daily preciousness

Monday, August 02, 2004

completely folked


Scott, Michelle and I get ready to have fun before the party.

Scott Lowell, Michelle Clunie, Todd "nothing sticks better" Elmer and I all tumble into this cavernous SUV. This thing was like a living room on wheels. We were headed to the fundraiser. Scott and Michelle are from Showtime's gay drama, Queer as Folk.

Thank God Todd's at the wheel of this behemoth FolksWagon, because I would have clipped cars on every turn, slammed into pedestrians and left our passengers ragged and distraught. Instead, I was just copilot, on the lookout for one-way streets. That I could handle. (Okay, maybe not so well; I nearly sent us careening down a one-way street into a Gran Marquis whose driver was more chagrined than shocked... but no one was injured.)

Todd remarked, So -- how crazy is this -- we're here campaigning for Kerry, trying to stop big bad Big Oil. And what are we driving around? Hello -- This giant mutha of an SUV! How funny is that? That's crazy child -- you know tha's true!


Scott, Michelle and Todd visit before the meet 'n' greet.

Getting ready for the evening's festivities, I was faced with a new bit of vocabulary. One of the lovely ladies in our crew was getting ready for the night out. She asked how her jeans looked: Do these make me look "camel toe"? I looked down at her feet, not knowing it was a code word for pants that are too tight. (Every now and then, I'm reminded with how clueless I am.)

Fast forward to the second floor of the Lizard Lounge. I am assisting the Scott and Michelle, who are schmoozing with the donor-atti. I'm introducing people, guarding against conversational monopolies.

But they hardly need my help at all -- they're working the crowd like seasoned professionals. It's only then that I realize that their years of theatre work provided them with the perfect training for Washington schmoozing scene.

L.A. and DC are like parallel worlds, Todd explained: When we were in L.A. for the campaign, we got the A-list treatment, like we were celebs, he said. They don't get folks from DC that much, so they're fawning all over us, he said. And over here, we're the same way. It's a bi-coastal curiosity thing – wondering how the other half lives!

Curiosity, indeed! The fans were thrilled to meet Scott and Michelle. They were enthusiastic without any unsavory pawing or fawning, I thought. They peppered us with autograph requests, compliments and interview style questions.

Fifty or so people crowded the second floor of the club. Beside the velvet rope, Todd's pal, the handsome Miko, stood guard.

"So, are you with the show?" asked Jim Brandon, D.C. councilmember and a dead-ringer for Peter Schickle, pickle magnate. "No," I sputtered. "I'm just volunteering for the fundraiser. I'm not connected with the show anymore than you are -- I'm just a fan!" "Well, you're a lucky one to hang out with Scott Lowell. He's a fox!" I grinned at the spritely sextogenarian and had to agree, he was a lot like that character.

"No, they don't tell us about the script for the next season – we don't know about it until we get it before the taping," Michelle explained to a lesbian softball power couple. "No, we have to stick to the script very closely. There's almost no improvising; they'll call us out if we do," she told the beaming secretary from NIHM.


"Imagine Bush winning in November," I tease.

The speeches were short and sweet. The format: Disbelief, fear, frustration and motivation. Theirs were a bit more funny and upbeat than usual. Before they even said a word, they warmed up the crowd by pretending to wear the low-hanging lights over the bar like George Jetson style hats.

Mostly, I was just worried that they would fall while climbing up to the "stage." We used the bar as our stage that evening. The little stepladder we used to get onto the bar had more wobbles than hobo happy hour.

I prayed silently, "Don't fall," as Michelle and Scott mounted the bar. I got a ringside seat on the first row to watch them go. First off, though, Todd and Jeff Trammel made great introductory speeches.

The ever-so-tanned Chris Heinz got up and gave a funny, self-deprecating speech that got a great reception from the crowd. An amply proportioned girl right next to me screamed, simultaneously licking her lips, "Mmmm! Now that's a big ol' helpin' of manliness rite thea' – you know what I'm talkin' 'bout, girls!" And I just had to smile in agreement. Scott and Michelle got their share of hooting and hollering, as well. I half-expected people to stuff some dollar bills down their shoes or pants while they were atop the bar. (I mean, who else gets on top of stages, really, besides strippers?)

