hollywood, we checked into the night's accommodations: the lovely home of Missribs' friends Dave and Viri. Declining to hit the town, the four of us spent a lovely evening dining on takeout Italian food, sipping a few homemade cocktails, and watching Evil Dead II. We also had time to play fetch with Dave and Viri's totally nutso cat, Rubi. That's right, she plays fetch. With a hacky sack. And it's really cute.
Saturday morning dawned warm and sunny, and after a coffee and breakfast we were ready to go shopping. Since I'd never visited LA before, I let Missribs take the wheel, and soon we were cruising down Melrose. We went into store after store after store...but unfortunately, we found nothing but cheap, ugly dresses. I did have a good time checking out all the weird LA people with their leathery tanned skin, skeletal frames, and surgically enhanced bodies. That's definitely another difference between LA and home--here, most people are pasty-skinned and slightly flabby. It's acceptable since everyone in San Francisco works in an office and it's always cold and foggy.
Bereft of cool outfits for the Emmys, we gave up and headed for the hotel. The place has a reputation for being "hip and funky," and I can say that it was definitely unusual. Our room had two mattresses on a raised platform, a swirly paint job, and a shower separated from the room by nothing but a glass wall. Luckily, there was a curtain for optional bathing privacy. After pulling all our clothes out of our luggage and basically trashing the room (Missribs brought about 10 pairs of shoes), we decided to bother Waltmor and Danmod. Their room was a few floors above ours, so we headed up there and pounded on the door. After tasting their patented "vanilla vodka and diet coke" cocktail, we went down to the lobby and met up with the rest of the TV.com crew. Dinnertime on the company dime!
The group (about 13 of us) wandered uphill for a few blocks until we reached our destination: a fancy and delicious Italian restaurant. Wine flowed like water, plates of appetizers were passed like Frisbees, and we gorged ourselves on a feast fit for royalty. Everyone's tongues were getting looser and looser, and the gossip began to flow even more abundantly than the wine.
After our meal we dashed back to the hotel, where a tipsy Missribs and I realized that we needed to make a trip to Rite Aid. No liquids on the plane meant we had no lotion, face wash, or mascara. How were we going to get dolled up for a visit to the infamous hotel bar? After taking orders from everyone else (deodorant, evil cigarettes, etc.), we struck out...only to find the drugstore locked up for the night. Downtown LA is pretty much a wasteland when it comes to retail, so we struck up a conversation with a pair of semihandsome young policemen, hoping to hitch a ride to the nearest Walgreens. They talked to us for about 20 minutes, but in the end decided they'd get in trouble if they helped us. So much for "to serve and protect," huh? Thanks for nothing, LAPD!
We returned to our room to don our sans-mascara party outfits, and I almost fell asleep while Missribs pondered her choice of footwear. Luckily she managed to make a decision just before I became lost in dreamland, and we began barraging Waltmor with text messages. Apparently, he and Danmod were also tempted by a visit to the Land of Nod, so Missribs and I had to go pound on their door again. We spent some time hanging out in their room, listening to the radio, and throwing the same three $20 bills around to make us feel rich before taking the elevator to the insane club on the roof of the hotel. The view was amazing, the music was terrible, and thanks to our boss the drinks were free. I spent the evening sippin' on whiskey, chatting up my less-talkative coworkers, and fending off the advances of strange, tan men in shiny shirts. One of them asked if Waltmor was my husband, and I decided it was wisest to just let him believe that.
When the bar shut down and the security dudes kicked everyone off the roof, things got weird. There was a long line for the elevator, so Missribs and I stumbled all the way down the stairs in our high heels. We needed to visit the front desk in search of toothpaste, which they assured would be delivered right to our door. Not willing to set foot on those stairs again, we waited for the elevator, which was jam-packed with drunken tourists (kinda like us). When we reached our floor, we shoved our way out and ran down the hall to our room…and then realized we were not alone. Two strange men were standing behind us, swaying slightly and looking hopeful.
"Um...hi," I said.
"Hey!" responded Dude Number One. "Do you guys want to hang out?"
Seeing as it was about 2:00 a.m., we had to be up bright and early, and there was no earthly reason to invite these strange guys into our room, I responded with a resounding "No, thanks." Dudes One and Two didn't get it.
