TCMFF 2019, Day one in L.A.
This year's Turner Classic Film Festival got off to a different start than the previous four. It wasn't raining for the first time ever as we left the house at 2:30 a.m for the airport, ironically we had a much longer drive this time as recently floods had washed out bridges and roads on our usual route. We actually just made it to our gate as they started to line up to board. My luck with airports lately has been rough.
The weather was beautiful this time around but windy for takeoff and landing. The landing was so rough that the pilot had the flight attendants sit down and not come around to gather trash and check to make sure seatbelts were buckled. It was the first time I've seen that happen on a flight during landing; however, I was on a flight in January that had attendants sit down during take off and not come around for drink service until mid-flight because it was so turbulent due to high winds. What is going on with the winds, ya’ll?
We landed in sunny and incredibly windy Los Angles at 7:30 a.m. Too early to do anything, right? I like to get a head start on our day, and I don't regret anything because we partied until after 2:30 a.m., so we made it work. I had the good sense to get us right into that rush hour Wednesday work traffic, I mean I wanted to get the full L.A. experience. It was all I had hoped it would be and more.
Nearly two hours later we dropped off our luggage at our hotel, the same one we have stayed in the past three years and had a quick breakfast at Starbucks. Then it was off to the Roosevelt to check out what TCM had set up in the Lobby. I was so excited to run into Jax, almost immediately. She was kind enough to sit and chat with me, coffee breath and all.
Angie made her way in from the airport in time to meet us for our annual lunch at 25 Degrees. We were a little early for lunch but too late for breakfast, so Angie had a pop, I had a mimosa and Brian had the most magnificent Bloody Mary I have ever had in my life. For lunch I had my beloved Sonoran Bobak Hot Dog (Bacon wrapped hot dog with caramelized onions, tomatoes, pinto beans, onions, hatch green chilis, queso fresco, mustard, and garlic aioli) and onion rings; honestly, you can't beat it. After lunch we went by the TCM shop in Sweet to get a few items and then back to the hotel to freshen up before we went on a tour I had won through TCM Backlot.
As a member of the TCM Backlot, I entered a contest to win a tour of the Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills. The tour was at two, and we left with plenty of time. Unfortunately, our Lyft driver was running late, so Angie ordered us an Uber and his phone froze as we were headed there, so we arrived a little late.
The Margaret Herrick Library in Beverly Hills has thousands of collections of art, film scripts, movie production records, photographs, and files. The library is open to the public, but it was closed the day of our tour. We were able to go 'behind the scenes' to tour the photo department, and we were able to see the restoration department where we were shown some original costume sketches from Gone with the Wind. I was blown away. They also showed us some original artwork they are resorting from Sleeping Beauty.
Near the end of the tour, we were shown some samples of their Gone With the Wind collection since the film was being shown during the festival and this is the 80th anniversary of the film. They had the mourning brooch worn by Vivien Leigh in the final scenes of Gone with the Wind, a first edition book signed by the entire cast, someone's scrapbook filled with newspaper clippings, and more.
The final thing we were able to see was an Oscar statue. We were all allowed to hold it. It was so incredible to feel the weight of an actual Academy Award in my hand and let me tell you; it's heavy.
After the library visit, we changed and zipped back up to Beverly Hills to La Scala to meet up with our great friend Roger. Before we had dinner, we walked around for a while and visited the Beverly Gardens Park. The weather was beautiful but so windy. It was such a fantastic night to walk the streets of Beverly Hills and enjoy the smells of garlic and sugar coming from the excellent restaurants and pastry shops. When we get these moments I love to close my eyes and take it all in so I can remember every detail when I get home. I need something when I’m stuck inside during these harsh midwest winters.
La Scala was even better the second time. We missed Lauren, but the food was even better this year because I wasn't battling an awful flu. I could taste how genuinely wonderful the Bolognese was that I split with Roger and the Caesar Salad, forget about it. I spoiled myself with that. I won't be able to find another Caesar like that for a while. Dinner flew by in a flash with fantastic conversation and food. We went for a drive around the hills for a while where we saw Lucille Ball's old home and some area's of L.A. that I hadn't seen before. I love discovering something new each time I visit.
Then Roger surprised us with a visit to Pump. If you follow me at all, you know that I am a Real Housewives fan and Beverly Hills is among my top favorite's. I've wanted to visit one of Lisa Vanderpump's bar' s/restaurants for year's but its never worked out, so I was extremely down for this. The moment we walked in Brian spotted the gang from Vanderpump Rules. Yes, we are also fans of that show too and if you want to fight about it, please see Mrs. Chrissy Teigen who is also a massive fan and never does any wrong.
Kate Maloney-Schwartz, Tom Schwartz, Brittany Cartwright, and her mama were all seated near us. We ordered the house special, the Pumptini and chatted. It was everything I wanted it to be and more. As the gang got up to leave, I was now several drinks in and managed to gather up the courage to scream at my favorite, Tom Schwartz and ask for a photo. He couldn't have been nicer. He apologized for not being able to stay longer and chat because their Uber was outside waiting for them. I was incredibly rude as I sat and never even tried to stand up for our photo. I will chalk that up to my state of inebriation. Again-he was a total gentleman and beautiful human. I was absolutely on cloud nine and couldn't have been any happier. Sidebar: Katie looked absolutely incredible! Thank you, Roger!
After that, we decided to walk over to Mr. Schwartz's bar, Tom Tom, that he owns a share of with my other favorite from VPR, Mr. Tom Sandoval. We were hoping to see if we could spot him and his beautiful girlfriend Ariana Madix. No such luck on locating Tom and Ariana, but we were able to have a drink and sit and chat for a bit longer with Roger which was what the night was all about. My drink, the Toulouse Your Mind had Absinthe-pineapple-lemon-ginger liqueur-habanero ice chips. Honestly I wish I could have just sat and done a full tasting menu of each drink, hindsight, I wish I would have. I was just over the moon that I was in Tom Tom, probably the greatest place on earth. (Half glad I didn’t do a tasting menu because I woke up feeling like death the next day, also, yesterday I received the most beautiful shirt as a gift designed by Mr. Tom Schwartz that you can find here)
We made it back to our hotel sometime after 2:00 a.m. and crashed for the night. I hated not being able to spend more time with Roger, but one epic night was better than nothing.
Our first night in Hollywood was incredible, and it was so much fun to see our friends again. It truly is the best part of going to L.A. each year. I loved being able to jump right into seeing everyone.
Next up: Day two, the red carpet.
(Some photos courtesy of TCM Backlot)