Starlight and Streamys, Oh My!

Sandeep Parikh and Felicia Day from The Guild presenting the first Streamy for Best Reality Web Series
Sandeep Parikh and Felicia Day from The Guild presenting the first Streamy for Best Reality Web Series

I’d say 90% of my life in Hollywood is pretty typical of life anywhere else in the country.  I wake up, I go to work, I walk my dogs, I come home, have dinner, watch TV, and go to bed.  Sometimes I go to the mall, or the movies.

But every so often some crazy week comes at me out of nowhere and all of the sudden I’m thrown into the Hollywood machine, that crazy bit of Los Angeles that usually only happens on TV.

Friday night I joined my drama teacher Martha Melinda and her merry band of child improv actors to perform at ‘A Stellar Night,’ a benefit for the Starlight Foundation (not Make-a-Wish, as I’d originally thought, but the same concept.)  Aside from my twenty-three year old self, our group ranged from six to fourteen, mirroring the ages of the kids we were supposed to be entertaining with our sketch comedy.

The evening quickly descended into chaos.  The children’s lounge at the Beverly Hilton where we were stationed was overcrowded with entertainers, from the magician, to the arts&crafts table sponsored by Disney, to Chef Jeff from the Food Network and his chocolate fountain, to the biggest distraction of all: a giant Rock Band setup on the opposite end of the room.

We tried our darndest to get through the set we’d prepared, but not only were we fighting to be heard over the strains of “Eye of the Tiger,” half the kids in our troupe couldn’t take their eyes off the Wiis – or the food.  When we went on break, the boys bee-lined for the videogames while the girls got starstruck by all the Disney and Nickelodeon actors wandering around.  They went autograph hunting and I threw up my hands, giving up on trying to keep them together.

Though it was really entertaining to watch fourteen-year-old Tim chat up Sammi Hanratty from Pushing Daisies.

For the second half of our set, Martha abandoned the sketches and went for the improv games.  While most of our group was having their faces painted or caricatures drawn, Martha found a small group of guests who instantly got hooked on acting – including one princess with a piercing shriek.  That group kept the show going until the very last minute, and though it was actually impossible to hear what they were saying, they seemed to be having the time of their lives.  Everyone enjoyed themselves, and on the way out I was pleasantly surprised to see Jamie Lee Curtis and Terri Hatcher making speeches in the main ballroom.

The following day I slept in ’til nine, when I had to leap out of bed, throw on some clothes, and take Pilot to agility training.  After running to keep up with him for an hour, I took him home and then dashed off to the mall where I picked up a pair of shoes for the Streamy Awards that evening.

If you follow me on Twitter (and if you don’t, why not?)  you’ll have been inundated with my updates. (Sorry, Facebookians, for the spam.) I almost used up my entire phone battery trying to keep track of the event.

Originally I was supposed to go with Vlada from Staying In, who would have covered the awards for TV Week, but she got sick, so I went by my lonesome and covered it on behalf of Starpulse. I gussied myself up, painted my nails, and even wore heels – worrying on my way over that I had severely over-dressed.

Fortunately, I hadn’t.  The women all wore party dresses, most of which put my $12 Forever 21 dress to shame, and while most men were in suits, with a few sporting jeans and dress shirts, a couple even turned up in tuxedos.  Green and turquoise were very popular dress colors for the nominees, though the predominant look was black.

I checked in at the media table and got my press badge, which allowed me to wander around the Wadsworth Theater in Westwood without raising any eyebrows.  Everywhere I turned I saw someone I thought I recognized, and overheard endless conversations about who was involved in what production.  The schmoozing was intense, and I was overwhelmed.

The awards show itself was full scale, sponsored by Kodak and Episodic.  I don’t think anyone expected it to be so huge, with so many enthusiastic people.  I ended up sitting next to two really wonderful, genuine people, Chad and Monica, who chatted with me about webseries, Comic Con, and the wonders of the iPhone.  On my other side, purely by coincidence, was a girl I went to high school with, and in the row in front of us – Dennis Haskins, a.k.a. Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell.  He’s now involved in an MTV webseries called Private High Musical.

A detailed list of the winners and whatnot will be in my Starpulse article, so I’ll save that for later.  I will mention my celebrity sightings, including the Neil Patrick Harris, Dichen Lachman (Sierra, from Dollhouse), Marc Feurstein (must approach him next time I see him at Coffee Bean), Ileana Douglas, and Lisa Kudrow, to name a few.  The writing for the presenters’ bits weren’t so great, but most of the presenters recognized this and sort of winked at the audience.  Lisa Kudrow, in particular, went off script and cracked everybody up when she presented the Audience Choice Award – which went to Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog.  Dr. Horrible scooped a number of prizes, to no great surprise, since they were well deserved.

After the show I told Sandeep Parikh (Zaboo on The Guild and the creator of Legend of Neil) I thought he was great, and then summoned all my courage to approach Felicia Day, who is just about the sweetest person and as Neil Patrick Harris said, “Made of awesome.”  I introduced myself and told her that she had inspired me – and that I follow her on Twitter.

Sadly, despite only sitting a few rows away, Joss Whedon once again escaped my grasp.  (My webseries is really starting to imitate my life, soon it’ll be a documentary.)  After Dr. Horrible won Audience Choice, he, Maurissa Tancharoen, NPH, and Felicia Day disappeared back stage.  Dead on my feet and not relishing the idea of wallflowering in heels, I decided against attending the afterparty.

The Streamys were so much fun, and it was clear that everyone was genuinely excited to be there.  It was a hell of a night.

Quote of the Day:

“I would say Nathan [Fillion] is the nicest, most genuine guy – but that would be a lie.  He’s a dick.  And he pads his junk.  Thanks!” – Neil Patrick Harris, accepting his Streamy award for Best Actor in a Comedy Webseries.  Fillion was also nominated.

Link of the Day: Check out all the nominees at the Streamy Awards website – I particularly enjoyed Children’s Hospital and am working my way through others.

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