"No, wait, it'll be fine--because it will just be casual!" cried Dude Two, while his companion nodded vigorously. "We can get some champagne! Please?"
Missribs and I looked at each other, then looked at Dudes, then shut the door and collapsed into laughter. When we were sure the Dudes were gone, we called room service and ordered a big platter of French fries, white wine, and a giant cheeseburger for Missribs. We then took advantage of a few very special photo opportunities, and I used my digital camera to make a movie of Missribs dancing in the bathroom. Check it out on her blog!
After what felt like just moments of a deep and comfortable sleep, we were awakened by a loud and vigorous knocking at our door. Breakfast had arrived--delivered by the very same handsome fella who'd brought us our midnight snack. He must have had a long and interesting night.
While slurping coffee and munching on toast, Missribs and I dragged ourselves up, through the shower, and into our clothes. Since our shopping excursion had been a miserable failure, I had to trust in my old standby: jeans and a tank top. Oh well. We dashed downstairs, where the rest of our group was lolling on the lobby's fleet of neon-pink couches and nursing various party-induced ailments. Fortunately, our bagged lunches contained plenty of water and Ibuprofen!
Missribs and I packed four fellow coworkers (Waltmor, Danmod, Greg, and Roland) into the back seat of our rental car and headed off for the Shrine Auditorium...the wrong way. After several minutes and several U-turns, we realized our mistake and headed down another road, which turned out to be one of the many routes that did not go to the Shrine. As the minutes ticked by and our bosses called us over and over again to ask where the heck we were, we drove around in increasingly large circles and saw some of the area's more interesting neighborhoods. Then, finally, inspiration struck and we managed to decipher the map! We were on the way, we were in the parking lot, and we were walking toward the red carpet!
Then we were stopped by a security guard and turned right around. Apparently, there were a few lines we had to wait on before we were able to access the bleachers. We waited. It was hot. We waited. It was hotter. We got wristbands; we got "wanded." It was incredibly hot. And finally, with sweat streaming down our faces and melted sunscreen stinging our eyes, we were ushered to our seats!
From then on, everything was chaos. The sun beat down on the shade-free bleachers; sweaty, screaming people were packed in like sardines; and giant cameras panned back and forth across the greasy mob. We waited and waited...and then the celebrities began to arrive! We saw so many actors, I can't even remember all of them...but I got extra excited for Tom Selleck, Joan Collins, Hugh Laurie, Kevin Bacon, the incredibly tall Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and, of course, Heidi Klum and Seal. Since I'm a newly obsessed fan of Project Runway, I couldn't wait to see what Heidi would look like--and of course she did not disappoint. She looked gorgeous in her bright red dress, and I managed to take a horribly shaky video in which you can sort of see her walking (Watch it here). The only disappointment: George Clooney failed to show up and rock my world.
After hours of shouting, shoving, and snapping, some guy on a loudspeaker ordered all the celebrities to go inside the building and sit down "right now!" After a while they obeyed, and the bleacher dwellers filtered out...but something made me and a few coworkers stick around. And we were lucky we did, because that's when things got really special. We made it down to the very front of the bleachers and leaned over for a better view of the last few stragglers, who showed up late to avoid the throngs of people.
Harrison Ford! Calista Flockhart! Eva Longoria! And more...until the very last limo opened up and Wentworth Miller strolled toward us. He actually came up to the bleachers and started signing autographs. Now was my chance! Missribs and I had made a sign to hold up for the TV cameras wishing congratulations to a coworker who was unable to attend the Emmys because he was busy getting married...so I leaned down, called out to Wentworth, and asked him to autograph the sign. He came right toward me, scrawled his signature, and touched my hand as he gave the paper back to me.
Sparks flew, and his fingers lingered on mine as he gazed deeply into my soul with those stunning green eyes of his. He grasped my hand and pulled me forward, then whispered into my ear! "Come with me, the Emmys are too boring...let's get out of here," he whispered. Since all the other stars had already gone inside, no one was paying attention as I slyly hopped the fence from the bleachers to the red carpet. There I was, and there was Wentworth! He grabbed my hand and we casually strolled away from the Shrine and towards his waiting limo. We sipped champagne as the driver took us across town, shared a romantic and tasty French meal, and spent the rest of the evening watching the tape-delayed Emmys action on Wentworth's gigantic TV. Maybe I'll come back to the TV.com office someday, but for now, I'm working from "home!"
