Hollywood Ain’t All That

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love I.V.

Pretty much everything I know about life and love comes straight
from the silver screen, despite my mother’s attempts at drilling
countless “life lessons” into my little curly-haired head.
dustin%26iattheoscars.jpgSure, the knowledge I’ve absorbed from
films can come in handy — I’ve mastered the art of waxing
on, waxing off
; I’m an expert at how to lose a guy
in 10 days
; I believe that garden gnomes are capable of
embarking on elaborate trips around the world; I know how a
well-timed trip to Tiffany’s can help me beat the mean reds; I am
sure that we’ll always have Paris; and I can confidently say that
Ren and
are like way existential.

But, Hollywood isn’t all glamour and good quotes on imdb.com. In fact, growing up
with two parents in the business — and completing almost three
years as a film major — I know for a fact that movie magic is
mostly just makeup and music, and that warm fuzzy feeling I get at
the end of a good movie is really just my psychological
satisfaction at seeing a story go from beginning to middle to end
according to certain ingrained expectations from which I can’t

Still, there’s something to be said for the idea that everything
looks more fabulous in the film world. And nothing exemplifies that
exact idea better than the Oscars. For one night, an otherwise cruddy corner of
the most tourist-trappy part of L.A. is transformed into a
glamorous getaway where style reigns supreme and the unwashed,
unfamous masses are kept behind barricades at a safe distance away
from the glitterati and the paparrazi.

Last weekend, somehow little ol’ me managed to make my way past
the patrolling officers, behind the big barricades, and onto the
red carpet at the 79th Annual Academy Awards.
Thanks to the aforementioned parents in the business, I scored a
dream gig as a production assistant for a shoot in which we
essentially coordinated a stunt where the Geico caveman crashed the
red carpet and the big viewing party at the Beverly Hills Hotel for
a website called celebtv.com.

Sure, I was working hard for my money and doing all the fabulous
snack-fetching, errand-running,
security guard-coercing, and
crew-coordinating required of a runner. But, I
also had a few minutes to take in the party — and sneak a dessert
from one of the many models who weren’t going near their food
anyway — and boy, was it an experience. Everyone from Jon Voight to
was there, and the glam quotient would have satisfied
even that most discerning of fabulous film females, Holly Golightly.

By the end of it, I was drained, dead tired, and definitely
happy to pack up all the toiletries that I could steal from our
fancy hotel on Sunset and hightail it back to my crappy little
apartment in I.V. Why? Because glamour is great and all, but it’s
not everything. Sorry Holly. In fact, my big
Academy Awards Adventure only served to teach me
one more thing I can claim to have learned from Hollywood: a
newfound appreciation for the I.V. party

Sure, I.V. has its fair share of Laguna Beach-looking blonde
bombshell types to compete with, but at least everyone here isn’t
collagened, botoxed, boob jobbed, liposuctioned, and
to within an inch of their lives. We have our
, but even they have a flaw or two that modern medical
science hasn’t already eradicated. As a woman who is proud — or at
least I make a concerted effort to be — of my sans-silicon curves,
it’s nice to live in a place where I’m not the only one who still
possesses the boobs I was born with and whose stomach sometimes
sticks out a bit more than I would like.

But, looks aren’t everything. The other major thing the I.V.
scene has going for it when compared to the stylish scene off
Sunset last Sunday night is the fact that we here in I.V. know how
to work hard and party hard — two pursuits we
manage to keep apart for the most part.

Unlike the big Oscar party, where it felt like everyone was
working the room and every interaction was just a business
meeting with tuxes and ballgowns
instead of ties and
business suits, the I.V. scene is more about making memories than
making it big. I don’t know about anyone else, but I find it a lot
easier to relax when I know that the reason people are talking to
me is because they want to, not because they feel like it might be
a good career move.

As far as I’m concerned, I find it much more pleasurable to
party when the basest motive behind people’s interactions is the
desire to get head, not get ahead — somehow sex
seems like a much simpler motive to manage on my end.

Sure, there’s some level of maneuvering and
going on in any social gathering, but at
least in I.V. that’s not what it’s all about, and meeting new
people is still priveleged over making new career connections. It’s
refreshing after a weekend of running around with my resume on the
tip of my tongue, business cards constantly coming and going from
my purse, and every handshake feeling like a hasty opportunity to
be sized up by someone who either saw me as competition or the
greatest thing to happen to their to-do list since they let their
last assistant go.

Hollyood parties look glamorous and all, but looks can
be deceiving
. Decadent designer dresses and elaborate
elegant lighting schemes don’t mean a thing when everyone is too
busy working the room to enjoy themselves.

In the end, it just made me wish for a red plastic cup
full of cheap vodka and cranberry juice
, a speaker blaring
the latest artistic triumph from Akon, and a rowdy
game of beer pong. Sure, the mise-en-scène might not be as
good, but the interactions are so much more substantial. Even over
crappy music and cheap beer.

Ultimately, I don’t think I’m ever going to stop
hearting Hollywood. Like any true love, I know its
flaws and I still willingly engage in a serious relationship with
the silver screen anyway. I can’t help it, there’s just something
about your first love, and when it comes to climactic
relationship moments, working the Oscars can’t be beat.

But, like many good movie climaxes, there was more to the
experience than I initially thought. Just when the mid-quarter,
pre-finals, post-bad-cold blues were really starting to seriously
impede my ability to appreciate — not to mention enjoy — the I.V.
scene, something came along to pull me out of my sweatpants and
Scrubs reruns funk.

Like so many movie mavens before me, I went to Hollywood. And, just
like in the movies, it only made me appreciate how good I have it
here at home. I will always be a sucker for movie magic — even if
it is just makeup and good music — but thanks to my Oscar
experience, I have a newfound appreciation for the simple things in
life too.

Suddenly, a social scene where flip flops and tank
are acceptable attire and a good beer pong game can
just be the basis for newfound friendships — not new career
connections — looks damn good to me too. Just so long as my new
friends don’t mind the fact that sometimes, I just have to wear a
tiara with my tank top. Because that’s what Holly Golightly would


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