A backstage pass to the basement: covering the Golden Globes
You don't just walk up to the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Golden Globes Awards day. Traffic is shut off around the luxury hotel for the event, so you must park at a garage at least 10 blocks away and take a shuttle bus to the site, which is tricked out with more security that I've seen at some presidential candidates' speeches. Really.
(For example, journalists were delayed entering the press area for a few minutes, because a squad of 10 guys from local police and the military hadn't yet finished sweeping the location with bomb-sniffing dogs. No joke.)
Strict Hollywood caste systems apply here, so as a member of the "working press" I breeze by the yahoo fan contest winners, wait staff and seat fillers cued up in a two-block long line for a shuttle for an express ride to Glamor-land. Cool!
Once there, however, the bubble bursts -- first, because, even though I'm given a cool-looking plastic card with way-terrible picture of myself (let's see how cool YOU look after a rushed trip to a credentials office after a 5 1/2-hour flight and trip through LA traffic), I can't actually GET inside the working press area. They have these scanner deals that read stuff embedded in the credential -- to make sure you don't alter the pass after it's given to you -- and my doohickey came up snake eyes.
So . . . after 40 minutes of running back and forth from the press room entrance to the place where they gave me this hunk of junk -- passing through a security screening just short of an airport body cavity search each time -- I get a clerk to hold off his passionate argument with a photographer cursing in an Eastern European language to upgrade me for a seat in the bowels of the Hilton's office space.
As I walk one last time toward the security gate, I am disturbingly gratified by the way security waves me toward the VIP screening area. No wonder Hollywood is so obsessed with status.
One small consolation: I walk through security the last time behind retired NFL star and aspiring NBC anchor Tiki Barber, who assured me his twin Ronde would likely keep playing for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers "as long as they work out some of that offense stuff." He started laughing heartily when I suggested there would be parties in Tampa's streets if a certain person left his coaching job after this season.
Now I REALLY need a cup of coffee . . .