Waltmor gets excited about the hotel bar, text-message technology, and, of course, the star of his favorite show--Prison Break!
We got the invitation email on August 1:
"I want to extend an awesome opportunity to you...to sit in one of our limited Red Carpet VIP seats!!! That's right! I'm talking a flight to L.A., hotel, access to the Emmys Red Carpet, meals, the works!"
We had an hour to respond. Apparently the names had to be submitted, and fast, so that the appropriate security background checks could be done on all of us. We all looked at each other and ran to his office. Gave up our names, addresses, ages. Had to hope there were no dirty secrets in my past that would disqualify me (like that one time I...nah, they wouldn't know that would they...?)
I'm always up for any reason to visit LA. Live in SF long enough and you're happy to escape the fog & cold once in a while for sunshine and beaches. Plus, it's a totally cool city to visit where you can lose yourself in any scene imaginable. SF has its Chinatown but it doesn't have Little Ethiopia or Thai Town, and certainly nothing like Venice Beach. And you can run into famous faces anywhere--like when I spotted Johnny Depp at an art supply store.
Cut to the Friday before the big weekend. I'm packing at the last minute before I head to the office. I get to work to finish my stuff before I head to the airport. Wisely, I'm leaving a day early so that I can run around the night before most of my coworkers arrive, get acclimated to the LA scene, and do things I don't want to do in front of them. But the friend I was going to run around with is now working on a commercial shoot and doesn't have much free time. I check into The Standard hotel that Friday night. What a hotel. It oozes hipness and sex like only LA can. Modern furniture everywhere, foosball tables sprinkled throughout, beautiful employees, a DJ in the lobby, and rooms where there's a glass wall between the bedroom and the bathroom. Like they don't want the question "How soon can I get laid?" to ever leave your head.
The Standard's rooftop bar is worth the visit alone. Seems like it's had some time to settle in and allow the triple A-listers to move on to someplace newer. But it's got location, location, location--like you're floating in the air just high enough among the high-rises of downtown Los Angeles, looking good and getting drunk while being watched from the office towers. Spectacular.
I spend Friday night on the rooftop with my friend Kirk. A Grey Goose martini + Stoli and soda = $23. Not quite the draft beer prices I'm used to, but when among the beautiful people, don't let the silly details bother you. The music's a mishmash of I don't know what--everything from '80s New Order to Justin's "SexyBack." But I have a great time.
The fun begins when my coworkers arrive on Saturday. They settle in and we decide to get the party started before we all meet for a big team dinner. A bottle of Stoli does the trick. Just enough to take the edge off and get the night started right. Then we all meet in the lobby and walk a couple of blocks to an Italian restaurant. Downtown LA has so many crazy homeless people running around it that I'm surprised so many people are moving into all the new lofts & condo buildings there. I mean, there are homeless people like you see anywhere, and then there are mentally crazy people that should obviously be in hospitals and not on the streets running around. Downtown LA has so many that look like they were just discharged from a mental ward that it's a little dicey.
Dinner is delicious and the wine flows freely. Lots of shop talk, but that's OK when the Pinot Noir and Cabernet are good. When we're done eating, it's back to the hotel to get ready for another night at the rooftop bar.
Once we're back in our rooms, Lila and I text back and forth to coordinate our arrival.
9:43 p.m. L: Are you up there
9:46 p.m. W: Hell no I just saw that it's not even ten oclock.
9:51 p.m. L: Come to our room with booze!
9:52 p.m. W: What # ? ... Dan's almost snoring
9:52 p.m. L: We're putting on party outfits
9:53 p.m. L: 515
9:54 p.m. W: Ok give us a few minutes
9:56 p.m. L: Okay.
This last one I don't see it until I wake up the next morning.
1:51 a.m. L: Boys followed us to our room!
Definitely following up on that one.
The party in the sky is fun and our gracious boss picks up the tab for drinks. But I can still only drink so many Stoli and sodas before I get that achy feeling I always do telling me to stop drinking or the consequences ain't going to be pretty. So I stop just before I've had three too many. It's fun to see coworkers drunk in a glamorous setting. You start talking the talk and then you wake up the next morning thinking what the **** did I say to him and her and him and...? But I figure everyone else was so drunk they don't remember, either.
