But I'm getting ahead of myself. This week, I found myself in the enviable position of being invited to TWO simultaneous red carpet events. The fact that this largess has nothing to do with my own accomplishments (Donna WHO?) is one of the many ironies of spending a life in the shadow of Hollywood.
(NOTE: I will eventually get to the part where I talk about the Jonas Brothers and their first headlining concert film. But this is my blog, and you're gonna have to read what I have to say about ME first.)
However, here's a little taste of what I saw on Tuesday night:
The reason for all the celebrity treatment is the current wave of marketers who have discovered that moms who blog are a great conduit for getting the word out about their products. It's the reason I was able to attend a similar celebrity-studded event for last fall's premiere of The Women (courtesy of the folks who make Dove shampoo)... and it's why so many average moms found themselves hobnobbing with the rich and famous on Tuesday.
The first event -- the one I did not attend -- was for the premiere of a A Woman's World: a series of animated webisodes about four female friends who talk about love and life... and bloggers from all over the country were flown out for the occasion to Los Angeles, where they were treated to a party also attended by the likes of Brooke Burke and Mel B.
Yes, the series DOES sound like Sex and the City... and from the online trailer, it appears to be bit like that, although with a lot less sex. I don't know, because it doesn't actually premiere for another couple of days. The sponsor of A Woman's World is Frito-Lay -- and I'm unsure how the webisodes are going to help them sell more baked Lays and Flat Earth snacks... but as someone who is interested in how traditional companies are learning to use new media, I will definitely be checking it out.
The premiere I did attend was also courtesy of a major food company: Kraft Singles, a sponsor of Disney's Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience.
I have to confess that my knowledge of the Jonas Brothers and their body of work is rather limited. Didn't they just spring onto the scene like, yesterday? I knew they were red hot (and the favorite musical act of Malia and Sasha Obama). I saw them on the Grammys and caught their recent appearance on SNL, which was impressive because they did sketch comedy and held their own with host Alec Baldwin.
"They're the real deal," said my friend Mary Ellen, who got to meet the band last year when they appeared on the show she works on. "But the screaming is like the second coming of the Beatles. Are you sure you want to do this?"
Mary Ellen and her nine-year-old daughter were my guests at the premiere, because my own daughter is turning 13 in a month and is abandoning childish things. And I guess in her eyes, a musical act that is associated so closely with the Walt Disney Company qualifies as "childish."
Of course, we will say nothing about the maturity level of a 52-year-old woman who takes a stunt kid to a Disney event so she can write about the experience. Yes, I wanted to do this. I thought it would be FUN.
The folks representing Kraft could not have been nicer. They emailed me on Sunday to ask if Mary Ellen and Madalyn wanted to sit on the floor near the Jonas Brothers (adults were being relegated to the balcony). That's when I realized they thought I was bringing TWO little girls, not one. I did nothing to correct their impression -- but did insist that all three of us would be sitting together on top.
We were told that the red carpet would "open" at 4:30. With L.A. traffic being what it is, we decided to get to Hollywood that early to be on the safe side. I started tweeting that I was getting ready for this around 3:00. I heard back from people in Hollywood that the street in front of the theater was already mobbed and had been that way for hours.
Will Call opened at 5:00, but the movie was not scheduled to start until 6:30. I remembered that at The Women premiere, people with tickets were not allowed to linger and gawk at the stars arriving beside us. Instead, we were all herded into the theater and made to wait.
With so much time to kill, we decided to grab a quick dinner in one of the restaurants in the Hollywood & Highland shopping complex, across the street from the El Capitan theater. (Yes, this is also the home of the Kodak Theater, where the Oscars were held on Sunday.)
Kraft had helpfully provided me with a coupon for free singles and a five dollar bill to buy bread, so we could indulge in some grilled cheese sandwiches before we got to the premiere. I have to confess that after my radical, low-calorie, low-fat, low-carb diet -- grilled cheese is one of those guilty pleasures I don't get to indulge in much these days. I like the stuff a little bit TOO MUCH. I passed the coupon on to Mary Ellen and ordered a sensible salad. However, Kraft might be interested in hearing that the very trendy Edison night club has been serving grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup to its patrons for "Soup Kitchen Fridays," its homage to Depression-era partying... so I think the grilled cheese sandwich dinner is definitely part of the nation's current zeitgeist.
