Adventures from Back of Beyond

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Hicks in Hollywood

I really wasn't sure what to expect or who I'd see. So I stationed myself right at then head of the red carpet, next to the paparazzi, so I could see each and every person that walked by.

This was the Producer's Guild Award show at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, an invitation-only black-tie affair. I wore a tux recently purchased at Goodwill for $12.99.

But I guess I looked the part. As I stood by, a man approached me and struck up a conversation. He stated he was the "oldest" producer in the Guild. Soon a woman, an official with the Guild, joined us. The three of us had a nice talk. Then the man asked me "are you a producer?" To which I had to reply no, but my friend is one. That seemed to end the cordialities pretty quick.

Elegant young women in full length gowns gussied up to the max passed me by, one by one. The photogs flashed away, and yelled "turn left" or "turn right" to the willing starlets.

When the crowd thinned out it was our turn. We had fun posing on the red carpet for each other. At this time we were oblivious to the fact that Kathy Griffin was being interviewed live. Next day our friend Lenny reports this, which we find utterly hilarious:

"Saw you on the local news today. It was during an interview with Kathy Griffin at the awards. You were directing the girls where to stand for a photo. I saw your profile and the back of your head. It was pretty amusing to see you with a big smile on your face, laughing and pointing while Kathy Griffin was talking about the Writer's Strike."

We then went to the cocktail party, where we could barely move or breathe, so we moved to the ballroom. We found our assigned table, which was all the way in the back corner. We could barely see the stage. Lenny then had the classic line of the night: "No one puts Lenny in the corner!" Ha.

Almost immediately thereafter, we ran into Morgan Freeman walking by. We had to ask Lenny about autograph protocol. Very uncool we were told. Because the event was not televised, the luminaries seemed more relaxed, cordial, and approachable.

Next came the meal. Although we paid for the "dessert only" option (which was $75/plate) we somehow were served a full filet mignon dinner anyway. That worked.

Soon, during the meal, my black silk bow tie worked loose. I hadn't tied it all that expertly in the first place, so I had to retire to the men's room to try to retie it, this after a couple of drinks no less. As I struggled, sweating, some guy at the next sink remarked "that's my nightmare, having to retie one of those things at dinner." Thanks, buddy. I eventually got it.

After the award ceremony, we moved to the private after-party in the Hilton's penthouse. Drinks were on the house. Again, it was so crowded we could barely move. Maybe these Hollywood-types like that, but we hicks from Arizona need room to breathe!

I went outdoors to the patio for a great view of the city. There I met a CNN producer who was a former Pan Am flight attendant, and also teaches journalism at LACC.