My big fat hollywood weekend
It all started at the Beverly Hilton, where luxury is commonplace. We were in the heart of Beverly Hills and a short drive from most everything we wanted to see.
After arriving on Thursday night we walked up to dinner at El Torito's and paused for a few pics along the way. Friday started out with a visit up to Rodeo Drive for some shopping and a plan to meet Robyn and Jayn Coburn.
Trying on shoes at the Bebe store was great fun. Tell me those aren't some bad boys! Hawt.
Patti makes a great model...they should have hired her.
As we walked up the street a loud honk came from behind. It was Robyn and Jayn, who were looking for a place to pull over and call us for meeting up...but they found us walking instead so we blocked up traffic for a second and jumped in!
She took us up to the center of all the Oscar weekend hubub...Grauman's Chinese theatre and the now-famous Kodak theatre. Oscar preps were in full swing and the whole street was shut down. There was craziness everywhere...it was great!
The walk of fame.
Many very cool things happened on this trip, the walk of fame was the first of several strange and interesting connections. As we were looking for a place to park I was asking Robyn about her late Father-in-law, the well-known actor James Coburn. She and Jayn couldn't remember where his star was. I was wanting to get a pic of it though. I wrote it off as not possible since there are blocks and blocks of stars and it would be very difficult to find in a short visit.
So......we find parking and start to walk towards the Kodak theatre. We'd gone no more than half a block......
...I pause to wait for them to catch up and looking down at my very feet, there's the star of James!!! Wild. So I yell at them and we all get excited about finding his star....
...and as we're exclaiming "there's your Grandpa's star Jayn" blah, blah, blah, some strangers voice from behind me says "I know you both".
Robyn and I turn around, a bit incredulous. Who could I possibly know that would be on the walk of fame during Oscar weekend?
"You're unschoolers" says she. Sure enough, some unschoolers that recognized Robyn and I were walking about. Jessica Hunt and her daughter hung around for a bit for some pics and conversation. Crazy eh? Right in front of a Scientology building no less! Those are all L.Ron Hubbard books in the window behind us.
There was media and security everywhere. It was worth a visit though. Lots of excitment building in the air around us.
Then off to visit James (he shares his name with his late father) at the L.A. film school....
He toured us around the set, where the students were shooting re-makes of "Fawlty Towers". Don't get too excited, it's just for educational purposes and won't be released.
Patti sneaks into the directors chair.
I pretend to run some lights...
It was an amazingly gorgous set! (do you remember telling me about the "amazingly gorgeous" rooms at one conference Jayn?)
Then off to the Farmer's Market and the Grove shopping center, where there is a HUGE American Girl doll store and a dancing fountain.
After our very busy touring day with the Coburns (thank you SO much Robyn,Jayn and James!!) we hit the wine and chocolate tasting at the hotel. Melanie and LauraLei caught up with us there (a couple other folks on the trip with us...Melanie owns Althaea soaps and herbals, you really should check out her awesome natural products) for some strategic planning and commensurating about some plans that had gone awry.
The next day Patti and I were off to the Makeup Artist Symposium at the Academy building,
where we met Conor O'Sullivan (Oscar nominee for Dark Knight)
...and John Caglione Jr., also nominated for Dark Knight.
The prosthetics John O'Connor created for Heath Ledger were totally amazing! His method leaves no trace of edges or any clue that it's not real skin.
Greg Cannom was nominated for "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"...and won.
Lots more interesting and amazing props to look at and learn about.
The folks from Hellboy 2 were also up for a nomination but we missed our chance for a picture when the media descended on them. The props blew me away. Think anyone would have noticed if I snuck Abe Sapien in my backpack?
My friend Samuel would have flipped!
Because of some waylaid plans, Robyn and James felt sorry for me and called to see if I wanted to be James's date to the "Golden Reel Awards". It ended up working out really well, since another friend was meeting up with us and agreed to take Patti to see the Santa Monica Pier while I went to the awards dinner. Brian is good friends with my close buddy Austin...so Austin had made sure we got in touch to meet up with Brian before we went out.
James was a blast and it was so cool to sit and listen to a bunch of sound guys talk shop!
Here's James posing with his friend Agamemnon, who is better known as "Aggy" amongst his friends. One of the highlights of the evening was getting to hear George Lucas present the lifetime acheivment award to Ben Burt.
After dinner it was time to catch up with Patti and Brian back at the Hilton for some wine and fancy desserts...and general silliness.
On Sunday, Brian escorted us to the Westwood Memorial park to find the tomb of Marilyn Monroe. We ended up finding a lot of interesting graves, many instantly recognizable. At one point I found a stone bench next to a water fountain and thought it would be a nice place for a photo. After getting the self-timer set up and the camera propped on a ledge, I ran over to sit with Brian and Patti.
As the timer is almost ready to go off, my phone rings. I see it's Robyn so I wait until the picture takes and then answer the phone. As we stand up from the bench, Patti says "look Ren", pointing where we were just sitting. It says "Coburn". Puzzled, I ask Robyn about it. As it turns out, it's where James Coburn is buried! Another weird, unplanned moment.
on to the big night. Sunday was the reason we had flown all that way out to Hollywood. It was the big "Night of 100 Stars" party. Patti and I arrived feeling like stars. Walking the red carpet was a bit surreal, with cameras and celebrities everywhere!
Here we are at the beautiful and famous Beverly Hills Hotel, heading for the party....
Two of the models(Gina and Ashley) that attended with us, along with Melani and LauraLei.
The producer of "Night of 100 Stars", Norby Walters.
Patti poses with Brigitte Nielsen.
Jose Conseco...some things never change eh?
Lorenzo Lamas, looking fine as ever.
John Salley...he is REALLY tall.
Gary Busey, from a distance.
Florence LaRue of the legendary band, Fifth Dimension.
The friendly, Dan Lauria. He's instantly likeable, a true classic.
Another very likeable character, Richard Kind.
We saw Larry Hagman and learned later that Barbara Eden had been there too. Other people that were nearby? Well, Chevy Chase, Lou Ferrigno, Doris Roberts (of Everybody Loves Raymond), Benito Martinez, Martin Landeau, Peter Graves, Daniel Baldwin and many other familiar names. After a lovely dinner and all the champagne we could drink, we met Taylee and Kelly upstairs in the Beverly Hills bar.
I left shortly thereafter with some new friends, Melanie and LauraLei to head back to the Hilton and catch the tail end of another star-studded party; the 10th annual "Children Uniting Nations" Oscar gala.
Made it in time for the Jabberwockees to perform, WaaaY kewl!
Looks like John Salley had the same idea. Apparently, he knows where the good parties are. ;)
We said goodbye to L.A. the next morning...exhausted and full of fun memories. Thanks to everyone who helped us have a fabulous visit!
For those that are really interested in these kind of crazy things, here's an article about "Night of 100 Stars" and lots and lots of photos and interviews.