I was aware of only one other blogging friend attending the Jonas Brothers premiere: the beautiful and Momfluential Ciaran -- who also happened to be my red carpet buddy in October for The Women. She tweeted me that she and her girls had arrived at the theater, and I told her to meet us at the restaurant.
"I think I need a cocktail before I face a theater full of screaming kids," I said.
"I'll be right there," she replied (rather quickly, I thought).
Ciaran confirmed that the scene at the theater was CRAZY. The energy of the crowd was wild and the noise level -- as I could hear over the phone - was out of control... especially when you consider that no stars had yet arrived.
I had two cocktails with dinner. (Please do not point out how inconsistent I am in that I avoided the carbs in a grilled cheese sandwich, yet indulged in a second cocktail. If you had heard the noise emanating from outside that theater, you'd have done the same.)
It was nearly 6:00 before we actually had to wade through the crowd to get to the theater, and I was beginning to worry that we wouldn't reach the Will Call tables. You saw the beginning of that journey on the video at the top of this post. That's all I've got, because the batteries in my Flip died after we crossed the street and security wouldn't let me stop and put new ones in. So I don't have close-up clips of the crowd at the edge of the carpet (which turned out to be purple instead of red - I don't know why!). Nor do I have shots of the Disney stars who were signing autographs... or of Dancing with the Stars judge Carrie Ann Inaba, who seemed happy to see Mary Ellen there (if not a little surprised).
And there were no additional photo opportunities because we had to give up all of our cameras before entering the theater, which should not have surprised me. I was more surprised back in October at The Women premiere, because they DIDN'T take that step, and we were allowed to shoot as many photos as we wanted of the stars inside. (I guess it's a lot different when the stars are cute young hotties instead of middle-aged women. )
When we got up to our seats inside the El Capitan theater, I felt guilty all over again that Madalyn was stuck in the balcony with us. Down on the floor, two Radio Disney deejays vamped for the crowd while we all waited for the Jonas Brothers to arrive and the movie to start. They played games and threw out prizes like t-shirts. Ciaran's two girls were seated in the fourth row, and while they did not win any prizes, they did manage to get autographs of several Disney Channel celebrities.
But hey -- we had our own share of celebrities, even up in the nosebleed section of the balcony. Carrie Ann was seated just two rows in front of us. And dancer Mark Ballas was a couple of rows behind us. (Mary Ellen said hello to him, too.)
During all of this, the scene from the front of the theater was being projected onto the screen. We could see the band arrive, and the screaming inside the room started to match the noise from outside. I marveled at how much time the three young men were taking to sign autographs and talk to their fans. They were there... but it was still going to be a while before the movie would start.
FINALLY... the Jonas Brothers (and their Camp Rock co-star Demi Lovato) were in the house. The noise crescendoed into high gear, which made me laugh. (I knew what I was doing when I ordered that second cocktail.) After a short intro, the young stars took their seats and the movie began.
What can I say about the film? After all, it's a concert movie, which means it's probably of little interest to anyone who isn't a fan of the band. But some are done better than others, and the 3D effects make it a lot of fun. While this one isn't in the same class as The Last Waltz, director Bruce Hendricks did a professional job of keeping the show moving. Some of the non-musical moments might be staged, but they were staged well (and I loved the beginning, which echoed the frantic opening of It's a Hard Day's Night, one of the seminal films of my generation)...
...which brings us back to the Beatles. Yeah, there were lots of young girls making loud, high-pitched noises during the Jonas Brothers movie, and there were certainly a lot of them shown during the concert sequences. But if you happen to pick up a copy of The Beatles at the Hollywood Bowl, you'd notice that the screaming almost drowns out the sound of the Fab Four's music. I suppose sound technology today is better (we can amplify the music a lot louder without distortion)... but as talented as the Jonas Brothers are, I don't think they will be surpassing the reputations of Lennon, McCartney, Harrison and Starr... at least, not anytime soon.
At least, we think it is. Mary Ellen insists that these guys spend all their time on their tour bus signing autographs... and it costs money (in materials and labor) to insert photos into plastic sleeves - why do it if the autographs are not real?
But Ciaran picked up three of them and she says they are all identical, even to where there are smudges.
I heard a piece on NPR yesterday about the value of Presidential autographs (and how difficult it is to verify authenticity, as many are signed by assistants or even machines). I was going to give this away in a drawing, but have withdrawn that part of the post since I cannot confirm if the autographs are real.