***A word of warning – I’m writing this and the pre-show awards have started. I want to tune in online http://www.grammy.com/live to see Adam’s category being awarded. This will probably run long as I want to get it posted ASAP, and won’t have a chance to edit my long-winded diatribe. Now you know why I don’t tweet much – haven’t learned about the Tweet-longer app!
By some miracle, my network of Adam Lambert friends pulled another winner and found general admission tickets for us to attend the yearly Grammy Rock Star Summit on Social Media held at LA Live on February 11, 2011, with Adam Lambert on the panel of five. (I could have applied for Media Admission because of this site, but I didn’t know if it would fly!) I know many of you watched it through the live feed, because I got texts from you while it was happening. I’m including the links for you to watch the entire summit in this post, thanks to the dedicated suz526. But I thought you may be interested in everything else that went on, that wasn’t part of the official summit!
Our group from San Diego included site administrator Lila Hayes – via San Bernardino to take her children to Grandma’s because there was no school that day, myself and our new friend Lisa Schenck. Our other group member was Glenda Spence, coming in from Indio who picked Lila up in Riverside, close to her mom’s house. Man, we coordinated that well!
Everything happens at LA Live – you’ve got the 8,000 seat Nokia Theater where American Idol Finales are held, and Club Nokia, where Adam performed his Glam Nation Finale to 2,300. It also has many meeting rooms, like the Conga Room where the Summit met, in addition to the Grammy Museum and several upscale social restaurants like Wolfgang Puck’s and the new LA Market. There’s even Lucky Strike, an upscale bowling alley/nightspot that has great casual food. Across the street is Staples Center, and the LA Convention Center is on the corner.
If you know downtown Los Angeles and especially around the LA Live area, then you know it’s expensive to park there. The Marriott right across the street is $37 a day for guests. The official lot is about $25 for the day and the area is surrounded by independent parking lots that charge anywhere from $5 to $20 for the day, depending on how close you are to LA Live. But when an event is happening, all the lots are $20. By a stroke of luck not aided by the use of cell phones or texting, both cars arrived within 2 minutes of each other and parked in the same lot across from Staples. They didn’t consider the Summit a big enough event, so we only paid $5 for the day. From that moment, we knew the day was going to be magical!
As the four of us approached the Conga Room around noon, we saw there were about 10 people there already. Some had been there since 9 AM. We immediately recognized several as part of our extended group, like the ones many of you have formed from meeting internet friends and spening hours in line with while waiting for Adam’s concerts. We were told admission would be at 1:30, so some went to eat, while the others held our spot. We returned just before 1:30 PM, and I was surprised there were only about 30 more people, about 50 in total. All in this line were the general admission/Adam fans. All the media were in front of us in a separate line. We were admitted, received our lanyards with our registered name cards, and walked upstairs to the staged area. Sponsors of the event included Turbo Tax, Jawbone, case-mate and Absolut Vodka. The stage had 6 empty chairs in a slight arc formation, backed by poster cards with the Grammy’s Music Is Life Is Music phrase. On these posters we recognized Katy Perry, Justin Bieber and Cee Lo Green.
Carol & Lila in front of the stage
Soon, music journalist John Norris, formerly of MTV came out and introduced the panel. In order of introduction were Foursquare co-founder Naveen Selvadurai, Facebook director of platform product marketing Ethan Beard, Pandora founder/chief strategy officer Tim Westergren, rapper Chamillionaire and superstar singer, social media-user Adam Lambert. The audience had about 250 people, half of whom were media and the other half obviously Adam’s fans. I suppose there may have been Chamillionaire fans there too, but if so, they were silent! I really hoped that Adam’s fans would be respectful to the Summit and not make it an Adam-event. Yes, the applause for Adam was greater, but that was to be expected. There was a board to the right of the stage receiving tweets, and it was obvious from all the Adam-comments who was tweeting! It bothered us when so many of the comments were mentioning how bored they were waiting for Adam, even while the others were being introduced. How rude! But Lila and I did laugh when someone tweeted that the moderator looked like Kevin Bacon. He did! Other than that, everyone behaved well and we were on our way.
