What a week


a death,

a stomach bug,

a big food event.

This has been the last few days.  Sunday morning I was at cheap hair salon in a rundown mini mall getting a blow out in preparation for Oscar night.  I went there because there is not a lot open in the way of hair on Sundays and it’s cheap.

My friends Heather and Nina, with her darling little girl Ruby, had road tripped down from San Francisco for the fun times.  Feeling good.

Then my sister Cecily called and told me her father in law Louis Mitchell had just died. Ugh.  My tummy started to hurt. Hurt for his family and recalled for me my own father’s passing.  So sad for my brother in law.  I knew he would feel the pain in his head, stomach, neck.  His father had been sick for a while, but it’s always a blow no matter how prepared you think you are. Now my brother in law was “in the club” as my friend Nina puts it. That means someone who has lost a parent.
“I can drop everything, do you need me?”  Cecily said no.  The Oscars didn’t seem quite so important anymore. Nevertheless, that hard lesson when someone you love passes is life does go on.  Although what was to be a total fun day had a tinge of darkness on it. It was also a tad annoying to have the guy who was doing my hair, “What happened?”

I told him.

“Oh, God bless, light some candles.  Light some candles.”  He repeated this so many times I was tempted to say “why is there a power outage?”  I wanted to be sad for the moment, but didn’t want to mourn next to this guy who reeked of tobacco who believed candles held the key to grieving.
I raced home to take Rex to a kiddie party, but he was asleep.  So, Heather and I decided to go and see if the Oscar attendees needed our help.  The show starts at 5:30 so Carole’s hair and make up lady arrived at 11:30.  Kevin got tickets to the big show for his brother and his wife, Meaghan and my nephew.  I was glad I showed up because I helped Meaghan with her hair.
It was fun to see Carole getting all dolled up.  The nominee was relaxed.  He was jotting down a few things to say in case he won, but he wouldn’t share them with us.  The car arrived at 2, though they didn’t get in the car till about 2:45.
Heather said, “We have to get ready!”  So, back home we went.
Seeing Carole’s pro make up made me spend a bit more time on my own.  I was walking the red carpet , but was presiding over an Oscar watch party and Campanile and then Heather and I were going to the Fox Searchlight post Oscar party.
Rex said, “I want to wear something handsome.”  So, we put on his vest and good pants.  Vivien loves to get dressed up.  My mom had arrived at our home at 3pm and settled into watch the red carpet hoping for a glimpse of Carole and Kevin. We figured they wouldn’t do an interview with him on the big stations, but we might see him. She kept moving the channel around from E! to TV Guide ( oh people still work there?), to the our local coverage.  She didn’t see here.  Meanwhile I was getting texts from my cousin Mary and another friend, “I just saw her.”  “She is by Octavia Spencer.”
Me, my friends, kids, mom, Mark and Oliver and Dolly our baby sitter went of to Campanile.  It was so cool.
The catering director had set it up perfectly.  He had a big TV set up on one wall and rows of tables in C shapes fanned to the back.  Friends of ours trooped in.  I ordered everyone to fill out their ballot. The winning one would win a $50 gift card to Campanile.
As the show began we were all craning to see if we could spot them.
“They are in Row k”  My mom started counting back from the stage, “a, b, c”  Then our friend yelled, “there she is.”
They were towards the back, but visible and Kevin was on the aisle.  My mom was chuffed.  We all knew what it meant.  Winners are sat on the aisle. Time seem to fly ( not something I usually say watching the Oscars.) The Oscars are more fun to watch with 42 of your friends and family while you served the best food in LA. I didn’t have a seat for awhile.  Rex had kicked me out of our shared seat, “mommy, go get your own chair.”  But, he got tired so Dolly took him home and I got to sit down in front next to my mom.  Vivien was happy hanging with her cousin and grandma’s.

Cecily and Lily had shown up.  She had been tending to her grieving in laws, but said, “not to be insensitive, but I’ve got an Oscar party to go to.” They all understood, “Good Luck to Kevin.”.
All of a sudden it was the editing award. What?? Everyone figured his competition was from “the Artist”, as they were favored to win best picture. The day before the editor of “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” ( who had won last year for “Social Network” told Kevin, “I”m rooting for you.”) They showed quick clips of all the editors talking.  When Kevin’s face came up we don’t know what he said because we were all screaming.
“and the Oscar goes to…”Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.”
We all slumped our shoulders a bit as we saw my sister Carole in the audience mouth “Wow.”  The winners were behind them and she said they were surprised as well.
After a few minutes I got up in front of the crowd and said, “Okay, let’s all do this together, AHHHHH.”
Many of us were saying, “hey he was nominated!” or “he will be back”.  Cecily said, “I’m taking this harder than everyone else, I just wanted some good news today.”
We did get one thing to cheer about Alexander Payne, and his co writers took the gold for adapted Screenplay for “The Desendants”. He is one of Kevin’s best friends and good person.  It would be the pictures only win, I’m glad they got something.
We also whooped it up when we got some more good shots of Carole and Kevin.

