Wednesday, November 02, 2011

The people

One of our biggest questions about this prize trip was, what do we wear to a Hollywood premiere? Obviously the celebs dress up, but we wondered if it was required of everyone. I’ve got a couple of suits and a cheap tux, but (1) I didn’t want to haul them halfway across the country (with limited carry-on space) and have to wear them while sightseeing on Hollywood Boulevard for a few hours, and (2) even at our dressiest, we’re not going to rival the designer clothes you see on the red carpet.

We decide to dress nice, but casual. I wear black slacks and a burgundy polo shirt, while Becky wears black slacks and a colorful top that matches my shirt.

We needn’t have bothered.

When we take our seats, the front two rows of the theater are already filled, with what looks like college-age students, and they are dressed down. Over the next half-hour, the front third of the room, up to about two rows ahead of us, fills with what we come to jokingly call “the riff-raff,” very obviously members of the general public who somehow scored tickets to the premiere. And they are all casual – we see t-shirts, jeans, shorts, sneakers and sandals. We actually begin to feel a bit over-dressed!

At about 7:10, the other arrivals start coming, the ones seated in the back two-thirds of the room. They are all in nice dresses for the ladies, nice suits or tuxes for the guys. These, I presume are the red carpet arrivals.

I start trying to recognize people.

At 7:20, the first celebrity sighting, and the one that I most wanted. No, not Neal Patrick Harris (even though one of the Demand Media guys asked me to tell NPH he said he loved his TV show). No, I’m a Disney fanatic, and the only overlap between that world and the world of Harold & Kumar is comedian/actor Patton Oswalt – he was the voice of the main character, Remy, in Ratatouille, and appears briefly in this movie as a mall Santa who is Kumar’s (holiday-themed) drug connection.

The well-dressed people continue pouring in, and few of them actually sit – they gather in clumps, greet and hug, then re-clump, re-greet and re-hug. It’s a big social gathering for them.

As I’ve said, we’re almost at the front of the well-dressed section, and just behind the “riff-raff.” We realized that our “nice casual” clothes are perfect for our location in the theater – right between the two groups!

Okay, about seeing more celebrities. I’d like to, but two things hinder me. First, they are coming in at the back of the theater, so watching for them involves staying turned around and staring. Enough people have started sitting down that it’s just a bit awkward, because you’re looking back at people you don’t know who are seated facing you.

But the biggest obstacle is this: I quickly come to realized that the vast majority of these Hollywood types, dressed up like this, well… they all look alike. I find myself seeing these handsome young men and beautiful young ladies and thinking to myself, “I think I’ve seen him/her in something… or maybe not…”

In the end, I don’t spot anyone else I definitively recognize before the movie starts.

At 7:30, the supposed start time, the theater is only about 2/3 full, with lots of socializing going on. No sweat – we really did not expect it to begin on time.

When 7:45 rolls around, the back 2/3 of the theater is filled with the well-dressed types, about half of whom are sitting, and the other half are clumping / greeting / hugging. The theater lights dim on and off a few times to signal the start of the film, and… nothing happens. The socialites continue their socializing unabated.

A minute or so later, the lights flick off and on again. Still the Hollywood types continue their social hour.

Finally the curtain parts, the lights dim, and the movie starts, with a good portion of the crowd still on their feet gabbing. Apparently, that is the only signal that works for them, and they quickly quiet down -- and then spend a few minutes bumping into each other as they grope for their assigned seats in the dark.

It’s showtime!

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