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August 22, 2007

Hot In Hollywood Charity Benefit Event with all your favorite TV stars, 8/18/07

A few weeks ago I got bored at work and started to lurk the Internet for any events coming up that my friends and I could perhaps attend. I ran across a website for "Hot In Hollywood," a party at the Henry Fonda Theater in Hollywood benefiting Aids research. It looked like a fun time and all the proceeds from the tickets and whatnot would go to the Aids Healthcare Foundation (AHF) and Alegria, a Salvation Army Aids/HIV housing facility. After seeing the list of celebrity performers, I knew I needed to attend. So I bought tickets for myself and two of my friends and was completely excited in anticipation about it.

Then it hit me…. I could only say I'm Frances from Billboard for like another month! I should at least try and organize myself a press pass so that I could perhaps cover the party for the blog. So I shot a few emails around before finally getting in touch with a lady who could get me press access. She asked me to call her and I did, we spoke and I explained what I did and whatnot when she popped the question "So, why did you want to come to this event anyways?" There was a pause; I had a real reason but it was kind of… well, not professional. I didn't want to lie though, so I figured I may as well tell her the truth. "Okay… truthfully… I just really want to meet Zachary Quinto and the rest of the cast of Heroes that's going to be there." I went on and fangirled like I was 12 years old over my favorite TV show and when I eventually shut up, I was pretty sure the answer was going to be a resounding "NO." But it wasn't. She was laughing; "You're funny! I like you!" and not only was I put on the list, but my two friends were too. See guys, honesty really IS the best policy.


Getting to the show on Saturday was insane. Traffic was horrible (but when isn't it on the 101?) and the $8 I was used to paying for parking at the Fonda had jumped to $20 (a big thanks to the parking attendant though who accepted $14 from me since that was all the cash I had!). I walked up to the press will call to get my pass and my friends and I were handed purple wristbands and were told we had 'celebrity access.' Yeah, I'm completely cool with that. We took one look at the red carpet and saw hoards of media on the lines and decided to forgo even attempting to break through them to get photos and headed right for the celebrity tent.

As we walked into the Fonda we were handed a list of all the items that would be auctioned off during the night's silent auction. Everything from sports memorabilia, sessions with celebrity trainers and walk on roles on the TV show "Scrubs" were going to be auctioned off with all the proceeds benefiting charity. I took a look at all the items and trust me, I wish I was a rich kid because I would've bid like there was no tomorrow on some of that stuff.




We eventually found the tent and walking into it we totally walked right by Zachary Quinto and Sendhil Ramamurthy from "Heroes" which when my friend Cassie noticed, she had to grab me and push me along telling me to breathe because she knew I was ready to have a fangirl breakdown. Let me just say, Zachary Quinto is not only the most attractive guy on television right now in my opinion, but he's also one of the most phenomenal actors EVER and he's totally underrated. He's pretty much the entire reason why I started to watch "Heroes" in the first place, and yeah I proudly own the whole season of "So NoTORIous" which he starred in previously to it and am constantly boggled as to why it was canceled (I thought it was hilarious!).

Anyways, let me describe the tent to you guys. It had stone benches and tables lining the sides of it and a fountain with a tree in the middle. There were a few naked statues around with fake flowers placed in just the right places. There was tables set up, an open bar and free food at different places of the tent. At the end of the benches were trenches filled with fortune cookies that had frost and sprinkles on them and fortunes that read: Your generosity has made you Hot In Hollywood now and for many years to come. Though it's something I'm sure most celebrities see all the time, being inside of there was a total jaw dropping experience for my friends and I. Kudos to whoever set that up, it was amazing.


My friends Cassie and Krysten enjoying some fortune cookies.

What the fortune cookies read. Yeah, I took one to work on Monday to show everyone. Isn't my desk a nice color?


Krysten and I pretending we're cool.

This is my stalker photo of Zachary Quinto. Ten points if you can spot him.

My friends and I found an open bench across from where the entrance was so we could see who all was walking in. Photographers were coming up to us and taking photos so we hatched a plan that if anyone asked we were going to tell them we were part of the new High School Musical cast (no one did though, damn). We must've stood out like sore thumbs as we'd sit there like "OH MY GOSH JENNIFER COOLIDGE JUST WALKED IN!" "IS THAT EDDIE KAYE THOMAS?" "THAT'S SO RACHAEL HARRIS!" and whatnot every time someone we recognized walked in. Though I do pride myself as being one of those most biggest fangirls ever, the moment Milo Ventimiglia from "Heroes" and formally of "Gilmore Girls" walked in (he wasn't on the list of scheduled presenters), my two friends completely lost it. They made my fangirling look like child's play!

