#OriginStory: I took one of my childhood idols as my date to her own movie screening at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery
Updated: This post was originally published in December 2018 – after STILL TO THIS DAY top three best days of my life. Thank you Rachel … seriously.
I’ve been waiting to write this story because it is so special in my heart … (and still to this day close to my ulnar and radial arteries) …
This wristband will have to fall off my body on its own.
I REFUSE to take it off.
It wasn’t until I saw one of her 90210 co-stars on Sunday …
… that I decided that it was time …
BTW, I LOVED Shannen as the annoying little sister in Girls Just Want to Have Fun.
As the “annoying little sister” in the Friel household, I could totally relate.
This story starts in June of last year, I had agreed to pick up my gf’s mail while she was out of town (on an extended work trip). I stopped by her place in downtown to grab the key and as she buzzed me into her building, I realized she wasn’t alone.
I did my best to not pull a Honey …
My girlfriend was sitting next to none other than one of my childhood idols, Rachel True.
::cue Troy McClure::
You may remember Rachel True from such 90s classics as “The Craft,” “Half Baked,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” and “Beverly Hills 90210.”
The Craft came out in 96, around the same time as Clueless and the rise of the Spice Girls. All three movies were aspirational in terms of their female friendships, and while I liked all three, The Craft became my obsession.(And the reason why still to this day I wear black knee highs.)
The women in The Craft were not only hot, and cool but they owned how weird they were. This was something I hadn’t seen in “high school aged” pop culture characters before.
I added the quotes because we all know they’re never “high school aged.”
If you’re not familiar with the movie (CURSE YOU), it’s about a (soon-to-be-discovered-powerful) girl/ witch who moves to a new school and becomes friends with the resident witches. A power struggle ensues and “good” battles “evil” highlighted with cutting edge CG effects.
Either way, I worshipped this woman, and (unlike my normal response of completely ignoring or BOLTING from anyone I worship) I immediately and instinctively took advantage of the situation asking if we could go ghost hunting. (My gf lives in a historical building in downtown.)
Rachel was super impressed with my brass balls (to not only solicit the request but actually WANT to do it),
… and that evening I was able to cross off “go ghost hunting with one of the four characters from The Craft” off my life list.
Over the last year, Rachel and I frequently (and equally as randomly) kept in touch and hung out.
Here’s a text from last Christmas:
I was in my parent’s living room as I JUMPPPPEEDDDDD up and down with joy (not only for her continued success obviously) but that RACHEL TRUE LOVES READING MY BLOG AND RACHEL TRUE JUST WISHED ME A MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
Wait, that’s not dramatic enough …
Alrite too dramatic … moving on.
Either way, my childhood dream of becoming friends with one of the coolest girls on the PLANET (er, multidimensional universe?) was now properly executed.
Six months or so later, my friends and I went to a screening of The Lost Boys at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery. I had such a great time that when I got home I signed up for their newsletter.
Then in late July Cinespia(the crowd that hosts the events at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery) announced that they were hosting an all night slumber party showing The Craft, Practical Magic, and The Witches.
I immediately called my best friend (who now knows her) …
“Do you think Rachel would come with us if I bought us all tickets to see The Craft at Hollywood Forever Cemetery?”
“I’m not sure,” he said.
“Either way, as long as you’re down to go, I’ll buy the tickets and we can figure out the rest later.”
Cinespia tickets notoriously sell out quickly which is CRAZY since this is the average crowd size …
I then jumped online to purchase tickets and to my (not so) surprise, they had already sold out.
Never one to back down from a dream or goal I want to accomplish, I clicked CONTACT Cinespia’s page typing into the form that I wanted to attend with one of the stars of the film and wondered if there were any tickets left.
Emphasis on “wanting” to attend.
Yes, Rachel and I are legit friends, and I planned on inviting her … but I also hadn’t gotten that far yet and had ZERO confirmation if she would even be okay with this. All I had texted her up until this point was asking if she was available on that night (which she was).
Even for me, this was a ballsy move; I’ve never ever used a friend’s celebrity to get access to an event. Quite the opposite, I prefer to downplay things.
The 33 year old part of me felt a degree of guilt, but fortunately the 13 year old Jen won thinking “THIS WILL BE THE BEST NIGHT OF MY LIFE IF I ACTUALLY PULL THIS OFF!!!”
Five minutes later, I got a response back from the director.
