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Scream 2 Premiere

#FBF December 10, 1997, the night I wound up on the red carpet at the “Scream 2” premiere.

Exactly one month after moving to Los Angeles, I was fortunate enough to go to the premiere of ‘Scream 2’ at Graumann’s – then known as Mann’s – Chinese Theater.

I was working as a TV development assistant at Disney and my only friend in LA – a fellow assistant in the department – got 2 passes to the premiere from her friend Paula Patton, Robin Thicke’s future ex-wife/then-girlfriend. Paula was Keenan Ivory Wayans assistant during his short-lived talk show, which was one of our shows. Neither Keenan nor Paula could go, so the passes miraculously wound up in our eager hands.

As assistants, we would normally have to work until 7:30 pm, so we raced to Hollywood from our office in Burbank to make it in time. We didn’t know the event’s parking situation, and this was before the Hollywood and Highland complex/multiplex was built, so we managed to find street parking a few blocks away. As we ran toward the Chinese Theater, PR staff were ushering overflow crowds to the Hollywood Galaxy theaters – now an LA Fitness – a block away.

Confused, we thought we would be sent there too. But our passes were Keenan’s and allowed us to the main attraction. We were directed to quickly go forward.

The next few minutes were a complete blur.

Amid the glare of the lights and flashbulbs, screams of fans and paparazzi, and overall pandemonium of it being my first time at a Hollywood premiere, we found ourselves on the actual red carpet of the biggest A-list event in town – and directly behind David Arquette.

In the above photo, I hadn’t even realized that David was ahead of me. I was still trying to orient myself within the cacophony of the celebrity typhoon I had been momentarily swallowed up in.

The night only got weirder as we wound up sitting right next to Tori Spelling and then-boyfriend/90210 co-star Vincent Young (Noah Hunter!). It was surreal watching the opening scene with Tori playing Neve Campbell’s role in ‘Stab,’ while looking at Tori sitting right next to me. Who am I?

The afterparty was just as wild as the entire “Friends” cast was there supporting Courteney and sat at one table smoking indoors. Fun fact: 3 weeks later, California’s groundbreaking indoor smoking ban would go into effect.

Los Angeles and I have changed so much in the 25 years that followed, but this night always takes me back to a more innocent time in my life and was a complete and total SCREAM.

Can’t wait to see the new sequel this weekend. Hello, Sidney!

PS: I still have that black leather car coat.

Madonna Drowned World Tour

Exactly 20 years ago today, on Sunday, September 9, 2001, I attended Madonna’s Drowned World Tour at Staples Center in Los Angeles. It was an incredible day like no other before and since. 👑

It was the first of her 4 LA dates, which were the last of the entire tour. This was also Madonna’s first tour in 8 years. Since her last one (The Girlie Show in ‘93), she had released 3 albums, made multiple films, found Kabbalah, had 2 children, and remarried. There was a lot to celebrate. And now after starting her trek in Europe and making her way across the US, the Queen was finally in LA and West Hollywood was on high alert. Remember, this was also before social media and YouTube so the only images and clips I had seen were those given to major outlets like Access Hollywood or People magazine.

In the days leading up to the show, I’d run into friends on the street, at bars, in the gym, even the Beverly Center, and the question wasn’t are you going, but which night?!

The excitement was palpable. So much so that hours before the show a 4.2 earthquake, centered a mile east of Weho, rattled the entire city. (For reals, Google it!) Even Mother Nature couldn’t contain her hysteria for the Queen of Pop.

After picking out the perfect bedazzled tank top and bootcut jeans, my friends & I piled into my car en route to Staples. Along the way we’d stop at red lights on Olympic to find other vehicles piled 5 and 6 deep (pre-Uber) with gays and gals decked out in a cornucopia of rhinestone accessories and cowboy hats. Hey, Mr. DJ!

Me (far left) and friends at Madonna’s Drowned World Tour at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sept. 9, 2001

The energy inside Staples was electric. People were running into old friends, making new ones, and comparing statement tees and belt buckles. Drinks were ordered and dancing commenced in the halls. Once at our seats the party revved up. I remember chatting up the strangers next to us as we compared our favorite songs from Ray of Light and Music, and gave reports from what friends in other cities had said about the tour. A wave of applause and gasps gave false hope that the show was about to start, but alas, as it was only Tom Cruise and then-girlfriend Penelope Cruz making their way to the front row.

And then our Sunday service commenced.

In a cloud of dry ice, Madonna rose from the stage singing Drowned World/Substitute for Love as the arena unified in a collective scream. For the next two and a half hours, we danced and sang and watched her do her thing. With no smartphones in the house, everyone’s attention was focused in the now, on the Deity in front of our very eyes. #Blessed

By the time the last bars of “Music” (the final song of the night) faded out, we were exhausted, yet satiated. We were born, crucified and resurrected in the span of 24 songs. It was the end of the show and of an era. Nothing would ever be the same again. It was the end of an innocence that would never fully return.

In less than 48 hours, the world would change forever. 🙏🏽 🇺🇸

There are so many sad, important, and terrible things from the events of that fateful week that I will always remember, but the pure unbridled joy of that night is definitely something I will never forget.

Music makes the people come together. 💗

Back at my NYC going away party in Oct. ’97 (left), I’d never in a million years believe I’d still be living in Los Angeles 15 years later (right).

As a gay kid growing up in Queens, a life on the left coast meant dreaming of a doorman building between Riverside & West End. And while I’ll always be a native New Yorker — and would live there again in a heartbeat (if I didn’t have to ride the subway ever again) — I can honestly say I Love L.A.

Unlike myself, life in Southern California hasn’t gotten old.