Braving Brooklyn

Last Thursday night at the Cine Magic Riverfront StudiosSamsung celebrated the launch of Milk Music’s new streaming music service and partnership with ADD52. Signing up for the event, I didn’t really know what to expect. All that I was told about it was that the event would feature a showcase of musical performances by up-and-coming artists through the ADD52 program and an exciting A-list headlining performance. One of my bosses informed me that Passion Pit was rumored to play but I had no way of knowing for sure. Either way, I was excited to check it out!

image001The invite

Getting to the event was a bit stressful because I left my apartment 20 minutes before the event was set to begin only to realize that it was being held in Brooklyn. On my way there I considered turning around and going home because as we crossed over the bridge into Brooklyn things began to look a little sketchy. I thought I was in the wrong place until we pulled up to a building with a slew of people outside and flashing blue, pink, green and yellow lights. I checked in with the press, was given a wrist band and walked on in. I was pretty nervous because I had no idea what to expect. To enter I walked under a light up circle entrance which then led me into a room that resembled a basketball court, with gratified walls and headphone stations. My first thought was, holy shit I am really in Brooklyn now. It was one of those ‘Toto, I’ve got a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore’ moments.

photo 2As I continued farther down the room I eventually ended up in a huge warehouse-like space that housed a stage, two open bars, more headphone stations, and servers with champagne and appetizers. I watched three performances by Tayyib Ali, 3D Na’Tee, and Love Dollhouse and I promise I didn’t just make up those names, they are real believe it or not. They all are ADD52 artists who Russell Simmons has taken under his wing. His publicist described them to me as his “babies”. They were interesting performances to say the least. My favorite was 3D Na’Tee’s, though she was a little hardcore, but I mean after all she is a rapper. I got to meet Russell Simmons and take a picture of him for Guest of a Guest’s website. He was very friendly and animated. He reminded me of a nice, hip, not ready to be a grandpa, but still a grandpa, kind of guy. photo 3Russell Simmons

Out of no where a group of drummers came marching into the room singing and dancing and drumming up a storm. They opened up a side of the wall that turned into an enormous door and had everyone follow them outside. We were led down a winding path, lined with huge colorful balls of light, and then into another gigantic open studio room. Inside there was a big stage with bright lights flashing everywhere, a huge open bar with a beautiful view of the city all lit up, and a roped off VIP section.

photo 5photo 6Russell Simmons and Steve Rifkind made a short speech on stage before releasing the never before seen commercial for Milk Music’s ad-free radio service. Then Niykee Heaton kicked off the performances with her single “Bad Intentions“. I had no idea who she was or that she was known, but I quickly learned that every guy knew her and loved her, even the guy who I wanted to love me.

photo 10Niykee Heaton

For her next song she brought a rapper on stage to sing with her. I knew he must have been famous because the crowd went crazy but I didn’t know who he was because I’m not good at identifying rappers by their faces, I only know their music. He went on to sing a few songs by himself, but because he was singing songs like “Mercy” and “I Don’t Like”, that I know Kanye West sing, I couldn’t figure out who he was and I wasn’t even sure if he was famous anymore.

photo 13Turns out, this mysterious rapper was indeed famous and he was actually Pusha T. When I discovered it later that night while lying in bed I felt really stupid. It makes sense though because he is featured in all those songs, just not the main rapper. 

I had a similar experience when the next artist came on stage. The first song he sang was “Simple Things“, which I am currently obsessed with, but I thought that because he wasn’t introduced and I wasn’t told Miguel would be at the event, that it couldn’t really be Miguel. When he went on to play “Adorn” I freaked out and immediately pulled out my phone to Google search Miguel. When the images loaded I found myself looking at a picture of the man standing six feet in front of me. I’m a huge Miguel fan so the fact that I was watching a surprise performance by him seemed unreal.

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Miguel

It was very upsetting when Miguel left the stage, and my secret crush (that was standing next to me) left to go to the bar. Everything was made better though when Passion Pit entered the stage.

I had a front row view of Passion Pit’s performance. I had some how weaseled my way up to the front of the stage. They were great in concert but, at the time, my mind was elsewhere. I was scanning the room looking for the group of 6’foot tall guys who all looked like beautiful models.

photo 29photo 26Passion Pit

I still can’t understand it but for some odd reason, at the time, I thought it would be a good idea to leave 20 minutes early. Turns out it wasn’t a good idea because all I did was leave to go home and get in bed which was way less exciting than listening to Passion Pit. Also, it turns out that my crush looked like a model because he is a model. Also missed out on that one. So, I have a few regrets from the night but I cannot complain because overall it an awesome night!

NG

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Movie Premiere Hopping: From MEENA to Tammy In One Night

After two nights in a row of covering events I was a little tired and was ready for a quiet night in. Unfortunately, in the heat of the moment I had signed up for the movie premiere of ‘Meena’, Lucy Liu‘s directorial debut film. Meena is a short film that deals with child trafficking in India and this premiere screening was held to raise awareness for UNICEF’s child protection programs worldwide*.