We eventually gathered up our bravery and went to go talk to them, and they were all super nice! Zachary was at the bar getting a drink, so we spoke with Milo and Sendhil for awhile before getting a picture. Milo and I discovered that my name is his sister's middle name as well as both our  grandmas' names, can you tell we're totally Italian? (Trivia: We're both actually only half.) When Zachary came back, I got my photo with him and in true "I'm so nervous I have no clue what's coming out of my mouth" fashion (which is so typical of me whenever I met any of my favorite celebrities) I totally made an idiot out of myself by telling him the "So NoTORIous" DVDs were on sale for $4.99 at VH1's shop (His response: "Well uh.. that's kinda embarrassing. At least people are getting a deal?" to which I just kind of nervously chuckled at). At least I got out that he was my favorite actor and congratulated him on getting the role as Spock in the new Star Trek movie coming out next year (I'm so pumped!). So hopefully that somewhat overshadowed me making an ass out of myself.

By the way, the following two photos are from a regular camera, as my friend Cassie forgot to press save after taking photos of us with the enV. Funny thing is, she actually had her finger covering part of the lens of the enV when she was getting ready to take the photo of Zachary and I, and he had to stop her and tell her to move it! And then the photo didn't come out at all in the end, haha.

Milo, Me, Sendhil. Total Heroes sandwich.

Me and Zachary. Please excuse me while I fangirl. eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

After awhile, we heard noises coming from the theater and we realized the show had started. The back of the theater was packed (the floor had been decked out in seats and couches for those who donated $5000+ to the charity to get them) so we ran up to the balcony and well.. that was packed too! We eventually ran back down the the floor and found a spot when we looked at the stage and realized... is that America Fererra (Ugly Betty) prancing around in red drag playing a trumpet singing a song from Gypsy? The confusion (and the laughter) only grew as Eddie Kaye Thomas (probably best known for his role as Finch in American Pie)  was introduced onstage and he came out in total drag, and his bra and underwear totally lit up too! America played her trumpet as Eddie sang and danced.... but then Jerry O'Connel step out, also in total drag, to join in the fun! I always get a kick every time I see Jerry O'Connel in a magazine or something, because I always think about how he was the fat little boy in the classic "Stand By Me" and now he's like this grown up totally hot man. For reals!

Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) was hosting the event for the second year. She mentioned that her three month old baby donated $5,000 to the charity and if a three month old could do that, then everyone else should be able to donate at least something! For the record, I can't even believe she just had a kid, she looks great! Jamie did say something at one point in the night that really stuck with me though. She said last year the event raised $75,000 and this year she wanted it to raise more for Aids research. She talked about how it's good press for the actors, musicians and other celebrities attending and taking part in the event, but for her it meant something completely different. She told the audience that her Uncle Alan, who was her FAVORITE uncle, was one of the first people to be diagnosed with Aids in North Carolina back in the 80s but at the time they had no clue what it was or how to deal with it, and he died. Today, people with Aids are living longer, more healthier lives because of all the money going into Aids research. So she pleaded with everyone to please donate. It was really heartfelt and a total eye opener to see someone like Jamie Pressly totally putting herself out there and doing something she believes in, especially with the memory of her uncle. If I met her that night, which I unfortunately didn't, I was totally going to give her a hug. She's awesome. :)

The rest of the performances that night were both hilarious and stunning. Michael Urie and Becki Newton from Ugly Betty did a gag dressed up as Barbara Streisand and Neil Diamond performing "You Don't Bring Me Flowers," which was absolutely hilarious. Becki even donned a fake nose! Sara Ramirez from Grey's Anatomy came out and sang "The Man That Got Away" from 1954's "A Star is Born" and absolutely blew everyone away. Did you know she's a Tony Award winner? I didn't! She received a standing ovation from the crowd, who was silent in awe while she was onstage performing. Jennifer Coolidge (best known for her role in Legally Blonde) and Rex Lee from Entourage did a skit together, and though I had no clue what was going on in the plot line of it, myself and the rest of the audience were rolling in laughter during parts of it. After that skit, a live auctioneer came out (he had been out a few times previously) to auction off a brand new Toyota Prius Hybrid that was donated to the charity. After going back and forth bidding with someone up on the balcony (and Rex Lee offering to show everyone his awkward hair pattern on his backside if they up'd the bid another $1000), America Fererra won the auction donating $35,000 to the charity. How amazing is that? Earlier that night during a live auction House's Jesse Spencer donated $6,000 to get some Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley memorabilia while his co-star and ex-fiance donated $7,000 to get an Andy Warhol litograph of Marilyn Monroe (which was also signed by Andy!).

