Spawn of

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Laura's Potpourri Part 1

It was a tough complicated difficult busy week.  But finally Laura feels one of those potpourri-type updates coming on, so she's just going to get started and see how far she gets before she has to stop and do something else. She's got a lot of little things to report and a few bigger things, so she'll either cram it all into one big huge long boring brant or break it up into several smaller brants. Here goes:

1.  The auction for the lunch with Hugh Jackman that Laura branted breathlessly about last week is really starting to get depressing. Why?  Because the bidding is up to $7750 already! -- with the next bid set to hit $8750!  At this rate, Laura will never be able to afford it!  (Not that she was able to afford it when it was still at $5000, but that's beside the point.) Laura is really happy for the charity that will be the recipient of the money and it goes without saying, of course, that a price can't possibly be put on lunch with Hugh Jackman -- its value goes beyond money -- and she just hopes that whoever ends up with the winning bid in ten or eleven days loves and admires Hugh Jackman half as much as she does.

2.  Laura's love affair with the sinfully snarky and Ashley-Judd-obsessed  "The Mock Dock" site -- and with "Mockerena," the writer of the site -- continues.  The most recent entry on about Laura -- "I Am Angry at Barnes and Noble and Borders" -- involves a visit made by "Mockerena" to her local Barnes and Noble and Borders stores in search of Laura's books, only to find out that not a single copy of any of Laura's books were stocked in either of the stores.  Laura is used to this kind of thing -- so used to it, in fact, that she's stopped meandering over to the "Z" section when she's in a store so that she's not disappointed and annoyed that she's bent all the way down and contorted herself into a ridiculously unflattering position (the "Z" sections are always on the lowest hardest to reach shelves) only to confirm her worst author-related fears:  that she's become irrelevant in bookstores.  Anyway, yet another love-filled shout-out to The Mock Dock -- this time with an added layer of gratitude for the fact that someone besides Laura's parents are as concerned about her lack of bookstore presence as they are.

3.  Laura's written before about Nia Vardalos, writer and star of My Big Fat Greek Wedding, and how they became friends over the past few years (eagle-eyed brant readers will remember that Tom Hanks' production company, Playtone, had optioned Laura's fourth novel, Piece of Work, for Nia to adapt and star in [though the option since dropped]).  As always, Laura hates to appear as if she's namedropping, but she and Nia have had a terrific long-distance email-friendship with even a few in-person visits thrown in.  One of those visits took place this past spring when Laura was in LA for her niece's bat mitzvah -- Nia invited her over for coffee and so Laura just hopped in her sister's Volvo wagon and, you know, drove to Nia's beautiful house and, you know, parked out front and walked up the walk and went inside and got a tour of her house and sat in her kitchen and drank really good and really strong coffee with cream (just the way she likes it) and talked and even met Nia's terrifically talented husband, Ian Gomez, who couldn't have been nicer. No big deal.  HAAAAA.  Laura was especially thrilled to be there because she got to hear about, and actually meet, the little girl Nia and Ian had just adopted. Laura's writing about this now, many months after the fact, because Nia wrote a terrifically moving piece for the Huffington Post about adopting her American foster child, something she'd announced a few months ago to help promote National Adoption Day and The Alliance for Children's Rights.  The piece ran a few days ago and got many appreciative and passionate responses, not only commenting on Nia and her husband's happy story but also thanking her for the information about this little-known-about and even-less-understood adoption-option.  Here's the link to the piece called "The List" and here too is the link to a piece written by Lisa Belkin for the New York Times' Motherlode blog.  Feel free to pass the links onto all your friends interested in adopting....

