55th Annual Thalians Gala Honoring Hugh Hefner – PlayBoy Mansion 4/30
My first credentialed LA event of this trip was the 55th Annual Thalians Gala, honoring Hugh Hefner at the PlayBoy Mansion. As the shuttle pulled up to the gate slowly the gated fence opens and we start up a long winding driveway. The first thing I see is a beautiful grass area. I turn my head to take a look and see it’s a peacock garden. One of the little guys wondered into the middle of the road where he was attended to before we arrived at the house. I could now cross off visiting the Playboy mansion off my bucket list that I made when I was a kid. I had that scene in “Beverly Hills Cop 2”, where Eddie Murphy enters the grounds and we see playmates playing (there is a sign for Watch Out For Playmates playing before reaching the house). However doing my research and knowing it was a black tie event, I knew this would be a serious affair. The Thalians (www.thalians.org), the entertainment industry’s leading nonprofit organization dedicated to the treatment of mental health, honored Hugh M. Hefner for a lifetime of philanthropy with the annual “Mr. Wonderful” award at their 55th Anniversary Gala at the Playboy Mansion.
As I got out of the car, I saw the Red carpet set up outside on the lawn where the reception and silent Auction were held. I set up in my spot which was the last space in the second of three rows. I’m always outgunned at these events with people with cameras worth more than my car. Being in the middle of the pack, meant I had to get my shots quickly and be prepared to edit shots of other photographers that obstructed my view. The carpet was filled with an older generation of actors mixed in with a number of 90’S rockers. In all everyone was really nice and looked great on the carpet. There also were a number of wounded war Veterans there. It was great to see them so happy taking pictures with the Playmates and stars.
Something Borrowed Los Angeles Premiere – Grauman’s Chinese Theatre
For this premiere, like every other Warner Brothers Film Film I’ve try to photograph( the studio has not yet showed any love for this Independent photographer yet) I do the Super Fan thing. I got to my spot on Hollywood Blvd and hung out across the street from the drop off area. There wasn’t too many people there at 5, so I felt like I had a good shot at getting some good pictures. However, sadly they had to move up the premiere time to accommodate a Jennifer Lopez CD Release party next door at the Hard Rock Cafe. That meant less of a chance of the stars walking across the street. At 6:30 the carpet was filled but nobody had yet made that walk. After almost losing hope there was a tap on my back. Thinking it was security tell me to get off my stepping stool I turned around. It was a PR girl from Warner Brothers asking if I wanted to get into see the premiere. I knew that that met they had a large number of no shows. I asked the girl if she thought anyone could cross the street, she replied no. I decided to take a chance and wait and see.
Finally The Office’s John Krasinski arrived and signed autographs for some fans. Once again as in the past my problem was I was too close and directly in front of him. I managed to get a few shots off. I’m sure he would have spent more time with his fans but time was limited that night. I then saw I another SUV pull up. A familiar face got out of the opposite door. I knew it was Matt Bellamy from Muse and Kate Hudson’s baby daddy. I saw Kate get out of the car while Matt hung in the back as she and her baby bump hit the red carpet. She wore a long Beautiful yellow Oscar-like dress. She walked straight to the carpet not even glaring once at the screaming fans calling her name. At this point I knew I wasn’t getting anything else.
Now what? I didn’t want my few pictures of John Krasinski to get lost with over 500 of pictures from the arrival of the event that would be on PR Photos with in hours, I knew I needed more. I ran to my car that was parked in my Handicapped spot (one of the only perks to having mobility issues) around the corner and got rid of my Nikon. I grabbed by point and shoot and headed back to the same area. This time I jumped on the fan Rush Line to get in. With just minutes before the movie starting I got a really good single. I actually had hoped to attend the premiere with a friend, so when we couldn’t get tickets before I saw it just as a shoot. With the weather being in the 90’s and not knowing how long I was going to be on Hollywood Blvd in the sun, I wore a T-shirt and shorts. At this point I’m wishing I had a spot in the back because everyone around me was in black tie. Another person came over towards me to what I thought was to change my seat, but she just spoke to one of the people next to me. I then realized it was the director and the no show who’s seat I was filling probably was with he studio. As the lights dimmed the movie started with out any introduction from the director or of the stars of the film. I knew that was a bad sign. What they really needed to borrow in Something Borrowed was a new Screenplay.
As the film ended I headed straight for the lobby and waited to see what stars stayed for the movie. The cool thing about premieres at the Chinese Theatre is they allow point and shoot cameras in as along as you don’t use them till after the screening. As I make it look like I’m waiting for a friend, my eyes search the lobby looking for the most popular person I can see. A lot of times if the after party is not next door stars will leave the film after the first 15 minutes. Finally I see some flashes and get pictures of film stars Steve Howey, Colin Egglesfield, Quinton Aaron (Blindside Star) and exclusive pictures with Novelist Emily Giffin. Not bad for a night with no credentials. My next blog post will be about Celebrity Karaoke Hosted by Lorenzo Lamas and Shawna Craig, where I will also introduce you to Liana Mendoza one of the stars of Corey Haim’s last movie Decisions, and will end this LA trip at music Cares Benefit with Dave Gahan ( Depeche Mode Lead singer), Paramore, Jane’s addiction and more.