I can’t believe my first trip to the Turner Classic Movie Film Festival was already a month ago. It all flew by and I spend a great portion of my days now wishing I could go back and relive the experience. Where’s Rod Taylor when you need him?
Let’s begin this account of my exploits.
The main purpose of this trip was meeting my four Non-fleshie pals: Kate, Millie, Nicola and Sarah. We’ve known each other for 5 years online, corresponding over our classic film loves (Dana Andrews, Hedy Lamarr, Jeffrey Lynn, Julie Christie, DFJ, Dirk Bogarde, Natalie Wood) and agreeing to disagree over some stars (*cough*Tyrone Power…Jimmy Stewart*cough*). We always said that for our 5 year anniversary, a grand meetup simply MUST take place. We had no idea how we could make it work, but the notion persisted. Honestly, I never thought we would actually pull it off, but by golly, we did!
I rose before the sun and arrived bright and early for my flight to LA. I chose a direct flight and it turned out to be one of many smart newbie decisions I made this trip. Landed in LA, I texted the ladies and put the pedal to the metal for our meeting place. The inscrutable Millie sat perched on the edge of a plastic chair watching the door for me and we flew at each other screaming hellos as soon as I came through the door. After marveling over the fact that neither of us turned out to be creepy old men pulling an enormous con on unsuspecting girls, we sat ourselves on the plastic chairs of LAX and awaited the arrival of Kate, Nicola and Sarah. Kate and Nicola arrived in short order and more screaming ensued, but Sarah’s flight did not land for several hours, so we occupied ourselves people watching, taking selfies and chatting like we’ve been fleshies all this time. When we finally retrieved Sarah from the dark hole in which she landed, we stuffed ourselves (all 5 of us, mind you) into a little Uber sedan for the ride to our hotel. (Lesson learned: request an Uber SUV when transporting 5 girls. And demand the use of the air conditioner.)
If we didn’t feel close before, we certainly bonded over that Uber ride. Poor Millie spent the trip with my bony elbow in her ribs – and still liked me afterwards! Let me just interject here that these 4 lasses could not be kinder, sweeter or more hilarious. I am so thankful to have them in my life and so thankful to have had this opportunity to spend time with them.
Since our last meals were eaten (what felt like) days before, our first official act in LA was a late lunch. The Snow White Cafe on Hollywood Blvd fit the bill nicely and offered a Disney theme to the delight of Kate and Nicola. The gals set about getting the lay of the land with a little sightseeing and I headed back to our hotel to meet Raquelle for a secret mission. She is even nicer and kinder in person than she appears online. And she is beautiful! Even when she doesn’t feel well! I so appreciate her taking me under her wing for the next part of our evening.
Raquelle and I walked to Sadie Kitchen and Lounge for the TCM Tweet Up. I knew nothing of what to expect for this. My invite came via the lovely Nora (official TCM social media coordinator) and the details were sparse, except promising a chance to meet my famous Twitter chums. Sadie’s has a real speakeasy feel with the password door and all. We spent our time there in The Parlor. After Raquelle and I were royally welcomed by Nora, I had the great opportunity to begin meeting and chatting with those aforementioned famous Twitter folks. Laura, Trevor, Paula Guthat, Kellee, Aurora, Jessica, Lindsay, Marya, Anne Marie, Christy and Daniel all among them.
As I was highly engrossed in a conversation with Raquelle and Jessica about our dresses, who walks in but Illeana Douglas! As if her miraculous and unannounced appearance was the most normal thing in the world. I’m sure my jaw dropped. She moved around the room visiting and snapping selfies with the fans. A very classy dame, indeed.
My jaw dropped for my first celebrity sighting, I admit. But I did you proud for my second. Engaged in a chat with Marya and Daniel, I felt someone walk up and stand beside me. I glanced over assuming it was Raquelle. Not quite – the one and only Ben Mankiewicz stood to my left munching a grilled cheese sandwich, nodding along to our conversation. He and I talked for a bit, mostly about The Narrow Margin and his write up about it in the TCM Now Playing guide. No embarrassing novice moments in sight, due mostly to the fact that he is a joy to talk with and quite a laid back person.
Must admit, I’ve been the ultimate Robert Osborne fan from the beginning and always will be in his camp. When Ben came to TCM as a host years ago, I held my ardor. Bobby O. is the only host for me and watching Ben introduce my favorite films (one very irreverent intro to Sinbad the Sailor is burned on my memory…) pained me. His introductions and knowledge improved over the years and my respect for him grew in tiny increments, but meeting him in person truly changed my opinion of him for the better. He’s just a regular guy – remarkably kind, always willing to discuss classic movies and his love for them and he does honestly appreciate these films as much as we do. A true gentleman if there ever was one.
The second part of the evening sped by with a lightning fast round of quiz trivia hosted by Paula Guthat. Then, everyone broke into small groups for classic film chats. One hosted by Laura, one by Trevor and one with Tiffany Vazquez and Peter Tulba, two of the TCM Fan Programmers.
I chose to sit with Tiffany and Peter and talking with them was a blast. Two young people with a genuine love for classic films brought together in this remarkable place, sharing their expertise with me…I was in heaven! Both are incredibly knowledgeable and well-viewed (is that a term?). Tiffany most kindly indulged my compliments on her wardrobe and Peter cracked us up multiple times. I’m thrilled to have met them both. I spent the next days waving to each of them as we whizzed past each other on the way to screenings.
After Sadie’s, a few of us headed over to The Formosa for the Warner Archive tweet-up. Laura graciously offered to drive Raquelle, Lindsay, Jessica and I.
Raquelle introduced me to Matt, the man behind the Warner Archive twitter feed and host of the podcast. And at the Formosa, I got to meet Kendall, aka KC. Contrary to popular belief among those in my *real life*, my famous love for an early bedtime began to catch up with me and happily, my cohorts felt the same. We called it a night around 12 (yeah, not actually early). A very full first day!