MUAHS Gift Bag

I’ve been to Tech Conferences. There are vendor booths with lots of “SWAG” to be had from pens to t-shirts. There are drawings for all kinds of goodies and gadgets. These things are provided by the vendors and event sponsors.

Last night I attended an awards ceremony for makeup artists and hair stylists. there were no booths, but there were gift bags! On our way out we each received a backpack/makeup kit full of product. None of it means anything to me, but I have to wonder how much money is represented by the contents.

L.A. Vacation 2024 – Day 4

Today was the day, and it was amazing!

I got up early and had breakfast in the hotel. We were scheduled to meet Amanda’s sister Jessica, her husband Bryce, her Dad, and his friend Beata for breakfast in beautiful downtown Burbank at 9:00, but I was hungry. We joined them later at Another Broken Egg where I had a very nice Eggs Benedict as second breakfast. Amanda had asked her Dad if he had a medium-sized box we could use to ship some things home, as our bags were packed pretty tightly on the way here. After breakfast he said he had brought a box for us and mumbled something about it not being empty yet. We walked with them down the hill to where they parked their car. Kevin popped the trunk lid open and started fussing with the box and called us over. It was a box for a tabletop air purifier and looked to be a good size for what we had in mind. He removed a piece of styrofoam, and then took out the contents: his Emmy award from 2001 for his work on “Life With Judy Garland: Me and my Shadows”! The Emmy remains the property of The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, but recipients may bequeath or transfer custody of the award to heirs/successors—that’s us!

Outstanding Makeup for a Miniseries, Movie or a Special
Life With Judy Garland: Me and my Shadows
Kevin Haney, Special Effects Makeup Artist

Flabbergasted, we thanked Kevin profusely and returned to our car and then the hotel. We were all “on our own” (no plans) for a few hours until we were to all meet in the lobby of our hotel where our limo SUVs would be picking us up for the event. Amanda and I returned to our room where we totally surprised the housekeeper. While she finished her work, we unpacked the Emmy and admired it. We then decided to walk about a mile down the street to the Americana at Brand shopping center (where we had dinner on Friday) and the Glendale Galleria mall. We had a good walk and looked in the shops that interested us. Amanda found a place to get a manicure and I walked around the mall. I found JCPenney and an Apple Store and spent time browsing until Amanda was done. We then returned to the hotel. I watched a couple of videos and Amanda took a quick nap, then a shower, and started to get ready for our evening. Then it was my turn to shower, and then retreat to the bedroom of our suite to change.

I feel I need to digress at this point to provide a little background. I rented my tuxedo in Plattsburgh, and I did so with plenty of lead time in case something wasn’t right. The jacket that came with it was just a little tight, so I asked them to get the next size up, which they did and which fit much better. I did not return the original jacket when I picked up the second one. I brought the second jacket home and hung it in the guest room closet next to the garment bag that held the shirt, the vest, and the first jacket and pants, the jacket and pants being together on one hanger. I bought a travel bag for this trip that when completely unzipped and laid flat holds and protects a garment bag. Then, when you fold and zip it up, it turns into a duffle bag which you can fill with other clothes, with a separate compartment for shoes. On Wednesday when I began packing my bag, I went to the guest room and opened the garment bag and swapped the original jacket for the larger one, zipped the bag up and packed it into the new travel bag.

Fast-forward to Sunday morning. After breakfast I inspected the contents of the garment bag to make certain that things hadn’t wrinkled during the trip and would be presentable. I was focused on the jacket and the shirt, both of which looked just fine. Yay! I put everything back in the closet. It is now about 2:50 in the afternoon. I have just emerged from the shower and start getting dressed for the evening. Underwear: check. Socks: check. Undershirt: check. To the closet for the tux—shirt: check. Pants:



No pants.


You’ll recall I mentioned that the jacket and pants were on the same hanger. Well, I apparently had not accounted for this when swapping jackets and had not packed the pants! So with an hour to go, I had three options: 1) try and find pants in my size. 2) attend the event as a high society Zoom mullet: tux on top, khaki cargo pants on the bottom, or 3) don’t attend the event. I grabbed the car keys and took off for the mall. I remembered that JCPenney had a Big & Tall section. I started with Macy’s because that’s where I was able to find parking. It was a long shot because stores like Macy’s think everyone is built like a stick with a 28” waist and the ones who have let themselves go have a whopping 36” waist. I needed something a little bigger and Macy’s did not have it. JCPenney was at the other end of the mall, so I power walked there and made a beeline for the Men’s section. Black. I needed black. I found black. Stretchy, shiny black. Ew…no. Denim black. No. Suit pants black. YES! But not exactly in my size…2 inches too small at the waist. I have lost some weight since the new year and my regular pants had gotten loose to the point I had added a hole to my belt recently, so I thought these would fit, or at least fit well enough to get me through the evening. I searched for a changing room. It took a minute to find, and there was a line of at least 5 people, each with multiple items to try on. After waiting about 2 minutes (which felt like 20) I abandoned the idea of trying the pants and went in search of a checkout station. Another line! I found another one with a shorter line and more cashiers. The cashier was nice and asked if I have a phone number with them. No. She asked if I have a store credit card with them. No. She asked if I wanted to apply for one and save 35% on my purchase. “No,” I said as politely as I could muster with a smile, “I just want the damn pants.” Done. Power walk back through the mall and Macy’s and back to the car. Navigate the traffic of everyone seemingly trying to exit the parking garage at the same time. Made it back to the hotel with about 5 minutes to spare. I got back to the room and sent Amanda (who looked fabulous, by the way!) down to the lobby to explain what happened while I changed. The pants fit! And I could get away without my belt, which is brown. And I was reasonably sure they would not split. I got dressed in record time and made it to the lobby with minutes to spare before the limos arrived. *whew*. (In retrospect I can note that had I opted for the khaki cargo pants with my tuxedo jacket I would not have been at all out of place. There were some very interesting outfits on display!)

