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Long Day's Never Ending Journey Into Madness | Behind The Scenes of The S.F. Film Festival Awards Gala
just another emily blunt day




I had been volleying back and forth with attending the San Francisco International Film Festival for a few weeks. I adore the documentary Uncle Frank and it was making its American Festival Premiere. I'd love to be there…then there was the Peter J Owens and Akira Kurosawa Award Gala for Kevin Spacey and Warren Beatty. Two actors I respect. Okay Spacey infinity squared more, but still my dog's name is Clyde (his sister was Bonnie) so I care, I care.

But I had so many responsibilities (icky adult responsible things) that stood in the way of my being a free spirit. This obligation status itself annoyed me…what had happened to me? Yech.

However, when I got a phone call from a high-powered friend at the festival advising at least do the awards show "it's your favorite guy (referencing Spacey) and his philosophy behind Trigger Street that's being honored and aren't you supporting them? You call your self a film buff ? " …lecture... lecture…lecture…

Um, yeah, true. The ideology behind Dana Brunetti, Ross Partridge, Bernie Morris and Kevin Spacey's company was particularly endearing to me and it would give an excuse to plug them nine thousand more times… a perfect excuse. It was decided.

Bring a photo, she could get the last minute pass from publicity who adored Blunt Review. I would cover at least some part of the festival, ironically the most "Trigger" happy of them all, besides the screening of Trigger Street's fantastic Uncle Frank film itself of course.

I grabbed a beautiful gown (the event was black tie) a stunning necklace, called the pet sitter, and jumped on line and booked a one-way ticket to San Francisco. I needed the one-way flexibility as I'd also be following my friend in her "routine " (if ever a oxymoron) job with the festival for a report called "a day in the life of."

The dutiful platinum card was out an' workin' over time!

This set into motion one of my wackiest experiences to date, and there's tons -o-wacky story is this chickbabe's file! This tops the breast bouncing out of the gown at the Sag Awards, or hydro foiling front row at the Rolling Stones to get a better view of Keith Richards, only to be on every frame of the pay per view special (duplicate copies went to all family members rest assured) or as a wild teen child after being "sent away" to Switzerland, bored, I snuck out my aunt's window and went into Zurich only to bump into Rick Danko of The Band in front of the premiere of the film Last Waltz (which is legendary now). He invited me in, introduced me to tons of famous musicians (I'd never heard of...) of course I've been a fan since…I admit it, I have a Walter Mitty lifestyle; things bizarre and surreal often happen to me. They are too numerous to list but believe me I am aware of my blessings!

That having been said let me explain the hilarity around what should have been, for anybody else would have been, a simple trip to San Fran for a quick show and article.

I got to the airport and was giddy that all was going so smooth. Oh, how too soon these thoughts were thunk. As I stood at the security check point I wondered what the h-e- double hockey sticks was taking them so long getting my bag through the belt.

They were being bizarre...first there were two looking at their screen, and then three…then there were about ten police heading towards the belt. I looked behind me going "great now I'm gonna be shot by some ass at the Burbank airport? Figures!"

Nope, the officers were coming for me! They circled me an "escorted me" to the wall like I was Lenny Bruce circa 1963 in Ohio or something. I noticed the huge line on the other side glaring at me; expressions of fear and annoyance throughout. I couldn't even imagine what the deal was….

The meanest of the mean looking swat officers, with a strong George C. Scott demeanor asked me the usual questions: "is this your bag? I reply "yep" he says with an eyebrow up: "why a one way ticket? " I explained the story of a friend I was doing as well as a gala I was covering-hence the two gowns and the fairy-tale shoes…

As he fished into the bottom of my bag with surgical gloves, emotionless, he asked if I scuba dived?? What? No. I said I snorkel quite a bit but would love to eventually…HEY! What's going on here? Just as I was getting concerned at the way this whole thing was going Mr. Anti-Friendly pulls out what could only be called a two-piece spear!

Huh? Oh, I knew what it was. He snapped the two parts together in a second flat to make one big two-foot part that looked just like a spear weapon thingy--and looked sternly at me waiting for my excuse . BREATH. The reason for this ominous hidden apparatus was so silly it had to be true. It was a garden spear thingy for a set of toy artsy fartsy bugs by a Santa Monica artist that I had bought for my mother's birthday last year while in Los Angeles for the Academy Awards…I had lost one of the bugs' spikes, and low and behold here it is now…insert nervous girly giggle. Thankfully the damn thing was green and had a female screw top. Story accepted. Onward.