Of course the closing was going to be my favorite part of the whole night. After Milo Ventimiglia donated $7,000 to have Jamie Pressly sing "Fever" to him in impromptu fashion, they both introduced the rest of the Heroes cast to the stage. Jack Coleman, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Zachary Quinto and James Kyson Lee took the stage and sang the Beatles classic "Here Comes the Sun." It was... well, hilarious. James Kyson Lee was totally rocking out up there too and getting into it. It was just so awesome to see them all together doing a total karaoke thing and having fun with it, all for the sake of charity. A choir came out to join them in the end, and it was just such an amazing sight! My friends kept on saying "You are NEVER going to see this again" which just made me force my friend Krysten to take a ton of photos with my regular camera since it has a pretty decent zoom on it (and if cameras had feelings, I'm sure it would be happy to be in use by someone this Summer. I've totally ditched it for my enV! Oops!).

America Fererra, Eddie Kaye Thomas & Jerry O'Connell

Michael Urie and Becki Newton

Sara Ramirez

Jamie Pressly

Rex Lee and Jennifer Coolidge

Jamie Pressly and Milo Ventimiglia

James Kyson Lee, Jack Coleman, Zachary Quinto, Sendhil Ramamurthy

The boys being joined by a choir

The boys and the choir. Again. They were totally getting into it. :)

After the show, we went back into the tent to go back to being total fangirls. There were so many people in attendance at the event that it was so hard to put names to faces ("Hey, it's Harold from Harold and Kumar!" and "Those are rappers... I KNOW those are famous rappers!"... and you know, two days later I found out it was the Three Six Mafia and now I'm totally kicking myself over it!). We kept on seeing this glam band walking around and I later found out it was Franki Doll and the Broken Toys; other music related people in attendance were Shotgun Honeymoon, the lead singer of the now defunct Biohazard, and producer JB Reynolds. After awhile we found out that the tent was being torn down and that the after party was moved to out on the roof, so we busted on over there like it was no one's business.

The roof was packed! There was live painting going on and a DJ spinning music. Jack Coleman from Heroes walked right by me causing me to have another fangirl attack because dammit, I wanted to meet Mr. Bennet! (My obsession with Heroes is pathetic, I know.) We walked around the roof though just to get a look as to who else was in attendance. We totally saw Shar Jackson walking around and Jennifer Morrison with Jesse Spencer from House at the bar (which made me sad... why'd did they have to break off their engagement! They're so cute together). We ended up bumping into America Fererra and her boyfriend and he was kind enough to take a group picture of us (we all look like we can be related in it!). She was so adorable and nice; my friend Cassie totally had a "We're both Honduran!" moment with her.

(The enV's flash wasn't powerful enough to take a decent photo out on the roof because of the dark lighting, so this was taken using Cassie's camera once again)

Me, Cassie, America Fererra and Krysten. Check out the funny faces in the background. :p

After lurking around for a little while more (and me getting cigarette burn from someone not paying attention, which i still have a mark from!) my friends decided they wanted a picture with Zachary Quinto before we left. They found him with Jack Coleman and as I was about to take a photo of them with both of them, someone offered to take it for me. Heck yes! I totally jumped in by Jack Coleman for the photo (being next to Zach for a second photo would've been awesome... but come on, it's Mr. Bennet! Yessss!). After taking that photo, my friends and I decided to call it a night since for the life of us we couldn't find Sara Ramirez or Jerry O'Connel.

(Once again, taken using Cassie's camera)

Me, Jack Coleman, Cassie, Zachary Quinto, Krysten. You love our short, tall, short, tall, short pattern.

On the way out we saw Eddie Kaye Thomas hanging out near the exit with a few people. We stopped and debated if we should ask him for a photo or not when we turned around and noticed Jennifer Coolidge off to the side having a drink with a few people. So there we are standing in between Eddie and Jennifer when one of us realizes "Hey... didn't Jennifer Coolidge play Stifler's mom in American Pie?" at which point we all have some major "OMG" moment for I don't know what reason, but something about standing in between Stifler's mom and Finch from American Pie made us giggle like 8 year olds (please go rent American Pie to understand the significance of this!). We thought about somehow getting Eddie and Jennifer to take a group photo with all of us, but decided we didn't want to bug them and ended up leaving.

