Saturday, May 4, 2013

guest post: gatsby the great.

as a most sincere apology for being MIA the past few weeks, 
{playoffs have started...don't be offended} 
i decided to give you, my most beloved readers, a prezzie!
below is an amazing adventure to kick start our summer of fun here on the blog.
that's right, a GUEST POST!
a post by the best writer i know,
{she teaches high school English}
and one of the best friends i have ever had.
i consider it no small coincidence that two of thee absolute dearest ladies in my life are named jodi with an "i".
{if you ever meet one keep them close, they are the best}
this particular jodi with an "i", better known as thee bestie on this blog, partied with jay gatsby himself this week at the NYC premiere of The Great Gatsby.
i was all that jazzed when she offered to do one, considering i had already planned on begging for one if the offer didn't come.
here is her story... 

My love affair with Jay Gatsby started in junior year English and never stopped. I've since read the book countless times, so many times that I have most of it memorized at this point. I've watched the Robert Redford movie many times, and taught it to my students twice. My dog's name tag says "Daisy Fay" for heaven's sake. The book just captivated me. It's everything I love about literature. Fitzgerald's prose reads like poetry. Every line is beautiful; every word carries weight. It's an English teacher's dream. I've loved teaching it and seeing my students begin to pick up on the idea that a book can be more than a cool story. It can change you. Anyway, I'm rambling. 

Back to the juicy stuff...
I first heard that a Gatsby remake was in the works about 3 years ago and immediately started counting down the days, especially when I learned that Baz Luhrmann (of Romeo+Juliet and Moulin Rouge) was directing it and none other than Mr. Leonardo DiCaprio would be the star. My love for Leonardo was born long before my love for Gatsby. You see, the image of him as Romeo looking through the fish tank hung above my bed all through adolescence. I've seen just about every one of his movies and think he's the biggest evidence that the Oscars are rigged. 

A few weeks ago, I saw on Gatsby's Facebook and Twitter pages that they were having multiple contests for people to win tickets to the world premiere in New York. I emailed my brothers and kindly requested they enter the contest for me even though it was a huge long shot. My brother, Chad, quickly wrote back, "Who enters contests when you have connections?" He told me not to get my hopes up but that he had talked to his friend who is a high-up at Universal Records about getting us into the premiere. Not get my hopes up? Please. I about passed out. Well, a couple of weeks went by when Chad finally called, on my birthday to be exact, and told me that he'd scored 2 tickets and that he'd be in NYC for work with a swanky Times Square hotel room if I'd like to fly out and join him. Basically, he guaranteed that he'll never need to give me a birthday or Christmas present ever again for as long as I live. 

After arriving in New York, taking a nap, looking out the window on the magic of Times Square, and consulting Miss Bradley about hair style suggestions, I got ready in my prettiest dress and my sparkliest heels, trying to tell myself that there was no way I'd met Leo, that seeing the movie before everyone else would be enough.
We got there early to see the stars arrive at the red carpet. Slowly they started pulling up in black tinted Escalades. Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine arrived and I happened to be standing next to the workers who were checking people in and I heard them go, "Oh, check in Isla Fisher," so I kindly told them that it wasn't Isla; it was Florence, although I wanted to tell them that not all redheads look the same. They said, "Thanks," then told me very firmly that I couldn't stand where I was standing. Carrie Mulligan arrived with her husband, Marcus Mumford. Baz Luhrmann arrived. Jay Z sans Beyonce. But all I wanted was to see Leo in real life, even though they were keeping the stars pretty guarded from us. I wouldn't be able to get close, but I'd be able to see him and take a picture. Leo arrived, I snapped a few photos, freaked out a bit that I saw his face, his beautiful face, in real life, and then my brother and I headed in to the theater.
We walked through the lobby and were about to go up the staircase to our seats when we realized we were standing right by the door that led in from the red carpet. Holy crap. If we waited there without getting told to move, we'd see every single star walk in. Within a few minutes, Florence walked in. No one was around, so I asked for a picture. She obliged, but she wasn't very friendly. You've got good pipes, Flo, but your style & personality leave something to be desired.
Then a few of the movie's actors walked in, some of the lesser knowns, then the incredibly beautiful Isla Fisher walked in. She was pretty rushed, but she said she'd take a picture, put her arm around me, and then asked if Chad got the picture before rushing away. 
Then Gayle King, Oprah's wing woman, walked by, so I grabbed a pic just for Jessica, Oprah's biggest fan. She told me that she loved my necklace...twice. So, basically, I felt very important. 
The tickets said 7pm and it was like 7:15 at this point, so we were a little worried we'd get in trouble for not being in our seats, but we decided to wait it out just a bit longer. Chad and I made a plan that if Leo approached, he'd be walking fast, so I'd throw him my camera and he'd have to snap pics of him, even if I couldn't get IN a pic with him. 
That's when I noticed Martha Stewart walking towards the door. I told Chad to take a picture of her, but that I didn't care to be IN a picture with her. I mean, Martha's cool and all, but just not a big concern of mine. Anyway, that's when I noticed who was walking in right next to her. The one. The only. Leonardo. I shoved the camera in Chad's hands and walked over to where he'd have to pass right by me. They stopped right next to me and Martha asked for a photo. After like, a hundred hours of taking that single photo, I asked Leo if he'd take one with me. (A ccccrazy dude tried to hand me his iPhone to take a picture of him with Leo. I flat out ignored him. It was awkward.) Anyway, Leo looked at me and said, "Sure" and started to ask where the camera was (people were starting to crowd at this point) when his publicist started pulling him and telling him he had to go. I pointed where the camera was and he turned to smile for it quickly. I mean, come on! He was so nice! I was absolutely not expecting him to turn for the camera with how many people were trying to get photos with him and how rushed he was. Besides Martha I was the ONLY person to get a photo with Leo. And her photo probably isn't very good because I was all up in their business. I thanked Leo profusely, while looking super psychotically excited. It was only afterward that I realized that I'd completely grabbed his bicep while thanking him. Probably shouldn't go around grabbing celebrities, but whatever, he didn't get upset, so I'm just going to assume he liked it.
After he left, it was seriously a blur. You know how big events... proposals...weddings...the birth of your first born...can be blurs? That's how meeting Leo was. Within minutes of it happening, it felt like a dream. I could hardly believe it. But the important facts will warm my heart forever...I met Leonardo, my favorite actor, at the premiere of an adaption of my favorite book, and he is just as good looking in real life, and he's NICE. Oh so nice! I fully expected him to be too big of a star to be nice to me and take a minute of his time. But he was so nice. 

As for the movie, it was absolutely perfect. I think some people might have a hard time with the artistic licenses that Luhrmann took, but, to me, they only added to the drama, the intrigue, the excess of the time period that Fitzgerald was trying to expose in his novel. The disjointed music added a unique and modern flair. And the acting was phenomenal. I expected Leonardo DiCaprio to be perfection, and he was, but I was blown away by Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton, in particular. I love that the literary symbolism, which is so easily lost in book adaptations, was carried through so flawlessly to the big screen.
It felt like a fairytale. It was truly a night that most normal folk don't get to experience. I can't wait to teach the book again, and "accidentally" slip in the picture of me and Leo in the middle of some lesson.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing. Absolutely amazing! I seriously admire your gusto! Way to shove Martha out of the way. Thanks for the guest post! I thoroughly enjoyed it!