4.  Laura got her photo taken for the "Q&A" piece that's going to run on February 15 on Get Over Yourself! in The Boston Globe Sunday Magazine.  Laura's sharing this little piece of news now not just to self-promote her forthcoming self-promotional article, but to comment on how much labor went into a simple picture-taking session:  beautificational-labor, that is.  Whenever Laura has to have something like this done, and thankfully it's not that often anymore since as you may have heard, her books are almost never found in bookstores anymore! -- she basically has to start from scratch with her external grooming and have everything done.  This usually entails 1) haircut 2) haircolor 3) hair blow-out 4) eyebrow shaping 5) manicure 6) clothes.  This is quite involved, not just time-wise but money-wise since, as most well-groomed women know, being well-groomed isn't cheap.  Looking well-groomed and well-dressed -- well-groomed and well-dressed enough to get your picture taken -- takes time and money, both in short supply with Laura these days.  But despite all that, on Tuesday she dropped Ben off at school, ran into Lexington Center to have her hair blown out, went around the corner to have her nails done, and was then going to go around yet another corner to have her eyebrows shaped but there wasn't time.  Then she went home, got changed into a new black long cashmere cardigan sweater (Eileen Fisher, on sale) and dress (Diane Von Furstenberg, on eBay), and a new pair of boots (Aquatalia, that she'd bought on sale in advance of her speaking gig in LA -- she figured she should finally get a new decent pair of boots since she's been wearing her beloved black-suede Michael Kors boots for the past six seasons), and did her own make-up because she was just too fucking (461) cheap to pay to have her make-up done. Laura also hates salons and can't stand to be in salons for too long -- she thinks it has something, if not everything, to do with the fact that they force you to sit in front of giant floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall mirrors.  
Anyway, once she'd spent the entire first half of her day getting groomed for the photo shoot, she then had to actually sit through the photo shoot, which, is another one of her least favorite author-related things in the world to do.  The photographer, Tanit Sakakini, was terrific and lovely and empathetic (she apparently hates having her picture taken, too!  oh the irony!), and Laura is keeping her fingers crossed that her incredibly stiff nervous uncomfortable shy body language isn't discernible in the final photo.

5.  Laura and Ben are watching Jurassic Park.  The first Jurassic Park.  (Ben's watching and Laura's kind of watching as she brants.)  Laura is reminded of the first time she saw the movie, which was when she was still working at Knopf, Michael Crichton's publisher at the time.  The movie had just come out -- the "logo"-style design of the giant dinosaur-head having been designed by genius jacket designer Chip Kidd -- and everyone got to go see a special screening of the movie. This was back in 1993 -- almost 16 years ago which is almost completely inconceivable to Laura at this very moment! [so inconceivable, in fact, that she just redid the math on her fingers to make sure she did it right and unfortunately her highly sophisticated human-digit-calculator method is all-too accurate].

6.  Speaking of her days in publishing, the shocking and sad news of the death of John Updike this week was another reminder of the years she spent as a book publicist. Laura spent a whole day with John Updike, back in the fall of 1995 when the Everyman's Library edition of his collected Rabbit novels was published. She remembers taking him to tape the Charlie Rose show, back when the Charlie Rose show was taped from the Bloomberg News Studios on Park Avenue, back before Michael Bloomberg was mayor of New York City, and it was one of the best author-publicizing-and-escorting experiences of her long and highly miserable author-publicizing-and-escorting career.  Laura never knew what she was going to get when she'd leave her office to be with an author for a day -- or a week (Julia Child) -- or two weeks (Michael Caine) -- or three weeks (Lauren Bacall) -- and it was often impossible to predict which of the big famous authors was going to be bad and which were going to be not so bad. Or even great. John Updike was one of the greats -- one of the very few: polite and courteous and curious and modest -- everything most authors, especially famous authors, were not.  He opened doors for Laura (literally, not figuratively), asked her questions about herself, like where she was from (he lived a great part of his life in Beverly, Massachusetts on the gorgeous North Shore which was and is one of Laura's most favorite areas in the whole world), and what her job was like, and she remembered thinking that he was both a very ordinary person and a very extraordinary person.  She remembers, too, bringing him into the green room for that interview -- watching as then Governor Mario Cuomo exited from his taping and meeting actor/director/brother of Penny Marshall Gary Marshall who was waiting for his taping, too.  Gary Marshall couldn't have been friendlier or warmer, and Laura remembers thinking what a wonderful moment it was, and rare, so infrequentlyin her line of work were the planets aligned and she felt grateful for the amazingness of her job.
And as she's thinking of this and still watching Jurassic Park, she's reminded of the day she spent with the late Michael Crichton in Los Angeles during one of the annual book conventions, when Laura was in charge of getting him from signing to signing and to various other places.  Not only was he one of the tallest people she had ever seen -- he was 6'9 -- but he was truly fascinating, a brilliant conversationalist, and a really nice person.  
So many assholes write shitty books, and how lucky Laura feels to have met, however briefly, two of the most amazingly talented and civilized authors the world has ever known.

