Greetings everyone and welcome to the latest edition of “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”. This is the first blog taking place from Hollywood. Actually it’s the Valley or as I like it call it “The 818.” It’s been another busy and crazy “Shenza returns to Hollywood” trip. So this one is going to be in several parts.
This past week I’ve been on the red carpet photographing “The Vow” and “This Means War”. However this blog, is dedicated to Sir Paul McCartney, who was honored at two events in Hollywood this week and performed at “The Grammy’s last night. Unfortunately I was not able to get credentials for any of the events honoring the legendary artist this week. I was lucky enough to with a thousand fellow fans of all ages and races at his Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony last week. Before I talk about this event, I want to share with you my personal three minutes with Sir Paul.
Sun Set Gower Studios – Hollywood, CA, April – 2003
Back in April 2003, I was working two different kinds of entertainment jobs. I was co – managing an LA and Northern California band. I also working for an online talent agency which was like a pay to manage company.The only cool thing about that job was that it was located on the Sun Set Gower Studio lot in Hollywood. My office was directly across from HBO’s “Six Feet Under”, where I’d run into stars like Peter Krause (Parenthood) and Michael C. Hall (Dexter), and even Fred Savage who produced at show on the lot. Besides movies there was also recording studios on the lot.
Opening day, of the 2003 Baseball season, I was wearing my Derek Jeter New York Yankee Jersey. I started to walk down the lot with a couple of co – workers to go to lunch. Being on a studio lot people are always rushing to where there going. You don’t catch too many people hanging around do something not work related. As I started to head to the security booth and off the lot I noticesed a group of guys sitting on the steps of the building. Some were smoking cigarettes and others just enjoying the California sun. As I took a look I saw something that couldn’t be right about 100 yards away.
I turned to my co- worker, who used to work for Quincy Jones and knew everyone and said that guy looks like Paul McCartney. he turned back and took a glance and said “Yep That’s Him”. I froze for a moment and knew I had to at least get a look. I knew Paul was a Yankee fan, and hoped may be I could get a closer look without getting me kicked off the lot and having my ID badge taken away. I knew as long as I kept my distance, I’d be OK. I started to creep forward then heard a British voice say ” A Fellow Yankee Fan”. I froze. Ever since I was a toddler and saw the Album cover “Sgt. Peppers Hearts Club Band”, in my parents Vinyl collection. I’d been a fan. Then I had my “Wayne’s World” “were Not Worthy” moment. My response to Sir Paul, was “It’s a great honor for me to have you Acknowledge My Presence”. His response was “If It’s such a great honor, then come over and talk to me”. I went over and spent about two minutes talking to him and his band. After shaking his hand and saying good bye, I again, was starstruck and tried to thank him for taking his time, to talk to me saying “I mean your fucking royalty”. Paul responded “If I’m royalty then what can I get you? I said, “You Could Get me a Record Deal for two bands I mange “The Mansions” and “Nifty Tom Fifty”. Paul and his entire band burst out into laughter. I then knew it was time to end on a higher note. I then used my basic old school no internet or camera phone to call everyone I worked with and my dad. One of my clients said that “There’s no one left for you to Meet Now”. To this day it’s still top on my list. I couldn’t believe what a down to earth guy he was.
Paul McCartney Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony – 2/9/2012
When I first heard that Sir Paul McCartney, was getting his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, my first thought was how could he not have one already. Paul was granted one in 1993, but the comity was waiting for him to set the date. I got to Capital Records, where the ceremony was going to be held outside on Vine Street and saw a Disneyland like line wrapped around Capital Records. I had hoped to get some pictures of the ceremony but quickly knew due to how many people there was already four hours before the ceremony was to start. I looked around and saw not only all ages of fans but from all races. As the sidewalk on Vine got more crowded, the atmosphere was unlike any other event I’ve seen or covered. Capital Records employees were on roof tops with phone and small cameras. Fans stood on gates, photographers were on ladders and one photographer climbed a tree as was taking pictures through the branches.
After hours of waiting the people who waited on the long line were escorted in. The organizers did a great job not only getting those s people in but the crowd across the street was let in. A number of people like myself decided to stay on the sidewalk and watch the ceremony. About five minutes after the ceremony was supposed to start the crowd started to chant “We want Paul”! A few minutes later the ceremony stated I knew that I wouldn’t be able to get anything with all the fans holding up signs and camera phones and point and shoot cameras. I took just a few candids with my point and shoot. Then watched as just another lifelong fan in the crowd, To my pleasant surprise after a few short speeches by normal people from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce Neil Young gave a brief speech. Then after an introduction from the Chamber, Paul took to the podium and gave a brief speech thanking all his fans. Paul was doing an Itunes show upstairs before being honored by the Grammy’s as the “MusiCares Person of the Yea”r, on friday and performing at The Grammy’s Sunday. It may have been short but I’m sure everyone had a day they will always remember. It’s not often you get to share a moment with rock and roll royalty.
Liana Mendoza at the Paul McCartney “Hollywood Walk of Fame Ceremony”
Normally I’d be in a bad mood after waiting for serval hours and not having any pictures to submit to my agency. As I said earlier, I was a lifelong fan and was happy just to be apart of a piece of musical history. Just as I stared to leave, I ran into a beautiful and familiar face. Miss Liana Mendoza, who I hadn’t seen since right before last Christmas at her charity red carpet event in Reno Nevada. I quickly took some candids after she met with some fans. After a few pictures I spoke with her and she told me briefly what she was working on. She also spoke about her singing career and the talented producers she has been working with that we all should be hearing soon.Liana looked amazing dressed like she was a at a rock show, it was a different but very cool look for her. The lady can really pull off many different and interesting looks. Can’t wait to see and photograph Miss Mendoza again soon.
Thanks for joining me for another edition of “The Outsiders Guide to the Inside of Hollywood”. I’m a little behind in my events so I will be posting part two of my trip tomorrow. I’ll be sharing my experiences as I made my 2012, return to the Chinese Theatre, for the Los Angeles premieres of “The Vow”, and “This Means War”.