Monday, March 7, 2011

LA, the Red Carpet and Oprah!

This past week, my friend and I made the long trek from Germany to Los Angeles to attend the Oprah After-Oscar Party Show taping.  We may seem a little crazy to our friends and family, flying all that way just to see a one hour taping of the Oprah Show.  But even after the jet lag, flight delays, LA traffic and travel expenses, I do not regret it at all, it was absolutely worth it and we had a blast!  We decided to make the most of our trip since the whole Oprah experience would be over in just a half day, so we planned some tours, visits to Disney and stalking the stars on the Red Carpet.  Neither of us had been to California or LA before, so we were excited to do all the cheesy tourist stuff and just enjoy a girls’ getaway in LA and away from work!

The biggest disappointment of LA was definitely the weather!  On the drive to our hotel we actually had rain, sleet and a bit of hail, but at least the sun came out the next day!  Unfortunately the sun was a bit deceptive since the temperatures were still in the 50s and 60s, however, we were still excited to get some much needed sun and a break from Germany!


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The Red Carpet

The day after we arrived in LA was the actual day of The Academy Awards.  When we walked down to the Kodak Theater the roads had already been blocked off and people were lining up at the fenceline across from the red carpet.  Unwilling to waste our morning waiting behind a fence, we decided to do some Hollywood site-seeing before the red carpet festivities.  We figured we would head to the Red Carpet area around 3 p.m., when many of the guests begin to arrive.  We were able to actually find a decent spot up front and to the side shortly after the stars began arriving, and were happy that we hadn’t wasted our time waiting the whole morning.

LA-13-1A shot of the entrance before the show.  Those are the red carpets rolled up in the white wrapping!

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We actually had a lot of fun watching the stars enter the Kodak Theater on the Red Carpet.  Even though we were stuck back behind a fence and often only caught a glimpse of the back of someone, it was still fun to be a celebrity gawker for a few hours!  With this being a photography blog, I should probably be a bit embarrassed by the poor quality of these photos, but I guess that is what happens when you can’t seem to nail the focus because you are too giddy to get a decent photo and focus on a person’s face.  I would like to blame some of it on my cheap lens, but sadly, I think it was the overly excited operator and not the equipment!
 
LA-102-1I never realized I was such a Justin Timberlake fan, until I saw him….seriously, he is HOT!

LA-75-1  One of my favorite actors is Kevin Spacey.  Needless to say, I was more than a little excited to see him, and even more excited when he turned to the crowd and waved.  I’m pretty sure that he is looking right at me and waving, it is just hard to tell with the blurry photo and sunglasses! 

LA-131-1I love, love, love Colin Firth!  If you have not seen the movie The King’s Speech, you are missing out…go see it now!  Seeing him on the Red Carpet was definitely one of the highlights of the night for me!

LA-167-1Jeff Bridges and his wife arrive on the Red Carpet.

Oprah – The Wait…

Our day with Oprah started off bright and early at 4 a.m…okay, it wasn’t exactly bright, but it was most definitely early!  After waiting for a month for this day to come, I bolted up and out of bed as soon as the alarm went off.  My friend, Jenn, wasn’t quite as bright and cheery at that hour so I had to hurry up and shower so we could get some coffee in her!  I think I showered, did my hair and got dressed in record time, because we were out the door around quarter after 4!  The instructions said not to arrive until 5:30 a.m. but once we got coffee, we made the short walk to the Hollywood Bowl and found 100-plus people already standing in line waiting for the registration to open up.  At that point, it was before 5 a.m. so I was glad we decided to go early.  Getting there early allowed us to do a little people watching as other guests arrived in bright and sparkly outfits, and some in heels that I wouldn’t wear sitting down, much less standing all morning in line!  Around 6 a.m., registration started and we got our colored wristbands (for seat assignments), and got onto the nice warm bus to that would eventually take us to the Kodak Theater. 

After a few hours of waiting on the bus, going through security and waiting in another line, we finally got to our seats on the first balcony, 3rd row.  No, I wasn’t within touching distance of Oprah, but I could see her face and expressions without having to look on the big screen, and that was good enough for me!  Watching the Oscars the night before I noticed how big the Kodak Theater looked and was prepared for nose-bleed seats.  I was pleasantly surprised when we walked in and I saw how small the theater actually was and how close we were to the stage. 

