Monday, February 6, 2012

one degree of Kevin Bacon

...How did I get here? What baby did I save from some impossibly dangerous building ledge? Old wobbly woman crossing a busy city street?

I've been slowly floating downward from the clouds since last weekend. Life has certainly slowed down around the office for us. In fact--- this is my last week with the SAG Awards! Where did the time go? I just can't believe it's February already. 2012 is going too fast.

So! Let me catch you up! Last Sunday was the best day of my life. I understand the weight that statement holds and I stand behind it. I have had a whole lot of happy days. But last Sunday at the SAG Awards... that was the day of days.

There is a picture in my room, sitting on a shelf, happily collecting dust, of me standing on a red carpet at Universal Studios with a big silly smile on my face and my arms outstretched. It was taken when I was just fifteen years old on a trip to Hollywood with my high school drama class. I've had the photo out for years, glancing at it every now and then and picturing that distant reality.

And then Sunday happened. I was working at the SAG Awards, covered with nervous goosebumps, standing on the red carpet in the Los Angeles sun, surrounded by palm trees and movie stars.

To quote Viola Davis, as I watched in the dark theatre as she accepted her award for best actress ---
"What is there but a dream? You can't trade in your dream for another dream... Dream big. Dream fierce."

The week leading up to the show was NUTSVILLE. Our days never seemed to end and I was filled to the gills with things to accomplish. We hardly had time to take a break during the day and only ended up leaving at night because the parking garage was about to close. Luckily for us in the PR department we had a seriously awesome team. Very cohesive and efficient.

They also kept us extremely well-fed. Extremely. At first I was thrilled. Then I realized how problematic this was. While actresses were on strict lemonade diets for weeks and hitting the gym twice a day-- I was surrounded by Krispy Kremes, garlic mashed potatoes, and enchiladas with all the fix-ins. Go figure. The time that I need to look my best is the time when I have zero time to exercise and am surrounded by delicious everything.

Thursday morning was our first day at the Shrine. The Shrine is this big gorgeous building right in the heart of USC. A week or two earlier we had our production meeting in the Shrine. This is what it looks like pre-SAG Awards.

...Yeah. Unimpressive. Looks like somewhere Heidi may have had her prom... in the 1920s... on an old roller rink. Hard to believe that it turns into this!

Ahhh... the magic of live production!

Our team set up shop in the production office and carried on with our long to-do list. In the mornings we hosted Behind-the-Scenes sessions with various media outlets.  We promoted our Ceremony Auction for the SAG Foundation and had guests discussing information about the meals and drinks for the big night. Wendi McLendon-Covey from Bridesmaids and Reno 911 was there on Thursday. She was a doll.

Friday afternoon got a little exciting for me, too. I was lucky enough to be sent out on a very serious mission: delivering an appetizer plate, prepared by SAG Awards official chef Suzanne, to Regina King on the set of Southland. Regina (this year's Social Media Ambassador) couldn't be there for the tasting so it was my job to bring the plate to her.

A production assistant dropped me off on location where Southland was shooting. It was so bizarre to be on a set and it not be Universal Studios. I checked through security, glass plate piled with delicacies balanced firmly in my shaking hands, and waited inside the lunch truck for Regina to finish shooting on the top of a nearby parking garage.

The wait was a good fifteen minutes. There were some crew members eating their lunches, but mostly just me watching them eat delicious food. Then I turned around and noticed two large policemen enter the truck. "Golly, policemen. Ooo. They look tough," I thought to myself. Then three more came in. "...Wow. I guess we're in the heart of LA. But still, yikes." Then a whole herd came in at once!

...And then I remembered that I was on the set of Southland. An LA cop drama.

I should have known-- they looked too good to be true. They were all perfectly cast. The handsome African-American men looking so dapper and buff, then the overweight balding loud-mouths who look like they could compete with my show-week-doughnut-consumption. Then Regina got there. We sat and chatted as I watched her eat her lunch.

This moment thrilled me.

You can only imagine how the rest of the weekend must have felt, abundant with high security and VIPs.

I spent most of Saturday double-checking my preparations and setting my two assistants up for show day. ...I have assistants? What is my life.

I also was lucky enough to bring my mom on to the set so she could take a look around--- the Green Room, the People Gala Tent for the after-party, the red carpet, and even a little chat with Meryl.

