13 April 2010

We Had a Time

The scene about two weeks ago. My friend and I are emailing, doing some debriefing after our recent Tahoe trip. She then forwards me this thing for a Glee red carpet event and asks if I want to come. It's on a Monday, it's in Los Angeles (I was in San Francisco), and while I'm a huge fan of Glee, going down for a random weekend event seemed irresponsible. See, doubters of the world, I have an adult side and that was him doing the serious talk. "Oh, I'd love to go but I just have too much going on. It sounds super fun but I'll have to pass." I felt strong, I felt mature, I felt like a mature man for resisting temptation.

An hour later, my normal (much less adult) brain took over and was like, "Hey stupid, when are you going to go to another Glee party? They're the hottest thing right now. They just dropped on the cover of Rolling Stone, they are going to the White House and Oprah. Go you idiot!" I called my friend to ask if she was sure the cast was going to be there. Of course they were she replied, this was their spring premiere event. "Great, because I already bought the ticket." See, my normal self is impulsive as all hell and I got the ticket in a rush, before confirming the spot was still open. Luckily

Next question: What does one wear to a premier party? After a day of shopping and much fretting -- the details of which I won't bore you with -- I had my outfit ready. And by outfit I meant something fancier than my normal hoodie and jeans. I even put on black shoes, yes, actual leather black shoes. On Sunday night it started pouring so I was fearful that the event would suffer from bad weather. Just my luck I thought, to have it rain on my parade -- well, technically their parade, but whatever.

Somehow we arrived at Chateau Marmont a bit early, zipping from Santa Monica to West Hollywood in record time. There was like no traffic at six o'clock on a workday. Los Angeles traffic parted for us and we arrived before they were even letting the non-press folk in. The one time I'm not late to an event and we were tryinig to get there fashionably on time. A word about Chateau Marmont. Located on Sunset Boulevard, the Chateau is famous because celebrities reside and party there. In Exclusively Chloe, I had Chloe-Grace and Rachelle go to a happening spot in Hollywood and named the place "Maison" (page 75) in honor of Chateau Marmont. Of course I'd never visited Marmont before so I only did research via the Internets. To actually go to Marmont was another reason to fly my ass down. I mean, hypothetically this could be a write off right? I'm flying to LA to research the celeb life! Ha, just kidding auditors, just kidding.

Oh, before attending this thing I did as much online research as possible. I prepared for this like it a SAT II Subject Test. I looked up everyone's previous acting history, brushed up on their real names, read their Wikipedia histories, found out how everyone was, and thought of things I could bring up in case of conversation emergency. Lynn wasn't sure what sort of access we'd have to the cast but if they happened to want to chat, I wanted to be fully prepped. I might have even been ready with some of their mom's names. (Thanks Oprah!)

When they let us in a few minutes after seven, Lynn and I positioned ourselves at a prime location in the middle of the outdoor area. A few guests milled around but it was still mostly staff. We sipped on our Glee themed cocktails -- we started with "Cheerios" -- and munched on appetizers. I know I generally photograph and moblog the crap out of everything but I had decided beforehand that I wasn't going to be one of those people. Not tonight. I wanted to act like, you know, I go to the Chateau on the regular. The whole night I only pulled out my phone to tweet a bit and to check the time. That's right, I tried to play it cool. Plus, even though I secretly freak out when I see anyone mildly famous, I don't like asking them for pictures or autographs. They're famous, they want to be left alone, I can respect that.

Half an hour in, as we were talking about our favorite characters and who we were hoping to see, Finn walks in. No fanfare. He was just hanging out at the buffet line, picking up some food. The one thing I was most interested in finding out this night was how tall everyone was. I'd heard actors and actresses are generally shorter than you'd imagine. I'd been told Finn was six four. From our vantage point, he seemed pretty tall but later I walked near him. Six two, max. A lady sitting with us had commented earlier on how nice Cory Monteith's skin was, observed from a time she met him during an American Idol event. My goal list immediately grew to include asking Finn how he kept his face so pore-free and what product he used. Unfortunately for you readers and for me, I never found out. In fact, I never talked to any of the Glee people.

I know, I know, lame. But I really don't like talking to people when they are sort of forced to talk to you. Everyone was uniformly nice and awesome but I mostly wanted to just observe their interactions. After Finn came in, the rest of the cast started appearing everywhere. Oh hi principal guy. Hi guy with the huge Jew-fro who stalks Rachel. Hi background minorities who I hope will get bigger roles soon. There were only a few hundred people at the party so it never got crowded and was very casual. Just some fans, producers, press, and people associated with Glee. I tried to not keep my head on swivel and succeeded for the most part, but I was keenly aware of where the Glee folk were at all times.