Particularly when they gave an ovation to Oprah, James Earl Jones and the other special award winners there was a shot primarly of them clapping and smiling.
I got texts from my cousin “great shot of Carole”.  People were cheering for Kevin all across the country.  His family who live outside of Buffalo even had a story about their watch party.  With a world full of cynics it’s sweet when people root for each other.
Party was done and all departed.  Heather and I drove up to the after party.  Some of the stars of “The Desendants” were there.  My nephew and his aunt and uncle.  We heard about their time at the Oscars.
After a while Carole and Kevin showed up.
The were in a great mood, it was all exciting even without the win.   Then a big cheer went up.  Alexander had walked in holding his gold.  It took him a while to get to us and when he did I asked if I could take a picture with he and his Oscar.
“Only if you hold it” say things that make me love you more.  Heather snapped the picture.  But the flash didn’t go off.  I turned and Carole, Kevin and Alexander had walked out the door.  I went after them.  “What’s going on ?”

“We are going to the Governer’s ball”  Carole said.  It was perfect timing because I was exhausted, but I was gouch enough to want my picture.  So I asked Alexander fro a retake. In reality he obliged kindly, but this picture makes me look like a crazy stalker and he like he just had root canal or perhaps fears the crazy stalker.
I’m not going to kid you.  I was trashed the next day.  Trashed.  I can’t stay up till 12:45, and not be.  Plus there was so much emotion in the day.  I cancelled everything on Monday to spend time with Cecily.
Tuesday I woke up sick, sick, sick.  I’m just coming out of it now. But, since I’ve only eaten jell-o and tea I’m almost at my ideal weight!
Tonight is the big Mark Peel Roy Choi mashup that I came up with ( yeah me!).  I’m telling my tummy to get it together because I want to eat the great food.  The event is sold out.
Ah, La Vida.

and the winner is…

One more week to the Oscar’s, but this past weekend was the A.C.E. awards, the Editors associations awards known as the Eddy’s. My brother in law Kevin Tent has been nominated before, but the first year he is also nominated for an Oscar.  It was a big gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Yes, I did see the Whitney Houston shrine outside. Before the award show my sister Carole and family went to a rooftop party where Kevin snapped this stunning picture of her.  Who says you have to be 20 to be a knockout?
Fwd: pic by LT
The Brogdon Tents walked the marble carpet.
Fwd: marble carpet
The Bev Hilton has a big room where a lot of the award shows are done and my prom was there.

Kevin got my mom and I  and his sister Lauren tickets.  Carole, Kev and my nephew Charlie were sitting up front with people from Fox Searchlight.  We were farther back, but staked out seats with good views of the show.  It was an enjoyable award show. Most are dreadful. But, this moved along and Patton Oswald was a hilarious host.
“I haven’t seen this many cutters in the room since the Teen choice awards.”

Clint Eastwood handed out an award. He was charming and funny and you know, he was Clint Eastwood! Kevin and Reese Witherspoon , looking thin and sophisticated in a black suit presented a special award to Alexander Payne ( who lavished praise on KT).

“The Artist” has such a buzz behind it I wasn’t thinking of Kevin winning, but about 30 minutes into the show I suddenly thought, “Kevin is going to win”. My wise nephew (14) said, “I knew he was going to win when I saw “The Artist” was in a different category.” Savvy Hollywood kid.
Fwd: love
By the way, most banquet food is pretty banal, but the Bev Hilton did a darn good job with the food.  Serving 1,500 people is no small thing at that level of quality.

The Eddy’s divide best editing in dramatic and comedy/musical.  “The Artist” was in the latter.  They won that.  “The Descendant’s” was in the drama category.  Before the show got going I ran down from the “bleachers” and visited with Carole. She was sitting next to two of the actors from the film. Judy Greer, who I think is rubbing embryonic cells on her face as she has the best skin.  She said she loves going to The Tar Pit, which made me like her even more.  Matthew Lillard, who plays her spouse was there.  Very nice guy.  I told him he is one of the those guys who gets cuter as he gets older.  I followed that up with , “I have to flirt, my mom is my date tonight and I don’t think she is going to put out.”

Okay, so after the baked Alaska the show was humming along.  The VERY last award given out was for best edited film dramatic.  I was sitting in between Lauren and my mom.  I had butterflies in my tummy. I grabbed their hands as that hunk from “Friday Night Lights” said, “and the Eddy goes to Kevin Tent!”

