Wednesday, May 23, 2007


L.A. was so amazing. You have no idea. It was so fun. The work part was of course lame but every minute I spent outside of the conference was AWESOME. We really packed a lot into our 2 days.

In a nutshell:

Thursday: Sat by a talkative Latino on the flight. Eric picked me up. Went to 3rd Street Promenade. Drove the long way home.

Friday: Father of the Bride house. Shopping in Old Pasadena. Millennium Dance Complex. Lunch and private tour at Warner Brothers Studios. Taping of the Tonight Show with Jay Leno. Wicked and private backstage tour after.

Saturday: Tour of the Kodak. Graumann's Chinese Theatre. Met Boq from Wicked. Drove around Bel-Air, Beverly Hills. Shopped and ate at the Grove. Dessert with Eric's friends.

Sunday: Conference (boo).

Monday: Conference (boo). Tour of Stars' Homes - saw Felicity Huffman & William H. Macy going into their house, Ben Affleck through his window, Victoria Beckham shopping on Rodeo. Dinner. Met Paula Abdul. Ice cream with Eric.

Tuesday: Conference (boo). Dinner at Café Med on Sunset. Drove around Sunset/Hollywood. Walked to Kodak (post-idol hoopla). Met the witches from Wicked.

So that's the nutshell version. Here, in more specific detail, are my top 10 highlights from the trip:

1. Visit to Central Perk - I can't explain how special this was. As you know, I have been to the set of Friends before, 10 years ago when I was an innocent preteen. That visit prompted my obsession, and I have spent the past 10 years wishing I could go back. I thought it was a lost cause when the show went off the air. Therefore, at the risk of sounding overly fanatic, getting to see, photograph, sit on, etc., the Central Perk set in its entirety was basically a dream coming true. It was sensory overload. Second best moment of my life so far.
2. Wicked - Run, don't walk, to your local production of this show. Best Broadway play/musical I have ever seen.
3. Backstage tour of Wicked - You can't put a price on this. Even people that get to go backstage don't get pictures with all the best props and get the scoop from the Prop Master himself. This was ten times as cool because we'd just come from the show (my excitement over which has not waned a bit since).
4. Tour of Warner Brothers - Driving around the rest of the Warner Brothers lot was pretty exciting. We got to see a lot of cool sets where who only knows how many movies have been filmed. And we had a great tour guide, Eric's friend Regina, who was super knowledgeable and let me take pictures wherever I wanted.
5. Victoria Beckham sighting - Posh was shopping while filming her new reality show. I am a Spice Girls fan (maybe the last one left) and seeing how ridiculous the paparazzi are was pretty funny. Of course, our tour bus was not helping the problem as our driver stopped traffic on our side of the street. But, if I were driving around tourists and was working for tips, I'd have done the same thing.
6. Paula Abdul sighting - This was fun because we had seen Paula in the Kodak Anex filming some sound bytes for the Idol Finale week. So we lolly gagged for a while, watching her, then go upstairs to eat. We were sitting on the patio, reading our menus, when around the corner comes a posse of about 5 or 6 bodyguards and in the center, one petite Ms. Abdul who was totally engrossed in her Blackberry. I grabbed my boss' camera (since I killed my battery on our stars' homes tour) and went and got a picture with Paula. I politely thanked her and said that I love the show, to which she looked up from her Blackberry and said thanks. I won't say she looked a little drugged, but I won't say she seemed entirely alert. Later, I found out she'd broken her nose over the weekend, but I didn't notice it at the time.
7. Felicity Huffman/William H. Macy sighting - Our driver was pulling up to their house, telling us that they lived there, when we see 2 black labs running in the yard. Then we see someone jump behind a fence. Our relentless driver honked the horn and didn't move the bus. It was us v. them. We won, because a few minutes later, after realizing our driver wasn't going to move until they did, William H. Macy and Felicity Huffman came out from the fence and continued climbing their steps. I did feel bad when I saw their daughter was with them. William turned around and waved but Felicity kept walking, shaking her head the whole way up the stairs. I didn't feel too sorry for her, since the jeans she was wearing probably cost more than what I make in a year, if bus loads of tourists annoy her that much, she could ask about 50 of her neighbors for the name of a good tall hedge fence builder.
8. Stars' Homes Tour - I know I am not the only one interested in where these people live. The houses are beautiful. It was interesting how some were basically on the street (Leonardo) while others were about a mile off it (Diddy). I think I would make a good paparazzi, because I could gawk all day and never get tired of it. I was staring at houses, cars, gardeners, cars passing us on the street, street signs, everything. It's a lot to take in. Among the homes we saw: Will Ferrell, Gwen Stefani, Dr. Phil, Jon Bon Jovi, Ben & Jen Affleck, Diddy, Snoop Dogg, Bow Wow, and more.
9. Leno - I love Jimmy Fallon and think Jamie Foxx is a great actor and musician. Seeing them live and in person was cool. And Leno's show is so efficient! It was a fun time.
10. Café Med - It was special to have my last meal in L.A. on the Sunset Strip. We were on the patio so I had a great view. Good company, good food, good times.
Trying on Jimmy Choos - While we were at the Grove, Eric and I had time to kill so we went into Neiman Marcus where I tried on a pair of Jimmy Choos. Ladies - worth every penny. I walked around the shoe area in them and I could tell how nicely they were made. The arch was perfect, the sole was cushy... Now I am spoiled. Trying those on might have been a mistake.)

For pictures of these highlights and much much more, click here.

L.A. was great but I don't think I could live there. I would want to spend too much money and not work every day so that I could go gawk. But, it was nice while it lasted. And now I miss it, and I miss my great tour guide/host! To quote Elphaba, "Ev'ry so often we long to steal to the land of what-might-have-been; But that doesn't soften the ache we feel when reality sets back in..."

I guess I will just have to plan a star-studded, all-access, perks-galore trip to NYC so I'll have something to look forward to for the next 6 months!

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