Friday, May 9, 2008


(Photo editor's note: Laura Lane, reporting. My friend Beto snapped this pic before the Lakers game and sent it me. Thanks Beto! Check out his 710 ESPN blog. It's pretty awesome.)

The last three days have been insane. I've been to the Lakes playoffs, chatted with Ron Artest, played blackjack with some Dodgers players at a casino, went to a poker tournament, interviewed Don Cheadle and Annie Duke, went to a fashion show, interviewed Kelly Preston, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jennifer Love Hewitt, had front row seats at the Tonight Show, met Jay Leno, ended up on stage for a contest ... and still had time to meet up with a bunch of my friends from college for drinks.

Wednesday was the Lakers playoff game where I chatted for a while with Ron Artest who remembered me from when I interviewed some of the Kings players a few weeks ago. "Hey, I've met you before already!" he said when I introduced myself and sat down next to him before the game to chat, thinking there was no way he would remember. "It’s fun to be at a Lakers game," Artest told me. "It’s like going to an amusement park or something, you know? You’ve got Kobe entertaining all of LA. What better place to watch a game than with Kobe Bryant?” I couldn't agree more.

I chatted with Luke Walton, Sasha Vujacic, Jordan Farmar and Lamar Odom for my article. My awesome editors later put the article in their round-up of "the best work" of the week. Sweeet. There's some really awesome articles from the other writers this week too you should check out.

Lamar Odom promised me he'd make me one of his crazy suits he's been wearing to all the games. No joke.

ME: "Do you have another crazy suit today?"

ODOM: “Naw, I kept it cool, calm and collected for today.”

ME: “Nice. I think the next suit should be gold."

ODOM: “Gold, huh?”

ME: “Gold with silver lining.”

ODOM: “Next time we’re here I’ll give you a funky suit."

(later after the game)

ME: “So when are you going to make me a suit?”

ODOM: "Anytime you want.”

I'll believe it when I see it.

Thursday I went to the Annie Duke and Don Cheadle Celebrity Charity Poker Tournament. Interviewed both of them. Annie is awesome and told me all these stories about how Matt Damon would call her up and have her come play poker on the set of Ocean's 13. Perhaps I should start working on my poker skills so I'll get called up to hang with Clooney, Damon and Pitt to play a game. Cheadle was cool and I think it's great that he does charity but he's a tad cocky.

Also in the tournament were three Dodgers players, James Loney, Gary Bennet and Scott Proctor. After interviewing them all, I went with Bennet and Proctor to the bar to get a drink where we sat and chatted about sports, family, Chicago, people watching and how dive bars are way better than clubs in L.A. Then veteran Red Sox shortstop and 2007 World Series champion Royce Clayton came over to chat with the guys and they got into a deep baseball convo - a convo that they wouldn't want reported on. They talked about Joe Torre, behind the scenes clubhouse stuff and a movie Clayton is producing with some huge names. I think it will be an Oscar-contender. I'm keeping the convo to myself, but let's just say that it was a completely surreal moment. Those guys are smart, totally laid-back and ridiculously nice.

Then, Proctor, Bennet and I went to hit up the blackjack tables. I was a bit afraid when I agreed to hit up the tables with them because there was absolutely no way in hell I was going to be at the high roller tables throwing down $500 a hand - so we hit up the $10 min tables. All of three of us were on a roll at the beginning and I was up about $150 ... and then after an hour or so we hit a bad streak. The guys decided we should all call it a night before any of us lost anymore money so I walked away just $100 down. Totally worth every penny getting to hang with those dudes. Some of the nicest guys I've met. They all had the luxury of having drivers to drive them an hour and a half home to L.A. from the casino but I had to drive myself and considering I only got two hours of sleep the night before working on a story, I was tired as hell driving home. Didn't get much sleep that night either since I had to wake up early the next morning ...

On Friday I went to a luncheon at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Champagne in the morning, a fashion show, a delicious meal and all for a very worthy cause - the Step Up Women's Network. I interviewed Jamie Lee Curtis - who I want to adopt as my aunt or something because she is the nicest, most intelligent and 'real' celeb I've met in awhile. "There’s a nice quote that talks about how no one becomes enlightened overnight," Curtis said to me. "Enlightened or self-knowledge or any change happens in fragments in a laborious mosaic. So if you think about a human’s life like a mosaic that’s why old people are smart. That’s why old people are wise because the mosaic is filled in. They see the way to go. But I certainly didn’t pick this up in my 20's." Guess I've got a long way to go on my search for self-knowledge.

I also chatted with Kelly Preston, who is drop-dead gorgeous. I better look that hot when I'm old. I asked her what her perfect date is with John Travolta. "If it’s just a date for the two of us, we'll sneak away for dinner and movie or dinner and dancing," Preston said. "Its hard to find places to go dancing but we used to love to go to the top of the Rockefeller Center in New York. Anytime we’d be in New York we’d go there for dinner and dancing." Sounds just like my perfect date! I'm big on city views. My perfect date would be topped off with a comedy show or a ball game.

I snuck out of the luncheon after the fashion show to race over to the Tonight Show with Jay Leno ... we had front row seats, met Jay Leno and I ended up on stage in a contest. Read the post below this to hear about our amazing time.

After the show I ran over to a dive bar on Hollywood Blvd. to meet up with a few friends I graduated with from USC. One of the girls is a producer at CBS in Sacramento and was down for the weekend. My friends are total ballers. I couldn't be more proud or happy for them. We've only been graduated a year and one girl is a CBS producer, another guy works at Dateline NBC, my other friend works at TV Guide and is a weekend reporter at ABC in Bakersfield and another guy produces a movie show for Reelz Channel. So legit! I'm not doing too shabby either so we all had some pretty good stories to share over drinks. We're calling ourselves the Annenberg mafia. I swear these people are going to run TV networks and be the next Barbara Walters before I know it. We all ended up staying way later than we planned because we were having so much fun catching up. On Monday I'm going with one of the girls to the season finale taping of The Hills. Awesome. I'm sure it will be another adventure.