From the West Side to the East Side
Everybody’s very happy
‘Cause the sun is shining all the time
Looks like another perfect day…
I remember the first time I saw the ESPY Awards. It was this ridiculous combination of a bunch of shit that I love: pretty people, spectacle, the thrill of victory, sports rivalries, touching stories of perseverance, high-profile hosts, higher profile attendees. It looked like a seriously good time. I also remember telling #4 that I was going to go to that show some day.
I say lots of things like that.
But you know, there is something to be said for manifestation. Or maybe, I just know the right people. Enter D. I’ve known D since we had the pleasure of Ocean View and the Third (now Marshall) College Dormtastic life at UCSD way back in 198X. And, D has one of these sort of amazing jobs that actually has perks. [I suppose sitting here on summer vacation it appears that I have a few professional perks too, but D's perks? They are in another league altogether. Like, another galaxy really.] And the thing about D is that she has a very wide circle of friends who like all sorts of different things. Guess who likes sports?
My 4.5-day Los Angeles-Carmaggedon Tour de Force coincided perfectly with this year’s ESPY Awards at the LA Live Nokia Center. D was unsure if she was going to go… she has lots of events like this on her calendar. But I was totally thrilled for the chance to go and so the decision was made: fun times for me and some good schmooze time for D. Following our perfectly timed meeting in the lot across from the LA Live facility, I got to introduce D to TCH, move my luggage from one car to another, make way to the first red carpet event of my life. I realize these things do not interest a lot of people.
I am not one of those people.
I also understand that this kind of thing could get incredibly tedious and blah, blah, blah.
Also, not one of those people.
We headed into the ESPN Zone where the pre-party was. It was a completely hosted bar and had amazing food. Things were looking good.
The agenda was meet and greet in the ESPN bar, then the red-carpet, then the show, then the after party at the newly redone Hollywood Palladium. I was psyched. I am not a really good one to go after photos and autographs of famous people (unless I am sneaking) but still, the thought is always there… Maybe I will meet XXX and it will be amazing. D said she new Trevor Hoffman was going to be there because, “they’re Facebook friends.” I raised an eyebrow at, thus. “Well technically I ‘like’ his page. But he posted he would be here.” I asked if she ever posted in his page. “No way, my profile picture has him in it, that would be too weird.” You see the conundrum we were dealing with, to fawn or not to fawn…
Or maybe not. I did learn a lot about the red carpet concept though.
Like, there are actually two.
The side on the right as you look at the photo above is where the real stars of the show go. Which apparently includes Justin Bieber, but not us. As we walked along watching everyone come in, you would hear the names of the arrivals being announced. And then there would be waves of screams. Or at least, there was screaming for the Bieber. He out-decibeled Justin Timberlake, Tim Tebow, DeSean Jackson, Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova, Amare Stoudemire… seriously. Though, I will admit he is a very pretty little thing. He reminds me of Tinkerbell.
“I think that’s somebody!”
D and I had to laugh at the reality that we really had no idea who we were looking at most of the time. [One notable exception would be D's Trevor Hoffman radar - it is insanely acute and accurate.] I only realized this morning as I was looking at the official coverage that I had been standing next to Tim Tebow for a good five minutes. Of course you knew you were looking at NBA players based on size – I mean, who is 6’7″ and wears a plaid freaking suit? Matt Barnes, that is who. And clearly Amare Stoudemire includes heavy lifting in his off-season regimen as demonstrated by the ridonkulous chain he was wearing. You couldn’t miss Serena. Seriously. She badonked that bonk. But the whole thing was a great laugh and a lot of fun.
And that was just the walk inside.
Once inside, the real spectacle began. The theater is beautiful and ESPN did a really amazing job in terms of aesthetics and flash. We were seated in the orchestra, which was awesome, and to get there we got to walk right by a bunch of people who are, apparently, more interesting than us. I was right next to Maria Sharapova as we walked in and I have rarely felt so… short. She is kind of amazing. And very tall, even without the shoes.
I walked right by Dirk and Blake (does it work to use first names? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.) Nowitzki and Griffin won Best Male Athlete/Best NBA Player and Breakthrough Athlete, respectively. It was a great night for a basketball fan, as most of the big awards did go to hoopsters. The downside of the basketball love is that Jimmer Fredette won for Best Collegiate Athlete, and my loathing of BYU aside, there is NO way that dude is the best athlete in the NCAA.
