An Expected Journey

So, last week Cadsy, Sam and I went off to LA for the TORn Hobbit Oscar Party. It might seem a little bonkers to fly out on Thursday and back on Monday, but we attended the Two Towers and Return of the King parties, as well as the UK premiere of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, so we thought we’d head over.

We landed in LA early Thursday evening local time (early morning UK time) and after a winding journey to the hotel had a quick meal and then bed.

I got up early and did a quick session in the hotel gym on Friday morning then we headed downtown to the FIDM costume exhibit. Ah, the luxury of sitting outside in short sleeves after the wintry weather we’d been experiencing in the UK. After an hour or so there we headed over to the Farmer’s Market and the Grove, breaking up the shopping with a meal at the Cheesecake Factory (yes we had cheesecake). We also headed over to the Beverly Center to stop by Bath and Bodyworks, though they had discontinued the fragrance I wanted and were only selling it online (boo), then back to the hotel to drop off out purchases and head out to the California Pizza Kitchen (where I was the only one who ordered pizza).

Saturday and it was up early and another gym session before heading out to Warner Brothers for the VIP studio tour. Unlike on Friday when we had got around perfectly well (if a little slowly) using public transport, now we were are the mercy of cabs. I have a prius, I know how they work, so I can confidently say that the way the prius cabs were driven that they weren’t saving any fuel or emissions and I now know why there are so many body repair shops in LA (also not a single cab driver knew where anything was, we had to give them the whole address). We survived the cab trip and made it to the studios with enough time to have a leisurely stroll around the store before our tour guide Jeremy arrived. We’ve all done the tour before, but it’s been a few years so it was good to catch up on what’s been filmed and where. The Big Bang Theory stage was closed to visitors but we did get to see a lot of external Suburgatory sets, the Central Perk interior set and Conan O’Brien’s chat show set along with some cars, some costumes, props and so on, with a LOT of detail from Jeremy. After some shopping (I got a Big Bang Theory hoodie – so soft, and an Ellen t-shirt – I liked the sentiment) it was another cab down to the Egyptian theater (no, the cab driver didn’t know where that was either) to queue for an hour and a half for a free talk by the Production Design Oscar nominees. It was a good talk, but there were 5 nominees who each talked about their film for around 20 minutes with an extra 20 minutes of Q&A at the end, so by the time we got out it was almost 18:00 and we hadn’t had any lunch, so it was back to CPK for a quick bite as we were off out in the evening. The others had a quick nap when we got back to the hotel after dinner, but I got up to date with the internet and watched a couple of videos before we had to get ready and head out again. This time it was to Hotel Cafe for a gig by Beecake. Once again the cab driver had to have the full address, and seemed reluctant to let us out when we got there (there were signs in the windows advising that working girls would be moved on), but the entrance to the venue was down an alleyway and round the back by a parking garage. We got in nice and early and had a drink in the bar area while the previous act finished their set, so it was gone 23:00 by the time we got into the main area and probably nearer midnight when Beecake finally came on. I had done my research and bought their two albums in advance (though copies were also on sale in the foyer as well as t-shirts – they make you sexy apparently), but it seemed like I was in the minority in knowing the words to the songs. Everyone seemed to enjoy it though (the crowd was very female heavy, unsurprising given the lead singer being Billy Boyd), and it was a good gig. I enjoyed it immensely, even more so since I had decided to take comfort over style in the footwear department and was standing. I also managed to sneak my bag and coat onto the back of the person in front of me’s chair, leaving my hands free for leg tapping, clapping and whistling. We managed to snag a cab pretty much as soon as we got back outside and were in bed by 02:00.

A lazier day on Sunday. We got up late and had a leisurely breakfast before heading out to the hotel’s pool to catch some rays, have a swim and a lounge in the jacuzzi. I took the opportunity beforehand to try and find some sleeping pills that might knock me out on the plane on the journey back and managed to not only snag some max strength diphenhydramine but some Opi nail varnish too (at a dollar value that is less than the sterling value I’d have to pay in the UK for it). A couple of hours spent lolling about and painting our nails (note, don’t leave your topcoat in the sun, it goes gloopy and then you end up with bubbles), then we nipped over to Starbucks for some lunch before getting ready for The One Expected Party. We weren’t in any rush, the party didn’t open its doors until 15:00 and the Oscars didn’t start until 17:30, so with the venue in sight of our hotel room we meandered along at 16:00. This meant we arrived in plenty of time to get out photos taken and grab some afternoon tea before staking out good seats in the main hall for the ceremony. I enjoyed the ceremony, even if it was a bit long and even if it meant dinner had run out by the time it finished. We didn’t win any of the three awards we were nominated for, but it was like that for the first LoTR films and there was heavy competition in the categories this time. After the ceremony the dance floor was cleared (and we were ejected from our prime seats for press who never appeared) for sets by Emerald Rose, Charlie Ross doing the first third of his amazing One Man Lord of the Rings and Dorian Mirth. Oscar nominees popped in and there was a guy doing the lyrics of rap songs in a Gandalf voice. The main event for us was the Beecake set. Sam and I got out of our seats and joined the small crush by the stage. This was a longer set than at Hotel Cafe and featured a beatboxer (who was awesome) and a couple of covers with Dom Monaghan singing (when he could remember the words). Alas at 01:00 the venue enforced their curfew and we had to collect our Goody Baggins and make a final assault on the stairs (my dress was not stair-friendly, the 4 inch heels were fine) and back to the hotel. I took no photos (much more fun to enjoy the experience than live it through a lens).

Monday and another breakfast, then the attempt to cram all of the stuff we’d brought and bought back into the suitcases. A lot of the goody baggins contents were jettisoned (there’s no way a full size poster was making it back safely) and somehow they were all zipped up and under the weight limit (though in my case only by 1kg). Another terrifying drive back to the airport, this time by an incredibly torturous route and with such terrible stop-start driving that we arrived suffering from motion sickness. It took over an hour to get through security, so we weren’t waiting at the gate for too long before our flight back home. The sleeping pills didn’t knock me out but they did allow me to doze fairly deeply and I was able to drive back home (via Cadsy’s) without incident. The cat clearly didn’t like the fact that I’d been away and allowed strangers to visit her as she mauled me for only the second time ever, but a nice hot bath helped with that, and it wasn’t long before I was unpacked and had my washing done and hung up, as if it had never happened.

Good times, when’s the next Beecake gig. Photos here:

2 thoughts on “An Expected Journey

  1. Pingback: An 8 week training plan for a 10km race for active people | fak’s foughts

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