Sunday morning and it's time to head to Shrine Auditorium! We cover ourselves with sunscreen since we're about to sit in the sun for a half a day before any celebs even arrive. The Shrine's not that far from downtown, but none of us in the car--Dan, Michelle, Lila, Greg, Roland, or myself--can make heads or tails out of the map and instructions we've got. We end up driving every which way. There are some rough but cool-looking older neighborhoods all around downtown. But before it's too late we finally find the venue, get our wristbands from security, and take our places in the bleachers.
It's blazing hot and there's no shade over the bleachers. And we have three or four hours to go before anyone famous arrives. The Emmys people supply endless amounts of water, diet Coke, and Dove bars. What, no Bud draft? Oh, well. The bleachers crowd is already rowdy enough, I suppose. It seems like everyone in the bleachers works for the TV media--we're surrounded by TV Guide employees.
Once the stars begin arriving all the efforts to get there are worth it. The first to arrive and preen for the cameras are the talk-show host types--that dude from Talk Soup, that dude from E! who looks like a lady looking like a man, Mary Hart, and more. Then the crowd swells and before we know it, the entire television industry is arriving. They have to make their way through the crowd and stop at each media outlet that's set up with a booth. We're lucky enough to be almost directly across from E!'s booth with Ryan Seacrest. What fun! From the looks of it, all the A-listers stop and talk to Ryan.
Next to Ryan is a big group of photographers that give a good indication of where each actor and actress and halfway-famous type ranks on the food chain. If all the photographers are going crazy and shouting and shooting as much as they can, you know that person's important. If all but two photographers are gazing into the sun or changing their film while someone's posing, you know that person ranks low on the totem pole. I see the photogs go crazy for the likes of Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Lisa Kudrow.
After a while, it's so crowded below us and there are so many celebs to keep track of that it's hard to make heads or tails of it all. I knew I'd see a lot of people, but this is nuts. It's like, "OMG it's him, OMG it's her, OMG it's him!" Dennis Leary, Sandra Oh, and on and on. (Now that I think about it, though, why the heck didn't they nominate Lost for anything? I wanted to see Matthew Fox! No luck.)
Once the show begins, the crowd dies down and it seems like it's all over. The bleachers clear out and most of our coworkers take off. That'll teach them. We got to slide on down to the front corner and lucky for us we did. Out of nowhere came one A-lister after another, obviously timing it so they'd miss the crazy scene: Eva Longoria, Felicity Huffman, Edie Falco, Geena Davis, Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, and...
Drum roll, please...
Now our own Stephanie Quay had mentioned once how polite and gracious he'd been at the 2006 Upfronts. And he didn't disappoint. He came over to the bleachers and took his time signing autographs for the diehards that were still there. We were the last he got to and we were thrilled. You can tell from the television and photographs how handsome he is, but they don't do justice to his piercing green eyes. Stunning.
After that, we'd had enough. We knew we weren't going to top our encounter with Wentworth, and it looked like everyone had arrived. We packed up our stuff, headed to the car, made our way to the airport by way of a fun Greek restaurant inside The Grove, and got back home just in time to get six hours of sleep and start it all over again Monday morning.
At great risk to himself, his love life, and the physical well being of one Mr. Ryan Seacrest, Danmod does the Emmys.
I was up in the air, 38,000 feet above Bakersfield, when it hit me. Wow. I'm going to the Emmys. Actually, that's not true. What hit me was the rate of descent, which is 32 feet per second, and it hit me like a punch in the face. I don't like flying. Mrs. Statton, if you're reading this, no offense, but thanks for being a lousy math teacher, because had I been able to calculate the approximate duration of a free fall from 38,000 feet in my head, I might've had me a good old-fashioned freakout right there in Row 30, Seat A. I'm kidding, of course. No I'm not.
When we landed safely at LAX, the excitement hit me. And not like a punch in the face--no, this time it was more like a brick! A brick wrapped in lead and launched out of a cannon! WOW! The Emmys! I was giddy like a schoolgirl and feeling rather jaunty in my newly purchased Kangol. Not only was this my first trip to the Emmys, it was my first trip to LA. Exciting stuff! I jumped in a cab and sped off to the fabulous The Standard hotel, where first-class accommodations were awaiting my arrival.
