A Chicano at the Emmy's

A pair of tickets from an insider...part one of three...

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: September 25, 2005

A Chicano at the Emmy's

The whole adventure began eight months ago when I wrote a column, Emmy's en Espa??ol Esuck . Todd P. Leavitt, President of Academy of Television Arts & Sciences read the article, sent me a positive and encouraging email. The goal of the Emmys should be integration not segregation.

This should be a major encouragement to Mario Cruz of President of LatinBayArea.com, and Abelardo de la Pe??a Jr., CEO of LatinoLA.com to know that industry heavy hitters are reading. Your efforts are not in vain. A billion thanks to Todd Leavitt: many industry folks say their best friends are Latino. Leavitt actually invites them into his house.

To make a weird story short, Leavitt had dinner with Gary Marenzi, former president of Paramount TV international an old friend of mine from Spanish radio who still returns my calls at the film festival at Cannes, France, (Those who go to church slap me a hard high five). My name came up; two weeks later Marenzi, Leavitt, and this Latino had breakfast in Santa Monica.

Smart, slick and focused, Leavitt gave me some advice about breaking into TV. Up until now I only knew how to break in and take a TV. There was an awkward silence when I asked him for Emmy tickets. Marenzi said you have to know somebody. I reached into my pocket for Todd?s card and said, "I know this cat who is a sharp dresser with juice?"

Months later, I emailed Leavitt, reminding him I wanted tickets just as long at it didn?t require working as a valet parker. His reply was, ?The Shrine Auditorium may need the hedges clipped? ?I knew he got me, which at that point was reward in itself.

Eight weeks ago, I get an email from Ana Cruz of the Academy asking for a mailing address. With nothing to lose I hit her back asking for four tickets so I could take my brother-in-law Pastor and his wife. It would be cool to recreate the whole Lucy and Ricky, Fred and Ethel "California here I come" kind of tour. You and a guest were invited, wrote Ana. A few days later a VIP invitation with an RSVP, which I filled out and returned to the post office within an hour.

When normal folks get invited to an abnormal glam activity, there are several reactions; "Shut up!" "Quit lying!" "I hate you!" "I wondered what that guy did at home all day." "What is your wife going to wear?"

Being a career cynic, having my basketball dream of success slapped into the cheap seats more times then I can remember, I knew something would go wrong and I'd not get the tickets after telling everybody and their Mama about going. Emmy policy was strict; you had to pick up your tickets with appropriate ID two days before the event. I was willing to gas up my chopper and make the run to get the tickets and come back if need be, but then my booty would hurt too much to sit through the three-hour stroke fest.

Ana came to our rescue. She arranged for me to get the tickets Fed Ex?ed to my door, billed to me, with Rolex-like efficiency. With tickets in hand, we shopped for clothes. I opted for a formal tuxedo with a red bow tie and that cumberbund thing that should have came with instructions about not using it as a headband.

My wife Alba, on the other hand, chose three separate outfits, settling on the black lace skirt and top accentuating her Liz Taylor vibe Latinaness. I was poised to introduce her on the red carpet as the Queen of Nicaragua, but since we chose to drive from the Bay Area to LA, off the cuff comments could potentially make it a longer ride home for me.

We stayed at the Roosevelt, across from the Kodak Theatre, got cute, and headed for the Shrine during a mid-day LA Sunday afternoon traffic dressed like we should be on top of a wedding cake.

Easing up to the venue, we entered a line of limousines and a cop parade that lined both sides of the street. At check point A, they checked our credentials, and then asked us to pop the trunk while a few others used a mirror thing to check under the car. I caught myself before I asked them to check the alignment and clean the windshield. They waved us through, to another encampment, where they asked me if someone checked the trunk, I said ?Yes sir, they just did.? He looked at me and said pop the trunk, and they checked again.

Now it?s not like we were driving some kind of scraper Impala with dingle balls, or a Pink Lincoln. We drove my Alba's 2005 MB coupe. This leads me to think security perceived us as Cartel rather than Chicano.

We parked in a secure underground facility then were escorted onto shuttle buses, which you had to show your ticket to get on. Each bus had an armed LA cop riding shotgun.

Exit the red carpet.

Fade to black...

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos wore Stacy Adams with his tuxedo.
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