When John Norris announced the agenda of the summit, he mentioned audience questions would be after twitter and facebook questions. I didn’t think I’d really have anything tech-y enough to contribute and didn’t want to embarrass myself. And no, I wasn’t going to be a fan-girl and ask an Adam Lambert question! But during the introduction, it occurred to me that the panel was completely male, and a question about social media usage between males and females popped into my head. When they started the twitter and facebook questions, I stood and made my way to the microphone. I was the first one there. Luckily, they didn’t start the audience questions for about 10 minutes. I was glad because my heart was pounding out of my chest and I was sure I was going to flop all over my words. I used that time to rehearse the question in my head and when it came time, I could speak without my heart in my mouth. I was feeling the need to acknowledge Adam in some way. How could I not, but I didn’t know how! Fortunately, they started talking about concert audiences and the use of cameras and cell phones to record them. Adam said it’s good to have that because his concerts can be shared with people around the world, but since it impersonalizes the experience, he wants people to just put their cameras and phones away for the show. I don’t remember if it was then or earlier, but he had mentioned his live concert DVD on sale, March 22. BINGO! That gave me a perfect segue to give attention to Adam, but still direct my question to the others. I even figured out a way to mention this website and it brought a big smile to his face! In video 7, at 6:50 you can hear me ask the question. Suz told me that she didn’t want to swing the camera back and forth, so I wasn’t on camera, but you can clearly hear me. I’m glad, because during my question when I mentioned the male-only panel, and it got quite a reaction from the host and panel. Before Pandora- founder Westergren said since he was married that he’d field the question, someone said something that Adam and others burst out laughing at. If anyone knows, please comment back what it was! As Westergren starts answering, you can see the top of my head as I was crossing in front of the panel, walking back to my seat. At that moment, I was suddenly afraid that I’d come off nasty, so I assured the panel that it wasn’t a hostile question!
After the summit was over, we were surprised to learn that there was an after-summit celebration, complete with delicious hors d’oeuvres from Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant and cocktails featuring Absolut Vodka. The panel disbanded and the media used this time to individually question and photograph the panel. After Adam was through with the professional media, he came to the front of the stage and about 20 fans approached him and were able to get autographs. Since he was looking right at me from 8 feet away during my intro and smiled when I mentioned that I was from this site, I felt that I’d had my moment with him and I didn’t feel the need to ask for anything more from him. I can hardly believe I just wrote that! Also, I wanted to make sure that I got my “swag bag!”
Please watch the following videos, courtesy of the fabulous suz526, to experience every moment we saw. They are broken into 8 segments, with an additional recap of Adam’s moments.
Afterwards, our group went for dinner and was seated at a table next to 3 of our friends, so we just joined tables and had a wonderful meal. We started looking in our swag bags, and found Jawbone t-shirts, a Grammy decorated iPhone/iPod cover, and a Grammy poster. We were really happy. Then Glenda, who had gone to the stage to have time with Adam and initially missed out on getting a swag bag, but did get one from a worker who found a group of 10 more, also pulled a Jawbone Bluetooth out of hers. Lila’s eyes nearly popped out of her head, since my techy friend knew the high value of this product. We realized our bags were missing them, so I talked her into going back and seeing if we could find one for each of us. Glenda must have gotten a swag bag meant for more than a general admission ticket holder! Yes, we got back in and immediately passed by the Jawbone table. I saw about 10 of the Bluetooth boxes on the table, but Lila wanted to go talk to a Summit official to see if she could get one. I thought why not ask the table attendees? So we split up. I went up to a Jawbone rep, mentioned that we didn’t get one in our bags, and could I have one? He was surprised, said he didn’t know that they were in the bags, but said “oh well, let’s pick out a good one for you!” I guess they differ cosmetically on the earpiece. I then asked if I could have one for my friend too. He reached right down and looked for “another good one” and gave it to me. I found Lila at the other end of the room. She was disappointed that she was still without one and I surprised her and showed her I got them for us! As if the day wasn’t perfect already, this just added to it.
On our way back to the parking lot, we passed by a brightly lit red carpet celebration. We were curious to what was going on, so marched over to it. I didn’t realize that my friends had sat down while I walked next to the red carpet for a while, and then stepped over the velvet rope gaining admission to the outdoor area in front of the hall. It turned out to be the Music Cares celebration, honoring Barbra Streisand! There was an L-shaped formation behind more velvet ropes where celebrities were posing and moving into the lobby of the hall. I immediately saw Seal so I pulled out my small camera and took pictures, positioning my camera through the gaps of the large professional cameras. I figured that if I was really breaking into a forbidden area, someone would escort me out! I kept looking for my friends and didn’t see them, figuring they were crazy like me and were lost in the camera cluster. I checked out the rest of the celebrities, not recognizing any of them, but I saw a group of young men in navy blazers and knew they were Glee’s Warblers! I didn’t see my new favorite Darren Criss, but I took pictures of those who I could see. (The next day I learned that Darren was opening the show, so that’s why he wasn’t on the carpet.) I then figured I better find my friends. Nope, they weren’t inside the red carpet area, so I exited, and found them sitting across the street. They couldn’t believe I had made it in, and thought I would be kicked out for sure, maybe taken away by the Grammy Police! I’m sorry readers, I hope you don’t think I’m too rude. I just was so excited by the day, and figured that the worst that would happen was that I’d be discovered and asked to leave. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and I can share these pictures.
This was one of the best days of my life. In a weird way, it was almost better than going to one of Adam’s concerts. We got to be with him for 2 hours, and he was totally at ease, sharing the intellectual side of himself; different from the onstage entertainer or talk-show guest.
I want to say I DO know how lucky I am, and how grateful I am for the wonderful friends I have and the opportunities that have come into my life through my appreciation for Adam Lambert.
~ Carol ~