Then I got burned by the cab driver. I'll admit it. I'm certainly not proud of the fact that I got "taken for a ride" by a guy named Joffrey, but I like to think that he took one look at the aforementioned Kangol and my vintage, 1960s James Bond-style suit jacket and thought I was maybe some kind of high roller. Just for the record, folks--I am not a high roller. Joffrey, if you're reading this, shame on you. Creep.
The Standard Hotel is exactly what I pictured a Los Angeles hotel ought to look like. There are beautiful palm trees and exotic foliage and a really chic-looking parking lot out front. There was a barber shop in the lobby, and the staff was just rude enough to let you know that you were in a hip place, man, like, "Can you dig it? Hip!" I checked in and went up to my room on the 10th floor. And what a room it was. Not one, but twobeds. There were tiny soaps and tiny shampoos and a fully stocked bar with tiny little bottles of booze and peanuts like there was no tomorrow. I set my bag down and decided to check the place out, do a little recon.
I'd intended to head back downstairs for a quick bite but got on the wrong elevator and ended up on the roof. The Standard Hotel boasts a spectacular rooftop pool and bar, and a view that simply can't be matched. Well, it can be matched--mainly by the giant bank building across the street--but I doubt they've got a bar. There were women in bikinis and men in speedos and they were lounging around the pool sipping fruity drinks. Everything was brightly colored plastic and the bartenders and waitress wore silly outfits with stripy socks. I approached the bar and quickly realized I needed to find another bar. As weird and wonderful as this place was, it just wasn't my scene. I made a hasty retreat back down to the lobby and into the streets looking for a more suitable watering hole. I found one called Ryan's...at least I think it was called Ryan's. Anyway, I'm calling it Ryans. It was a good old-fashioned Irish bar and I felt right at home.
Sitting comfortably in the dimly lit Ryan's, sipping a beer and watching the ball game, I noticed a young woman a few stools down who was noticeably noticing me. I looked at her and she smiled. I smiled back because I'm not rude and because she was cuter than a kitten in a koala suit doing an impression of a sad puppy. And then I realized it was Jennifer Morrison, Dr. Cameron on House. Wow! A conversation ensued:
"Hi, um, aren't you...?"
"Oh my God, I'm a huge fan!"
"Are you, now?"
"Oh yeah, I'm a big fan of your work."
"Thank you, thank you very much, that's nice of you to say."
"Oh, I've been following your career since you started."
"Really? Wow, that's great, thanks for keeping me employed."
"Ha, ha... You're funny."
"That's what they tell me."
"So what are you doing in this place?"
"It's quiet and not so plasticy, you know, and it's dark and the beer's cheap."
"Yeah, I know what you mean."
"Wow, I can't believe I'm sitting here with DANMOD from TV.com."
"Shhhh... I'm trying to keep a low profile."
"Oh, yeah, sorry."
"I like your hat."
How's that for a celebrity encounter, eh? Jennifer Morrison! I should've gotten her number. She offered it of course, but I'm kinda seeing someone. Anyway...
The rest of the TV.com staff and I met up later on for a team dinner at this great Italian joint. I had steak and potatoes and some asparagus. I didn't tell anyone about meeting Jennifer Morrison because I'm not one to boast unless I can do it in a blog or to a much larger group of people. After dinner we partied on the roof of the The Standard till the wee hours, we drank cosmos and rum-and-cokes and danced the wango tango before finally retiring to our rooms. It was almost time to "do the job."
We all got up early the next day and met up in the lobby, where we were outfitted with some red-carpet necessities: sunblock, chips, water, fans, and jelly beans. Cabs were called, cars were brought 'round, and we were off to the Emmys.
It was 110 degrees when we arrived. We were lined up and checked out by security. The sweat poured. By the time we got to the bleachers it was 115 degrees, but we were not deterred. Slathered with sunblock, cameras in hand, bleachers burning our posteriors, and real, live celebrity sightings a mere three hours away--we were ready.
