Called to the Carpet

I’ve owed Wildman a favor for a while. He kept his word to be in my play — even though we’d broken up the day before. So when he put the call out for help with an event he produces every year, the Vision Awards, of course I was up for it.

I got all tarted up in my Christmas dress and made the loooooong slow trek to the Beverly Hilton. I was embarrassingly late because of the traffic. (And because I’d gone to the Beverly Wilshire instead, where they were having another event and it took me a few minutes to realize that I was in the wrong hotel.) I finally arrived at the designated spot and my assignment was to help celebrities navigate the “red carpet,” which is actually beige linoleum, and help move them along to paparazzi and “news” crews. Wildman paired me with an actress, who has done some formidable character work but is best known for her role as E.T.’s mom. I actually spent most of my time tracking down dinner tickets for her and her much-younger, very handsome date. Who was offended when I asked him for his last name, because they didn’t have a ticket for him.

I am so pathetic at this kind of thing that I only recognized one famous person, Malcolm McDowell. He looked great.

It was the kind of event where there are too many “you’ve got to be kidding me” facelifts, too much anti-gravity bulletproof hair (does NASA know about these people?) and futuristic microfiber undergarments that squish everything in. And that’s just the men.

I did have one of my favorite L.A. conversations ever with an artist who was lurking around the silent auction area in front of his paintings. I was glad that he wore all black and a black beret tipped at a jaunty angle so that I could be SURE he was really an artist.

Him: That’s a lovely dress you’re wearing. It’s very artistic.
Me: Thank you very much.
Him: You look so familiar to me. What is your name?
Me: Vanessa.
Him: Are you an actress?
Me: Oh, not really any more.
Him: What is your last name?
Me: McGrady.
Him: Yes! I know your early work. Wonderful.
Me: Oh? Really? That’s very flattering. Thank you.

I’m wondering if he’s referring to the YWCA commercial I did in Seattle many years ago, in which I pretended to be a battered wife. Or perhaps he saw the low-budget mountain-climbing service one in which I played a businesswoman who just got back from an amazing trip and had to tell all her friends. Could it have been the infomercial for an amazing dusting/scraping/squeegee tool with an extension for ceiling fans? Or maybe he’s just a fan of 40licious, the movie trailer.

Vanessa McGradyCalled to the Carpet

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