July 22, 2009
Being in the media has its perks and one of them is that we often get preferential seats at concerts, clubs, movies and sometimes even restaurants. However, it's not always as choice as it may sound. Case in point: when I was in morning drive at KSLX FM radio in Scottsdale, our station sponsored comedian Dennis Miller at the State Fair. Miller was a big deal at the time and this was a big deal for the station. We got an interview (actually a phoner) with Dennis and the promise of front row-center seats for me and my morning show partners, David K. Jones and Jeanne Sedello. Believe it or not, I had never sat in the front row in my life, so I was kind of excited about this.
The night of the concert we walked proudly into the Coliseum and I led Kathy past all the peons, and right up to the very front row. But I noticed something was not quite right. After conferring with an usher it became apparent that someone had added three more rows in front of the front row (I'm not making this up), and there sat our general manager and the sales manager, with their wives, girlfriends, parents and friends. They turned and smiled and waved like the superior Bastards they thought they were, and, no doubt, still think they are.
Media Truth No. 1: Sometimes the front row, isn't the front row.
The best preferential treatment I have ever gotten was at the media screening for Hidalgo. written by John Fusco (who also wrote Young Guns I and II) and starring Viggo Mortenson about a questionable long distance horse race in the Middle East. When we got inside the theatre it was packed. And, although they had two prime rows roped off and maybe five people sitting in there, I hadn't called ahead, so I found a seat for Kathy and I in the second row and we waited for the show to begin. A young woman with a clipboard came up to the front of the theatre and said, "Is there a Bob Boze Bell in the house?" I sheepishly raised my hand and she said, "Follow me." In front of everyone we went up to the roped off seats and they raised the ropes and we waltzed into the center and plopped our fat asses right down. I could just feel the stares and the mutterings of, "Who the hell is that?" Ha.
The next day I reported on this blog that the film had some problems but part of it was "a wild ride." When the movie came out, some of the print ads had this blurb:
"A wild ride!"—True West magazine
No wonder they wanted me to have a good seat.
But enough of my whore stories, let's get to last night's media screening of Julie & Julia. For starters this was Kathy's choice. Although I admire Nora Ephron and Meryl Streep, I wasn't all that interested in a French cooking movie (nobody gets blown up? Sorry.). So I didn't contact my movie screening media reps (I know two) to request being "on the list."
Sidebar: Is This Seat Taken?
You know how when a theatre is quite full and the movie is almost ready to start and some woman walks up and down the aisle saying, "Are those seats taken?" And: "Would you mind moving down so we can have these two seats?" Well, that is my wife. She is very assertive and not afraid to ask for the order. I would never do this on a bet (Well, okay for a bet, maybe, but it just makes me real uncomfortable. This is, no doubt, my small town training: "Who do you think you are? Get to the back of the line and don't make a fuss!").
We took our seats in the second row (it was so packed, Deena Bean and Frank the Tank were forced into the front row). I finally looked at Kathy and said, "Let's go. I don't want to sit through the entire movie looking up Meryl Streep's nose.") We got up, Deena said she wanted to go as well and I thought we had a quorum, but no—Kathy wants to talk to the media rep. I don't know him (he's not one of the two I know). She asks if I'm on the list. The young girl with the clipboard (different girl but they all look and act the same) looks down the list and searches for my name. It isn't on there. Everyone is looking at us. My head is as big as a pea and throbbing. I just want to go eat and forget about all this, but Kathy asks if we can sit in the media section one more time (there are a couple empty seats there). The media rep looks at me and says, "Who did you say you are?" I tell him, but it's obvious he has no clue who I am. He says, "I can give you the two seats in the media section, but not four seats." I say under my breath, "Let's go," and so, finally, we go out the tunnel into the lobby, but Kathy says, "Wait a minute, I'm going to give this one more shot." The movie has already started when the media guy comes out the door. I've gone down to the door and I'm leaning on it. Kathy laughs and says, "You know you have those media seats and they are just going to waste. Why not give them to us?" She smiles and he finally shrugs and totally caves! He says, "Okay. Follow me." And he takes us with a flash light inside the theatre and lifts the rope and we get four empty media seats.
Now, this may gross you out, and it may be disgusting to you, but this is how media works and Kathy knows it and she plays the game to the hilt, and I sometimes just look on amazed at what she can do when she sets her mind to it.
"If you saw two guys named Hambone and Flippy, which one would you think liked dolphins the most? I'd say Flippy, wouldn't you? You'd be wrong, though. It's Hambone."
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