The first folks to arrive on the red carpet were the press people and the celebrity interviewers. Ryan Seacrest walked by and gave me a dirty look. He was jealous of my hat. I threatened to karate-chop his neck and he wisely backed off. Joan Rivers asked me for a bottle of water and I said, "Get your own water, Joan, this water's mine!" A woman from E!, I don't know her name, scowled at the TV.com staff because she knew full well our coverage was beating the pants off their so called "Entertainment Television." Fie on thee, E. Stacy London, from What Not to Wear, walked by looking fabulous. She gave me the eye but I snubbed her because in my opinion she's got a bit of a 'tude. Cameras were brought to the bleachers and we were asked to cheer on command and compete in trivia contests and--get this--to do the wave. Danmod does no wave. Danmod doesn't high-five either, a lesson a certain Mr. Jeremy Piven learned the hard way.
The first celebrities to arrive were...I don't know. Here's the thing. The red carpet is a madhouse. The celebrities arrive and sorta line up in front of this huge group of photographers and pose and flaunt and compete for the honor of being "Best Dressed/Worst Dressed." They then move from press box to press box, interviewer to interviewer, the entire time with their backs to the bleachers. Fans scream their names hoping they'll turn around long enough to get a decent picture. Most celebrities were real cool about addressing the crowd. I remember Hugh Laurie--one of my personal favorites--showing some fan appreciation. John Lithgow and Jeffery Tambor performed a bit of a comedy routine for the fans and Keifer Sutherland and Jesse Spencer--that blonde dude from House--actually jumped the velvet rope to sign autographs. Classy move, fellas, cheers to you and to all the celebs who made sure their mugs were available for a quick snapshot.
Other celebrities, the more famous sort, like Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Steve Carell, and Tony Shalhoub, were so busy answering questions from the press they didn't have as much time to acknowledge the crowd. Or maybe they're just shy. I don't know. I don't hold it against them; like I said, the red carpet is a madhouse, a mess of photographers and celebrities and celebrity handlers and producers and God knows who else running around in all directions like so many well-dressed ants. There was a method to the madness, but to an outsider it just looks like madness.
It took about three and half hours for the celebrities to arrive. My arm was sunburned and I was hungry. I was also out of film, but I was happy. I saw Tom Selleck, Harrison Ford, Howie Mandel, Mariska Hargitay, Jennifer Morrison (who, incidentally, winked at me), Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum and Seal, Debra Messing, William Shatner, Larry David, Jennifer Love-Hewitt, Jazzy Jeff, Donald Duck, Kim Possible, Christopher Meloni, um...Patrick Dempsy, John Cryer, Portia Di Rossi, "Hot Rockin'" Ron Fuqua, and on and on and on. It was quite a day. I was offered roles in seven shows, including Law and Order: SVU, 24, and Monk. I turned them all down, though, because I'm saving up my vacation time to visit my family for Christmas.
The moral of the story is: Celebrities are cool, I'm cool, TV.com is, hands down, the best source for all things TV related, and family is the most important thing in the world. Enjoy the pictures. Oh, and Jennifer Morrison, if you're reading this (of course you're reading this, duh!), you're a heck of a gal and I'm sure you'll find a really great guy someday, real soon. Of course, he won't be as great as me, but life's full of bitter pills, right?
Move over Jeremy Piven, my new celebrity crush is Wentworth Miller (but Jeremy, you can still call me if you want to).
I hope you have some laughs as you read my account of the Emmys bleachers experience. The whole trip to LA for the Emmys was very entertaining for all of us. Be sure to check out my blog for a chance to win my Emmys wristband!
Lilaholland and I arrived a day early so we could get a chance to relax before what was sure to be madness on the Emmys bleachers on Sunday. Before departing our San Francisco home base, I read up on what the bleachers experience had been like in past years so I could be prepared for the situation. The two main themes seemed to be superhot weather and complete chaos (both of which turned out to be 100 percent correct). One of my main goals for this trip was to snag a non-Emmys celebrity sighting (something very easy to come by in LA). So our first day there, we decided to go shopping on Melrose to find something nice, yet casual enough to wear underneath the glamorous blazing sun and possibly catch a glimpse of some off-duty starlet without any makeup on, just so we could see if they look not-as-hot in real life, cause there's nothing wrong with a little self-esteem boost before going to an event where there are only two types of people: you, and amazingly styled celebrities. As this shopping mecca provided NO DICE for anything even remotely acceptable, we gave up, feeling very disappointed. The only "highlights" of Melrose were seeing that many fake boobs all on one street and the horror of the high volume of "boutiques" dedicated to what I would describe as cheap junky trash togs. I have also never seen so many Hummers in my whole life, including TV commercials and coverage of the war in Iraq. We knew that the hotel action was going to have to make up for this, so we quickly headed over to check in. I had read plenty about this venue as well, mostly bad reviews written by people who had expected a family-friendly Best Western type of deal but got a hipster-loving franchise not geared toward catching some zzzs. This place is meant for young-minded folks who enjoy partying until the wee hours of the morning. This I did not have a problem with. Upon arrival, the hot valet guy parked our rental car, we checked in (another hot guy helped us with that) and we were ready to get our evening started.
