LACHSA First Annual Hollywood Tribute

August 31st, 2006
josh groban
Damn.. It has been awhile since I attended an event Josh Groban was going to be at. I don’t know if it was intentional or not but here I am. I missed a Grammys event in Malibu a month ago and was kinda pissed about that. Anyways.. Los Angeles County High School of the Arts or LACHSA for short was honoring a few of their teachers, Warner Brothers and Josh Groban.
The event was held at the Century Plaza Hotel. The photos on their website makes the hotel look pretty nice, but man Century City is a drive.
Once I arrived at the hotel, after parking across at the Westfield Mall, I entered into the hotel. By the way, this Westfield Mall had a effin Louis Vuitton and Tiffany Co. store. I didn’t know Westfield Malls were this nice. HAHA. I walked from one side of the lobby to the other and didn’t know where the heck the event was. I assumed it was some ballroom but didn’t see any signs. After I backed tracked from the restaurant to the bar, I saw a bunch of “older” woman walking in a huge group taking an escalator. I assumed they knew where to go and followed them down one level.
I turned a corner and there were the crowd of more “older” woman and saw the table to sign in. I received my credentials and walked into the ballroom. My first reaction was that it was really small. The width of the room I’d say was maybe 25 feet to 30 feet. The length maybe 100? Give or take? Basically the place was a little smaller than I would think the event would be. I mean cmon, Josh Groban? A tribute? Who knows.. The place had tables that sat 10 people each and maybe there were about 12 to 15 tables. Right dab in the middle was the stage with some dude playing a flute and rapping. Yeah.. Talented..
I headed over to the press table on the far end of everything. First thing I thought, we were sitting at the kids table.. haha. I didn’t care. I was kinda all hot and bothered from the walk from the mall, so I didn’t care where I sat. I wanted to sit and cool the heck down.
People were slowly making their way in and hanging out. After awhile, this chick I remember last year showed up, along with an older lady that didn’t look like she knew what she was doing. That chick I remember.. I remember her because she has soo much makeup. I mean there is a point where make up enhances a woman’s features but when it looks like you can scoop it off, that is when it is just too much. Oh her name is Katherine Kramer… I Googled her and I guess her Godmother was Katherine Hepburn. ::shrugs::
The older lady came over with a gift bag for the guest, so I assumed she was a guest. But I guess she wasn’t and was with some online magazine thing. I find it tacky to steal someones gift bag when you know you’re not suppose to get one. It wasn’t hard too since the bags were just hanging on the chairs. Plus the bags consisted of hand lotion, cds of from Katisse Buckinham and Gwendolyn (which I will get into later), a Celine Dion keychain and fun-size candies. Yeah, I thought to myself uhh yeah ok…. The makeup chick ended up lifting a bag too.
The committee chair lady came over to welcome us and told us about the open Vodka and Gin bar. 🙂 She also told us Josh Groban was running late and that his performance would start around 7:15. Well I guess no interview will be possible since the 30 minutes before 5:00pm was the time for that.
josh groban
I was feeling uncomfortable since I was in there, so again I just sat there and took everything in. Katisse Buckinham and Upper Structure were providing the music. Katisse looks like a dirt bike rider that plays jazz. Sonia Romero came around to be interviewed. I didn’t really bother to ask her anything but she was an artist from LACHSA. I wasn’t too privy on her paintings but still respect it. She is pretty cute though. 🙂 She is having a showcase soon and I might check that out.
Another photog came around, Krista from Corbis and Zuma. Finally someone that looked normal to talk to. She went to get a drink and it was a banana Vokda drink, she didn’t want that. I tasted it and it was sick. The smell was nice, kind of like a Banana Now and Later. At this time they were serving the people who paid for their seats. The seats were $250 each and you were able to buy the whole table. It looked like Carpaccio was the appetizer. I went to go get a drink and made sure it wasn’t some Banana drink. I asked for my usual Vodka Tonic and when the bartender was making it, he kept looking at me. I wasn’t sure why but most of the time I was looking down at him making the drink. After he gave me a few glances, he then asked me if I was even old enough. I laughed and looked at him. It was an older Asian guy, and of all people, he should know we don’t look our age.
I headed back and more people were at the table. Marc Murai and his crew were hanging out. He was there to finish up his documentary on the school and they were showing a trailer of it later.
