Juneau and Xena’s Excellent Adventure – Part 1
Friday, December 11th, my DH and I drove down to NYC. He was spending the day at a recording studio working on his next CD. And I had arranged to meet Xena in person for the first time, and then for us to meet with one of the women who is interested in being our publicist. We were both so excited. The day before when I spoke with Xena, she said she was shaking and tearing up from the sheer emotion. I was also experiencing surges of adrenaline just thinking about it. It has been six months since we first sparked off our friendship on wowowow. We managed to have the printer ship a box of books to me at the hotel; it was waiting when I arrived. I started to open it and then thought, no, Xena and I need to do this together. So I left the last strip of packing tape unmolested.
I gave the doorman a ten-dollar tip and asked him if he would videotape Xena’s arrival and our first meeting. Xena’s taxi pulled up before we were quite ready, so I had to put our first embrace on “pause” while the doorman got himself ready. What the moment lacked in pure spontaneity we made up for in intensity.
How can I describe what it was like to see Xena standing in the flesh? On the blog, she claims to be “not beautiful”. Don’t believe it, ladies. This is just so much deceptive intelligence, such as the little hints she drops to Adam to throw him off my scent. As you might expect of the Princess Warrior, she is a regal presence, sculpted cheekbones, brilliant eyes, assertive eyebrows (like Adam’s), long nails lacquered midnight blue, perfectly coiffed. She arrived sheathed in a fire-engine red, tailored coat with a luxuriant fur collar, red lipstick to match the coat. I’m looking more what? – one could charitably say bohemian – in my skinny jeans, a plum mohair turtleneck and loose Issey Miyake coat of cloudy gray and purple splotches, hair a lanky mess. Eyeliner, but that’s about it.
After the many kisses and hugs and oohing and aahing and laughter, I hefted the box of books from the luggage cart and carried it over to a cocktail table in the middle of the tiny but chic lobby, our faithful videographer in tow. We obtained a pair of scissors from the receptionist, who seemed amused by the goings on, and ceremonially open the box, remove wads of newsprint and plastic packaging material to bring to light our glambaby!!
The Boys in the garage have truly delivered. The book sports a matte-black jacket with an image of Adam rendered in peacock blue on the front, and the Eye of Horus on the back. It’s almost square, just under an inch thick, and fits comfortably in the hand. We asked the Boys to design it for those Adam fans who are still in the closet, so it could be slipped into a brown paper bag and read by flashlight under the bedcovers at night. Or it could be proudly cradled in one’s arms and flashed at passersby.
We couldn’t put our baby down. We admired the cover, the weight of the paper, the image facing the title page of my favorite Robert Sebree portrait with the infamous mirror with Adam’s lip print poised over the GB, the photos that Cleo and XenaII took of the concerts. Each image of Adam elicited fangirl sighs. We oohed and ahhed over the fonts, the little poetry quotations we put at the beginning of each chapter, the Adam quotes and timeline of Adam events assembled by Glorious Beth. We couldn’t help ourselves. We started reading passages out loud to each other. We couldn’t stop laughing.
We had lunch at a sushi restaurant across 58th St. from the Time-Warner Building. Our publicist meets us there. She’s an Adam fan and, now, a fan of US, which is exciting! She had succeeded in delivering a proof of the book and our request to meet Adam into the hands of a friendly assistant to the program director of Clear Channel, which is sponsoring the Jingle Ball, but now we were unable to contact her. Multiple emails went unanswered, and a call to the station yielded a message that the offices were closed. The entire staff was at Madison Square Garden working on Jingle Ball.
We had been told our names were on a waiting list. That was good enough for us. As night fell, we repaired to our hotel rooms to freshen up. I donned the shiny black pants made of space-age material, the “skanky” (as my daughter called it) Cavalli mesh top, black patent leather high-heeled boots, and threw on the sweater because it was bitter cold that night in Manhattan! I hailed a taxi, swung by Xena’s hotel to pick her up, and off we crawled through Times Square traffic, to finally reach our destination. We were a bit late; no crowds, no scalpers from whom to buy tickets.
We scouted the perimeter of Madison Square Garden, checking at all entrances and the ticket windows for someone who might have the fabled list with our names on it. Finally, we ended up at the employee’s entrance, where again, no list materialized. I eventually spotted a young woman wearing a Z100 T-shirt, with a backstage pass dangling around her neck. Figuring that she was an employee of the station, I approached her and asked. Yes, she was. I asked if she knew M, the friendly assistant. She did!! Did she know where M was? Somewhere in the Garden. Eventually, Miss T-shirt said she would go find M and have her come up to where we were waiting. That sounded like the break we had been waiting for! Surely once she saw us, and knowing that we penned over 250,000 words about Adam had crossed international boundaries to be there, she would let us in.
So, we waited, there in that small vestibule, where every soul looked cadaverous against the backdrop of bratwurst-colored linoleum tiles under the glare of fluorescent tubes. We observed. Small clumps of people burst through the doors, as though blown in by blasts of frigid outdoor air. The guard was waving them through. What did they have that we didn’t? We deduced that for the girls, the skankier the better. Skirts so short that they definitively answered the question “does she or doesn’t she?”. Guys garbed with casual selections from the clothing donation bin… We contemplated posing as pizza delivery people, for about half a nanosecond, before we regained our senses.
Shortly after 9PM, our starving bodies and sore feet overruled our desire to gain entrance to the Garden, and we repaired to a nice steak restaurant halfway down the block. It was strategically positioned with a view of the curb where a phalanx of stretch SUVs waited to transport who knows what celebrities or wannabes. Xena and I settled in with great relief on some plush banquettes, ordered a couple of succulent petit tenderloins, lusty asparagus drenched in butter (a tribute to Kate Sistergood’s contribution to the culinary curriculum), sautéed mushrooms and a glass of red wine to share. Xena discovered I am a very cheap date – oh, she will use this knowledge against me some day, I know it!
It was while enjoying our repast, reading some more from our book, and following Jim Cantiello’s tweets from the bowels of the Garden, that we became acquainted with Georgi. I shall let Xena take over the tale from here…. Part II Waiting for Rock Godot
Juneau writes about neuroscience, physics and whatever else attracts her peripatetic attention. She is co-author with Xena of On the Meaning of Adam Lambert, and co-hostess of this Salon.