(Next Brant Teaser:  Laura's experience today at a Pampered Chef home party!)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Mock Dock -- Mutual Admiration Society

I know I know, twice in one day two days in a row -- Laura can't remember the last time she branted so much -- and she's actually afraid she's going to start annoying people with her self-referential self-promoting posts.  But she simply couldn't resist posting a link to this posting about her because it was posted on a truly hilarious blog called The Mock Dock.  Laura could have sworn she posted something about this site a month or so ago but she's too lazy and behind in her work to scroll through her own brant to find out, so if she did, just take this repeat as more reason to check out the site.  If not, take this opportunity to visit the site and read the hilarious raging entries about topics ranging from those stupid "toxin-removing" Kinoki Foot Pads (mocked on the site which was then picked up by ABC's "20/20" -- giving the site a ton of traffic) to Renee Zellweger to Ashley Judd, which is what the entry she's linking to is about (it references Laura's experience with her on the set -- oops!  I mean, on set! -- of "Someone Like You").  The only bad thing is that Laura feels a huge time-wasting session coming on -- one in which she's going to read through the entire site -- and she truly can't afford it right now.  

OK.  Maybe she'll just read a little....

Post-Obamicon Hangover

Since Laura wasted so much time yesterday making these stupid pictures, she figured she might as well display just one more fruit of her labor.  Patti.  Get Over Yourself! is out, it's doing well, and more great publicity is coming.  Laura will certainly keep you posted right here about all upcoming television appearances and reviews and articles.  She wishes there were an article or some photos about this, but on Friday night in Buffalo Patti was the main draw for the World's Largest Singles' Party, held at the Adam's Mark Hotel.  There were 2000 people there, most of whom were there to see Patti.  Hopefully, all of those 2000 people went home and bought the book online or got up the next day and went to the bookstore to buy it...

And since Laura is always talking up the great people she knows who do great things, she'd like to point out the fact that her amazing web guy, Jefferson Rabb, whom she'd written about tons of times on her old site, was just written up on the back page of the New York Times Book Review.  Obviously, she's pointing this out and providing the link here because, well, Jefferson Rabb designed Laura's site and she's always been extremely proud of the fact that he agreed to do so.  She's gotten tons of compliments on the site over the years and this blogspot brant that she slapped together herself is a lame imitation of the original brant designed by Rabb for -- but who really cares.  This one works and at least she can post photos* on it -- lots and lots of stupid Obamicon-ed photos she's wasted way too much time making...

[*not that it was his fault that she stopped being able to post photos on the old brant--it was just some weird mysterious completely unfixable glitch that probably had something to do with her stupid Mac.]

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Let the Bidding Begin! Win Lunch with Hugh Jackman!

OK, Laura almost never posts twice in one day -- hell, Laura almost never posts twice in one week! -- and just for everyone's information the photo above is the [uncredited] photo used in the promotion of this officially released news item so Laura didn't waste two hours trolling Google images looking for another 100 photos of Hugh Jackman to use on future brants -- but she just came across this actual piece of Hugh Jackman news:  apparently, there's a way to win a lunch with him in NYC -- assuming you have the Benjamins.  Up for bidding is lunch for two with Hugh on the set of his new [unspecified] movie, with the proceeds going to the New York Restoration Project.  The bidding started at $5000 and is currently up to $5500.  Laura wishes she had the money to bid a gazillion dollars to guarantee a lunch for herself with Hugh Jackman, but of course, she's a little short right now.  However, if anyone out there has some money to burn for a good cause and a close encounter with Hugh Jackman (remember:  Laura can vouch for his genuine charm, friendliness, sense of humor, interesting-ness, you know, like it matters!), go to and place your bid.

Laura's only stipulation is this:  you have to take her with you on your lunch date!

