Part of The Experience: The Los Angeles Premiere of Catching Fire
Being separated from my iPhone is proving to be a specific kind of anxiety I’ve never experienced before in my life. Thus is the rule however: When you attend a studio sponsored premiere of a major motion picture that’s touted to be one of the biggest box office draws of the year, you’re required to check your phone at a security check point, or entrust it to the confines of the walls of a friends over priced hotel room. The JW Marriott in downtown Los Angeles, California is enormous with over 20 stories of height to its name, it’s also painfully modern, with an ample use of glass and steel in its inner and outer design scheme, and its shiny cream-colored floors, and sumptuous carpets lining its corridors scream, “luxury! Luxury! Luxury!”, and just because my butter yellow iPhone 5c was being housed there for over three hours, luxurious amenities included or not are not making my anxiety any less great.
This is how I spend most of the evening, in a near constant state of anxiety, fear, and of course tempered excitement. Movie premieres are an everyday occurrence in Los Angeles, but I do not live in Los Angeles, and therefore movie premieres are not an everyday thing, or nuisance according to locals, to me. Yes, because god forbid they have to walk around the block to get to the Staples Center, and not cut across the plaza directly outside The Nokia Theater. Walking seemingly to the average Los Angeleno, at least from what I’ve gleaned, is about as pleasant as getting a bikini wax. And considering the amount of swimming pools in the metro area, a lot of bikini waxes are experienced on a daily basis in greater Los Angeles.
LA Live is buzzing, the plaza that so many wish was open for
cutting across to the sporting arena, is laden with red carpeting, cameras, screaming fans, famous, and also famous-ish people, and lots and lots of industry professionals that only deal with the behind the scenes. Almost the entire expanse of the plaza is blocked off by barricades, except to one side where sleek black town cars drop off a staggering stream of actors, actresses, and sometimes singers. The air is charged, and the never smiling guards all in black, holding their ever-present walkie-talkies, surround the area and act as an odd blanket to the atmosphere. I am allowed nowhere near the inside of this activity heavy place, I am not special enough, I am an out-of-towner who writes for a fan blog.
Eating and drinking is just something that’s not going to happen apparently, I came to this conclusion twice today: Once when the makeup artist I had paint my face earlier that day didn’t secure my stark red lipstick with the layering methodology I knew would ensure its not being mussed by anything short of a nuclear attack, and now. I’m sitting in Wolfgang Puck’s with nine other people, and I can’t seem to get the waiter’s attention to give me a much-needed straw so I can attempt to sip at the likely room temperature tap water he plunked down in front of each of us, once he realized that the lot of us were not ordering dinner, but finger food, or nothing at all– like me, because food smears unsecured lipstick. I totally get why he could care less about treating me like I exist, because I’m not obligated to tip him– straw or not. I want to get out of this restaurant, it’s loud, actually all the restaurants I’ve been to over the last three days have been loud, either the music is blasting right on the unfortunate edge of the need to shout almost everything you say to the person next to you, across from you, or standing behind you as they take your over priced order of humus and pita bread, or everyone has decided that that’s the night to have the loudest conversations they’ve ever had ever. Nope, it’s the music’s fault.
Walking in six-inch heels is not as easy as it sounds. Wait, it doesn’t sound easy, does it? ‘Cause if it does the world is likely ending, or worse. Rephrase, walking in six-inch heels with ankle straps that are too tight, and rubbing your skin raw— is difficult. The majority of the group I am with have walked the length and breadth of most of LA Live three times in the last two hours, and no, we have not been seated inside the theater yet, that’s next on the agenda. The night has taught me many things and most of them are things I never wanted to learn, like that stairs are evil when you’re traversing them in six-inch heels, because this is just something you never have to think about when you spend majority of your time in nothing that resembles six-inch heels. Stairs are even more evil when studio executives are probably walking behind you, and talent from the film are meandering in from the Red Carpet after grabbing a complimentary Dasani from one of the many concession stands inside the lobby of the theater. My anxiety only increases after I’ve found my seat in row H in the orchestra section though, especially when I see Alan Ritchson walking up the aisle, greeting people he knows with his impossibly white smile, and helping his heavily pregnant wife into a seat three rows or so behind mine. I try not to look around me like a Meerkat, because people watching at a Hollywood movie premiere is like shooting fish in a barrel, and my eyes keep wanting to fall on people like Matt Damon, who I heard is in the vicinity, and Donald Sutherland– who I know is. I refrain from craning my neck around, and restrict myself to only looking to my left, my right, and to the front of me. My friends have no qualms about looking around like hungry children standing in front of a sweet shop window though, and when one of them declares that Bruno Gunn is seating himself a few rows behind us, I break my promise to myself and glimpse him for a brief moment, I quickly turn back and force myself to focus on the Yahoo! Livestream showing on the massive screen 8 rows in front of me, because it feels like I’m spying. There is nothing normal about this entire experience, and odder still is that a year and a half before I was in the same building one level up, my eyes taking in the blur of colors that was the talent, the executives, and the family and friends of those involved or half involved with the film, below me. A year and a half before we were seated in the Screaming Section, this year we’re 20 feet from the actress cast as Annie Cresta, and the fictional president of Panem. When the head of Lionsgate finally takes the stage, I’m ready to burst.
That’s all for now folks! Hope you liked my experimental style with this one. I am actually a fiction writer at heart, and this is what’s lovingly referred to as– Creative Non-fiction.
Them There Eyes
Posted on November 22, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Alan Ritchson, Annie Cresta, Bruno Gunn, Donald Sutherland, LA Live, Lionsgate, Los Angeles, Matt Damon, Panem, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Nokia Theater, Yahoo!. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.