I was up at the crack of dawn for Oprah Fridays Live two days back as they were broadcasting from Central Park. One of my closest friend's best friend works on the show, thus the invite. It's not like Oprah Winfrey knows who I am. I knew Mariah Carey would appear as guest but otherwise I went in to the event blind. I feared leaving deaf, memories of Mariah's ear-shattering top notes vaguely worrying me. I've never understood the appeal of that girlwoman and her butterfly / charm bracelet /sweet sweet fantasy / glitter world (is she 12? seriously) but the excitement about attending a live televised event was plenty to get me going and mimicking fandom during the "applaud now" moments. I ended up four rows back on the left side of the stage, with a great view of the Great Machine-like proceedings. Let's just say that Oprah's show is exceedingly well oiled.
Turns out going to a live taping is a long process: arrived at 6:45 AM, queued up, waited, ushered into holding area at 7:45, waited, seated by 8:30, waited, waited, at 9:30 came the crowd warm-up which largely consisted of a very chipper woman barking jovial orders at us. The live broadcast began at 10 AM. The highlight of the pre-show was a song and dance performance from a pack of four guys ("Mariah's BIGGEST fans") from Missouri who had been flown in by fairy godmother Oprah to see their idol. If you saw Oprah on Friday, two of the boys were invited up on the stage during the actual show when Oprah dropped yet more fairy dust on them: they would be appearing in Mariah's next video (understandably, they went berserk) and Oprah would also be flying them to Vegas for a concert. The Big O doesn't fool around with the gift-giving once she's become aware of your existence.
The highlight for me?
The show had just begun and Oprah was relaying the wonders of New York City: Central Park, shopping, Broadway. Suddenly there's orgiastic crowd squeals to my left and my head spins to see DANIEL CRAIG and HUGH JACKMAN --or as Oprah would say "Huu-ooOOO-oo JahckmnN'!" Yes, her voice is just as affected in real life -- who are mere yards away from me. They were walking swiftly together towards the stage. It was a total mindfuck blur of starpower. I'm sure I swallowed flies my jaw was so loose. Only four or five women blocked my ability to leap at the dream duo. For that I thank and curse them.
Other guests on the show were Mayor Bloomberg, Nick Cannon (who seemed more like Mariah's hyper fan than her husband although that's kind of cool. Maybe he's as trapped in his tween years as Mariah herself?) and Regis Philbin and Kelly Ripa. In the audience, receiving much love from the stage, were Lee Daniels (the writer/director of Precious), the author of Oprah's new book club selection "Say You're One Of Them" and Oprah's gal Gayle King.
Oscar watchers should note that during the show I experienced a film-experience-familiar horror as Oprah raved about Mariah's "glammed down performance" in Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire. Mariah, already campaigning for a supporting actress nomination, delusionally suggested that the makeup people were adding bags and dark circles under her eyes and even gave her a moustache. In no way shape or form does she look like that (!) was the gist of her self promotion. Methinks the woman has been famous too long.
I ask you with all sincerity, which is more real:
- a 40 year old woman without glamour makeup under flourescent lighting or...
- a woman surrounded 24/7 by a team of makeup artists, wardrobe personnel, key lights and photoshop airbrush expert whose job it is to make her look 18?
Mariah doing the foreigner hit "I Wanna Know What Love Is"
There's more to say but I could ramble for hours...
Once we were off air, Oprah thanked the crowd quite graciously before we filed out. Her final exit, waving to the crowd with her arm literally and awkwardly raised up behind her, never turning back around to look at us, made me laugh. It totally reminded of that choice revealing bit in Madonna's Truth or Dare where her childhood friend says "I love you Madonna" as they part. Madonna, slipping around the corner and out of the camera shot, never looks back. Her offscreen voice dismisses the woman with a rote "I love you, too."
The rich and famous have no time for you!
Attended the Lance Horne show at Joe's Pub. The singer/songwriter is well loved by the Broadway crowd and Cheyenne Jackson, comedienne Lea Delaria (beautiful jazz voice. Get her CDs) and Michael Urie (Ugly Betty), among several others, were on hand to sing his songs. Alan Cumming (left, with Lance) was on stage the most singing about his recent marriage to his boyfriend as well as doing a funny duet with Cheyenne about condoms. The singer/actor/writer/cologne salesman / Nightcrawler will add recording artist to his resume next week when his CD is released.
The semi-famous were all on stage, except for N'Syncer Lance Bass, who was just a member of the audience. He walked right by us, some new arm candy hanging about him, to take a seat at a reserved table.
Watched Sienna Miller (G.I. Joe) and Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting's "Sick Boy" and television's Eli Stone) perform After Miss Julie on Broadway. For what it's worth Sienna plays sexually charged unravelling sanity woman fairly well. Who knew?
But their celebrity kept getting in the way for me. During every slow moment in the Strindbergh inspired production (and there were a few... it's curiously paced) I kept thinking that Jude Law, Sienna's on again/off again ex, was performing Hamlet in a nearby theater and I wanted to be there. At one point in the climax of the production, Jonny's face was smeared with blood. I could only think of Angelina Jolie and how she used to write his name on her shirt in blood back in the mid-90s. Don't you miss crazy goth Angie?
<--- Finally, all I could think of was Jonny and Jude snogging and I began wondering if they're still close? Sometimes it seems like the famous are so inbred, everyone dating, befriending and otherwise smearing their DNA on everyone else who happens to be famous.
I'm paying for all of this excitement. Totally sick... again (I hate you, flu!) so I guess I'm staying in to watch the EMMYS.
How was your weekend? Which celebs were involved in your activities be it on tv, screen or live?