HughJackmanObamicon Decoy Photo

Laura's supposed to be working on her screenplay -- seriously, I mean, it's been over a month since she's gotten any work done -- but she found the make-your-own-Obama-style-icon-photo site and she can't stop fooling around with it.  She's transformed photos of her sister-in-law's dog Bumble, her brother-in-law Patrick, her niece Nicole, her son Ben, and while she was trying to figure out who to do next she realized she was going to have to do Hugh Jackman.  So here, today, finally, is the latest Hugh Jackman Decoy Photo.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Back From The Left Coast...And Wishing She Wasn't

Though the first/third person question still hasn't been resolved here on Laura's Brant, Laura's going to stick to the third person today in a short post.  She's just back from LA -- a short trip (5 days) to do an event at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles about Chick Lit.  She had a great time meeting LA Times Op Ed columnist and author Meghan Daum (Laura's been a big fan of hers for a long time, especially of the essays in My Misspent Youth) and Elisabeth Robinson, whose novel The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters Laura loved and who was fantastically smart and entertaining and funny.  Laura would also like to add that she thought both Meghan and Elisabeth looked fabulous -- she loved Meghan's boots (Meghan:  if you're reading this:  what/who are they?) and loved Elisabeth's jewelry (and clothes)(and shoes).  Obviously, the irony of these comments is not lost on Laura: talking about her co-panelists' fashion choices given the Chick-Lit topic, but quite frankly, Laura doesn't really give a shit.  She had a great time, met Meghan and Elisabeth, saw two former beloved colleagues (publicists) from her days at Random House, talked to lots of really neat people afterwards, (including two really eerily relevant people in the parking garage of the Skirball Center, one of whom was enormously helpful to her, [thank you so very much, Helen]), got to see her sister and spend time with her niece and nephew -- as did Ben -- and feels free to say whatever she wants right now.

Of course, given the fact that she's exhausted, she doesn't have nearly enough energy to say much more.  So she's posting a link to the lecture/event and will write a more newsy update on the trip sometime over the weekend....

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Starred Review in Publishers Weekly!

Get Over Yourself! How to Get Real, Get Serious, and Get Ready to Find True Love Patti Novak and Laura Zigman. Ballantine, $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-345-51006-8
In their first-rate book, Novak, star of TV's Confessions of a Matchmaker, and novelist Zigman (Animal Husbandry) prove to be a match made in heaven. Novak cuts the bull when it comes to dating advice: you have to know yourself before you can find love. The book exhorts the reader to “Get Over It” when it comes to “thinking all men are jerks” or being paralyzed by past relationship trauma. Like a dating GPS, the book identifies dating obstacles and puts readers on the right road to romantic fulfillment. No shrinking violet, Novak is part drill sergeant (especially when it comes to self-exploration worksheets), part “love therapist” (though she refers on deep issues to the appropriate professionals). Writing in a frank—and funny—manner, Novak uses tough love in offering a compelling and rewarding read for the lovelorn. (Jan.)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just Like Life

Watch Patti's appearance on TODAY (scroll down a few brants), then watch this.

New York Daily News Loves Patti

Here's the link to a great piece in today's New York Daily News on Patti and Get Over Yourself!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Celebranting" and Other Hazards of The New Technology

Sorry for the lapse. Laura's been a little busy so she hasn't had a ton of time to chronicle her every thought and move (aren't you lucky!). She's still a little busy but here's another one of those nuggetized-brant-updates that have become such a favorite among her readers (both of them).

1) The main reason Laura got busy was because GET OVER YOURSELF! is out and Patti Novak has been on TV. So why are you, Laura, the co-author, so busy? readers might wonder. Well, because while Patti's out there traveling and waking up early and getting hair-and-make-up in various TV studio greenrooms, Laura has had to set her DVR to make sure she doesn't miss Patti's interviews. For most people this wouldn't be so difficult, but despite her obvious flair for branting, Laura isn't a natural AV person. It requires a lot of time and effort in order to be sure that she's got the right show taped during the right time slot and doesn't screw it all up.

2) Even when Laura manages to do this, sometimes there are glitches beyond her control. Case in point: Patti was on the TODAY show this week -- Thursday -- and she was going to be on during the 10 o'clock hour, the one where Hoda Kotb and guests try to get a word in edgewise with Kathie Lee Gifford. So Laura set the recorder, took Ben to school, went to shrink, raced home, then sat in front of the TV, breathlessly awaiting Patti's interview. She waited. And waited. And waited. To make a long story short, at a few minutes past 11, when the TODAY show is in it's 56th hour, a "Special Report" containing President Elect Obama's economic-recovery-speech pre-empted the upcoming segment which was supposed to Patti's. Like the former mentally unstable publicist she used to be and still kinda is, she freaked, in complete disbelief that of all fucking (467) times this should happen. In the middle of her freak-out (good thing Ben wasn't home: she would have ended up owing him several thousand dollars in cuss-fees), she got an email from their Random House editor who said Patti had been fantastic on the TODAY show. Laura blinked. When? Where? Had she missed it? She emailed the editor back and in the meantime scanned almost 4 hours of TODAY show tape -- finally realizing, with a huge amount of relief, that it wasn't her fault: she hadn't screwed up the taping or come home too late -- the 10 o'clock hour of the TODAY show airs in Boston at 11! Hence, it aired at the proper time in most other markets which was great for the book but bad for Laura! Thank goodness for the World Wide Web, because Laura was quickly able to find the TODAY show site, watch the segment, which was indeed terrific, and then post it on her brant.