I desperately tried to get out of attending the event because sitting on my couch, in pajamas, with a bottle of wine and some of my pantries finest offerings sounded much better. I emailed.  I texted. Nothing happened. I watched the clock as it grew closer to the time of the premiere. Eventually, I gave up hoping for someone to take my place and threw on some clothes to head out for the movie theater.

As I stood in line with the press and photographers I vaguely overheard someone mention something about the movie Tammy. I instantly perked up because Tammy was filmed at my house last summer and I had been dying to see the movie. I got to hang out with the entire cast and crew for three weeks while they took over my house and transformed it into Lenore’s lake house.

I was then informed that Tammy was premiering in New York City, and not only was it just premiering in the city, but it was premiering that night in a few hours!! Obviously I freaked out because all that I had been wanting to do this summer was go to the premiere but I didn’t think they were having one. I emailed and texted producers, directors, and the event coordinator to no avail.

photo 7Lucy Liu and Zac Posen

From then on out it was hard to stay focused and interested in the Meena premiere because all I could think about was Tammy. I took over 300 pictures of the cast and crew, 20 of which actually came out decent, and interviewed Lucy Liu. Once my work was done I flew out of the movie theater in the direction of the Tammy premiere movie theater. I was that obnoxious New Yorker power walking down the street barely skirting by everyone in my way, and I swear everyone was walking at a snails pace that day.

My plan was to just show up to the movie theater and charm my way in. I strutted up to the sign in table and gave my spiel about how the movie was filmed at my house and how I know Chris Bromley and Rob Cowan and all the other crew members. The two woman working the desk looked at me then looked at each other and finally one of them spoke and said, “She dropped waay to many names to not be legitimate” and so that is how I got in!

I called my roommate Callie and told her to quickly get on the next downtown train to Sunshine Cinema, which is practically on the opposite side of the world in relation to where we live.

photo 2I waited in a crowded room outside the movie theater for Susan Sarandon, Melissa McCarthy, Ben Falcone, and Toni Collette to arrive. I mingled and chatted with the people around me and we talked about how excited we were to see the film. Not blurting out to everyone that they filmed the movie at my house took an extreme amount of will power.

The room was very crowded but I had found one little open spot near an elevator. All of a sudden the elevator doors opened and out walked Melissa McCarthy and her husband Ben Falcone! Melissa had taken half a step into the bustling room when she immediately made eye contact with me and dropped her jaw in excitement and surprise. SHE RECOGNIZED ME! HOLY SHIT, I’M JUST ME, LITTLE OLD ME. HOW DOES SHE REMEMBER WHO I AM SHE’S MET SO MANY PEOPLE! AND THIS ROOM IS SO CROWDED BUT SHE SPOTTED ME. WHAT?!?! That was approximately what was running through my head.

As she walked farther into the room she said to me, something along the lines of, “Oh my god hi I didn’t know you were going to be here!!” Then Ben Falcone passed me and had a very similar reaction. Everyone in the room was looking at me like, “who the hell is this girl?!” Melissa’s first big entrance into the premiere of her movie was her saying hello to me. That, right there, isn’t real life. No way.

photo 3Callie finally arrived and waited along the side lines with me for Melissa and Ben to finish their press interviews. All the while, Callie was freaking out that she was going to meet Melissa and I was freaking out that I had swung this seemingly impossible act.

Once Melissa and Ben were done with their interviews Ben came up to me and gave me a big hug hello. I told him about my crazy unexpected journey to the premiere and he told me how awesome my house looked in the movie. Then Melissa came up and she said hi and we talked for a little. It was unreal. Callie was absolutely star struck and I was floating on cloud nine. 

A bodyguard then came through and began to usher Melissa and Ben into the theater because the movie was about to begin. We hadn’t finished our conversation though so Melissa yelled over the crowd to me, “Is your mom here?! Tell her I say hello!!” and then Ben yelled “Please tell your whole family we say hello!!” Now EVERYONE was staring at me and I was grinning like an idiot from ear to ear. It was honestly one of the coolest, greatest moments.

Callie and I took our seats and I was just bursting with excitement. I had been waiting over a year for this moment! Not only was I getting to finally see the movie, but I had some how, by complete chance, made it to the NYC premiere!!

Last summer, while they were filming in Wilmington, NC my family and I were invited to watch them shoot around town in all the different locations. I had seen a lot of the scenes piece by piece and knew a lot of the background info so I filled Callie in on what was filmed in Wilmington, how many takes each scene took, and how hard it was to keep from laughing at specific scenes while on set.

photo 8The first glimpse of my house!

In the movie, when Tammy and her grandmother Pearl arrived at Lenore’s lake house and a shot of my house was projected across the massive screen I squirmed in my seat with excitement. I SO badly wanted to scream out, “that’s my house!!”, but I thought maybe it would be better if I kept quiet because Melissa and Ben would have definitely known who said it.

photo 4Spoiler alert: the deck Tammy is walking across is actually a fake dance floor over the shallow end of my pool

My house is the 4th of July lesbian party scene and not only do you get to see my house in the movie but you get to see me and my sister!  When Tammy and Bobby are talking outside on the lawn if you glance to the left side of the screen you will see me in a waiter outfit pouring glasses of wine. My big movie debut, I’ve made it! You see me for all of three seconds, but hey three seconds is better than no seconds!

