Friday, April 20, 2012

TCM Classic Film Festival 2012--Wednesday with the Press at Hollywood's Roosevelt Hotel

Though the TCM Classic Film Festival ended days ago at the Roosevelt Hotel in Hollywood, I am still feeling all the excitement of the experience. And I know I'm not the only one who is still buzzing.  Despite a rainstorm that rolled into Los Angeles early in the festival--including a torrential downpour on my birthday, appropriately Friday the 13th--nothing could dampen the mood of the fans.  This festival was the best one yet...not the least of which because its theme was Style in the Movies.  TCM's on air and festival programmers Charlie Tabesh and Genevieve McGillicuddy sure delivered.  My incredible stylish itinerary on and off the big screen included:
It's important to point out that this list includes a few films I consider Style Essentials, to use TCM terminology, the greatest costumes and style of all time--To Catch a Thief, Funny Face, VertigoLove Story, and Annie Hall.  And then the rest really aren't that far behind.  Almost every one of these was shown at Grauman's Chinese Theater and Egyptian Theater, too...theaters where the films were originally shown and style masterpieces in and of themselves.  My only disappointment from the festival was maybe missing Chinatown on the big screen due to a conflict in my crazy schedule. Visually, I think it best captures how I view Los Angeles.  If you saw it, please write to tell me about it.

One of the great event highlights of the festival was covering Thursday's red carpet opening night gala for Cabaret.  There I saw Liza Minnelli (of course), Hitchcock heroines Eva Marie Saint and Tippi Hedren, Woody Allen alumni Tony Roberts and Michael Murphy, and the viviacious Debbie Reynolds among many others.  I also spoke with Patricia Ward Kelly, widow of Gene Kelly, whose vintage alligator handbag caught my eye along with her stylish suits from L.A. based designer Ali Rahimi for Mon Atelier.  And then there was the experience of being photographed by the paparazzi while wooed by 1927's Wings star A.C. Lyles, who still had the moves at a frisky 93.  But the ultimate highlight was probably Friday morning sitting on the red carpet right in front of Kim Novak as her hand and footprints were immortalized at Grauman's Chinese Theater. What a thrill!

With all this activity, it was a while before I even saw my first movie at the festival...Wednesday, much of Thursday, and even Friday morning was spent doing interviews and running around.  This isn't a complaint--I was in heaven!  In addition to the events I already mentioned, my time included talking with film critic Leonard Maltin and Film Noir Foundation founder Eddie Muller on style in the movies.  I was also even interviewed on air by TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz on two separate occasions.  Couldn't have asked for better birthday presents, let me tell you.

Happily, I met both hosts on Wednesday before the festival officially kicked off when we in the media were invited to press roundtables to ask a question or two.  Of course mine were centered on style and I inquired as to what (or who) their personal style influences were from classic cinema.  After a long pause, Robert told me it was a "great question."  Growing up in Colfax, a small town near where I grew up in Washington State, he modeled himself on the entire way that stars of Old Hollywood carried they behaved overall.  From a style standpoint, he finally admitted to admiring his hero, the "daredevil" Alan Ladd.  Incredible timing since I'm just about to see Ladd in a double feature at the NOIR CITY film festival this weekend, so I'll be admiring his style as well.  Robert also discussed his relationship with the great Lucille Ball, who originally hired him in her cast largely because he knew and loved Old Hollywood while everyone else at the time did not.  Feeling that he was born to be a journalist (his college major), Lucy mentored and encouraged Robert to write a book on the movie industry.  The rest, as they say, is history.

When the hosts switched tables and Ben sat down, he too paused at the question of his style influences.  Before answering, he shared a great story about Stanley Donen directing Audrey Hepburn in Two for the Road--the first movie since Roman Holiday that Hubert de Givenchy did NOT create her costumes.  One can only imagine the "awkward conversation" Donen had with Audrey over his desire to use other modern designers.  Instead of Givenchy.  When Ben finally steered back to his own style inspiration, he said admiringly, "Cary Grant can wear a suit...and the way he wears it is still relevant today."  He also mentioned another men's style icon, Steve McQueen, when talking about his excitement over the festival's Thomas Crown Affair and interviewing director Norman Jewison before the screening.

As you can see, TCM presented us with an incredible and often torturous line up of movies and events from Thursday morning (Wednesday for the press) until late Sunday night.  Of course there were many more options beyond the ones I chose, too.  These were difficult choices to make and attendees were always more willing to not eat or sleep than miss their favorites.  This may be music to TCM's ears. "You want people to have to make hard decisions," Ben asserted. "You want people to suffer.  You want people excited to come back for more."

