American Idol – the Finale

Night two of the finale was kinda wild. We were originally planning to go to a pre-party hosted by a record label but stuff happened and we ran out of time. We had to haul it quickly over to the Nokia Theatre to get in line to get seated. We arrived a little before 4p and the doors were set to close at 4:30pm. When we walked up we saw this monster line. To give you an idea of what it looked like, here’s a map of the LA Live area:

LA Live campus

So Idol was held in the Nokia Theatre to the left in purple. In Nokia Plaza they had a bunch of crowd control barriers because there was a red carpet entrance from 11th Street and into the building. Us plebians had to line up in the center of LA Live. When we got in line, the line started in front of Wolfgang Puck’s, went down to Figueroa Street, took a right, went down to 11th Street, switched back, and then wrapped the whole way back into the Nokia Theatre. By the way, the Nokia Theatre seats around 7,000 people. The line was moving at a really good pace but a lot of people were freaking out about not making it in on time. When we got up to the front, some guys tried to just walk up and cut in line between us and the ladies in front of us. We were having none of that and got security to bounce them to the end of the line. When we were about to enter the doorway area, the line was past Wolfgang Puck’s. And then they yelled “30 seconds till doors close!” The theatre looked pretty full so I’m guessing they didn’t shut it down at 4:30 but I’m really not sure.

Both nights we were seated in the orchestra section, on the house left side so we were on the opposite side of the judges. We had some of my husband’s co-workers near us both nights so that was kind of fun.

Some random thoughts about the Idol experience:

During commercial breaks there’s a guy named Corey who keeps the audience warmed up. He goes around the house and talks to people and gives out prizes – lots of Samsung phones and iPod Touches. Often talked to kids. The kids were obviously VIP kids because they were all below the minimum age. Oops. 🙂

The Dane Cook “Kanye moment” was really NOT staged. Trust me. There was a bit of a scramble to shut it down. Frankly, I thought they were nicer to him than they needed to be.

Who else thought it was weird that Michael McDonald was on the show?

Crystal and Alanis Morisette was fun. The lyric change was hilarious. (Is she perverted like me?/Would she go down with you to the theatre?) But mostly I thought that it was obvious that the ladies were having a blast – Crystal looked thrilled to be singing with Alanis and Alanis was giving off a big sisterly/mentor vibe and I thought that was cool to see.

David Hasselhoff was in the house. I did not see him. BOOOOOOOOO. I did stand right next to Dr. Drew Pinsky and his lovely family.

The people around me were really excited when the Bee Gees performed. I thought that was weird.

After Bret Michaels I’d have to say that Janet Jackson was the crowd favorite. Girl was fierce. I loved her short hair. HOW DO I NOT OWN NASTY? I will be rectifying this with iTunes shortly.

Anytime Corey asked someone in the house who they voted for the answer was always “Lee.” I wonder how close the vote was?

I’ll admit it, I got a little teary at the reveal. Not because I was a huge Lee fan but because this kid was SO nervous and then when he won he was completely overwhelmed and full of joy. It was hard not to feel his emotion. His version of “Beautiful Day” was much better after he won though.

Anyway, we had a blast. And then we had to stay up almost all night and jump on an early plane back but it was worth it.

If you have any questions about the experience, shout ’em out in the comments!

Zombie Bret Michaels Still Rocks

I’ll work up a post on the last night of Idol after I’ve had a nap – I got about 90 minutes of sleep last night and really want to shower and nap, in that order. But here was a highlight of the show for me:

Bret Michaels and Casey James performing Poison’s Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.

1. Dude. That song is 80s awesome.

2. HOW IS BRET MICHAELS NOT DEAD? Look at the timeline of his health recently.

3. I really enjoyed that Casey and Bret just seemed to genuinely be having fun. And Bret was content to be playing backup guitar and stuff. Really nice to watch.

4. This performance, without a doubt, was the most popular with the crowd. Once they cut to commercial the audience stayed on their feet and demanded an extra bow for Bret. It was pretty outstanding.

Live from LA!

Tonight I was lucky enough to attend the live broadcast of the American Idol finale. Being married to my husband is always nice but some days have perks. He went last year but this was my first time. I’m not an Idol fan so I’m not nearly as rabid as the girls behind me but i dig music and spectacles so i have been looking forward to this.

Actor Glen Morshower (IMDB him – you will recognize him) was seated directly in front of me. I could have reached forward and rubbed his fuzzy head. Next to him and his wife were some of the Bowersox clan and boy are they rooting for her! It was pretty neat. Saw some old Idols (Castro and I think a guy named Scott MacIntyre) but have been told that tomorrow night i should keep my eyes open. We are invited to a pre-party overlooking the red carpet so that will be fun.

Anyway, I had not heard either Idol before tonight and with no background here was my impression. Lee has a very nice voice but was very nervous and isn’t a performer. Crystal nailed it. Her Joplin was stellar and she could work the crowd.

The audience seemed very pro-Lee. I was disturbed by the number of “Cougars for Lee” signs. I mean really.

One thing to note, there are no cameras or cell phones allowed so no pics from me. Booooo. Tomorrow should be more fun with the secret performers so tune in tomorrow!

MakerFaire 2010

Since I couldn’t get out to the funeral in Tennessee, we decided to hit MakerFaire in San Mateo to perk me up a bit. Fresh air, cool breezes, killer robots, sunshine, and fire breathing dragons are always a pick-me-up.

MakerFaire is a crafts fair for the geeky. It celebrates do-it-yourself-ism and recycling and letting your geek out. Even the traditional needlecrafts are geeky – a felt your own cthulu kit is the norm. Needless to say, we enjoyed it. I uploaded some pictures to my Flickr account here for you to sample the fair yourself.

