Monday, February 1, 2010

Famous People I Saw At The Grammys

I went with my husband, Boney James, to the Grammys last night. He was nominated for Best Traditional R & B Song, which he lost to Beyonce. Oh well, he was in pretty good company. And so were we! I'll try to remember everyone we saw.

Starting with Colbie Caillat. Before the pre-telecast, she was on stage talking to the director about something and my 11 year old niece squealed, "There's Colbie Caillat!" I had told her not to be shy, if she sees a celebrity she likes, she should ask them for an autograph. So we ran over to the side of the stage and I took her picture in front of Colbie. Colbie noticed her, my niece waved shyly and Colbie came over, asked her name, asked MY name and shook our hands. I said, "Do you want to ask for an autograph?" My niece's hands were shaking as she took her autograph book out of her purse and Colbie asked her name and signed it. Colbie Caillat wins the prize as Nicest Celebrity of the Evening.

Mick Fleetwood was funny, he wasn't wearing his glasses, so he kept handing the envelopes to Colbie to read. Roberta Flack looks FANTASTIC, she's 73! Hope I look that good when I'm her age. Taylor Swift was there, accepting her first Grammy, but when my niece wanted her autograph, the bodyguard pushed her out of the way. She's ELEVEN, for God's sake! That was unnecessary. So besides the famous people we saw onstage, here's the others: Neil Young, Paul Williams (he's very tiny), Annette O'Toole and Michael McKean, Kenny G (he and my husband shook hands), Shawn Colvin and Tracey Chapman sat behind us, but they weren't together, Shawn had her daughter and I think Tracey was with her partner. Weird Al Yankovic, Kathy Griffin with her tour manager Tom, who, with a worried look on his face, was carrying a large tote bag and Kathy's long silver sequined train, so she wouldn't step on it with her 7-inch heels. Carlos Santana, Maxwell, Alice Cooper (Rob Halford from Judas Priest hugged him. I wanted to hug Alice too.) Booker T. Jones (who sat next to my husband and chatted all night), Jay-Z, Harry Connick Jr., Jeff Bridges (who my husband thought was Kris Kristofferson). Seeing all those celebrities in one place was weird and surreal. And wickedly fun.


I spend a lot of time waiting. I didn't really think about it until I saw a picture posted on a friend's Facebook page. She is a writer/director and she was waiting in an office lobby for an appointment to pitch an idea. On her Facebook page, she posted a picture of her view of the slightly open office door, nice French Provincial desk, lots of movie posters everywhere. Just looking at the photo, I could smell the room: new carpet, paper, microwave popcorn, office dust, actor/writer/director sweat and fear. For many years, I've spent a lot of time in those rooms, psyching myself up, calming myself down. Waiting has become such a normal part of my life, I don't really even think about it anymore. Until I saw Jan's post. So this blog is going to be about my job as an actor, a writer and a director. But it's also going to be about the stuff in between. The waiting. The stuff they don't tell you about in college or report on "Entertainment Tonight." The part that separates the girls from the women. The part that can drive you crazy, make you a better artist or force you to move to the suburbs of any state that's not California or New York.

Last year, I finished a 15 year stint on the television show, ER. I've been busy submitting my work to screenplay contests and potential managers, looking for directing gigs. I'm collecting a crew of producers, actors, cinematographers to help me direct my first feature. I'm making a very low budget film of my script, "Model Minority," which was a finalist for the Sundance Feature Film Labs twice. I was waiting for green lights, which came and went and came and went for several of my other scripts. "Perilously close," as my friend Lesli puts it. But I decided to take the advice of a filmmaker I met in London, when my first short film, "The Shangri-la Cafe," played at the very last BBC Short Film Festival. It was late at night in Leicester Square, right outside the cinema that had just shown our films. We didn't have anywhere to go, we were all Americans, all feeling weird and jet-lagged, too excited to sleep, talking about films and filmmaking. I said, "That was fun. Hope somebody lets me make another film." And one of the other filmmakers said, "You don't have to wait for permission, Lily. You're a filmmaker. Go make another one." So here I go.