Three Days in the Valley
The sun went down on Santa Monica Boulevard
I know that I’ve landed in Los Angeles, California, because Nick Lachey, Mr. Jessica Simpson, walks by me in the terminal and only the tourists’ gawk. I gawk.
I’m standing like a star-struck fan in LAX because of one reason, Grant Chastain, my best friend who won tickets to the 2005 MTV Movie Awards and took me along as his guest. So along with former VJ Jessie Camp and the family that won the pink house, I’m an MTV winner.
Two months ago Grant entered an online sweepstakes put on by his local Phoenix, Arizona radio station for tickets to the aforementioned show and he was one of twenty-five plus winners. We get our itinerary and flight info and I pack only my coolest clothes. Fourteen hours later I find myself on the Santa Monica Pier eating popcorn shrimp and staring at the Pacific Ocean.
As part of our prize package, Friday night we are treated to an advanced screening of the new MTV movie, Hustle and Flow at the historic Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Before the movie I see the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theater and a few blocks down, the Kodak Theater where they hold the Oscars. On the drive in, the Hollywood sign is just barely visible. We end the night a few doors down at the bar/bowling alley, Lucky Strike, where a game of ten pins will set you back $50.
I look at my watch and I realize that I’ve been up twenty-five hours straight.
Saturday, Grant and I take a short walk to the 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica for some breakfast and people watching (everything from the Bob Dylan wannabe to a Chinese acrobat balancing glasses). That afternoon, the male winners are pampered with a massage and straight razor shave while the women winners have their hair and make-up done for the big night.
After the best cheeseburger I’ve ever had at Big Dean’s “Muscle In” Café on the beach, Grant and I, along with the rest of the winners, get 0n a bus and wind our way to the Shrine Auditorium for the show. We expect the red carpet treatment, backstage canoodling with celebrities and cool VIP seats. Actually, we get dropped off on a side street and herded along with the rest of the regular ticket holders to our balcony perch (think lower C at Assembly Hall).
Our nosebleeds stop and the show starts. We only assume that there are celebrities in the good seats since we can’t see anything but the stage. It is interesting to note that the show is taped live with several breaks in the action to set up new shots and the live acts. I’m sure it will flow nicely on television, but it was like rush hour traffic watching the live taping — start and stop.
The highlights of the evening include Ally Sheedy shaking her hair like her character from The Breakfast Club, Dustin Hoffman’s way of connecting to his younger audience (I’d like to share, but I’d be giving away one of the best bits), the Tom Cruise montage and the Foo Fighters teasing the crowd by playing the opening bars of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” (I doubt this makes the show). Host Jimmy Fallon was consistently funny all night long. Be sure to catch the first few minutes for the opening short movie.
The show ended with Katie Holmes on my left and Jessica Alba on my right leading me out of the auditorium to my stretch Hummer, paparazzi flashbulbs in my eyes.
PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR SEATS ARE UPRIGHT
AND TRAYTABLES ARE IN THE LOCKED POSITION.
Well, it wasn’t all a dream. The show will air on Thursday. I’m the third dot from the right on the balcony.