The show was incredibly well put together and the theater was great (very comfy seats.) I could have really done without the stupid Vancouver kissing couple lameness, but that pretty much describes my attitude towards all things hockey in general, so if ESPN were looking for my suggestions, I would say leave hockey out –> no one cares.
I was also excited to see Seth Meyers because… he is funny. The Escalade joke turned out to be legit, and Brian Wilson looked like the biggest douche ever, so I appreciated that Meyers did not let it go.
“Congratulations to Mavs owner Mark Cuban. I think we can all agree it’s nice when good things happen to loud billionaires.”
Some of my favorite moments included VCU winning Best Upset because Shaka Smart is awesome and the Jimmy V. Award going to Anthony Robles, who won an NCAA championship in wrestling despite having only one leg – pretty epic. I was also glad to see the SF Giants get shut out of everything because it just goes to show how much their organization and fans have annoyed the entire sporting world. [Like Wilson's get up wasn't enough to do that on its own.] It was also cool that they did a late add of the Wombach header for best play [shame about the eventual outcome of the World Cup, but hey, Hope Solo needed to take it down a notch.] Of course I loved it that Jason Bateman was there (!) and I was expecting great things from J.T., but frankly the only thing more awkward than Timberlake and Aaron Rodgers’ stage time was the Bieber with Danica Patrick at the end.
The show went super fast and ~ and it was so pretty in there! ~ I think that is probably the sign of a good time. Or the fact that they present a good number of the awards somewhere else so that everyone can get to the party quicker. As we left the event, we were greeted by throngs of little girls being cordoned off yelling, “Did you see Justin!? Did you see Justin???!!!” Seriously? Seriously.
The after party was in Hollywood, so we did have to do a little LA driving. D was not totally excited about this because she thinks she is not a good LA driver. But she is better than most, and really, all we had to do was follow any black Escalade.
The valet set up at the event was a little strange and seemed to involve some yelling and people taking their jobs a little too seriously, but in the end, it all worked out – like usual. The party had two main staging areas, an expansive outside area where there were a bunch of little lounge spaces, several bars, food areas that included things like Kobe beef meatloaf, double dipped fried chicken and Mac-n-Cheese, Wolfgang Puck’s interpretation of Chinese, a Mexican fiesta station, a couple of tables piled with easily 5oo pounds of shrimp, and an In-n-Out truck. For real.
I can definitely get behind an event with this kind of hosting.
I knew that my feet were not going to make it for too long – the price one pays for cheap shoes… but I was definitely taking one for the team here. I am not sure I have ever been somewhere with so many simply stunning people. And these people were built to scale. None of this 5’2″ 80-lb business. These people were fit, and healthy, and hot. Seriously, I know LA is full of beautiful people, but this went beyond my expectations, and I loved feeling normal sized. There were a few requisite skanks strolling around… I cannot wait for girls to figure out that hair extensions really only look good right after you get them: when I walk behind you in your turqoise sequined dress and I can see the knots where they are affixed to your head you are no longer working that look. Shame about that. But the inside of the Palladium looked amazing, and it was too dark to notice gross platinum extensions in there.
More food, more people… More somebodies. Some of the winners were carrying their ESPYs with them, which was cool, and D and I did decide that really, nametags would have been hugely beneficial. Yes, we realize that the point is to be in-the-know enough that you do not need nametags, but still…
This was definitely a party where I could have gotten myself into some serious shenanigans. But, now that I am so much more mature and really take all this kind of thing in stride, that was not the case.
More accurately stated, D had an early meeting in SD and my dogs were barking… so we did not close the place down.
But we could have. Just sayin’.
And so my foray into the faboosh world of red carpets, movie stars, famous athletes and all things LA-VIP came to a graceful close. We got the car and headed out to Santa Monica where I would be spending the night. Of course, at 11 p.m. when one wants to be heading home… the drive seemed to be excruciatingly long. And this would turn out to be one of the only Carmageddon hiccups of the week… For some reason, the entrance to the 405 off the 10 was already closed on Wednesday night, even though it was not supposed to be closed until Friday. This meant that was a mildly out-of-the-way drive for D to sort me out turned into a pretty significant one. That sucked. But aside from the exit situation, the drive moved and soon enough, D was home, [it took the same amount of time for me to take off all that make-up that it took D to drive from LA to SD. Seriously.] I was tucked in at Ruth’s and it was over…
Another perfect day.