[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to have Daniela Petrova guest post on the site today. Take it away Daniela!]
“I need a dress!” I posted on Facebook a few years ago on the day the Oscar nominations were announced. My husband’s first documentary had made the list and—against all odds—we were going to the Oscars. That was eight years ago and we’re no longer married, but as the 91st Academy Awards Ceremony approaches, I feel the excitement build up again. I can hear the crowds screaming, see the glaring lights, feel the red carpet under my 5-inch heels. It was every bit as glamorous as I’d expected, and more. But along the way I ran into a few surprises.
- The big stars are just like you and me—they don’t give a damn about the lesser awards. During these segments of the ceremony, you have a greater chance of finding them in the bar than in their seats.
- There is a whole army of people called “seat fillers,” lined up outside the doors. Their job is—yep, you guessed it!—to fill the empty seats. This way, if you happen to glance at the TV during, say the award for sound editing, you won’t have a clue that the hall is half empty.
- The Oscars is an event staged for television. Nothing goes on during the commercials. They announce the end of each break with: “We’re back in 10 seconds. Six, five, four, three, applause please!”
- The Kodak Theater is not as glamorous as it looks on TV. It’s in a shopping mall, for Christ’s sake!
- California might have been the first state in the US to enact a smoking ban, but Hollywood seems to follow its own rules. I saw a lot of smoking throughout the Oscar season but it all culminated at the Vanity Fair after-party where people didn’t bother to step outside. I had quit years ago but felt compelled to light up a cigarette just for the experience of smoking indoors in a public space—a rare privilege you can no longer enjoy even in Parisian bars.
- You won’t know it from watching the TV broadcast, but it isn’t exactly warm in LA in February. It was in the 50s the year I was there and we were all freezing—from the reporters to the starlets—in our sleeveless, backless gowns.
While, unfortunately, my husband’s film didn’t win, we did get a taste of what the Oscars are really like: glamorous, freezing, and just a tad boring. How many thank-you speeches can one take without some pizza, a glass of wine, and the company of friends with whom to admire—or trash—the actresses’ gowns?
About the Author:
Daniela Petrova grew up behind the Iron Curtain in Sofia, Bulgaria. She came to the US in her early twenties and earned a BA in Philosophy from Columbia University and an MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from New York University. She is a recipient of an Artist Fellowship in Writing from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.
Her stories, poems and essays have appeared in many publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Salon, and Marie Claire. Her first novel, Her Daughter’s Mother, is forthcoming from Putnam in June 2019. She lives and writes in New York City.
Her Daughter’s Mother by Daniela Petrova out June 19, 2018!
Lana Stone has never considered herself a stalker–until the night she impulsively follows a familiar face through the streets of New York’s Upper West Side. Her target is the “anonymous” egg donor she’d selected through an agency, the one who’s making motherhood possible for her. Hungry to learn more about her, Lana plans only to watch her from a distance. But when circumstances bring them face-to-face, an unexpected friendship is born. In Katya, Lana finds a welcome distraction from her painful breakup with her baby’s father, and someone whose zest for life is irresistible. Until, a week later, Katya goes missing–and Lana might have been the last person to see her before she disappeared. Determined to find out what became of the woman to whom she owes so much, Lana digs into Katya’s past, even as the police grow suspicious of her motives. But she’s unprepared for the secrets she unearths, or their power to change everything she thought she knew about those she loves best…