We jumped up, screamed, I said to Lauren, “aren’t you glad you came? ( from Buffalo)”  It is VERY nice to hear the voice called you want to hear.
Unlike when I was nominated for a Northern Cal. Emmy and lost to the now defunct Tech TV.  Yes, I’m bitter.
Kevin got up and thanked his wife of 25 years Carole Brogdon first.  Then his son Charlie, “who our life revolves around.”  He did great.  He said he was nervous and doesn’t remember what he said, but he was gracious and dear.

You can see we are pretty happy.

I am so glad I still have some nice duds from when I had money.  I was wearing a Prada dress my BGF Michael told me to buy years ago ( thank you) when it went on sale.  I had patent leather burgundy Manolo’s that Mark gave me as a push present when Vivien was born.  I had on underneath a bustier which was more valuable than spanx.
My dogs were barking as I limped to the valet, but it was a great night.

How to make it in Hollywood: Oscar nominee in the house!

My brother in law Kevin Tent has been nominated for an Oscar for film editing the George Clooney picture “The Descendants.” Allow me to burst with pride.  His is a great story of making it in Hollywood. This is no Gwyneth Paltrow with an “uncle” Speilberg story.  This is the American Dream.

french laundry.jpg
Happy couples at French Laundry ’06”

Kevin hitchhiked to LA from Buffalo when he was 19.  He showed up to go to a film school that he realized was a racket.  He instead went to LA city college and took film courses there and worked at Pep boys.  It was at LACC that he met my sister Carole. No fancy film school for this guy, but he learned the basics of film making.  Then he got a job editing educational films.  Great titles like “VD: old bugs, new problems”.  He always did his best and says that it was at Al Higgins production he learned to edit.

From there he graduated to Roger Corman movies.  He also got me a PA job and and apprentice editing gig.  This is back when editing was done on moviola’s and you needed a razor to cut the film.  I decided the long hours of post production were not for me, but Kevin steamed along.

He edited Tracy Lords’ first non porn film, the campy “Not of this Earth”.   He edited “Frankenhooker“.  We loved all these B films and Kevin worked on all of them.

The first time he had a film in Sundance I went with he and Carole .  It was for “Homage“.  The glamour of Sundance is for those on the ‘hot’ films.  Once we were there we realized our film wasn’t catching fire.  We slogged through the slush on the main drag of Park City disappointed.  I remember running into a friend of Kevin’s who was with the young star of his new film.  A perky little blond name Reese Witherspoon.  Kevin congratulated his friend on his film.

We went back to Sundance the next year for the first film Kevin ever did with Alexander Payne, “Citizen Ruth” (rent it).  This partnership would become a deep friendship and significant professional collaboration.  Citizen Ruth was a quirky comedy dealing with abortion ( who tackles that anymore) and the Christian right and girl who sniffs glue.   This trip was worth getting new boots and a parka for.  The film was getting some buzz.  I met Laura Dern and Alexander at the screening in a small movie house.  Back at the condo we had rented I was woken up as Carole and Kevin came back from a party.  Carole told me excitedly about the stars who were there.  I think Travolta, but it’s been a while.

Ironically, Kevin and Alexander’s next film was “Election” starring Reese Witherspoon.  Another must rent.

Kevin edited  a ton a film’s, but always come back to collaborate with Alexander.  Who, btw, is a good family friend and I’m very happy for his success ( he won for best adapted screenplay for “Sideways”). Alexander says “Campanile is our generation’s Chasen’s.”  Love that.

kevin tent
with 4 day old Rex

So, my brother in law Kevin is the nicest guy you could ever meet.  A great dad,uncle and husband and was like a son to my dad.  He did a lot for my dad in his last years.  Following behind the ambulance that would take my dad to the hospital.  Visiting him in assisted living when my dad was doing very poorly and it was getting painful to see him.  Sometimes when his own daughters couldn’t handle it Kevin would go and sit with my dad.

kevin tent
at “Papa’s” memorial. Kevin was the first to speak

He had two dear parents, Cathy and Charlie ( who my nephew is named for) that were taken way too soon.  I’m so sorry they aren’t here to see Kevin attain this level of success.  But, I know they wouldn’t be surprised.  Kevin has a great picture of he and his dad, must be over 20 years ago it was taken, Charlie is holding a Variety magazine and they are laughing as if they are reading some good news.  I told Kevin today, “that was prescient.  Your dad was seeing this nomination back then.”

It’s great to dwell for a moment in the good moments of life.  The moments that make you cry with joy.  Knowing what went into all that he has done in his adult life.  At least in this case,  a nice guy did finish first.