Well, here I am back for more.  Let the sublime suffering begin.

First signs of TCM welcoming me to the 2012 Classic Film Festival at the Roosevelt Hotel

A place familiar to festival goers, 25 Degrees at the Roosevelt was often our only food stop 
for hours...and hours...and hours

The lobby and bar of the Roosevelt

Press Pass:  a GlamAmor Original cotton gingham fit and flare dress, 1960s yellow wool coat,
1960s black leather frame bag, Charles David yellow strappy stilettos, 
yellow silk cardigan (below), gold hoop earrings, and gold skinny bangle bracelet

BELOW: with TCM podcast host and promo producer (and friend) Scott McGee

Early morning in the Library Bar for press roundtables with TCM hosts Robert Osborne and Ben Mankiewicz
sitting next to press pals Elise Crane Derby, Elizabeth Menzies, and Will McKinley (thanks for the photos!)

The TCM crew hard at work in the lobby starting to set things up for the festival

Walking out past The Bridge lounge to the pool at the Roosevelt

Even in the midst of an oncoming storm, poolside at the Roosevelt is still a favorite place to be

Next on the TCM Classic Film Festival coverage--


Marline said...

Well, it's all there, Kimberly, and you look marvelous as usual! I loved this backstage the time I arrived, the place was mobbed and there wasn't a square inch of patio or floor that wasn't covered by rabid, deliriously happy film fans. One of the trip's highlights was meeting you in person and discovering that you are just as I hoped...genuine, warm, funny, and gorgeous! Love, Kay

Melissa Clark said...

Oh my gosh, Kimberly, I'm eating my heart out that I wasn't there! It sounds like the most thrilling experience. The good thing is that you saw all the movies I would've wanted to see, so I'll get to have some secondhand thrills, at least. ;)

I'm so glad you had a wonderful time, and that you had the privilege of speaking with Ben Mankiewicz and Robert Osborne. I love their answers to your question about their style inspirations. I wish I'd caught your on air interviews. Do you think you'll be able to post them on YouTube sometime?

Can't wait to read more about the festival! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us in such great detail.

Beautiful Day said...

Wow, what a ride! I am in awe of your opportunity to have this experience. Loved your outfit too! :)

Christian Esquevin said...

Thank you Kimberly, for an entertaining look at the behind the scenes and very beginning of the TCM Festival. I got there late so these are all fresh views for me. And great outfit Kimberly. I love checks, stripes and gingham, and yellow is such a cheerful color. I'll look forward to more coverage in GlamAmor.

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Kay! Such lovely compliments and I echo them right back at you! I love getting there a day early--last year it was due to filming a Fan Story for TCM, and this year because I was considered Press. It just allows me to get acclimated a bit and really appreciate the architecture of the Roosevelt without fans everywhere. lol

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks Melissa! It WAS a thrilling experience from top to bottom. And yes, I was sure that my choices for my GlamAmor film fest experience would meet with your approval. lol

As for the interviews, TCM has promised to send me digital copies some time this week, so I'll be posting them as soon as they're ready. I'll embed them in the original articles as well as posting them on my YouTube channel for anyone who's already read the posts. That's the plan can never be sure of how technology will unfold. ;)

The newest post is now live! Opening day of the festival at the Roosevelt and red carpet premiere of CABARET. More to come as well!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thanks so much, Wendy! Though it is only a sample, it was fun to break out one of my original dress designs for the festival. It was all an incredible you're seeing!

Kimberly Truhler said...

Thank you so much, Christian! As I mentioned after your post on the festival, one of my only disappointments was not bumping into you some time during the event. But with each of our packed schedules, it's a miracle I was able to meet as many people as I did! lol

And thanks, too, for your compliment on my outfit. I love timeless gingham and was inspired to accent it with yellow for that pop of color. It was quite something to try and plan outfits this year when the weather report seemed to change by the hour!

Unknown said...

I wish they can come up with an event at the Roosevelt Hotel that can re-create the flamboyance and elegance of the good 'ole '30s era. Women dazzling in designer rings and men garbed in expensive suits. That would be to die for!

Kimberly Truhler said...

The 1930s were indeed a glamorous time, Geoff, and it would be great to see such an event at the Roosevelt. There are actually a few speakeasies in LA that are trying to do something stylish. And the Noir Foundation's head Eddie Muller has started throwing his own events up in San Francisco where everyone is dressed to the nines for cocktails. Would be great if he brought the party down to LA!

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