THEN, he pulls put a package for my friend I had intended on sending via the mail. It was in a generic yellow envelope with words like Presidio, Film Fest with a street address and a series of numbers maniacally scribbled across it. Oops a daisy. Lucy you got some 'splainin' to do! Eek. Okay, sure, on first glance it looks like perhaps a unibomberesque package of doom, but there's a perfectly non-insane reason for the package's scary design...the numbers were her Fed Ex account's, the Presidio is where she works, I know the rest about her so it didn't need to be written down….why sideways and frantic in its scribble? Um, I wrote it as she quickly dictated and my handwriting sucks! Man, I should have listened to my mom and practiced my penmanship! Drat!

He pauses for what seemed an eternity and said, "okay…so what's this?" He seemed to be actually enjoying my tales at this point...Oh, great he found my high tech digital wav recorder that looks like something James West from Wild Wild West would carry…along with the traditional recorder with a micro tape…why two recording devices? And why does this one look like a small hand gun? Luckily I was able to make it sing a wav on the spot of some celebrity and all the technophobes smiled and wanted to play with it. I suddenly turned into a spokes model, giving them a show of how it works to cement my story. Anything to get on the damn flight which was now boarding! They all kind of giggled along with me at the circumstantial terrorist I was. Ha ha. How unfunny is that! Then sent me on my way, less the spear natch.

They watched me till I boarded and made me feel pretty uneasy. The great part was with all the mayhem I totally forgot I am afraid to fly!

I got to the Oakland airport a half hour late and was whisked off to get changed for the gala. But before we could do that...we had to a make a side trip and grab a print (film lingo) that needed to be in Buenos Aires by the next morning for another festival…it wouldn't take long. Which of course it did but I was with my friend and we were having a ball...

After that side-trip we jetted to the publicity room where a credential was just awaiting a picture to be laminated. The only picture I could find was of me in a NYC baseball cap looking a tad disheveled…not flattering in the least, naturally.

From the press credential area it was back into the height of rush hour traffic in San Francisco to bullet to my accommodations and switch into my gown to be whisked off to the event.

In the rush I burnt my gown with the make shift iron, ripped my panty hose in haste, and smudged my toenail polish so I looked like I had toenail fungus…great…but still I was in good spirits. I was getting awfully hungry though…oh, yeah, I forgot to eat today. Maybe I could eat at the gala….Hurry, hurry it's past seven time to get to the Argent Hotel!

Made it. Dumped off, practically from a moving courtesy van,I scurried to get introduced.

I was asked to join the press line. A red carpeted line of camera wielding folks armed with communication gear to grab the stars' attentions. Sharon Stone arrived on my heels and graciously answered rude personal questions from the typical press types...yech... and warmed up when it turned to her work. Sean Penn arrived like the wonderful Tasmanian Devil he's purported to be. Whirled past the paparazzi wolves and into the hall. Then suddenly in a wink of an eye…the crowd had dissipated and I stood alone with a really nice intern. I said well where do I go now? She advised that was it. The press was not allowed in the event. Eeexxxcuuusssseee me ????!!!!! Um, certainly there must be a mistake. Besides I'm not normal slithering press...

Get Chris the PR guy on the headset; I am here to support Trigger Street Productions and .com, Mr. Kevin (my acting god) Spacey, as well as Mr. Beatty. Translation: Chop-chop the dinner's a startin and I'm starvin.

Hmm. Chris was semi-sympathetic when he advised in a David Spade character tone "there must be a misunderstanding. The press line was the press event."

Great!!! I've traveled all the way here to watch Sharon Stone saunter in and Sean whisk himself through his personal description of a mental mine field? Although, Sean did look very Eddie from Hurly Burly which in itself almost made the trip worth it. Christopher was adamant that I was just not able to get into the dinner, toodles.

I said could you at least advise Dana Brunetti from Trigger Street that I am here and would love to quickly say hello (I had never met the fellow yet)…tell him I'll be in the hotel bar, which is where?

I called my friend who was enroute to the function and explained what had happened. She said chill (which I had every intention of doing with a swell Vodka martini) and she'll be there shortly to fix everything. I sat with a very handsome fellow in pharmaceutical sales from Seattle...I was enjoying myself.

She showed and naturally wasn't able to finagle us in through legit avenues...

But alas fear not I grabbed the dilemma by the balls and did like I always do in these situations and simply held my head high waited for an appropriate moment and walked us into the party like we'd not only been there since the over chilled appetizers, but our imaginary dates had paid double for the event just 'cause they could! It works ninety-nine percent of the time. Tonight it did.