We were whisked away to the Beverly Hilton Hotel where we would attend the 11th annual MUAHS Awards! What happened when we got to the hotel was kind of indescribable, but I will try! As we made our way into the lobby area there was a room off to our left. We were told that Kevin had to make an appearance there. I don’t know if “just anyone” was allowed, but we managed to make our way inside. The room was a medium-sized square multi-purpose room. The edges had been lined with tape and all manner of photography stations and a backdrop featuring the logo for the event in a repeating pattern. The center of the room was where we non-celebrities could mingle and watch. This was the “red carpet” for this event! People who were nominated for or receiving the various awards were led slowly around the edge of the room where they would stop at each station to be interviewed by whichever media outlet was represented. “Handlers” accompanied the nominees and help up cards with their information on them. We took it all in and followed Kevin as he proceeded through the gauntlet of lights and reporters. I scanned the line for the red carpet and there I saw Terry Farrell and Armin Shimerman! And a little farther down the line was Marla Gibbs! I took more pictures and some video of Kevin as he made his way around the room. When he was done, we exited to the lobby and the reception in the outer area of the hotel’s main ballroom.

It was LOUD! I couldn’t hear people standing right next to me, so I just looked around and tried to take it all in. Kevin could not walk more than 5 steps before someone came up to him to shake his hand, hug him, congratulate him, or some combination of all three. Later on when his handler Ned asked me where Kevin was I pointed in the general direction of where I had seen him a few seconds before and Ned said, “He’s probably working the room.” I countered with, “I think it’s more accurate to say the room is working him!” And that was very much true. The amount of sincere and frank admiration I saw exhibited toward Kevin was inspiring.

After about 20 minutes of this, the back wall of the area we were in gave way (it was really a curtain) revealing the rest of the grand ballroom. There were tables. Lots of tables! The first number I saw was 317. When we arrived we had been given tickets the size of business cards with our names and table numbers on them. I looked at mine: 16. Table 16 of over 300! The ballroom was terraced and we made our way down, level by level. I eventually found table 16 in what I’ll call “the pit,” the lowest level right in front of the stage. We were not next to the stage, but we were close enough that we did not need to look at the gigantic screens on either side of the stage to see what was going on. We were that close.

The awards at this ceremony are for members of the IATSE Local 706: Hair Stylists and Make-up Artists. I was wondering why actors like Terry, Armin, and Marla were there. A look at the event program provided some clues. Michael Westmore was receiving the Vanguard award. Given his many years working in the Star Trek Franchise I suspected that Terry and Armin would be presenting his award. (I was right.) Marla Gibbs was there to present the Lifetime Achievement Award to Ora T. Green, who has had an amazing career. Marla was at the table next to ours and fans of hers and Ora’s kept stopping by to share their appreciation.

I didn’t wonder who was going to be presenting Kevin with his award, for he had already told us. I was just thinking about that when Martin Short appeared at our table to personally congratulate Kevin and chat for a quick minute before he was whisked away to prepare for the ceremony. Martin and Kevin know each other well because of how much work they’ve done together.

Martin Short congratulating Kevin

While all this was going on we were served and consumed our dinner. I don’t have much to say about that because, well, we weren’t there for the food! We were advised to take our seats and the ceremony started promptly at 7:30, hosted by Melissa Peterman, whom we have most recently seen as the neighbor Brenda Sparks on “Young Sheldon”. The show began with Diana Nyad who inspired Netflix’s “Nyad” starring Annette Bening as Diana. Annette was receiving the Distinguished Artisan Award for her work on Nyad. She unfortunately had COVID and was unable to be present to receive her award in person.

Next up was Martin Short to present Kevin with his award. I don’t have much to say about that because I recorded the whole thing!

Kevin Haney – The Man, The Myth, The Legend

After Kevin’s award it was Ora T. Green’s turn. Marla Gibbs, 92, was escorted to the stage where she was seated in a director’s chair and said a few words about Ora’s career. She then introduced a special guest to help with the award presentation: LeVar Burton! Later in the show Michael Westmore was introduced and given his award by Terry, Armin, and Dolph Lundgren who, if he can be believed, invited himself to the ceremony.