3) Ditto CNN's "American Morning" yesterday -- minus the pre-empting debacle. Lots of time setting the DVR, and playing back several hours of tape. But it was worth it: Patti was fab. (Sorry: no link or video to post since it appears that CNN doesn't make their clips available.)

4) Of course, with great publicity comes obsessively and compulsively checking Amazon numbers which is what she did most of yesterday. She's not going to reveal them here -- especially since Patti's daughter -- who really is the boss of both of them because she's so smart and exquisitely perceptive -- said it was bad luck to keep checking. Laura's basically stopped, but every now and then she just can't help herself. Like this morning. Still looking good!

5) Several important conference call-type meetings have also taken up some of Laura's precious time -- she's not going to get specific but she and her favorite sister-in-law (on the East Coast; Barbara is her favorite sister-in-law on the West Coast) Colleen are going into business together on a really exciting project. Laura will not utter another word on this except to say it was Colleen's idea and it's amazing, and Laura's just really grateful to be part of making it happen. Stay tuned for more on this when it's time. But it's not time yet. So quit asking.

6) Facebook. Okay, this is really starting to be a problem since she really and truly and seriously could spend most of her day commenting on people's photos, writing on their walls, answering their messages on her wall, changing her status, commenting on other people's status, commenting on other people commenting on her status. Really. Some days it just gets ridiculous! And yet she just can't stop! Cannot stop!!! Especially since she has so many really hilarious and interesting friends on Facebook -- friends resurfacing from elementary school and Hebrew School and high school and the Radcliffe Publishing Course and Random House and Atlantic Monthly Press and all sorts of times and places from the deep deep past she'd thought she'd repressed long ago.

7) Speaking of Facebook, Laura awoke this morning to find a "Friend Request" FROM HER MOTHER in her mailbox. This issue of parents friending children and children refusing to friend their parents is allegedly a world-wide wide-spread problem -- it must be because Laura hears -- from one of her Facebook friends, of course, that Dr. Phil is doing a whole show on this. But never in a million years would Laura have thought that she could be a poster child for this ridiculous sort of modern dilemma. I mean, she's 46, and her mother is 75. Aside from the obvious question of what the f--- is Laura doing on Facebook at the age of 46, what the f--- is her mother doing on Facebook at the age of 75! How did she even find out about it? Does their Temple have a Fan Page? Will they start posting news about deaths and bat mitzvahs on her wall?  Is nothing sacred???  Obviously Laura will "confirm" this friendship, since, I mean, how could she not?  But she's going to check into the "settings" options and see if there's a way to put up some "parental controls."

8)  The Hugh Jackman business got a little weird.  Leave it to a bunch of rabid Hugh Jackman fans to kind of put Laura off on the whole business of branting -- positively and with only good things to say -- about Hugh Jackman.  About mid week, after the 7th "decoy" photo went up -- the 7th, for the record, containing an actual story about Hugh Jackman that was legitimately related to Laura -- Laura started to notice a hugh amount of traffic (she uses the word "huge" loosely -- relative to her usual amount of traffic, let's say) coming from some group site for Hugh Jackman fans.  They picked up the fact that she was writing about Hugh Jackman and then they picked up on the fact that she didn't have a completely positive view of Ashley Judd.  Nothing of substance was really said about Laura in those group communications except this:  several of the Hugh Jackman fans were annoyed by her use of the third-person.  So that plus the fact that she felt like she was being watched -- even though being watched, or being read, was exactly the point of writing about Hugh Jackman! -- made her nervous and she stopped.