Overall, the event was so amazing and inspiring. The added bonus of the celebrity access just made it even better. My friends and I already have plans to attend it next year, even without the purple wristbands. It was great to see all the celebrities that showed up get together for a good cause and hey, I still can't believe I met Zachary Quinto.... let alone all the Heroes cast I got a chance to meet.

On a side note about my comment earlier about pretending my friends and I were from the Disney Channel, I haven't had Internet at my house since Saturday (I'm actually writing this up at work!) so I've actually been catching up on TV shows. While discovering the amazingness that is Hannah Montana (Shut up! That show is awesome!) I saw a commercial for a new show called "Wizards of Waverly Place." So I was sitting there watching when I realize that one of the kids in the commercial was in attendance at that party. It was kind of creepy, because the reason why I remembered the guy is because of the strong resemblance to Josh Peck he had, even though he wasn't Josh. After just doing some quick research I found out the guys name is David Henrie and he's also been on "How I Met Your Mother" and "That's So Raven." I don't know... I just think it's funny how we hatched a plan to pretend we were Disney kids just to find out later that actual Disney kids were in attendance. We sooo could've pulled it off if we needed to! :)

In all seriousness, if you have anything to donate to the two amazing charities that put on this event, PLEASEEEEEEE do. Just click here for more information on how. You'll feel better after you do, promise!!


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Wow. SUPER jealous! LOL That looked like a lot of fun. Great review, once again! =]


Pure genius. That's all I got to say. Loved it!!!!

Krysten Kabzenell

Well, being an anonymous character from High School Musical, I must say what you went through that night is amazing and I'm totally jealous. Your blogging makes me fee like I was actually there with you. Michael Urie = most adorable thing ever. America Ferrera = angel. And of course Milo Ventimiglia...the sexiest thing to walk the face of the planet (until I say otherwise).
Thank you for such a wonderful blog and set of pictures, Frances!


Came by way of LJ...

Again this is awesome! Sounds like it was an experience of a lifetime. :)


Sounds like it was a fantastic night! Great job with the event coverage, and the perks don't seem too shabby either. Hee. Thank you for sharing it all with us! :D


Ahh that sounds so fun! You did a great job explaining everything, that celebrity tent looked awesome and yum fortune cookies! Great review.


so awesome! next year im going with you!!


Sounds like so much fun! Great photos and even better blog!


i love your blogs frances & i love that you're not afraid to admit to fangirling :)


omg omg omg!!
Milo milo milo <33
I so wish I could have gone that looked like so much fun!!! thank you for such an amazing review you make me laugh and smile :D


OMG, I woulda KILLED to see Sara Ramirez sing!! I've adored her since Monty Python's Spamalot, and while I love her in Grey's...I just want her to sing again. :)
But really, ZOMG to the Heroes cast singing at the end!!! I guess no one's ever going to put a clip up of that, but I just gotta say: ENVYENVYENVYENVYENVYOMGICAn'TBELIEVETHEYSANGENVYENVYENVY.
But anyway...AMAZING BLOG!!! You made me giggle far more than I really should have in the middle of the office pen, but whatev. :)

Helen Bright

The fortune cookie is hilarious.
America is super cute.


wow! awesome pics, i wish i went....i envy you


hahahaha Zachary Quinto looks like my brother except pretty! hahaha once again i love reading about your adventures! and i think i need to rent season 1 of heroes cuz i guess im missing out! :( but it sounded like you hada blasdt (yep hannah montana rocks expecially since her dad also loves my mom i like to think)


Great blog. I really liked it. I have also created a lens in same niche. This is my first time, hope u guys like it. Here’s a brief intro: Charity Fund Raising Can Show Philanthropy Charity fundraising can show philanthropy by having the donor involved in the decision making process of where the charity funds will be spent. In modern times, more charity organizations are trying to think more outside the box in garnering interest to contribute money. Anyone can do a bake sale, a car wash, or a church rummage sale. But how about something unique, something that has never been tried before? For more detail visit here: http://www.squidoo.com/charity-and-philanthropy/


you're sooooo lucky to have met zachary!! i wish i could be that lucky:) it was defenetly a great adventure:D (sorry for my english)


yay! i'm not the only one who started watching heroes after seeing zachary quinto in it (only mine was through youtube videos since i used to have a tiny popular crush on milo and since i love the bravery. that died really quickly after i saw 'that one guy with really intense eyes and great hair')! i don't feel really fangirly now.
ur really really lucky. argh! i really need to find a full video of the heroes boys singing. i heard a clip and quinto was pretty impressive. haunting if not.

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