I stood with my friend against the wall pulling a Zelig. Blending in is another key for those of you interning at the School of Party Crashers 101. And remember no shifting about nervously and avoid eye contact, it could be a security guy. Always dress the part too. You don't wanna be wearing sweats when it's a gala or your cooked! We were positioned pleasantly just as Sean Penn took the stage to introduce Kevin Spacey for the Peter J Owens Award. The serendipity was not lost on this soul.

After the show, I marched over and introduced myself to Dana and Ross of Trigger Street. They asked me to join them at Tosca's Café to chat. Sure. They left and my friend and I headed to the car. On the way we had a large drink at the event bar, which of course was free so tip well and you get a double. Then she introduced me to the California Cigarette, a true "Blunt"...a stogie...a joint okay. I'm a light weight and immediately starting using words like "dude" and wanted to blast The Who. I'm a tacky stoner chick what can I say.

I forgot I hadn't eaten and by the time I arrived at Tosca's I was a tad whimsical to say the least. This was a good thing as I was brave enough to ask Dana to introduce me to Mr. Spacey. I had actually met him twice before. Each time has been horrific and placed deep in the shame and dread catacombs of my mind. Believe it or not each time I stood mute as he greeted. I said nadda. Even in the past when he had asked me..."which O'Neill's your favorite?"...or the head dizzing "some show huh?" This time I would speak. Oh, I would speak! Should O'Neill come up...My favorite O'Neill play? An impossible promulgation! So starting the list Long Days Journey Into Night, Moon for the Misbegotten, Iceman Cometh, Anna Christie, Hairy Ape (Robert Blake). I'm ready.

So I spoke and tried to remember the English language and its pronunciations. In the long run, okay, perhaps I wasn't able to be my usual witty intelligent self, but heck, I'd had a long friggin day I was starving and the Martini/weed combo was taking affect. Still, I maintained composure and tried to cement every crevice of the guy's face into my exhausted memory. I did almost lose my "cool" when Sean Penn interrupted Spacey, Dana, Alex and I to say goodbye. I mean come on two acting legends next to me? I'm only a mere mortal people. I could feel the concoctions in my body welling up...please no! I quickly thought of bad bad things to stop my face from outwardly resembling the Cheshire cat with a silly ear-to-ear grin I could feel taking over. After all, Mr. Spacey is just a sweet normal guy and I didn't want to reduce the meeting to "another giddy speechless fan" session. I was so mad at myself. Last week I'm face to face with Ethan Hawke and Robert Sean Leonard babbling away...Andie McDowell and I shared a Starbuck's coffee, cause I'd been out late before the interview...I flirted with Jeremy Northam...I do not get star-struck. JUST this guy! Go on just call me Dorkgirl I suppose.

Even wacked it was hard to talk to him…I mean you can't really be "normal" and say "so, what do you do?" or "did you see that film about the alien guy last winter?" And it's not an interview so I don't want to be pushy and full of questions. Now, I can think of four thousand things to say, sure, but then? And it's also a tad weird that I know so much about a stranger. I mean without even actively trying to. I always feel odd when I meet a celebrity and I know so much about them. Where they grew up, their interests, who they are spending time with. Hmm, perhaps when I meet for an interview, or soiree, I should hand them a cheat sheet on myself with the same private info to kind of even the playing ground; just a thought.

The day was productive and certainly memorable. Trigger Street's Dana Brunetti and I finally met after multiple email chats. He's a great person and I consider him a new friend. I got to say "high" to uber talent and snuggleufagus Kevin Spacey, however awkward I felt…and thanks to that ol' liquid courage I was able to vocalize about when exactly he'd be bringing the Bobby Darin project I had heard about to life. I mean my fave actor portraying my fave musician? Um, Yum! He was allusive… I learned to be a producer at Trigger Street you have to be gorgeous! Ross, Dana, and Kevin are at least! I was able to cover a bit of a top notch festival. I got to wear a girly gown and see one of my oldest and dearest friends, Alex Cantin, do her job and realize her immense talent at that job!

But the real highlight of the evening for me was meeting director writer Matt Ginsberg who did the documentary Uncle Frank under Trigger Street's umbrella. He told me uncle Frank himself read my review and was thrilled by it…this is truly one of the nicest things I've ever heard. Yep, Uncle Frank, who I wish I could adopt and who made me laugh, weep and think, had a "smile" on me. Now, that made any body searches, humiliations, airline red flags on my name, stomach craps and colossal credit debt positively bearable.

Awards show article here


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