Overall it felt like attending a wedding with a dozen brides. Being famous means people are watching you all the time and as a guest and spectator, I found myself just watching Mr. Schuester, Kurt, Sue Sylvester, or Tina as they walked around and did their thing. I was most excited to see Chris Colfer and he suddenly appeared behind my chair, leaning an arm over and touching my jacket slung over the back. Mission accomplished! Famous people emit attention heat, as everyone in the room kind of watches them out of the corner of their eye. And by everyone I mean me.

In my dream of dreams, I'd have wanted to tell the Glee cast about the music game (rules explained in this post, about halfway down), and then force them to play it. I knew there was no chance of this happening but it would have been amazing. I'd make Quinn and Rachel captains and let them pick the teams. The word I would have given them would have obviously been "star." I wonder if real singers and people like playing games when they would obviously be amazing at it. Or if the Glee cast ever go karaoke together. Or is being on the show basically like a giant karaoke session?

I lost my shit when Idina Menzel showed up. I was talking to Lynn and she suddenly started waving to someone behind me. I turn around and Taye Diggs is waving at her. I didn't even realize it was Taye Diggs because I figured it was someone we knew, that's how casually Lynn was saying hello. That started our night of waving at people like we were old friends. Lynn waved at Sue Sylvester a few minutes later, and the wonderful Jane Lynch auto-waved back before doing a comedic double take and basically thinking, "Why am I waving to those people, I don't know them..."

I had told another friend earlier that I was willing to break my vow of no picture taking only if Idina Menzel showed up. I mean, I've been such a huge fan since forever and I even flew to New York to try to catch her before she left Wicked. That didn't really work out but here Idina was, just a few feet away. And Taye Diggs was Mr. Cool, just sitting on a chair checking his phone. Tragically, they left before we mustered up the courage to wander over. I guess I'm just never meant to say hi to Idina.

There was one other person we saw that had us all geeked out. Early on, I noticed this Asian dude, chilling, standing and smoking by himself. "Man that guy looks crazy familiar. Do I know him from somewhere?" Lynn came back from the restroom at that moment and she had just spotted him too. "Is that?" "Yes it is..." The guy was Jon M. Chu! The director of Step Up 2 and the absolute genius behind The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers. He was there with Harry Shum Jr., Glee cast member (The Other Asian) and amazing dancer and choreographer. Needless to say, Lynn and I were wow-ed out. Later in the night, we got a chance to talk to Jon and asked when LXD was releasing. "Soon," Jon said, "very soon." Chu was seriously laid back and super down to Earth. I told him to go to Ippudo in New York. I gotta push good ramen spots to everyone, even if clearly they don't need my help. Ippudo is that great. Jon was really gracious and personable and now I owe him two smokes. But maybe we're both quitting.

We also met Shum's girlfriend, actress and dancer Shelby Rabara. She was super nice and spoke about her experiences as an Asian-American in Hollywood. For the record, Shelby was also wearing the greatest dress and earrings combo and I wish I could find a picture so you could agree a hundred thousand percent. Lynn and I were also hoping to watch Shum dance and we sort of followed him into the interior bar area, where the DJ was playing some great music. Upon entering, we were greeted with the sight of half the cast members dancing and grooving in a little circle -- yes, apparently even celebrities dance in circles, not just Asians -- led by Matthew Morrison, who was teaching someone a slide step. Of course we had to sort of bop around with them and we were like "Man, we wish OUR dance friends were here (we'd dub ourselves the League of Average Dancers, the dreaded LAD) and then totally battle the Glee cast." This was clearly a highlight of our night.

While most of the cast members were hanging out, just walking around and stuff, it seemed like Dianna Agron, Lea Michele, and Cory were tasked with sticking to the main area and talking to people. Both Dianna and Lea were in incredible dresses. They were constantly being engaged and talked to and I can only imagine how tired they must be. They've had events all week long leading up to tonight's premiere episode and if doing one wedding is tough, these people have been running the PR gauntlet every night. But I'm sure they're happy to do it because Glee is such a huge success. I wondered if the casts from My So Called Life or Freaks and Geeks ever had parties like this in their honor. Shut down after just one season, I'd imagine they never got huge in time for the studio to back them and throw such an event. That's so sad right? Imagine doing this amazing show and then not seeing each other again. I mean, look at this picture of Angela and Jordan reunited. So wonderful.

Okay I'm gonna wrap up this monster post and get to packing. It's back to San Francisco tomorrow. I'm still giddy over Glee, even though I woke up with the hugest headache. Don't drink sugary drinks and suck on rock candy swizzle sticks kids. Instant hangover. And of course, thanks Lynn for bringing me!

Also, here are some fun links: an article and photos from the party, Harry Shum Jr. and Dianna Agron's Tumblrs, shumbodynamedharry and felldowntherabbithole. A whole bunch of the cast Twitter too and don't think I wasn't checking them throughout the night. Oh right, and the Glee episode is on right now. Time to go watch.