Once the movie ended Callie and I headed to the private after party! It was held at a very low key bar that was serving delicious appetizers and drinks. I managed to sneak my way past the bodyguard and get into the private section where Melissa, Ben, Toni Collette, Susan Sarandon, and all their family and friends were. Callie didn’t get so lucky though, she got caught. The man wouldn’t let her in but I was on a high and I was determined to get her in with me. Confidence is key my friends. I was so confident when talking with this man that he finally let Callie go so that we could both say hi to Melissa again.

We got Melissa’s attention and talked to her some more about the movie and the house. She is one of the most down to earth people I have ever met. Both her and Ben are two of the nicest people. It’s funny because you hear celebrities talk about how they don’t feel famous and how they are just normal people and I can totally see that Melissa is exactly like that. At the end of the day they are just regular people, like you and I.

Callie desperately wanted a picture with Melissa, as did I, so I came up with a clever plan to get our picture without looking like dumb fans in the private party, aka “no fans”, section. I told her that my mom wanted to be here so badly and that she was so jealous and what not. I also slipped in there that we should take a picture to send to her! Melissa loved the idea and the three of us took a picture, where Melissa is waving to my mom.

photo 5This night was one for the books. When I think about all that happened I can’t help but ask myself, what is my life? I feel like sometimes I’m living in a movie because, really, stuff like this isn’t supposed to happen in real life. I’ll very, very gladly take it though!

NG

Events of the Rich & Not Famous

Last Tuesday I thought I was going to be going to the best, absolute coolest event for work. It was Bvlgari’s celebration of 130 years and I eagerly signed up for it expecting celebrities galore. Well what I got was cool but was more like a bunch of rich people. Turns out the private party was only for Bvlgari VIP members, and that doesn’t include celebrities. It was extremely cool to be in the closed off store with music, free champagne, and appetizers but I had such high hopes of seeing famous people that I was kind of bummed.

Just about every other intern that I work with has been to an event with celebrities, but some how I keep picking all the events with a bunch of rich people and no celebrities anywhere.

photo 1

At this event I sort of just walked around the room awkwardly because I had no one to hang with and everyone was busy chatting with their friends. I think I confused people because they were probably thinking who is this young girl and why is she here alone? That was another thing, I was clearly the youngest person in the room, which I hated. I think the water here in NY makes you look older because I swear, even some of the kids that I know who are still in high school look older than me. What is the deal with that?! So I grabbed a glass of champagne to show people that I wasn’t 12 years old. To be honest though, I really just wanted a glass of champagne and in my head that was a good excuse.

photo 4

It was the first time I had even been in the store and I must say it was extremely beautiful, and also that I’ll probably never go back in because I don’t have that kind of mula to spend. There were vases of white flowers on the display cases, thousands of dollars worth of gorgeous diamonds behind glass and soothing jazz music in the background. I made the best of my some what awkward situation by taking in all of my surroundings and people watching. Oh boy, was people watching fun.

The best person to watch was the one older woman, probably in her late 60s or so, who had so much plastic surgery that she could hardly move her face. Her face was tighter than my skinniest skinny jeans, her lips gave her a not-so-flattering Donald Duck look, and her boobs were so large and fake that I thought if I came too close and bumped into her one would pop. Of course I asked her if she wanted me to take her picture because I knew I’d have to share the sight with my friends and family. I will not post the picture on here for privacy purposes but just know it’s a great pic.

photo 2

After an hour, and 200 pictures, I left the store and walked home and met up with Chelsea and Shannon, my roommates, who were in the area. I walked along the park for two miles until I made it back to my apartment. One of my favorite things about New York is all the walking that I do. It’s a good little work out that keeps me entertained the whole way.

As Chelsea and I walked in the apartment the strangest thing happened. Tulus, one of the doormen, stopped me dead in my tracks. He handed me his hat and said, “wear it, all the girls love it!”. Strange, I know… So I hesitantly put the hat on and tried very hard to hide my look of befuddlement, as Chelsea laughed her ass off. At that exact time more people than I have ever seen walked into the apartment, as I stood by the front door in my fancy black dress and doorman hat. I jokingly welcomed people to the apartment, but not all of them thought it was as funny as Chelsea and I thought it was.

photo 5photo 6

Do you think I can pull off the doorman look?

Tulus came back from greeting everyone and went on a rampage about how the daughter of the Discovery channel loves to wear his hat and what not. He insisted that we take a picture together and when Chelsea’s phone died he excitedly suggested we use my big Canon camera, that happened to be draped over my shoulder. The elevator man, our friend Astrit, must have heard the commotion by the door and he came by to see what was going on. Then he too pulled out his cell phone and started taking pictures of Tulus and I.

After our short photo shoot Chelsea and I went up to the room and died of laughter as soon as we were in the privacy of our home.

NG