Juneau and Thea’s Excellent Adventure in Hollywood – Part 1
Welcome Aboard the Party Bus
I’m sure Thea will tell the story of our adventure — the journey, meeting up at the swank W Hotel in Hollywood, the sparkly and louche lobby denizens, the reunion with high school buddy Vivian whom she hadn’t seen in 37 years, and finally meeting Adam in person — far more colorfully than I can, so I shall entrust that part of the tale to her telling… She might even slip in a description of my alcohol-free shenanigans on the party bus and encounter with a vertical shaft…
So if you recall all the way back at the beginning of my personal Adam Lambert wild ride, one of the things Adam awakened in me was memories of that long-ago me, and a yearning to once again experience the heady abandon of the gay nightlife. I have finally fulfilled this wish. More about that later.
First, meet two characters who will figure prominently in the evening’s adventures: Trevor and Brennan, an adorable couple from Denver who were fellow winners of the AT&T Live Proud contest. When all the winners gathered in the sparkly lobby of the W, they immediately caught my eye. Impossible not to; Trevor (how coincidentally appropriate!) wore a blazer of neon yellow that would have been visible from the Space Station. And he was handsome and towered above Brennan, a slim beauty whose sun-kissed blonde coiffeur radiated a light of its own. I almost expected him to speak Finnish, but instead, he proved to be an Aussie, adorable accent and all. I thought, watch out, if Adam catches sight of this one!
Trevor and Brennan invited me to sit with them at the very delicious steak dinner at BOA Restaurant. (Thank you AT&T, supremely generous hosts.) Their enthusiasm, curiosity and high spirits were most infectious. When Trevor mentioned his love of fashion, I decided I would let him read my Alexander McQueen essay, which I had printed out to give to Adam. He and Brennan read it with close attention and appreciation, which totally sealed the deal and made them BFF.
Following dinner, we re-boarded the party bus. With all the wine and cocktails that had been consumed, various members of our party decided to break out into displays of pole dancing, including yours truly, ahem. Trevor, bless his soul, decided to share our haphazard efforts over Vine. That should have served as a warning.
When we arrived at the venue, what do you know, but the sidewalk had a carpet, orange in this case, along with one of those backdrops emblazoned with AT&T and Trevor Project. Now this was a novel experience, to walk down that carpet and be asked to pose for a small army of photographers. It’s a good thing I’ve watched so many Adam Lambert instructional videos. Ta dah!
I was even interviewed by a couple of reporters, and I shared the story behind my winning photo:
After The Walk, we were ushered to a VIP lounge at the back of the Playhouse Nightclub where Adam’s concert was to take place. This was the holding area until it was time for our meet and greet. We were herded back outside and across the street to a non-descript building that turned out to serve as the green room for the club. I spotted Tommy slipping out a back door, and we ran into Ashley in a dressing room, where we all waited until one of our handlers announced It Was Time. Was it just me, or did someone turn down the air conditioning, because the room suddenly felt warmer…
By this time, Thea, whose knee had gone out the day before when she disembarked from her plane, was feeling quite tired. The Playhouse nightclub was overwhelming, and now the prospect of meeting Adam had her heart doing little flips… So we sat and waited for everyone else to go ahead with their meeting. I think we managed to look fairly calm…
I suddenly heard His Voice. “I love that jacket!” Speaking to Trevor of course. And then, it was our turn. There he stood, dressed in a long-sleeved, buttoned up purple shirt covered with white triangles. Did he select this because he just liked the design, or for the added reference to the gay rights symbol? He has trimmed back Melvin to more of a George Michael-ish five-day beard, which I am growing to like. But, to my dismay, he was hiding his incomparable eyes behind those black-rimmed, high-fashion sunglasses.
Thea went first. She had brought one of her favorite images of him, from the first Fantasy Springs concert, and had decided to ask him to sign it “Indio”, as that image had inspired the Indio character in her Starlight Trilogy (which she says is now running to five parts!). But Adam said no, he would sign it with his own name. Dream dashed!
And then it was my turn. I had made a “cheat sheet” of things to not forget to do. Having been through this experience before, I didn’t expect to get through even half of what was on my list, but I would do my best.
First item: Ask for a hug. Got it. Beneath my arms, Adam’s shoulders and back felt lithe and taut under the polished cotton of his shirt. My impression was of a kind of contained softness. I’m sorry but my mind went half blank, or I forgot to inhale, and failed to register his fragrance… I should have written myself a reminder on my cheat sheet. Next time, BREATHE.
Second item: Ask him to autograph the book. Got that!! Cartwheels, and check that off my bucket list!
Third item: Ask Adam to tell me frankly what his reaction was when he read what Xena and I had written. He replied that he had read about half of it, but found it hard to get through it because it was so uncomfortable to read about himself, but that his dad had filled him in on the rest. This was exactly how I imagined he would have reacted, and I loved that he was honest with me. It felt like a moment of genuine connection.
Fourth item: I gave Adam my Alexander McQueen essay. I told him I had chosen it because it wasn’t about him, but about an interest we had in common. He agreed with me that McQueen was a true artist, not just a fashion designer. So I said “As a writer, I need to imagine I’m writing to someone, so when I wrote this, I was writing it to you…so it would mean a lot to me if you would read it,” and he promised he would. (Be still my heart!) I had also wanted to explain that McQueen had worked at the most profound and exalted level of art, grappling with everything in life and death, and that perhaps Adam might find inspiration in McQueen’s work. Now that would be an incredible album… but I was out of time and didn’t have a chance to say that to him. I hope he will read my words and understand what I was trying to convey.
Here’s what I wrote in the note I appended to my essay: “Dedicated to Adam Lambert. Thank you for being my muse these past four years, for inspiring me to engage with the world around us, especially music and art, with renewed curiosity, passion, ecstasy and LOVE. I will be forever grateful.”
Items unaccomplished: Introduce Thea to him as my twin (that’s one of Thea’s jokes!) and tell him how we became friends because of him. Ask him to be on our radio show. Ask him for reliable contact information. Tell him about AURA. Tell him about all the fans whose stories had moved me. Forgive me, Glambertina sistahs!
I did try to refocus my attention on his face to gather details. His beard is scraggly, he seemed to be wearing a dark tan foundation, I failed to note freckles on lips, basically I failed to note many details because his eyes were covered by dark glasses, to my dismay. I asked him if he’d take them off, but he said “No! It’s fashion! Alexander McQueen wouldn’t take them off.” Hmmm, how frustrating! As Thea later noted in the wee hours back in our hotel room, she hadn’t experienced that glow that everyone talks about. It was true, and I blame those dark glasses. His eyes are beacons that radiate light. I thought it was such a shame that after such an arduous journey, Thea didn’t get to bask in their radiance.
So, I met Adam Lambert, and all I have to show for it is this photo. Reminder to self: next time, put your bag on the floor before posing for a pic with Adam F*cking Lambert!
NEXT – The Concert