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February 09, 2008

'Twas the Night Before the Grammys...

Though I've had some time to think about it, it's still a little hard to believe that by this time tomorrow, I will have already seen the opening performance at the 2008 Grammy Awards.

Riding_around I have no doubt that I'll be sweatier than an advertisement for prescription strength deodorant (please, don't let me down tomorrow), begging to use a bathroom, and exhausted from a long day of photographing, running around, blogging, and adrenaline roller coasters galore, but really, what could be better?

If you're reading this and have never had the opportunity to attend an award show before, I wanted to give some "normal guy" insight into what it's like to get ready in the days leading up to the show.

Grammy_banners I'll start by saying that Grammy-mania has taken over the city of Los Angeles. I don't know if you guys can tell from these pictures that I took out of my dirty windshield while driving around the city today, but those black banners that you see hanging from street lights are Grammy advertisements. These banners are not only in Los Angeles, but Hollywood, West Hollywood, and pretty much anywhere that you'd expect to see people "in the biz." Not that it wasn't enough for me to attend, but seeing these banners all around town has made this very real experience seem all the more surreal.Grammy_banners_2_2

I'll get over this "I'm a beautiful princess in a commercialized dreamland!" feeling by tomorrow, I promise. But for now, it hasn't gotten old *plays with his frilly dress...very much joking, guys*.

For this particular event, there were four days that all members of the media who had credentials/tickets could go down to the Los Angeles Convention Center (which is right next door to Staples Center in Downtown) to flash some ID, take a picture, and walk out with an official Grammy credential that has your name and picture printed on it. Whenever I've had the opportunity to go to a special event like this, I always keep my credential as a souvenir. I'm not really a t-shirt guy or a poster guy, but for some reason, the credential, which has no monetary value whatsoever, has always been my most treasured item from any night. I guess you could say that it's kind of like my Roc-A-Fella chain or my G-Unit spinner, even though it only takes someone about 10 seconds to make and doesn't give me the "ok" to suddenly start "repping" to people in the street (I would get beat up in 2 seconds, really. My Salsa dance moves don't really help out in the streets).

I made the two hour round-trip downtown from my workplace in Beverly Hills (believe it, traffic gets bad when roads are closed) to pick up my credentials on Friday afternoon. That same night, Aretha Franklin was to be named the "Person of the Year" by MusiCares. The convention center was all decked out! A red carpet was set up and event staffers were  getting prepared all around the building for the event that ended up raising a whopping $4.5 million for the Musicians' Aid organization! Thank goodness the staff was all around, because otherwise I would have gotten even more lost! Either way, it sounds like it was a wonderful event and it looked really nice inside!

To get your credential, you flash some government issued photo ID, say who you're with, and generally make a friendly joke about the webcam or something else. My one-liner was, "I would've got all dolled up had I known I was going to take a picture today." The girl working the picture area laughed, so I guess it kind of worked (but I'm sure she made fun of me after I left). After that, I had a handful of questions for the PR guy who was helping handle the event, before I went over to check out the souvenir stand, where some of the Grammy shirts were actually pretty cool! I didn't end up getting one, but have a feeling that I'm going to cave tomorrow.

I always think it's important to get the logistical questions out of the way early on because the reality is that if you don't know where you're going, there's no way you'll be able to get anything done! It seems silly to ask simple questions, but sometimes, it really helps! By talking to him, I learned that I should show up fully-dressed (not that I was going to come in the nude, though the thought may have crossed my mind...and thankfully sailed straight through) in my suit tomorrow morning as I wouldn't have any time to change after covering "Arrivals" (aka the red carpet) before heading inside. He let me know that spaces weren't assigned yet, where members of the media generally get about a foot and a half to two feet on a fence to jockey for position with other photographers to try and get some of the night's best images. I didn't see my space, but I'm crossing my fingers that the Billboard name on my treasured credential will give me some prime real estate on the line to get some great pictures for the photo gallery that I'll be putting together right here!