Black sun

Signs

Firey robot killing machine

And my husband got me a really nice pin.

Octopus pin

Today it’s hockey and Lost. Hope you have a lovely weekend!

Endings

I had a post all prepared for today about the finale of LOST, but some real life also happened this week. My grandmother (my dad’s mom) passed away Wednesday night at the age of 86. She passed quietly in her sleep in her hometown of Tennessee and will be buried tomorrow. Unfortunately, because of the short notice and exorbitant travel fares/lousy lousy flight schedules I won’t be able to attend.

My grandma has been a widow for longer than I have been alive. Her husband died before I was born from emphysema. She was a five hour drive from home and all of my dad’s family lives in her hometown so we’d visit a few times a year. When I got a bit older my parents would occasionally leave us for a week or two in the summer to spend some time alone with the family (and hey, free babysitting for them!). Those years I didn’t quite get my gramma. She was a good old fashioned Southern (pronounced Suuuthuuun) Methodist lady. She had very strict ideas on things that were lady-like. I was often not those ideas. She wasn’t like my mom’s mom – that gramma taught me how to play gin and was all about junk food. And one time I got to go to a fancy adult dinner party at a house with a pool and when I was sad I couldn’t swim because I hadn’t brought a swim suit they let me swim IN MY DRESS. Totally. Awesome. But she was my gramma and I loved her. I did like that gramma had a thing for Wendy’s, especially Frostys. Every time I went to visit her, one of the special things we would do is go to Wendy’s and get Frostys.

Then when I was, oh, 8th or 9th grade, she all of a sudden up and decided to get involved with the local community theatre. The theatre run by *whisper* New York gays. SHOCKING. I mean, my prim and proper grandmother was becoming an actress. The woman who couldn’t remember things was now learning lines. For some serious roles. Like Miss Daisy. And the Hepburn lead in On Golden Pond. Red Riding Hood’s grandmother in Into the Woods. MY GRANDMOTHER. The woman whose family name is engraved on the church pillars. The woman who always wanted me to wear a slip and stockings and a skirt with Mary Janes and shirts with Peter Pan collars.

Some of her friends literally thought she’d lost it. They thought my grandpa was rolling in his grave. An ACTRESS? Even worse – she was hanging out with a liberal east coast gay couple half her age. THEY WENT TO EUROPE TOGETHER. Lawdy lawdy.

And that’s when it hit me – my gramma was totally freaking AWESOME. After that I realized, you know, she’s an old Southern lady and all that, but she’s been single since the 1970s and has totally been living on her own for all those years. That’s pretty rad. And was totally fine with hanging out with a middle aged gay couple. I mean, I know young people out here in the People’s Gaypublic of Druggifornia (thanks, 30 Rock, for that nickname) that wouldn’t be down with that. I started talking to gramma more after that – turns out she was really well educated for a woman her age. Went to college. Graduated. Ran the family business (a funeral home). Was really active in the community. Used to deliver food for Meals on Wheels. Basically, she was an excellent woman that I was proud to call my gramma.

When it was clear she was starting to be a little less sharp, she made the decision herself to sell her big house and move into a retirement/private care community. This was really a hard choice for her – she’d been independent for so long. When I asked her to tell me about the place I said “Well gramma, it sounds a lot like my college dorm!” And she said “You’re right, it is like a co-ed dorm. Maybe I’ll meet a rich older man there!” Atta girl!

The last time I saw her was in 2002. It was after I had gotten married and we were in to visit the whole family and have a little wedding BBQ (since I got married abroad and we didn’t have a reception). She was living in her “dorm” and was starting to confuse people. She knew me, and remembered my husband, which actually kind of surprised me since she’d not met him more than once or twice. She was always a little confused by the friend we had with us, but, frankly, he confuses me too and I DO know him. The nurse who was on duty told me that gramma hadn’t been eating much and asked if we could try to get her to eat lunch. I sent the boys to Wendy’s to pick up some food. Wouldn’t you know I got her to eat a whole burger, fries, and a Frosty? That’s my girl.

So… I loved my gramma but 86 years is a pretty good run. She’s had a great life and, though she’ll be sorely missed by many many people, I am ok with letting her go. I’ve got a lot of great memories and photos to cherish for my lifetime.

As for LOST, read this EW article about the DVD set and then you must, MUST watch the video. It’s all kinds of awesome. Like my gramma.

Australian Ninjas Save the Day

Aussie Ninjas

This is the greatest news story I’ve ever read. From the AP article:

SYDNEY (AP) – Three men who police said were robbing a German medical student in an alley fled in a panic when five members of a nearby martial arts school rushed to the rescue dressed in full ninja gear.

More details in the NY Post.

Your response, oh pirates of Australia?

[Via ThinkGeek] [Image Source]

New Favorite Websites

I know, I know, I suck. No posting much lately. I’ve been busy. Sorta. Anyway, I realize I owe more Hawaii pics, and a recap of my first arena football game. But till then here a few new internet time wasters for you.

Date Wrecks

She scours dating websites for hilarity. To wit, this post. I lost it at “low-budget Splenda Daddy” and then again at the friendship bracelets. BEDAZZLED!

Your Tweet Fight

I’ll be honest, what I enjoy most about this site is the number of Twitter fights with Justin Bieber fans. Bieber fans scare/worry/horrify me.

Ellis Island

I’m starting to do some family history work and just learned that the Ellis Island immigration files are online. Very cool.

Even Angels Have Hump Days

To celebrate the fact that not only is Bret Michaels not dead, but he’s threatening to get up and rock any day now, I give you a little Poison!

Fallen Angel by Poison

Two things I really like in this video:

1. When she kicks the guy in the nuts at the end.

2. Bret’s red hat. Add a little purple and it’s totally red hat lady worthy.