So after Saturdays epic schedule I was not moving too quickly. Jeff had already worked out and hit the continental breakfast by the time I rolled out of bed at 10am. Jeff also had an agenda for Grammy day as he needed to get photos and interviews with the kids artist for some publications back east. If you missed it he did a whole preview of the Grammys for Time Out New York-Kids. My agenda was much simpler. Eat, pick up my suit jacket from the front desk (had it dry cleaned) and get dressed. Then head to the Grammys pre-telecast show and enjoy the experience.
So I had bought some food at the local supermarket on Friday which came in handy for breakfasts during the weekend. So I ate while Jeff showered and then I went and got my jacket from the front desk and it was 11:30 and time to go. I could not move fast at all. The last day had done me in. So I told Jeff don’t wait for me I’d follow in a cab. Off he went and I cleaned up, got dressed and headed off to my waiting taxi around Noon-ish. It’s been a long time since I was in a smokey smelling cab but I was reminded when cabs, bars and restaurants all had that odor. I don’t miss it and it was only a 20 minute ride. So the cab drops me off as he can go no further (barricades) and of course it’s the farthest point to the entrance I need at the LA convention center. I may have missed my morning walk but I made up for some of it as I asked an officer (lot’s of police presence) for directions. He told me go down there take a left.
Well down there was two blocks and then after the left was another two blocks and the finally to another left and only a block and I arrived just as they were putting the food and beverages away….Nooooooo!!! What to do? I quickly requested a bottle of water and rehydrated. I then discovered they left coolers of soda and water opposite of each theater exit in the lobby. Smart thinking! It was only 12:30 and they Grammy’s wouldn’t end for another 7 1/2 hours!!!
Having finally arrived at my destination and now hydrated I went off to see if I could find the folks I knew in attendance. Unlike the televised show the pre-telecast is much more relaxed. You can sit anywhere you want. People come and go as they please and I couldn’t find anyone! So I headed in into the Theater. No one there so I texted Jeff and he said he was in the Lobby. Off to the Lobby I went and no luck. Leave it to me to be unable to find the 6’5″ guy in the lobby. Just then I ran into Debbie Block and she invited me to sit with her, Bill and the other nominees. Well alright! Into the theater I went and what a great seat it was.
No sooner than we had sat down the Music started and our host for the evening actor David Alan Grier started the ceremonies. Unlike the TV telecast they are very quick in the pre-telecast. The say the category, nominee names and boom winner. No clips of songs, no shots of the pending winners. There was a webcast but all they do is show the winner who is jumping up and down in their seat (this happens a lot) and all the folks around them going nuts. It was completely random as well. You never knew who was going to win or where they were seated. Then a short speech and moving on. It was a lot of fun to be there. What I learned this weekend is that the biggest fans of music are musicians. Duh right? I know lots of people love music and people express it in many ways. But I digress… The Children’s Grammy was the 33rd category so we had some categories and performances ahead of us. The two performances that stood out for me were Eighth Blackbird ( They were very cool modern classical music from Chicago!) and John Fulbright (Rocking out Americana style). The house band was also kicking some serious tail. They made every act they played with sound better. A testament to their professionalism. (I don’t remember who they are and if anyone knows and reads this please tell me). Then at long last category 33- Best Children’s Grammy came up and I’ll just let the pictures tell the story.
That was the last I saw of the Okee Dokee Brothers that day. Congrats to the fellas on their great CD it truly deserved to win. All the nominees for the Children’s Album Category were really good this year. The Pop-Ups, Bill Harley, Elizabeth Mitchell and JumpinJazz Kids all put out great stuff. (Part one has the links). As the show went on the crowd started to thin and I went to get another bottle of water before they put the coolers away. As I exited the theater there before me was the “D” as my nephew calls them. Tenacious D had been up for best comedy album (Jimmy Fallon won) and now were making plans to leave as they talked to fans. Knowing my Nephew Chris is a HUGE fan of the “D” I had to stop and ask to take a picture. Jack Black couldn’t have been more gracious. I took a pic and then he insisted I get in one as well “or what’s the point”. So thank you Jack and Kyle! He was totally stoked to get the pic and text!