First, we had a great work dinner at a nice Italian place downtown. After plenty of wine consumption, everyone else headed back to the hotel rooftop bar to find out if the rumors about it were true--famous people hang out there all the time! We wanted to make sure we were equipped with morning-after essentials such as antacid and deodorant (which we couldn't bring on the plane, since all airports are currently in a "level orange" security state), so off to the local Rite-Aid we trotted. After we discovered it was closed, we tried to convince a couple of cops to give us a ride to the nearest place for such items which was like 10 blocks away. In the time it took for us to answer all of their questions about what we were doing there and for them to explain the multiple reasons for why they were not going to give us a ride, we could have gone to the factories that mass-produce all the products we needed and been back already. I couldn't tell if LA's finest were laughing at us or trying to hit on us, since their interrogation was pretty boring. I kept reiterating that we really just wanted to hitch a quick ride to the store, that by doing this they would be serving their community with honor and that they really looked bored and probably needed something to do. They were so on the edge of just giving us the darn ride, but I think they finally remembered that they were married and on-duty, so this activity might reflect negatively on them as family men and deputies. Oh well, back to the room to try not to open the minibar, which was packed with some great and ridiculous stuff (including a bottle of Mr. Bubble, which made no sense since there was no bathtub). This was painful. Lila took a digital camera video of me dancing in the shower (fully clothed, mind you) to that Justin Timberlake song about him making someone naked by the end of the song.
We dressed up to look more ladylike and cruised up to the bar. We kept hearing about how Leonardo DiCaprio was supposedly in the V.I.P. area near the pool. What a farce! All I saw were a bunch of dudes wearing halfway-buttoned fake silk shirts and creepy looks on their faces. After all, this hotel bar was featured in an episode of Entourage so I was expecting a lot. I figured, if I was to get my sighting of a legitimate celeb while out on the town, this was gonna be the time. And when I say "legit," I'm talking Rachel Bilson and Adam Brody enjoying their twin martinis, just waiting for a regular person like me to come over for a cigarette and offer some charming conversation (thank the Lord Carrot Top was out of town that weekend, 'cause the cheesy neon in the bar would have attracted him like a bad comedian to a Vegas casino. Wait, he already did that). To escape any further sleaze factors, we made a beeline for the corner, where the rest of the TV.com crew had already set up camp. The view from the rooftop was awesome! The music was pretty bad, though, and still no Leo. The only solution? Drink a bunch of drinks! After consuming more liquor, all I could think about was how we were supposed to figure out where people like Jeremy Piven and the rest of the HBO gang were partying and how would it be possible to join them. After another few rounds of drinks, I thought I was actually talking to Jeremy Piven. Turns out it was just Waltmor.
At around 2:30 a.m., the bouncer guys wanted to clear everyone out and directed the huge crowd to the one tiny elevator we were going to have to wait in a long line to get into. We opted for the stairs instead, and miraculously did not fall down the flight of them in our heels. As Lilaholland and I arrived at our room, ready to finally get some rest, we turned around to see these two guys who had actually followed us all the way from the bar, down the stairs and the hallway right to our door--and we did not even notice them until right then! They said it was "cool" and we said "no." Then they said we could have a "casual time." I don't remember my exact words, but my retort was along the lines of, "Hell no, man, you guys are disgusting," but I also made sure to let them know that they were totally missing out anyway. I ate a huge cheeseburger (brought to our room by yet another hot hotel employee) and fell right to sleep.