Eventually Josh Groban made his way into the place. He sat right in front of the stage and Gwendolyn was performing. I went over to chatter a bit to him and his manager, Brian. This time I remembered to ask for his card; but with my luck he didnt have one on him. Nice… The other photographers and I tried to get a shot of Josh but he seemed engaged with Gwendolyn’s performance. We wanted a good clean shot of him alone, but there wasn’t a good time to take his attention away.
To give you an idea of the music Gwendolyn was performing, she announced the title to one of the songs… “Acorn.” I don’t think I need to say anything else..
Dinner was being served and it look like some steak medallion thingy. I just wanted to get my shots and leave. But it seemed like it was going to take forever.
After what it seemed like an hour of the dinner stuff; the opening remarks started the award stuff. By this time, Mike from Wireimage joined us and we made the best of the time sitting there doing nothing. The older lady that was sitting with us was hitting me up on how I got there and such. She said she was with Splash Magazine.. I thought to myself Splash News? They are known for their paparazzi photos and what not but didn’t know they had a magazine. She said she was with them but I knew she didn’t even what she was talking about. Earlier she was going to get kicked out for taking photos of Josh without her badge. The whole time he was here she kept asking if I wanted to go with her to take pictures but I just played her off the 100 times she asked.
They played the LACHSA Documentary trailer after the opening remarks. The school seemed like a cool place to attend. Jerry Freedman was first to receive the 2006 Outstanding Educator Awards. He seems like a really cool teacher and a teacher that I wish I had in high school. I wanted to actually attend LACHSA because what was said about him and what he had to say. Ka-Ron was the dance teacher that was getting honored. She was making fun of Josh and how she heard that he might have needed a dance teacher. I thought that was kinda funny.
Warner Bros. was also honored for helping out the school. They have donated 250,000 dollars in who knows how many years span. The rep for WB was talking and talking and talking. Josh was next to receive his award according to the program. He didn’t get it until a taped message from Celine Dion. But before that video message played; the committee chair told the audience that Gayle Anderson called in saying congrats and wished she was there. OH! During this time, the waiter guy dropped off some leftover bread sticks from when he bussed the other table. Dude we were hella hungry but I wasn’t trying to be all crazy on the bread sticks.
josh groban
Josh received his award and made his speech. At this time, I went up to shoot some pictures. Josh ended up performing “America” and “Vincent.” During “Vincent” Zach Provost came up to play the piano. The lighting in there sucked big time to take pictures but whatever. I noticed something on Josh that gave me the idea that I need to start doing it the same.
The night was basically done and we kept trying to get Brian or someone in charge to take Josh away for a single headshot photo opt. However after he was done performing he was caught up with group photos with the other honorees and fans. After those photos were done, he went ahead and did autographs. I just ended up shooting photos of him doing the autograph thing. One of the staff photogs there told us that some star from Passions was there. Is this Josh’s new “friend”? He isnt dating January Jones a few months ago and she was friendly with Brian. Hmmm.. or maybe she went to LACSHA too.
Eventually Josh made his way out of the endless autographs and gave us a photo opt. At that time, Brian was rushing him off and from what I heard, he was going into the studio. Mike wanted to get a photo with Josh and this lady with a tattoo of his face on her arm. I met this lady last year at the Bowl and kinda thought it was weird. If she was covered up, you would think she was a elementary teacher.
We took our photos, said goodbye to Josh and Brian and headed off. The night was basically over and I wanted to get out of the place. I made my walk out to the Mall. It took me 20 minutes to get to my car because Ididn’t even know which escalator lead me to my car. I just walked out onto the street and walked into the parking complex where I drove into.
All and all the night was decent. Made some contacts and took more photos. It was really weird, the girl with too much makeup had a friend come with her. When they left, she came back in and sat down. He came back and started yelling at her saying, “How dare you, how dare you.” I was like what the heck in my mind, take that drama outside. Mike and Krista were saying some interesting stuff about her and what they said made total sense from my past experiences with her. Oh well..
Mr. Groban goes on tour again soon once his third album comes out this fall. I cannot wait for that…
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About Anh Nguyen

Anh Nguyen is a Los Angeles based freelance photographer. Over the past six years, he has covered various concerts, movie premieres, red carpets, parties, and events. A southern California native, Anh attended UCLA and holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy and a minor in Accounting. In addition to photography, he is currently pursuing his license as a CPA and hopes to go law school. Adding to his many interests, Anh also loves to cook and has worked as a line cook for Food Network's celebrity chef Scott Conant's restaurant, Scarpetta, in Beverly Hills.