It was time to head to the big show in the Staples Center. A little walk was nice after being in the theater for the 3 hour show (lots of categories). The one thing I should have done was got a bite to eat somewhere before the big show.
We walked by lots of restaurants and should have stopped for an appetizer or something because the lines in the Staple Center for food were ridiculous! On the other hand seeing folks in thousand dollar suits and dresses waiting in line and wolf down McD’s has it own comedic worth. I would subsist on Twix candy bars and my standby, Reeces Peanut Butter Cups (Only first floor vendors were open. Every other floor closed. Why?). That and the water fountain would carry through the telecast portion of the day. We made it to our seats in good time. When I mentioned to the usher my nose was starting to trickle from the height. She told me not to worry as every seat up here comes with a box of tissues. Haha funny girl!
So the show itself was a lot of fun. Most of the time you could see the big screens on the right or left (sometimes they were off…Why?) and we could also see behind the scenes as they changed sets. There was 4 areas of performance. Stage Right, Stage Left, Upstage and then they had a circular platform in the audience. Those stage hands were working hard and super efficient. The show moved well and the acts were all pretty good. The best though was Bruno Mars and his dancing band. Just awesome! Along with Sting and the Marley Children it was a great set. He made me a fan with that number. Then later you had the Levon Helm Tribute which should have ended the show (not LL Cool J). Mavis Staples still kicks ass! The Weight was alive, electric and gives me chills thinking about it now. I thought the show as a whole moved really well. While the seats had a bit of altitude the people around us couldn’t have been nicer. The women sitting next to me were a pleasure to talk to. One an actress ( I apologize for forgetting her name) and the other a singer/songwriter. Her name is Emily Dale (I remembered her name cause I wrote down her website.) Go visit her link and have a listen. She’s good. Maybe a future Grammy winner?
Then it was off to dinner with Bill and Debbie, friends and family. We went to a place called Barbrix and the food and company we excellent. I sat across from Regina Kelland who was one of the organizers for the Children’s Grammys Concert and Luncheon and a person whose been working in the kids music business a long time (she had some great stories). Peter Alsop (Bill called him the Godfather of kids music) was there with his wife Ellen Geer who couldn’t have been nicer along with Debbies sister and her husband. I ate brocollini, whitefish, salads, a cool take on aranacini, a Bolognese with polenta and much more. The wine was really good though a bit ironic as it was an Italian Red and I was in California.
After a lot of laughing and storytelling the night came to an end. I found out the Bill Harley is going to New Zealand. My Kiwi friends with kids should go have a listen as he is one of the finest storytellers I have ever heard. He sings pretty good too! We said our goodbyes and we went back to the hotel… No really! Back to the hotel and off to sleep… The next morning we packed up and checked out. Got in the car and headed off to Santa Monica Pier and the Pacific Ocean. We did make a brief stop at Loyola Marymount University. The school that had captured my basketball dreams at a young age. Hank Gathers, Bo Kimble and the forgotten Jeff Peabody ran teams out of the Gym… Literally. It was the most awesome display of run and gun basketball anyone had ever seen and the guys in my neighborhood were in awe. How I longed then to own a t-shirt or hat from that school. Being pre-internet days we had no luck securing the wanted swag. But 20 years later I was passing right by and amended that wrong. I got a hat and t-shirt and a hat for my buddy Greg. Even sent a picture text so he got one he likes. Isn’t technology awesome!
Warm weather and blues skies along with the crashing of the waves. I could have stayed there all month. But it was time to go and my flight was leaving in three hours. The Santa Monica Pier is not a bad way to end a trip to California. My thanks to the many people I met and laughed with and especially Jeff Bogle who was a great travel partner. So back to the real world of kids, work, wives and making music. I wouldn’t have it any other way… Well I do wish it was a little warmer.