SHFT.com Launch Party, the Wired Store, New York
December 15, 2009
Today, as I sit at my desk looking out the 4th floor windows here on Broadway and 26th, watching workers install windows while precariously unattached to anything harness-wise, I am wincing. Why wincing? Well, see, I have a little black-and-blue stripe along my left arm and it's perfectly placed on the spot that tends to rest on my laptop when I type. Also, my upper back and right butt cheek feel like they were folded up into a "Star Wars" sleeping bag and twisted into Lady Gaga's hair bow. Why these strange aches and pains, you wonder? Oh, you know, just another night at the Wired store.
I was all anal about being punctual to the launch party for SHFT.com, an ec- friendly sustainable buzzword site complete with an enviro-chic store, videos, and other resources. Their goal is to provide green people with the tools to make their eco-friendly choices pop, not fizzle. Like fiber cereal that tastes good! My anality was unnecessary because at 6:40 p.m. there was no line. As I gave my name to the clipboard squirrels I peered into the store and it was practically empty. Weird. Not that I'm complaining -- I'm a huge fan of small parties, where the food finds me and wine is easily retrievable without accidentally molesting others in line.
While I made the homepages on all computers in the store go to this column, I glanced up and saw some familiar faces. One was Caroline McCarthy, writer of CNET's The Social. Another was a gal I couldn't immediately place until Caroline reminded me that this was Justine McCarthy, CEO of Simply Chic PR, whom I had apparently met at the Thrillist Hamptons party, but neither of us really recall. With the dueling McCarthys was Maya Baratz, Huffington Post writer and product manager for MTV Networks. Justine McCarthy was later joined by Amanda Sagefka, a reporter from Wireless.tv.
The store never really filled up, and I'd say the crowd topped out at maybe 50 people at one time. I was born cross-eyed, so it could have been more or less. I looked up and saw the fluffy head of Adrian Grenier moving in slow motion through the eco-friendly male undies. You may know him as the shallow and vapid Vinnie Chase on "Entourage" or as the goofball neighbor boy in cinematic masterpiece "Drive Me Crazy." I approached, hoping to get some shots of him before he was bum-rushed by photogs and fans. Oh wait, there was only one other photog there, Neilsen Barnard. What followed was the most uncomfortable conversation ever...
"Hi, Adrian, how's it going?"
Adrian's eyes are slowly scanning the scene, "Great..."
"Is there anything you wanted to get photographed with before everyone starts bugging you?" That was me, thinking he'd want some shots supporting, I don't know, his project. He paused for a long time. Probably just seconds, but it felt much longer.
"Not really," he answered, about to fall asleep on his feet, "Do you?"
"No...isn't this your party?" I countered, so perplexed. Maybe it's true: celebrities are lost without their handlers and publicists. Suddenly Corey Reiter of Corey Michelle Designs appeared, rescuing me from the dust bowl of conversation. I took a picture of the two of them, and walked off, hoping that was the last interaction I'd have with the man. It wasn't. And the second interaction was much more explosive.
Wired PR types were leading Adrian around the store, showing him laptops and doodads that he seemed pained by, but that could just be his "thing." One shot the wired Wired PR gals were adamant about getting was the touch-screen computer that I had just loaded this column into, so of course, I was already giggling/weirded out. To get a better shot, I stood on a wooden box that just so happened to be placed near the monitors. I hopped on it, snapping away. When satisfied with my snaps, I stepped forward to dismount my wooden assistant. CRAWWANK! The box crashed out from under me, flipping over.
You know how football players area always aware of where their feet are, contorting to make sure they've got two feet down in the end zone? That's how I am with my camera. As my rear connected hard with the side of the box, almost gripping it upon landing, and my left arm slammed into the other side, I never dropped my camera. In fact, I held it high above my head the entire time, watching the shocked faces of Jenna Landry and Corey morph into maniacal chortling.
I teetered on the edge of that box, thanking my momma for giving me a rump that serves dual purposes: shaking and a cushiony landing. Adrian reached out and grabbed my arm and asked "Are you ok?" I couldn't tell if he was suppressing a smile, but he looked genuinely concerned. I got up, instantly cackling, still shocked, dusted myself off and said something stupid that I can't recall, walked to the other side of the monitor display and dissolved into a quagmire of mortified laughter.
And that, my friends, is why I'm a wincing, aching freak of nature today. The only real loss here is that no one captured my graceful dismount on film -- er, memory card.
While nursing my bruised bum and ego, I managed to also get shots of film producer, Peter Glatzer, Lauren Gropper, who appears on Planet Green's Alter Eco, Gary Hirshberg, Chairman, President and CEO of Stonyfield Farm, and other people you can find in the Flickr set.
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