My mother had impeccable timing. We headed downstairs from the production office and witnessed what was one of the most surreal moments of my life. Dick Van Dyke, standing on stage, rehearsing his introduction of Mary Tyler Moore-- a woman who has inspired me and countless women to pursue a career in 'showbiz'-- while Brad Pitt stood on stage left, smiling on, waiting for his chance to rehearse his bit. They played Mary's tribute video and dimmed the house lights. The music played, Dick danced on and off stage like the silly old man that he is, and clips of Mary's work flashed across the screen. Dick and Brad chuckled together as they watched Mary dancing around the Petrie living room in capri pants.

And there I was. Standing there in a black blazer trying to look professional, trying not to get all teary and sappy. It's been a long road here, folks. I don't know how it happened, but I'm so happy it did.

Because us PR girls put in so many long hours, we were lucky enough to have our own hotel rooms at the Biltmore in LA, where Miss Betty White had her 90th birthday only a couple of weeks ago. Belinda and I happily bunked together to have quite the slumber party. And look -- how classy!

When I checked in the woman behind the counter told me that 'room service had been taken care of'.

"...You mean, like, I don't have to pay for it?"


"You mean, like, it's free?"

"It's taken care of".

What would all of that mean to you? Because to Belinda and I it meant that room service was free.

So of course we ordered a fruit tart a la mode the first night, with full intentions of ordering a full array of decadent foods the next day.

Yeah, you guessed it. It wasn't free. It was fun for the evening though--- as Belinda put it, it was "like living in a made-for-television-movie." The two of us girls, hard at work on our computers despite our sixteen-hour-long day, eating expensive yummies and watching a Jersey Shore marathon.

And then Sunday. Show day. The 18th Annual SAG Awards.

We pulled our things together, parked by my parking cone (what),

...dropped off our stuff in the production office and headed out the door to prepare for the day. Like I said, we are very lucky PR girls-- we had stylists come in to do our hair and makeup! (That really was free). I only had my hair done as I was too nervous about getting everything together in time. My two assistants showed up and made my life ever so much easier. It was a dream. I wish I had two assistants everyday. It's like being in three places at once.

I grabbed my iPad gifted to me from TURNER for the week and headed out to the carpet, truly not knowing what was about to hit me. The iPad was equipped with an app that automatically loads photos in real time from our photographers. All I had to do was log in, pick the pictures I wanted, type in a message, and they were automatically uploaded to Facebook and Twitter--- just like that! Of course technology never works the way we want it to... it was certainly buggy. The day went just perfect despite little technological difficulties.

At one point everyone had to empty the Shrine simply for security check reasons. Luckily it gave me a chance to catch up with some friends who had scored bleacher seats on the red carpet! Like my very best friend Nikolai! It was so fun having friends on the carpet to share the day with.

My roomie Becca and LUSH friend Hilda got George Clooney's autograph while my dear friend Sarah got to converse with Angelina. So much fun.

I had the craziest job of all. Taking pictures of my favorite stars on the carpet for our SAG Awards social media. It was my job to ask to take this picture: hands were shaking.
Candid moment with friends, no big deal.
Jane Lynch juggling with Giuliana from E!. I'm also in the video of this moment being a nerd taking pics. 

Hanging with Angie and Brad. 
I don't know if I blinked all day. My brain couldn't catch up with my surroundings. My favorite moment by far though was standing with Rainn Wilson and Kevin Bacon as they chatted about mundane things, like the weather and being themselves. Kevin Bacon bumped into me a solid four times, apologizing each time until finally he announced that he was just going to have to move away from me as he felt just awful. It, of course, did not occur to me that I could just move myself out of his bubble. Johnny Mac was keen to point out that I am now one degree of Kevin Bacon.

Things got crazy when George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and Angelina Jolie showed up. Everything and everyone seemed came to a stop when they arrived. It was like seeing a pack of unicorns. They exist, everyone. They're real. And you know what? They were lovely, lovely human beings. Patient, kind, and humble.

After they made their way down the red carpet, the show began. And what a show it was! Lively, entertaining, heartwarming and to the point. I spent a lot of time in the production office making sure our social media sites were being appropriately updated, writing some blog posts and keeping an eye on our Twitterfeed. I was lucky enough to head downstairs to watch much of the show on the side of the theater--- Mary Tyler Moore accepting her award, Meryl Streep remembering those in the entertainment industry who had passed, Modern Family winning the Best Ensemble Comedy, the infamous 'Scorcese' drinking game from Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, and Melissa McCarthy.

