I had three entirely new experiences today:
- I chose to wear my Nike Dunks, favorite black pants, a crisp white shirt and a fedora this morning when I left the house. A real nice man on the street called to me: “Girl, you lookin’ good to-DAY! That’s a nice outfit!” In kind reply, I said “Why, thank you!” and literally tipped my hat to him. I tipped my hat! It surprised me how naturally it came. When you’re wearing a fedora, apparently you live in the 1956.
- On a busy street in Penn Quarter, a homeless man took out his penis and peed on the sidewalk. I saw it all before deciding to walk much, much faster.
- I went to the FOX News building and went on camera and now I’m all over the news in Europe!
The first experience explains itself; the second experience isn’t something I want to expound upon, so let’s talk about this third thing because man, was it cool.
Several years ago, a chap named Oli contacted me for an interview. Oli was writing a big paper on slam poetry and he tracked me down. We Skyped a few times because Oli is a Brit and lives in London. Oli must’ve done well in school because he’s got a seemingly impressive job with SkyNews, a kind of AP wire in the UK. We’ve stayed in touch here and there, and Oli reads my blog enough to know that I live in Washington, now. He also knows I’m a huge Madonna fan because I’m sure I said as much in our first interview.
Oli texted me from London this morning to see if I could dash down to the SkyNews bureau — housed within FOX News — and speak on camera about Madonna. She fell last night at the Brit Awards. It was a scary fall; her cape malfunctioned and she went backwards down three stairs. Beyonce, Gaga, and Naomi Campbell have all taken famous tumbles: it happens. When you’re dancing onstage in high-heels three-hundred days out of the year, what do you expect? Because I wrote an essay in a book called Madonna & Me (Soft Skull Press, 2012)* I am an expert on Madonna and clearly have something devastatingly insightful to say on such a breaking news story.
I got to the big FOX News building and security cleared me. I went up to the fifth floor and took lots of selfies in front of lots of monitors. The girl who met me said, “Thank you for coming. Would you like your hair and makeup done?”
All nonchalant, I was like, “Oh, yes, well, maybe I should, you know, with the snow and all.” Getting my hair and makeup done at FOX News was not something I was going to pass up. She asked me if I wanted something to drink, too, and I said I would like some water please and thank you very much.
I went into the makeup room and was met by two of the most stylish, laconic, “we’ve-seen-it-all” makeup artists on the planet. They were just hanging out in this room with special chairs all the bright makeup lights, waiting for the next person to come in. Who were the people who came in? The talking heads you see on TV! Three of them came into the makeup room while the gals were working on me! I saw dudes in the chair next to me getting powdered and then I saw them on live TV like ten minutes later! It was so weird and fun. The lady with bright red hair did my makeup and the other lady did my hair. The hair lady had geometric glasses and really, really long nails that she used to squiggle through my hair to make it go this way and that.
Once I was all done — and I looked good but not at all like myself, which is why getting hair and makeup done isn’t really that great, so don’t feel like you’re missing anything if you’ve never had the experience — I went into the green room. I couldn’t sit down because I was going to be on live TV in like ten minutes! I just paced and made myself not drink the free Keurig coffee they had set up. I didn’t want to get up there and talk too fast.
The gal came in for me. I went into one room and taped a segment for the radio with one British dude. Then I went into another room where all the cameras were, got my earpiece and was given my lapel mic. I stared into the void of the big camera and eventually a lady started asking me questions. The live segment got pushed further and further out because there was a lot of bad news in the UK today — and this bad news does not include Madonna falling at an awards show. In the end, the live segment never took place, which was a bummer, but my taped segment was a smash, and Oli has informed me that the interview is being played on the hour in 118 countries. I don’t totally understand this, but Oli has no reason to lie to me. They were so pleased with me, in fact, I might get to go back and do more segments about other things. I would like that because it was really fun.
Consider how many news segments are taped in the world every single day: thousands upon thousands. I was simply grist for the mill this morning, but it was neat. If I can, I’ll post a clip of the piece on Facebook.
All in a day’s work.
*Available at fine bookstores everywhere.