9)  Laura then had issues with the third-person issue.  This is not the first time she's had third-person issues -- but it's always disheartening when she eavesdrops on a bunch of strangers saying how annoying her third-person voice is.  It made her want to stop with the 3rd person thing and go straight into first person, which is what I did for one entry -- my eagle-eyed brant readers will know it was that brief posting about Patti's upcoming appearance on the TODAY show where I dropped the charade of the third person and spoke as myself, naked and vulnerable in my first-person-ness. right this second...trying to figure out which way to go....first person....or third person....and not knowing what the right choice is, hasn't been been easy.  Hence the cop out of the lack of personal pronouns...Maybe there should be a survey here on the brant -- to find out what readers think--so maybe there will be...later.  Laura and I will decide and get back to you.

10)  In addition to the issues with feeling nervous about pissing off the Hugh Jackman fans and being embarrassed and conflicted about her third-person issues, Laura had another interesting thing happen while celebranting -- someone commented on her post that included some less-than positive thoughts about Ashley Judd.  The person who commented loved Laura's comments because the commenter haaaaaaaaaaaaaates Ashley Judd and has devoted many many posts on their hilarious website,, to ranting about her.  So reading through all those posts took awhile though it was a happy distraction.  Who knew the rewards of celebranting could be so good!

11)  Laura is deeply conflicted about this next issue -- so conflicted, in fact, that she's afraid to even mention it here -- the issue of feeling tempted to start running photos of Matt Damon on her brant because she has a huge crush on him, too.  Actually, to be really clear on this -- just so people don't think she's one of those creepy losers who has crushes on celebrities since she never has been that kind of creepy loser (she's been a creepy loser for other reasons) -- her crush is on Jason Bourne, hero of all the Bourne movies that Laura watched for the first time this past summer at her super-tall-brother-in-law's insistence.  Anyway, Laura was tempted to make this paradigm shift to Matt Damon but couldn't bring herself to actually do it, so enormous were the implications and potential repercussions.  More on this to come though.  She's thinking about the occasional "guest decoy brant photo" which would give her the freedom to occasionally break out of the Hugh Jackman rut in order to feature someone new who has a 100% bonafide Boston accent.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Patti on TODAY Today

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

"Tomorrow" on "TODAY"

I'll make this brief -- and in the first person, because, well, it's a long story, and I'm not saying I'm going to permanently switch from third person to first, but maybe, we'll see -- but watch Patti Novak talk about GET OVER YOURSELF! -- tomorrow, on TODAY (I love saying that) during the 10 o'clock hour.  She'll be interviewed by the terrific Hoda Kotb.  Then when you're done watching, order the book.  Or better yet, go to a bookstore and buy a copy (or, yes, okay, fine, you can go to the library too and borrow it....).

Let the Book Promotion Begin

[click on image to enlarge]

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hugh Jackman and the White Leather Trenchcoat Decoy Photo #7

So here it is.  The photos of Hugh Jackman in the spectacular white leather (or pleather, Laura's not really sure) trenchcoat he wore to the New York City premiere of "Someone Like You" back in March of 2001. These, of course, are press photos gleaned from Google images; Laura's own personal photo archive seems to be missing the one or two shots her mother took of Hugh Jackman's left shoulder and ear (she can't seem to take a photo without missing the entire top of someone's head).

Before saying another word, Laura just wants to take a minute to behold the man in that coat.  I mean, come ON.  Have you ever seen anything quite like it?  Few men can pull off a freakin' navy blazer, let alone a white leather/pleather trench coat.

So let's start with the top photo.  There's Marisa Tomei on the left, in red, who played Laura's -- I mean, Jane's -- best friend.  Laura has always been a big fan of Marisa Tomei's and wonders, probably like most people, why she hasn't worked more in the twenty-or-so years since she won an Oscar for best supporting actress in "My Cousin Vinny" (Laura has heard that it's because she, Tomei, is "difficult"). More later about Marisa Tomei and Laura's encounter with Marisa Tomei's father (hint: it has something to do with Laura bodyblocking her own father as he tried to talk to to Marisa Tomei's father in the theatre itself).  

On Hugh Jackman's other side in the photo above is Ashley Judd, the "intellectual"* (*University of Kentucky graduate who took some French classes) actress who plays Laura -- I mean, Jane -- in the movie and who, well, Laura doesn't really want to go into it because she doesn't believe in using her brant to expose jerky celebrities -- even those jerky celebrities who 1) ignore authors on the set of the movies based on their books and 2) stand those authors up when those authors fly all the way across the country with their newborn babies in order to interview them for a cover story in a major magazine to promote the jerky celebrity's role in the movie based on the author's novel because the jerky celebrity pretends to be sick so she can spend time with her boyfriend instead of the cross-country-newborn-baby-toting author-writer.  Sorry.

