California tour, Day 6: Hollywood

Got 4.5 hours of sleep last night, and by 8AM I was rehearsing with a group of student musicians at California Lutheran University. They provided guitar, bass, drums, piano, and vocals for the songs from the Heartland Liturgy, and we had a good time playing for morning chapel. "The Serious Kind" felt particularly appropriate in the light of the VA Tech shooting, which was felt even more tangibly while on the campus of another college.

By 2PM I was back on the 101 freeway. Rolled in to Hollywood (after listening to Mute Math on the car CD player) at around 3PM. I had a few hours before the ASCAP Pop Songwriting Awards to hang out at the corner of Hollywood & Highland, so I sniffed around the big honkin' shopping mall, checked out Kenny Loggins' star on the Hollywood walk of fame, saw a guy dressed like Darth Vader at Grumman's Chinese Theater, and realized how much this neighborhood has evolved since I first visited here in 1990. It used to be dirty and grungy, but now it looks kinda like Everymall USA. Hmmm...isn't there a song about that?

I was hoping for a celebrity sighting, and sure enough, the FIRST person I saw when leaving the parking ramp was actress and Madonna-friend Debi Mazar (did I spell that right?). At least, I'm about 95% sure it was her.

I waited in line for regsitration for this ASCAP Expo got my "badge." Once I was officially signed in, I realized I only had about 30 minutes to get ready for the awards show. I descended down to the 3rd level basement parking ramp to my private dressing room (Ford Focus rental car) where I took off my normal clothes and put on my dressy shirt and pants. Had a few free minutes, so I hung out in the hotel lobby looking for celebs. Saw the cowboy-hatted guy from the Country-Leppard band Big & Rich. Then I went upstairs to the Kodak Theater.

I was there early enough to get seated in the first row of the balcony! On either side of me were two women, both about 40 years old, and both seriously into musical theater and opera. They giggled and talked right over me as I sat trying to mind my own business.

Eventually the Awards Show began, and it was very interesting. Here are some celebs I got to see!
Kelly Clarkson
Johnny Rzzznikkskmzz from the Goo Goo Dolls
Jermaine Dupri
Jackson Browne!

Performers inlcuded:
All American Rejects: decent songs, awesome lead vocals, VERY rockstar. The singers low-rise jeans were SO low, he showed his crack to everyone. was visible on the big screen.
Anna Nalick: decent, but her "Breathe" song rips off the melody of another song and bothered me
3 guys who wrote a hit for Keith Urban: pretty good, but the lyrics were cheesy
Nick Lachey: the surprise of the night...his song was pretty good, and his singing was AWEEEESOOOME. I can't believe I just wrote that, but it's true. The guy can SING.

As a whole, I felt conflicted. The experience was simultaneously glamorous and ordinary; inspiring and depressing; serious and ridiculous. Just when I was about to puke thanks to rapper after rapper after idiot rapper winning all sorts of "airplay awards" for songs with inane titles like "So Sick" and "Promiscuous" there was a moment of redemption. They presented Melissa Etheridge with some sort of lifetime achievement award, and Jackson Browne's presentation and Melissa's acceptance speech were really lovely and moving and positive. She's had an amazing career, and when you look at it as a whole, there is no doubt that she's worth every bit of success she's achieved.

Anyway, in general, it was totally fun. And now I'm nearby at a friend's house getting ready for bed.

Hooray for Hollywood!


Popular Posts