Overall, the morning was pretty easy going and I was happy how they kept us moving to make the time go faster.  Minus a couple large groups of line cutters who tried to get in front of us before being called out by several ladies, the morning was pretty stress free and the other guests were a lot of fun to talk to.  (Unfortunately after reading a few blogs, the line cutting happened to several people who weren’t as lucky as us). We met some really nice people from all over the US and Canada and some from as far away as Australia! 
 
IMG_3576-1Since we followed the “no camera" rule on the email instructions (we were some of the only ones) this is one of the only photos I have of us inside the theater.  The lady next to us was so nice and offered to take the photo and email it to us!  (The people on the stage are just doing a sound check)

Oprah – The good stuff…
 
The festivities began with a very enthusiastic audience greeter who got the crowd up and dancing. She explained a few things about the show being taped live, and what guests would be on the show.  There was a bit of disappointment that Natalie Portman wouldn’t be there, but considering she was pregnant and had a long night, I guess I’ll give her a break.  There was dancing, cheering, etc, and although the lady was nice, I was just ready for the big O!  

The excitement as the announcer introduced Oprah was electrifying!  We could see her standing behind the screen waiting to for it to rise and the crowd was going crazy.  In my old age, I have become a bit emotional and I must say, I did get a bit choked up with excitement.  After a month of waiting for the show, it was finally here and it was so exciting to see Oprah on stage and in person.  She looked fabulous and just as I pictured her!  She was a bit under the weather and it did show a bit in her eyes and face, but considering what I looked like from waking up at 4 a.m. and getting ready in 15 minutes, I was not going to criticize! 

Luckily, Oprah took no time to get to the good stuff and introduce her guests.   Once again, I got emotional when Colin Firth (did I mention I LOVE him?), Geoffrey Rush and Tom Hooper from The King’s Speech came out!  This was one of my favorite movies of the year so I was very excited to see these gentlemen take the stage for an interview and it was probably one of my favorite parts of the show.  In addition to these incredible men, Anne Hathaway, Melissa Leo, and Carson Kressley all joined Oprah onstage for a chat.  I loved how sweet and down-to-earth Anne Hathaway was.  I loved seeing Melissa Leo’s excitement, surprise and emotion from the night before.  And even though I later forgot that Carson Kressley was even on the show, I liked getting the chance to see the red carpet fashions from the night before. 

The show finale with Katy Perry and PS22 was one of the highlights of the show for me.  It was difficult to hear what the announcer was saying in the theater, so while those watching at home knew that there was a special star appearance coming up, I had no idea. Once again, I got a bit emotional when I realized that Katy Perry was actually performing live.  Katy Perry has gotten me through many long, tortuous runs on the treadmill, so I am definitely a fan.  She looked absolutely amazing in person and sounded fabulous! 

The actual show lasted about an hour…which is what we expected since it was a live taping.  After the actual taping and show was over, Oprah stayed out to thank us all for attending and getting up at 5 a.m. (actually 4 for some of us!) to come and see her.  Even though she was clearly tired and not feeling well, she seemed very sincere and appreciative.  I was actually surprised that she even knew the details or our required show time for registration.   I’ve read mixed reviews of the whole experience on her web page and on some blogs, and I can see where some of them are coming from.  However, I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and had such an amazing time.  I wouldn’t change it for the world and would go back and do it again if I could!  We were done by noon and even though we had been up since 4, I was still so pumped up from the incredible morning we had. 

Yes, the line-cutters and disorganization of the ushers and security at the Kodak Theater (not any of the actual Harpo people) was a bit disappointing and I’m sure caused more than a few people to get much worse seating than they should have gotten.  Perhaps Harpo Studios should take some blame for that, but I also put the blame on the line-cutters themselves who absolutely knew what they were doing was wrong and didn’t seem to care at all that they were screwing other people over by being assholes.  Anyway, we were some of the lucky ones who didn’t have our incredible Oprah experience ruined by crappy people.  We had a blast and met some pretty cool ladies during our morning adventure with Oprah!

1 comment:

Carolyn said...

Wow sounds like an amazing trip and what a fun day! The red carpet photos are so cool!!