And on the other side of Ashley Judd the Faux-French-Intellectual, is the film's director, the truly wonderful Tony Goldwyn (otherwise known as the "bad guy" in "Ghost" and many other great films).  Laura spent an entire day in New Canaan, Connecticut, with Tony Goldwyn and his film editing staff, watching a "rough cut" of the film about 2 months before it was released in order to "help" with some voice-over stuff and having lunch at a cute little Chinese restaurant in town with Tony and a film editor.  In typical Laura-traveling-disaster-fashion, it's a trip she remembers less, unfortunately, for the fun she had around the post-production of her movie and more for the fact that about 8 hours after dinner later that same day -- she had driven up to Connecticut from DC with Ben, who was then just 6 months old, and her parents had come down from Boston to watch Ben while Laura was doing the movie-stuff -- she got violently ill with a stomach bug.  She was sick -- really really sick -- for close to 16 hours, which is a long time when you're barfing every hour on the hour.  Anyway, except for the hour-on-the-hour barfing, Laura had a great time and liked Tony a lot -- he was smart, funny, unpretentious, and very un-Hollywood for someone so obviously Hollywood (need Laura point out the completely obvious fact that Tony Goldwyn is the grandson of Samuel Goldwyn -- the Samuel Goldwyn?)  Not to mention quite easy to look at.

OK, so back to the [tenuous] connection between Hugh Jackman and his White Leather/Pleather Trench Coat and Laura.  The movie was released in March 2001, and obviously Laura was invited.  She can't remember how many people she was allowed to invite to the actual screening and then to the after party (for those people unfamiliar with the movie business, the after party is the party that takes place after the screening -- I know, it's confusing, but just stay with her here), but Laura's "main" entourage/posse included her immediate family and some very close friends. Obviously, there was Brendan and Ben.  Then, it turned out, Sarah, then 9, was in DC for her spring break, so she came, too.  Then, Brendan's mother drove from DC with them since she wanted to also be in NYC when Brendan's brother was having his first baby (conveniently due on or around the date of the premiere).  Linda, Laura's brilliant and non-imbecilic-when-it-comes-to-computers sister flew in on the red-eye from LA -- how L.A.! -- and brought with her her sister-in-law Barbara.  Laura's parents drove down from Boston and that completed the familial rat-fuck that was housed at The Regency Hotel on Park Avenue.  A babysitter was hired for Ben, who was just getting over some kind of weird diarrhea thing, and all other friends and family -- Brendan's older brother, Patrick, and his wife, Colleen; Laura's oldest and best friend from Newton, Jenny, and her friend from Rochester; and Laura's agent and his boyfriend and a few assorted friends -- came to the theater and to the after party.

The thing that neither Laura nor Brendan expected was how much negotiating and organizing the travel arrangements to the premiere was going to feel like a wedding -- a wedding, Laura might add, that they themselves hadn't even had yet, because at the time they still weren't married (this will be covered in a future brant).  While the film studio had arranged their suite and their travel, Laura had to get rooms at the hotel for her mother-in-law and step-daughter, her parents, and her sister and her sister's sister-in-law, and then negotiate the other extremely important aspect of the event:  getting from the hotel to the theater.  You'd think this would have been the easy part -- it was only about 25 or 30 blocks, after all -- but of course, it was the hardest part, because of the fact that there was a stretch Limo involved.  Laura still doesn't understand why it is that otherwise normal people become unhinged when they see a stretch limo and realize they're going to get to ride in it, but it's a fact:  otherwise normal people become unhinged when they see a stretch limo and realize they're going to get to ride in it.  One of the reasons she doesn't understand this fact is that during her 10 years as a book publicist, Laura rode in about a thousand stretch limousines -- most of the time backwards, reading a schedule or trying to use one of those giant "cell" phones from the early 1990s, and getting carsick -- so to her, the sight of a stretch limousine usually makes her want to barf -- literally.  Clearly, she's the minority in this regard, a fact never more obvious than that night as she and her Big Fat Premiere-Wedding party gathered in the lobby.

