Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Press Junkets and Celebrity Benefits

So, now that I've detoured a little with reviews of Brokeback Mountain and the new Madonna CD, I guess I should get back to a more traditional blog format, huh?

OK, so, I guess the first thing I should tell you about is the Brokeback Mountain press junket. If you've been following my blog, then you know that this was my very first trip to an actual junket, so I was a little nervous going into it. I'd heard that it's impossible to get your questions in because everyone else is clammoring to get theirs in, and well, I am such a fan of the movie, I didn't want to come off like a starstruck fan fawning over the stars. But it wasn't like that.

The junket (aka "the roundtables") were held at the legendary Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills. I arrived at 9:30 a.m. and was directed to go up to room 1218, where journalists were to sign in and enjoy a complimentary breakfast buffet. (Damn, it was good, too. Waffles, eggs, bacon, potatoes... a virtual smorgasbord of goodies.) I sat around and talked to a couple other journalists who offered me some advice, and then I headed down to room 219, where I took a seat at one of the round tables (hence the name). I was kind of quiet at first as the other reporters talked and joked amongst themselves. Indeed, some of them seemed like old friends, as they'd rn into each other on numerous times at other junkets. They started telling horror stories about celebs like Joaquin Phoenix and John Cusack being really bad interview subjects, and finally--after what seemed like an eternity--Jake Gyllenhaal came into the room and took the empty chair at the table--and the questions began.

I was very surprised that the other reporters were very relaxed and gracious with each other. There was no stepping on toes. Everyone who wanted to ask a question got to do so. I even got two in. Jake was extremely well-spoken (not to mention fucking adorable as hell), and talked at length about the movie and how filming it affected him (my question), among other topics. Then, after 15 minutes, he was ushered out of the room to go to the next roundtable session in one of the other three rooms where reporters waited for him to answer many of the same questions, I'm sure. So the reporters in my room got to talking again for a long while as we waited for Ang Lee to come in and talk to us.

Finally, after about 45 minutes, Lee came in and again, we started in. This time I got three questions in, and Lee was absolutely awesome to listen to. I'm a HUGE fan of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, as well as The Wedding Banquet (another of Lee's films with a central gay theme), and after seeing Brokeback Mountain the previous night, I was in heaven being able to pick his brains on the movie-making process. What an experience. After Lee took his leave of us, I grabbed a cookie from the food table and headed on home, passing Jake in the hallway and sharing an elevator with Lee. I had half a mind to ask them if they would pose for pictures with me, but I didn't want to be "that guy." So I demured. Plus, when someone as hot as Jake Gyllenhaal is standing right next to you waiting for an elevator, you kind of clam up. LOL!

Anyway, I had a great time at the junket, and look forward to doing many more of them. I've been put on the MRPM publicity list for future screenings and junkets, so it looks like that will be happening here soon.

Now, last night I did get to have my pic taken with some bonafide celebrities, including--as you see to your right--pop singer Pink at the "star-studded" Wedrock benefit for gay marriage at the Avalon in Hollywood. I'm a huge fan of Pink's Mizzunderstood record, especially the song "Don't Let Me Get Me," and she was pretty cool to chat with briefly, though she seemed far more enamoured with actor Justin Kirk (Angels in America, Showtime's Weeds). Of course, Pink's a major stoner, so that would make sense. Haha. Others in attendance at the show included host Alan Cumming (X2), punk rock grandmother Nina Hagen, the lovely Margaret Cho, Kellie Osbourne, Bitch (of Bitch & Animal), and Erasure's Andy Bell. John Cameron Mitchell (of Hedwig and the Angry Inch), who was a co-producer of the event, was a no-show, which was a bummer, as I was very much looking forward to meeting him and seeing him perform. And Yoko Ono, who was scheduled to make an appearance, also didn't make it, though she did send a video she made for the occasion. I was backstage taking pics, though, so I missed the video.

I was such a dork and arrived "late" at 8pm, when the show was scheduled to start, but I totally missed the red carpet meet-n-greet that took place at 7:30pm. I was bummed about that. Oh well. But I did get to see most of the show, which was pretty fun. Alan Cumming started things off with some words about the importance of the "freedom to marry," then did a tongue-in-cheek number called "Don't Do It" (about a failing marriage. How's that for ironic?), then introduced Nina Hagen, who slayed with a four-song set that had the punk rock diva performing some kind of weird cabaret/opera mix that sent shivers down my spine. She was amazing. She closed her set with a rendition of "Ave Maria" that she got a little choked up on. (Literally, her voice failed her a few times toward the end.) Then she took a bow and left.

The rest of the show was OK. Margaret Cho's standup--culled from her most recent film Assassin--was on the mark ("If you're against gay marriage but laugh your ass off watching Will & Grace, fuck youuuuuuuu," she deadpanned), though Kellie Osbourne was pretty shaking as she attempted to read from a "serious" speech she had written. She stumbled through it so much that she eventually just tossed it down and spoke to the audience from her heart, at which point she seemed to relax. Pink only delivered a very short speech (no songs at all!?), Bitch did a few of her kookie songs, some cute little folksinger boy did a number (I was backstage getting pics during all this), and then Andy Bell came out and did two solo tunes followed by Erasure's "Respect" and "Oh L'amour." He was the closing act, and he was pretty damn good if you like Erasure.

Afterward, my friend Brian and I hung out for a little bit and listened to the music (courtesy of Dragstrip 66 DJ Paul V.), and I flirted with this handsome marketing dude from Dreamworks Pictures, and there were some cute guys around to look at. All in all, it was a pretty fun night, though my pics didn't turn out as well as I hoped. My digicam is a nice 6-megapixel one from Kodak, but without the proper flash, it didn't really pick up much of anything. And the ones that my friends took of me with the celebrities are out of focus or way too close up (like this one to the left of me with Nina Hagen and Andy Bell that was taken backstage). Oh well. I guess that's what you get when you have other people do your work for you, right? Haha

Anyway, I guess that's it for me this time around. Now that I've updated you on my two recent "star sightings," I guess I don't have much else to say right now. I'm still waiting to hear back from some of the magazines I sent portfolios to, and I can't stop playing the new Madonna and Kate Bush CDs, I've got a few stories I have to turn in, and tonight I'm going to see Jarhead with my buddy Mike. I'm looking forward to that one, especially now that I'm on this Jake Gyllenaal kick. Hehe. I guess this week won't be as exciting as press junkets and celebrity benefits, but oh well. I guess that's just the other side of my La-La life, right? ;)

Later for now.

Hollywood Ken


At 1:06 AM, Blogger domorey said...

Oh my Gawd, you were THAT close to Nina Hagen!!!???!!!! Did she smell like chicken soup? (Sorry, that's a timewarp...I used to have a drag queen friend who channelled Hagen from time to time and he was always smelling of Campbell's chicken soup: he detested deoderant! Long live Kitty Litter...) Anyway, Nina...I love that woman. She's so alien abductedly, vegetarianlly twisted with that voice heaven seized from hell. I have always loved her. Did she sing anything from her big band stuff? Oh, do tell. I'm surprised she still performs.


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