I'm still trying to figure out how I'm going to sprint to my car to drop off my stuff after arrivals in order to make it into the doors to catch the first performance, but I have a feeling that a seat-filler (a well-dressed stranger that runs and fills a seat while someone goes to the bathroom, leaves the area, etc.) will be taking my spot next to my lovely date for the night for the first segment.

Later, it was off to find a tie! Something that would prove much harder than you'd ever expect! It took 4 stores, two of which were large department stores, for me to find a black tie! At one location, a salesperson told me, "We have one style left, but it's an extra long, which probably won't fit you. It's Grammy season, so it's tough to get one." I kid you not, he actually said that it was "Grammy season." It was one of those "Only in L.A." moments. I asked him, "Is it also funeral season? It seems like there would always be some demand for it." He looked back at me with a blank stare.

Blacktie I jokingly told him, "I'll just give it a shot. I'll just wear it as a bow tie." He actually thought I was serious for a second and went back to go get it, which I found kind of awesome. I told him it was probably not a good idea for me to get it because of the high probability of me soiling the low-hanging tie at some point in the night. He agreed. I left him alone.

I went from store to store, seeing if they had "The Ryan Seacrest." I almost got a tie that had a skull on it and read "To Die For" in vertical letters because I was that desperate, but I got lucky and found a standard black, skinny tie - The Seacrest. A really nice salesperson kept telling me that I should sign up for the store credit card so that I could save $6 on the purchase. I mentioned to her that this $6 could really help me "make it rain" at a club that I would have to show ID to gain entrance for, but that I just needed the tie for Sunday.

Grammy season. Really.

For the sake of all the good-looking people that will be walking the red carpet on Sunday, I knew that I couldn't mess it up for everyone. I really had to get a haircut. Good lord, did I need a haircut...

Need_haircut Even though I don't plan on being on camera at any point on Sunday, any regular person thinks to himself before a nationally televised event, "What about if the camera somehow pans over me for .003 seconds and half of my ear is suddenly on TV over Soulja Boy's shoulder??"  Normally, I get my haircut in South Los Angeles, which isn't really the safest area in this city, but $8 haircuts are tough to come by nowadays. Unfortunately, I think the place that I've been going for six years just closed, for what I would assume to be health code violations. I never really thought much of the critters that roamed the floors at my beloved barber shop "in da hood," but I'm thinking they added up, or something else must have happened that I don't want to know about. Midhaircut

It was off to Hollywood to get the first haircut over $20 (barely) I've gotten in years! It's the Grammys, a guy can splurge, right?? (Credit card company says, "Not really.") I asked (ok, I "axed") for the "Suburban Mohawk," which is a pretty popular style out here on the West Coast. It's fun, but a little more rebellious than the "Hipster Front Cone." So just in case you're watching red carpet coverage somewhere (while you're reading here, of course!) and you see the suburban mohawk on a little munchkin fiddling around in the background of your screen looking like Smeagol from Lord of the Rings, but with a slightly more toned lower body, there I am!

Tonight, I'm off to my hotel in Hollywood for some R&R for what will likely be a very sleepless and anxious night. Before anyone says it doesn't make sense for me to go to a hotel tonight, you'd have to be sitting where I'm sitting right now where one of my neighbors just got a home sound system and keeps playing Nate Dogg's "Gangsta Nation" ("na na na na na na na na na, WESTSIDE!!!") over and over again. I'm with that G-Funk, but I have a feeling the G-Funk Era isn't going to stop at a reasonable bedtime for me tonight. I'll be blogging from morning until the show officially begins on Sunday, then blogging literally all night long to give everyone a fan's perspective from the inside of the 50th Annual Grammy Awards!

Come back tomorrow because that's when the real stuff begins! Less of me, much more celebrity!

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Jared Jones

Man, reading about the Grammys makes me so eager to get there..sooner than later.

R&B Singer/Songwriter Jared Jones


Hey Dave,

It's Karen from Carriefans.com (aka Jade_kt). Loved your post. You are quite the funny man. Have fun at the Grammy's. Can't wait for your blog.

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