I answered back honestly …
Tickets now secured (we were even upgraded to VIP), I texted my bestie …
At The Lost Boys, my friend cracked a comment wondering who you had to screw to get VIP. Turns out no one, but it didn’t mean I was “in the clear” in terms of screwing over my own friendship.
I took a deep breath as I texted Rachel my plan …
Now delivered, my next step was to wait for her response.
… and wait I did …
Four days later, still without a response, I messaged again creating more of a visual on what the evening would entail …
Minutes later, I got a response …
33 year old Jen smiled at a job well done …
… while 13 year old Jen began jumping up and down mimicking the feeling the female lead in a romantic comedy has when she “gets the guy” …
…. only I didn’t “get the guy,” I got the girl …
… and I accomplished my goal while maintaining (most importantly) my friendship.
In my wildest dreams I couldn’t have planned this, and that was the point, I didn’t have to.
Saturday came by before I knew it, and I emailed the director once more to confirm the logistics of the evening. Placing myself in the accidental director role, meant that I had talent to protect and needed to make sure she was as comfortable as possible at all times.
Not only had Cinespia set us up with the tickets, but they had a trailer designated specifically for our group, and even offered a golf cart chauffer to get through the crowds.
Upon arrival, we took advantage of everything.
Feet? Who needs them when we have wheels (and a driver) …
Oh, what’s that? Is it a bit warm outside? Shall we go into the air conditioned trailer instead?
DON’T MIND IF WE DO!
“Do you guys want a photo in the photo booth,” asked one of the Cinespia employees?
DO WE? I thought.
We were then escorted over to the photo booth via the back entrance (instantly cutting the hour plus long line).
I had zero problem with this …
… and with the biggest shit eating grin, struck my own pose …
… with the lady who was on the very big screen in that very moment.
“Look,” I said pointing to the left …
Fans would then approach (and with Rachel’s blessing) I immediately offered to be the photographer. I was having the ABSOLUTE TIME OF MY LIFE and wanted to respectfully share this life experience with anyone who was equally as excited to be around Rachel as I was.
Handing their phones back, I’d say “you’re welcome” in my head, even if they didn’t say thank you.
Feeling pretty proud of myself, we then were escorted over to the front where Rachel was due to give the intro. Like a good Jewish mother (even though I’m a shiksa), I then requested one more pic before she took the stage.
I then stood in the background of the stage fist pumping and BEAMING with pride watching my friend give this speech …
I might have been happily in the shadows in that moment, but in my head, I felt front and center accepting the award of this life experience … and dedicated it to the weirdos of the world.
Once she finished, we were then escorted (yet again) back to the trailer where they gave us a full feast of wine, chips, and said if there was anything that we needed to just let them know.
“Do you want to head to your seats?” asked the attendant.
Unsure if Rachel would feel comfortable with seeing herself on pretty much the biggest screen in Los Angeles, I paused to let her answer.
“Sure,” she said without thought as we began walking over.
Incapable of speaking, I continued to try and play it cool, ultimately failing miserably.
I’m really not kidding, btw, I tripped on the stairs walking out of the trailer.
Saved by my friend, I grabbed his arm laughing while saying “I can’t believe she’s actually going to watch the movie with us. WHO DOES THIS HAPPEN TO?!”
“You,” he said with a smile. “You planned this whole thing. Now, you get to really enjoy it.”
We then grabbed our VIP seats, as Rachel asked one more question before the movie began.
I Taylor Swift style answered …
… and began smoking a J (INSIDE A CEMETERY) with Mary Jane from Half Baked.
High now on equal parts life and marijuana, we took our seats for the last time. The crowd cheered as the movie began.
Our group cheered the loudest when Rachel’s name appeared on the screen.
For the next hour and a half, I not only experienced IRL DVD commentary on one of my ALL TIME FAVORITE FILMS …
… but I also got to invoke Manon with her WHILE IT WAS PLAYING ON THE SCREEN!!!!!!
My bestie is from a cold place up north, I am from back east, Rachel is from LA, and my other friend is from Long Beach (which counts because we call that the “South Bay” in LA.
Instead of fire though and anyone walking on water (it was weird enough being in a cemetery) – we raised our hands and laughed as we chanted the lines by the fake candle they (appropriately) gave our table.
When the movie was over, I gave Rachel the biggest hug thanking her for the best night of my life. I explained that “I realized this could have easily been super douchey asking to bring you to this, but I really respect and appreciate how cool you were with the whole thing.”
“You’re cool too, and I’ll see you soon” she said with a smile and a hug good bye.
… which was really convenient timing considering I was already in a cemetery.