Random Thoughts and "Awards" from the NFL Experience
But I did observe some interesting behaviors and here are my thoughts and made-up awards for what I saw:
- Biggest Pet Peeve - the way print reporters sometimes get dissed by publicists/managers/agents, etc., at celeb/special events. We sometimes literally and often practically get trampled to make room for TV cameras and TV reporters. I realize we're a visual society with an ever-shortening attention span. So some people would rather watch than read some of their news. But plenty of broadcast media wouldn't make it without print news to analyze and fall back on for in-depth reporting. Even at an entertainment event like this, a couple of the TV "reporters" have to turn periodically to their producers to find out what question to ask next. I'm gonna try that with my editor. "Um, boss, can I have someone to assist me when I go out to report a story? Someone who can stand next to me and tell me what to say or ask in case I didn't do my homework prior to the event?" I'm not holding my breath. Then again, I've got too much pride in my work to go out like that in public.
- Dumbest Question - Whoever said there was no such thing as a dumb question should have been there tonight. Picture this: It's hot as all get out 'cause there's no circulation in the backstage media tent. The smells of sweat, butt, and overpriced cologne and perfume are pervasive. We've all waited a little longer than we were told to expect for our first group interview, with Fergie, the singing member of the Black-Eyed Peas. So we're anxious. When she arrives, about a half dozen questions are blurted at her, and she answers in good fun. Her publicist then jumps in and says "one last question." That meant one more question for the whole lot of us, not one more question per reporter. So as several of us open our mouths to speak - no doubt to ask about singing or dancing, things she actually does for a living - one local TV reporter who will go unnamed beats everyone else to the jump and with OUR very last question tells Fergie "Your fans would like to know how (or why, I forget) you're so Fergalicious." Are you kidding me? WE have one last question, and that's what you want to know? You, my "colleague," should be sitting in an audience at MTV, so you can ask the next big presidential candidate whether he or she wears boxers or briefs, or granny bloomers, or T-backs. You know who you are, tsk tsk. And you wonder, pretty as I am, why I went into newspapers. When I'm rich and famous, the first TV reporter to ask me why I'm so Jameselicious will get back-handed.
- Nicest Celeb - Nicest one in attendance at this event, anyway. Like I said, Fergie had a solid sense of humor and took the questions - good and bad - in stride. But the coolest act came from John Legend. After putting on an energetic show he comes back stage to do interviews...but only with TV folks. According to Legend's bodyguard, his publicist, who didn't grace us with her presence, had pre-determined who could interview him. No print media outlets are on the list. I tell the very, very large bodyguard that the print-less interview list is foul and that we scribes should be given equal access for a number of reasons. To his credit, Legend's bodyguard thinks about my reasons for a moment, approaches the boss, whispers something to him, listens to a response, and then comes back to me and says Legend will speak with me. He's gracious in his answers, says "thank you" for the print folks' interest in interviewing him, and is almost apologetic over the fact that we initially got the cold shoulder. He could've said he was exhausted, waved us off and gone on his way. He stayed. He talked. John Legend earns points from me.
- Nicest Surprise - Chicago-based rapper/poet Common makes an unexpected appearance and performs a little.
- Funniest Sight - An elderly female event volunteer, who was at least 70 if she was a day old (unless she learned to calculate age from Jack Benny), dancing with a group of surprised (that she's shaking her booty at them) 20-somethings to Kanye West performing "Touch the Sky." She is apparently from Michigan, 'cause even better than the dancing, while she busts her moves the woman raises the roof and shouts "Detroit, what?" and "Detroit!" and "Detroit's in the house!"
- Most "Only in Miami" Moment - Several scantily clad young ladies walk past the position where I am posted up with another reporter toward the end of the concert. I think nothing of it at first. But they keep strolling back and forth. Then one of them comes by with an angry looking young man following close behind. He isn't a boyfriend. He doesn't have that kind of carriage. After I consult with the other reporter it dawns on us that the young women are "working" and the young man is their "manager!" What's even crazier is several law enforcement officers standing nearby notice the night workers too. The other reporter asks them "so I take it you guys aren't vice?" The officers shake their heads no, and disregard the ladies and their boss. How nervy is that, to not only be on the stroll, but to do it within a few feet of the law? Only in Miami. But like my uncle used to say "(Ladies of the night) have to eat too."
- Most Pimpish Shoes - Kanye West's leopard print and tiger striped Nikes with a red swoosh.