The ceremony ended and we picked up our gift bags and waited for our cars to pick us up. All the while Kevin continued to be surrounded by people wishing him well and congratulations. It was a fantastic evening! Truly an event of a lifetime and not something I will ever forget. And I was privileged to have my beautiful bride Amanda on my arm the entire time!

My Beautiful Bride!
Bryce, Jessica, Ethan, Kevin, Beata, Amanda, Me

L.A. Vacation 2024 – Day 3

We had thought that today would be a day at Disney, but when I went to buy tickets last night they were all sold out for today. We had breakfast at our hotel again and this time pointed the car toward Huntington Beach to hopefully see some of my Family. My cousin Jason lives there with his wife Linda and their children. Jason’s Mom and Dad also live in the area. We explored the Main Street area of downtown Huntington Beach for awhile and heard from Jason’s Dad, Alan. We met him for a light lunch and some conversation.

We left Alan to visit Jason’s Mom Jane and John. After a brief visit they took us to Newport harbor where we enjoyed some local shops and took the harbor boat tour. The sheer opulence was staggering. I’m not sure I have ever seen so much wealth concentrated in one geographic area. If I wasn’t to envious I might be disgusted! As the tour guide told us, for many of the owners these are just their vacation homes. Their fifteen million dollar vacation homes. And yachts. Lots and lots of yachts! So many yachts.

After the tour we had an early dinner at The Crab Cooker on Balboa Peninsula. Then on to Jason and Linda’s house where we spent an hour or so getting caught up and enjoying each others’ company. We returned to Jane and John’s to get our car and made our way back to Glendale and the hotel to relax.

Here are some pictures from today’s adventures.

L.A. Vacation 2024 – Day 2

We started today with breakfast at our hotel.  We then drove from Glendale down to Dana Point.  Our first stop was the Dana Point Headlands Conservation Area.  The docent there was very nice and gave us some tips based on what we said we wanted to do.  Our next stop was The Shwack, a restaurant in Dana Point’s Lantern District.  From there it was a short walk to the Bluff Top Trail.  Very reminiscent of Rochester, NY’s Secret Sidewalk, this short trail takes you along the bluff high above the Pacific Ocean.  On one side are the front decks of what must be very expensive real estate.  On the other are magnificent views of the ocean and Dana Point harbor far below.

After taking all that in and lingering in the breeze we drive down the hill to The Ocean Institute on the western end of Dana Point Harbor.  The docent had told us that there is a stairway to the beach behind the Institute and so we went to spend some time on the beach just watching the waves come in as the tide slowly rose.  I’ve never thought the ocean was particularly interesting.  In fact, I find it generally very boring when compared to the likes of Lake Champlain.  But I will admit that I could spend hours just sitting there watching waves come in.  It’s hypnotic and peaceful; and in that respect I understand why people are drawn to it.

From Dana point we made the short drive to San Juan Capistrano and toured the mission there.  I can’t say I gave it the full attention it as a museum deserved, but it was awe-inspiring.  The church in particular gave me pause.  As a lapsed Catholic I do not feel a “call” to my Faith these days.  But the mission’s church, incredibly preserved and still in use today, is a thing of beauty.  My hat came off, my finger touched the holy water and then my forehead, and I just had to sit there for a few minutes and take it all in.  We toured the grounds and spent some time (and a few dollars) in the gift shop and then it was time to head back to Glendale.  Amanda, her Dad Kevin, Kevin’s friend Beata, and I had all been in the same car so far; but Kevin and Beata were scheduled to pick up Amanda’s sister and her husband at the airport this evening, and so we had to return to Glendale so Kevin could get his car.  (In retrospect I guess we should have rented a minivan!) After a bathroom break we drove down to Manhattan beach and had a very nice dinner in a seaside restaurant called The Strand House.  Our table was close to the open-air deck and the propane heaters took the edge off the cool ocean breeze.  The only thing missing was a view of the ocean.  It was right there in plain sight, but invisible in the darkness.

After dinner Amanda and I returned to the hotel.  It’s a good thing I like to drive.  Driving in and around L.A. is an adventure like no other.  I have many comments about the “design” of their highways out here, but I’ll save them, perhaps, for another post some day.  We are having to much fun to let these posts degenerate into a grump-fest! 🙂

Enjoy some pictures from today’s adventures.


L.A. Vacation 2024 – Day 1

We are in L.A.!  Travel yesterday was blissfully uneventful, especially when compared to our trip here last year.  We are in the same hotel in Burbank, and even in the same suite!  It feels like we were just here.

Our main reason for this visit is to help Amanda’s Dad celebrate on Sunday when the Make Up And Hair Stylists Guild honors him with a Lifetime Achievement award.  We also hope to visit my cousins who live in the area. Another day at Disney might be on the schedule if the weather holds (there is an ever-increasing chance of rain for Monday).  We fly home on Tuesday.

Last evening we explored The Americana at Brand, a unique outdoor shopping center about a mile from the hotel.  I don’t know what it’s like during the day, but at night it reminded me of The Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.  We had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory and just strolled around looking at/in the shops before heading back to the hotel.

Today there is no plan—just some general exploring.  Dinner will be had in Manhattan Beach with Amanda’s Dad before he picks up Amanda’s sister and her husband at the airport.