When it was finally time to leave, there was a whole bunch of stretch limos in front of the hotel -- one for the screenwriter, Elizabeth Chandler, and her big fat premiere-wedding-party-family; one for Tony Goldwyn and his big-fat-premiere-wedding-party-family, and one for Laura and her big-fat-premiere-wedding-party-family.  Trying to herd her family into the limo -- her parents, specifically -- was incredibly difficult because they were so busy trying to take pictures of themselves in front of the limo and getting into the limo, probably to show their Temple friends when they got back, that Laura seriously thought she was going to be late to her own premiere.  Eventually, though, they stopped taking pictures, and then they all climbed in and arranged themselves -- Laura, by the way, refusing, like the haughty-demanding-celebrity-author she had instantly turned into, to sit backwards -- and the ten of them looking a little bit like a bunch of clowns getting into a Volkswagen -- and the driver started off down Park Avenue toward the theater in Chelsea.  Once there they de-limo-ed -- all seven of them climbing out again like clowns -- and Laura was met by a Fox Studio publicist.  That's where the real "fun" began.

The publicist, who probably looked just like Laura looked once -- dressed all in black, a cigarette behind her ear, a crazed look in her eye -- directed her and Brendan toward the red carpet and instructed her to walk along the edge where the press was.  Laura was to walk directly behind Hugh Jackman and his wife, the publicist instructed, moving forward to each interview as he finished. At first all Laura saw was a blur of white leather or pleather, but then her eyes focused and she realized that there was a man inside the white leather/pleather trench coat and that man was Hugh Jackman.

Laura's going to cut to the chase here, because really, how much longer can this brant possibly be? -- and briefly describe the farce that was the red carpet for her. You see, the media lined up along the edge of the red carpet -- "Entertainment Tonight", "Access Hollywood", People magazine, even radio interviewers, to name only a few -- are there, obviously, to interview the stars:  people like Hugh Jackman and Greg Kinnear and Marisa Tomei and the pretentious Faux-French Intellectual. They're interested in the famous celebrities -- NOT in the author of the book on which the movie those famous celebrities are in was based on.  What this means is that every time Hugh Jackman would move up for another interview -- the camera lights (from "Entertainment Tonight", for instance), would go on, and they would do a quick excited breathless interview, and then the lights from the camera would go off, and then it was Laura's turn.  Only after one or two or three of these stops, Laura suddenly realized that when it was her turn the camera lights didn't go on and the tape-recorders didn't go on and all that seemed to happen was a "fake" "pretend" interview with her that would never air or never see the printed page because the press people she talked to were only going through the motions of interviewing her, not actually interviewing her.

All of which is to say that the red carpet was a complete and utter farce -- except for the fact that Laura got to walk behind Hugh Jackman the whole time.  Which was fantastic, except for the part of the red carpet when you face a wall of paparazzi, all of whom , it seemed, were screaming in unison and at the top of their collective lungs, for Hugh Jackman's wife to get out of the fucking way! get out of the fucking way!  you're in the fucking way!  move! move! move!  get out of the fucking shot!  so they could take pictures of Hugh Jackman in his fabulous white leather/pleather trench coat.  Which, of course, Laura could understand, but did they have to be so fucking rude and crass?

And so there you have it -- today's Hugh Jackman Photo with Relevant Personal Details.  More tomorrow....

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Day -- Buffalo-Style

Okay, okay, yes, Laura is well aware of the fact that she promised a major Hugh-Jackman- photographic-spread-with-relevant-personal-details, but first things first.  Because today Laura and Patti awoke to this fantastic piece in the Buffalo News by Anne Neville on GET OVER YOURSELF!  (Patti awoke to it, of course, since she's the one who lives in Buffalo.)  It's the first actual big spread on the book and not only is Patti splashed on the front page of the Living Section, but there's also a teaser photo of her on the actual front page of the paper, above the fold, and above a picture of Obama!  For those of you familiar with the soon-to-be-dead newspaper business, front page of anything is big, above the fold is huge, and above the fold above Obama is beyond measure!  So here's the link to the piece and for those of you with single friends, single relatives, single office mates, or friends with relationship problems, relatives with relationship problems, or office mates with relationship problems -- it's time now to start stocking up on the book.  Let Patti help you and your interpersonal-skills-challenged friends have the best new year everrrrrrrrr...