Being in LA on the night of an awards show can feel a bit like being in Vatican City during a papal conclave. Streets shut down, banners flag buildings, and a fantasia of light bursts forth from where the trophies are distributed. The city's collective consciousness is focused on one thing — a parade of stars arriving at a red carpet somewhere in the city. The red carpet is a horde of publicists with earpieces and clipboards and iPads and other such weaponry. Security is omnipresent, lines spiral around and intersect with other lines, and there are checkpoints with gun-toting goons there to scour credentials seemingly every ten feet.
Such is life during awards season, which lasts from December to the end of February in Los Angeles — when certain sought-after statuettes get disseminated. I've seen the city converge upon two awards shows this season, and it's infinitely more frenzied than what you see on TV.
How did I fare? Well, I made it out alive. There's something to say for that. Here are a few ways to handle a big-ticket Sunday in LA during awards season.
- If you don't have tickets to the event, don't bother hanging around outside beforehand, trying to crash the proceedings or catch a glimpse of your favorite TV star or whatever. These places are tougher to break into than an armistice deal. It's not worth trying.
- So you say to yourself: I think I'll check out the action at the Beverly Hilton, just to see what all the fuss is about. Nice try, there. The traffic is such that you'll be traversing a block or two for an hour. Is it worth it to get a peek into where, say, a certain enthusiastic country-turned-pop star was just standing for thirty seconds? No. It is not worth it.
- Dudes: Wear a tuxedo. This is essential. Even if the awards take place at an LA sporting arena, and you have to pass by fast-food booths in order to get to your seats, you put on the monkey suit, and you enjoy it. And ladies, just avoid wearing a meat dress and you should be fine.
- Waiting in line is inevitable. Look, all the parties are inside the same hotel, so there's not much of a choice here. That guy, a few feet in front of you? He's on that show where that nice-looking chemistry teacher is actually a drug lord. And if he's not too good for this line, you can probably deal with it.
- Remember the advice we once gave you about eating hors d'oeuvres? That advice was: don't. The same thing applies here. Do you want a famous lip-syncing pop star to watch you shoveling mini crab cakes down your throat? Didn't think so.
- Say you're at the Beverly Hilton, where a certain awards show has all of its after-parties. You're set for most of the parties, but there's one you're not on the list for. Since everyone's party hopping, convince someone who's already stopped by that party to give you their wristband. Then you walk in. It's very simple.
- Limit the number of weeks you go to awards after-parties. They're always on Sundays, and if your boss consistently sees you super hungover on Mondays, again and again, we have a problem.
- And really? Going to the after-parties for every single award show is a little gauche. And possibly exhausting? Slow down.
- You're in Downtown LA, at a spitting distance from the world-famous stadium where a music award show just took place. Is there a singer that you really like, someone you think you'll definitely get along with if you just take a chance and go introduce yourself? Maybe if you strike up a conversation you'll be best friends forever? This will never happen. That singer has no interest in talking to you.
- In from out of town? Stay at the Chateau Marmont. Can't afford to stay at the Chateau Marmont? Crash at your cousin's house and hang out at the Chateau as if you're staying there. That works, too.
- If there is a step-and-repeat somewhere inside the party, and you see normal, non-famous people standing on the red carpet, snapping selfies in front of the backdrop — as if they, too, are fabulous celebrities — walk right by them. Scorn them. You're not going to feign fame for the sake of Instagram likes. Grow up.
So, that's how to get by during LA awards season without losing your dignity, money or temper. Or maybe you're the type of person who can very rationally and calmly not give a damn about awards shows. If you are, how you manage to stay sane in Los Angeles astounds me. Don't worry, in a month, it'll all be over.
Image by Michael Erazo-Kase