The rude awakening came early in the a.m. when we realized we needed to get up and out of there in like 20 minutes to make it to the Shrine Auditorium before their cut-off time for letting folks into the bleachers section. The hot room-service guy came back once more to bring us our breakfast. "Oh no," he said, "don't get out of bed. That's what room service is for, sweetie!" Nice! We got extremely lost on the way to the Shrine, so I drove like a jerk in order to make it on time. Once we got to the bleachers, we found the spots which would be ours for the next seven hours. We did have plenty of fresh water and little handheld electric fans, so that really helped, but it was about 100 degrees and the breezes were few and far between. We also saw a woman who had worn some fancy, skintight, synthetic dress to the Emmys bleachers--complete with hilarious sweat spots underneath her butt cheeks! This was all the consolation we needed to make up for our failed shopping trip the day before. Once we got settled, we were eager to start seeing some big stars ASAP!
Before the red carpet arrivals began, channels like E! and TVGuide filmed their preawards coverage and tried to get all the bleachers fans to scream on command, do the "wave" and also some dance this PR woman called the "shake it" or "boom-boom," or some such business. It was so hot that my eyelids were sweating, so the only wave I would have been interested in might have been of the tidal variety. After a couple of hours, the celebrity flow had finally started, and so did the screams of the obsessive fans sitting all around us. I am not sure who these people were, but they must have come from Planet Embarrass Yourself (I think there were enough candidates there to justify this new planet as an actual replacement for Pluto being taken off of the roster recently). The crazed fans next to us were willing to do whatever was necessary to get a good snapshot of any celebrity they could, but the most popular method was screaming at stars on the red carpet to get them to turn around, since their backs were to us during their interviews with the likes of the Rivers duo and Ryan Seacrest. One gaggle of gals in particular decided to shout repeatedly at the host of TLC's What Not to Wear, "Staaaceeeeeeeeee. Shuuut uuup!!," to which Ms. London did not reply. Oh, and if I don't hear the phrase "OMG, you are such a hottie" ever again, I think I'll be better for it.
If there's one thing to know about the red carpet that you don't see on television, it's that the whole setup is very unorganized. Stars are being bombarded every step of their way down the carpet by a zillion different media people as their publicists and handlers try to help them navigate through it all and decide who they will give their exclusive interview to. We discovered that waiting around until the awards ceremony had already started was the best way to see the biggest celebrities there. By that time, most of the guests were inside so it was much easier to catch a full-length glimpse of those late arrivals, who likely were tardy in order to avoid the bulk of the media mess. Some of the fashionably late were: Harrison Ford, Calista Flockhart, James Gandolfini, Edie Falco, Kyra Sedgwick, Kevin Bacon, and our real man of the hour: Wentworth Miller! He was the last big star to arrive and was nice enough to sign a bunch of autographs on his way into the auditorium and pose for some photos with fans in the bleachers section. One of our favorite coworkers couldn't make it to the Emmys because he was busy getting married that day, but I had promised him we would hold up a sign with his and his fiancee's name on it so that everyone could see it on TV. I know he didn't think we would really do it, either.
Wentworth was happy to come over and autograph the sign made by Lilaholland and let us take a few photos of him, too. Tim, you better like that show Prison Break--it took real blood, sweat and tears to get this fabulous keepsake signed by a bona fide famous person! Since the celebs were gone from the red-way, and we were all pretty much at the point of sheer exhaustion, we bid the Emmys farewell and made our way to the airport. But there was one last thing to do--put gas in the rental car before returning it. I pulled up to the nearest station, where all the pumps were occupied and also had a line of cars waiting in front of them. I pulled up behind one and was stoked to relax for a minute while the person in front of me did his or her business. Next thing I know, this huge, obnoxious Hummer pulls up from the opposite direction and tries to swoop in on my spot! I was not having it, so I screamed through the window, flipped the bird, and made sure he high-tailed it out of there with a quickness. As I was trying to pretend like I didn't see him pull up to the pump directly on the other side of mine, I felt kinda bad and decided to maybe apologize. I look over to see Steve Schirripa (the guy who plays Bobby Baccalieri on The Sopranos) filling up his Hummer. Woohoo, random celebrity sighting accomplished! Wait, I just saw Steve walk down the red carpet... Oh crap, it's just some guy who looks a whole lot like him. Damn!