After the event, we grabbed dinner at a swank Italian place down the street. Sittin' pretty, Ms. Kitty was grinning and thoroughly enjoying the company of Scott's understated charm. He told us about a script he's developing set in the silent film era. Michelle spoke of her surprise at being cast opposite her QAF co-star, Gale Harold, in a movie about the KKK. I do declare, her Southern accent was mighty impressive. She sounded like a real belle. Can't wait to see that one. Todd was ever so stressed out because the evening, which I thought was going quite well, had a few financial bumps that he hadn't expected. But I assured him that everybody in attendance had a great time and had just raved about it.

Joining us around the table was a younger guy. He was kind of quiet but seemed to be enjoying himself royally. Turns out he was an intern at Jeff Trammel's place and the president of his student body at his university. I felt like a total Geritol-oholic when I heard the phrase "Wow -- I was student body president when I was your age..." . God, I hate that feeling: the creeping crow's feet, the imminent approach of salt into my brown peppercorn hair, the invasion of When I was your age-isms into my conversation.

I found myself using just such –isms when I talked with this student. He was great, though, smiling and hanging on every word. I was glad that he joined us to the dessert and finale party afterwards.

The party was at a wonderful old mansion in Dupont. I'd been there before at a Dem fundraiser. Funny thing is that when I mentioned this to the owner, he said, Oh, yeah... that was before I bought the place. The last owners sold it to me with the agreement that I would hold at least two fundraisers a year here for the next five years – and I'm glad to do it. The house is great!

It is. It's a beautiful mansion with spacious rooms and elegant furniture. Oddly, I think some of the furniture stayed with the house, since I remember some of the pieces.

Anyway, I gorged on rich chocolate truffles, fresh strawberries and freshly whipped cream. Scott showed me just the right way to eat it, too – cream side down, so it hits your tongue just so. (He's a smart one, that Scott!) We stood and watched the first few scenes of the season finale together, before I found a seat and he walked around and mingled.

It was cool – he introduced us to how the scenes were shot, how they rode the bicycles in the bitter cold wind, how they could barely feel their fingers and toes in the icy winds... Not as glamorous as some might think, the acting biz!

I was disappointed that I couldn't dance with Michelle (who really seemed game) during the opening sequence. They'd changed it or maybe I just missed it while I was stuffing my face with expensive chocolates. It would've been nice to dance with her among the big-screen, rainbow-bright, silhouetted, hunky dancers.

Maybe next time.

Scott and I were both sleepy-eyed on the way to the airport. His brown eyes seemed just a little more adorably deeply set than usual. We chatted about his schedule and how much we both liked summers off. Yep, living the life of an actor or librarian has its advantages, we agreed.

We parted. He thanked us for "taking such good care" of them while they were here. That brought a big smile to my face.

On the way home, I was an HOV rule breaker and I felt so guilty and paranoid that I was started breaking out in a cold sweat when on the I-66 exit ramp I saw a police officer eyeing me suspiciously. I just looked the other way, turned up the NPR 'til it was blasting and channeled my inner Thelma and Louise. But it wasn't just them. I channeled my inner Cokie Roberts as well as my inner Michelle Clunie.

And I got through it just fine! No ticket -- I wasn't completely folked by the cop -- even though I had been that weekend from all the fun.

3 Comments:

  • Kerry doesn't even own an SUV...he just rides in/drives the ones his family owns. Todd is taking the first step...perhaps more wisdom will come.

    Kai Jim

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at August 03, 2004 9:50 AM  

  • I am so so so so so so so so so so SO jealous!!! Is this one of your jokey dreamy entries or do you mean to say you were really hanging out with fucking Michelle Clunie???? My reading comprehension is low because I look at too much porn. I forget that Michelle Clunie is straight because I look at too much porn. I love puffy nipples.

    By Blogger Trixie, at August 09, 2004 6:01 PM  

  • Trix,

    I know what you're saying about my sense of Reality. My relationship with her is somewhat strained at times. Indeed, there are days when we're not even on speaking terms. This was a certified *real* entry, though. I'll post some pics soon.

    Hugs,
    J

    By Blogger jblend, at August 13, 2004 4:26 PM  

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