I couldn't seem to wipe the smile off my face, despite the millions of things I had to do and my lack of sleep and numerous survival doughnuts looming over my head and around my middle. But there I was. Me. Jenny. Watching history.

Regina King called me during the show for tech help. Her phone wasn't registering her tweets and that was a serious problem, as she is our Social Media Ambassador. I headed down to the Green Room to troubleshoot. She and I were sitting on the couch, chatting in hushed voices when someone sat beside me. Oh... just Glenn Close. She smiled and asked me to forgive her. As if I could, after what she did to all those puppies.

But really, she was the sweetest.

So happy I could have shared the day with my mom, too-- she was one of my seat fillers and looked simply stunning.

After the show I updated our sites, posted on our blog, rounded up Belinda and our production team, and headed to the People Gala. The tent was packed with party-goers. I was especially thrilled to walk through the tent with the Owen Wilson, my very favorite actor. Despite seeing all of the beautiful famous people, the likes of who have shaped most of my pop culture intake for the past several years, my favorite moment of the day was celebrating with our team. All of us silly people, dancing around to the best darn live cover band I have ever heard, after so much hard work. I didn't care who was watching or who I could have been talking to--- I wanted to be with all of them. That, and drinking the most delicious French champagne this earth has ever tasted--- Taittinger. I might be spoiled after last weekend...

We carried the party to the Production office, complete with a dance party and tons of food. It was a hilariously good time.

Then of course, we got up to go to work the next day. Woof. We luckily had time to make a stop at the Griddle for pancakes and french toast before heading to the Grove in West Hollywood--- where they randomly were announcing a new M&M personality... Miss Brown. I know, weird. And Neil Patrick Harris was there, for some random reason. It was legen... WAIT FOR IT...


Haveeeeee you met Miss Brown?

These are all, of course, How I Met Your Mother references. Go watch it.

This week has been very bizarre-- leaving the office when other humans finish their work schedule, having time to see friends... bizarre.

GOOD NEWS. Good news for me and good news for my dear friend Johnny. Poor guy hasn't had anything interesting to read in my blog for a good seven months after he left us in LA to finish school at U of A. Well. Now he's all graduated and back! For good!

Johnny was famously known for scanning my blog posts for his name, and then, if he failed to find a mention, proclaimed that there was nothing of interest in it. Well, looks like Johnny might have some material to read after all. Johnny, Jimmy, Becca, and my-recently-reclaimed-social-life have reunited and it feels so good. I have a feeling that there will be plenty of funny memories and bad decisions made with this group in the next few months. Just like ol' times.

On Saturday Becca hosted this awesome little cooking class in our kitchen. (Have I mentioned how much I love living with a chef?) She taught three lucky ladies, me and Johnny how to make chocolate caramel bacon truffles. If it sounds questionable, just wait till you try one. They are DELICIOUS.

Here we are tasting our homemade caramel and assembling our truffles into molds.

And here's the finished product! Yummy wine, cute box, and chocolate frog truffle, too.

My free time is just blossoming these days. Bowling, yogaing (FINALLY), breakfasting with friends. (Sigh). So happy. So free. So about to not have any money coming in.

And then yesterday!! The Super Bowl.

Saying I love the Super Bowl is a massive understatement. It might just be my favorite holiday. I remember my Super Bowl in England... having to pay ₤10 in order to watch the game at 11 o'clock at night, with people who had no idea what was going, complaining about how 'boring' it was, and to top it off--- NO commercials. Yes, I have learned to love and appreciate my American Super Bowls.

I researched recipes, grocery shopped, picked out comfy clothes, and fluffed pillows.

And of course made some delicious treats.

It was a solid game. I just wish I cared a little more about the teams... I was pretty indifferent to who won. It's sad that football season is over. Hmph. It was a nice last hurrah though.

Wow. My last week at SAG Awards has come! And what will I be up to next?

(cricket. cricket.)

I'll let you know when I do.

Oh! I'm over 10,000 views! Who the heck is reading this? Why!? That's great. Thanks, everyone. You're making a girl blush.

Hey guys. Dream big. Dream fierce.


1 comment:

  1. you are so fricking awesome :) good job Jenny! way to be an inspiration :) and I mean that in a non sappy way. so dont read it like that. shit. yeah. manly shit goes here. grr.