What Would Lucy Do? – The Oscar Edition [Piping Hot Nerd]
With the Oscars approaching and my hair receding, I reminisce. The Oscars are a must see event for me annually. It can be a special night with friends and food and comfy chairs, hoping to win the office Oscar pool. When you live in Los Angeles, as I did for years, you are “right there.” People watch this awards show all over the world and in Los Angeles we know we are only a vintage Armani’s full length away from the event. I always liked feeling as if I was part of it. I was a seat-filler at the Emmys once, but never hit the heights of becoming a seat-filler at the Oscars.
Many years ago as an undergrad at UCLA, I hosted an Oscar viewing party in my apartment in West LA. After the show was over I said to my guests “Hey we are minutes from the Beverly Hilton where the Oscar party is!” There was a collective “So?” “Well let’s go and watch the stars come in. It will be a great memory, trust me.”
Though I was entirely directionless personally and professionally in college, I knew it was important to rack up memories.
I got my friend Laurette on my side by promising that she would see Jack Nicholson walk in. The others just followed. East on Wilshire Boulevard we went, got parked and stood behind the velvet cord to watch the stars make their way into the Grand Ballroom. It was exhilarating seeing major stars like Ginger Rogers and Daryl Hannah walk by all smiles and dyed feathers. Then the whole thing turned on me. I hated being behind that velvet cord. I wanted to be one of the people at the party. I was so talented at something; I needed to be part of this glitterati parade.
I could take it no longer and conjured up my greatest power, the power of “What Would Lucy Do?” This was my last straw cry when I ran out of all other ideas. Lucy Ricardo got over William Holden’s fence; she dressed up as an agent to get Ricky work, she did everything she wanted through scheming and bravado. I would draw on this power a few years later to get into the private stalls at La Scala in Milan or into seats in St. Peter’s Square to hear the pope say Merry Christmas in 100 languages. But today my answer was “Lucy would go through all the DO NOT ENTER doors.” She probably would have dressed up as waiter, but no matter, I was going to try my best.
I coaxed my friend Tom into joining me. We left the others standing on the wrong side of the ropes and went though our first side door into the hotel. Easy. Then we made it down the hallway and through another door. Breeze. This was turning into a piece of Lucy McGillicudy cake. Finally we made it into the kitchen where the swinging doors into the ballroom were just five paces away. Hotel security nabbed us right next to the desserts being assembled. They wanted to know what we were doing there. I told them we were guests at the hotel and got lost. That was the best I could think of? He asked me for me room number and I told him it was 332. He told me that we could either get arrested or go out the back door of the hotel and not return. We chose the back door.
In almost western-film-kicked-in-the butt-through-the-swinging-saloon-doors fashion we were sent packing out of the back door of the Beverly Hilton. It was the thrust from security that caused me to quite literally body-check Jack Nicholson sneaking in the back entry holding his Oscar for Terms of Endearment whilst Angelica Houston held his arm. Tom and I were gobsmacked. An audience with two major stars and an Oscar. Jack just beamed from behind his dark sunglasses and I said “Way to go, Jack!” and he told us “Thanks, guys.”
We joined the others still watching for celebs on the front lines. I told Laurette that she would probably not be seeing her idol Jack after all.
Perhaps next year I will write about how this guy I used to date broke up with me and I did not want to think about him, but there he was on the TV screen in a tux at the Oscars with the cast of “Precious.” And he wasn’t a seat filler.
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featured image credit: Dave_B_