Ready To Love: Video Shoot, Day 1 Philadelphia. Our first stop is Grasso’s Magic Theater. I meet my boyfriend Josh Colon for the first time in the street in front of the magic theater. Josh was a cast member on MTV’s The Real World Washington D.C. the same time that Jersey Shore had exploded onto the scene. Rob cast Josh, and Josh fits the part I think to myself.
The snow stops and starts making us all cold. The flakes are enough to chill us to the bone but not enough to mess with the filming or schedule. We film in the street first. This location and the storefront fascinate me. Grasso’s Magic Theater is family owned and operated. I cannot wait to go in, and not just because it’s snowing and I am significantly underdressed.
We knock off the initial outdoor shots and make our way inside. Mr. Grasso is charming and a class act. He lets us have the entire shop and theater to ourselves. We have free reign of his “house” and it is a hoot. It leaves me wishing I had more time, so I can stick around to catch a Magic Show, maybe next time.
When Joe Grasso first bought this building all that stood were the two brick walls. Joe is a full time carpenter by trade. He built the theater himself after long workdays. It took 6 years to complete. The theater is now operational and bursting with personality. Joe restored chairs and pews he salvaged from trash and dumpsters for the theatre. Most of the interior is from reclaimed material.
What stands out to me most are the sconces that hang on either side of the stage. They are mounted like lamps, frame the stage like a picture, and are shaped like a torch. I wish I had a pair for my house.
There is a family connection with Grasso’s, and if you recognize the name it is for good reason. Joe’s son, Michael Grasso, is a gifted magician. He progressed far on America’s Got Talent and finished in 5th place. When he’s not busy performing around the world he does shows in Philly at the family theatre.
Meeting Grasso makes me feel so happy. He’s such a nice guy. I find his warm welcome to be a good omen especially since I am so far from home and everyone I am working with I have just met for the very first time today. The protection of the theatre leaves us oblivious to the literally freezing afternoon temperatures awaiting the group. After a long goodbye with Mr. Grasso we hustle toward our next location.
Love Park, here we come…
It’s Saturday morning 5:30 a.m., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, video shoot day 1, Ready To Love. The alarm goes off way too early. It is still dark out and my body is torn between London time, LA time, and Philly time. I hop out of bed and straight into the shower knowing the girls will be showing up soon.
When I say “the girls” I am referring to the Glam Squad. Rob Schwartz, AKA WhoMag, planned for them to come and get me ready. This way once I’m done with hair, makeup, and wardrobe we all just pile in and go to the first location together.
Looking in the mirror I hardly recognize the face looking back at me. Puffy with dark circles, my eyes reveal the fatigue my spirit refuses to acknowledge or confess. Even though I have never met a single one of them before, it makes me that much more thankful Glam Squad will be here any minute with the sole purpose of making me look fabulous.
I peel back the curtains in anticipation of their arrival. Low and behold it is snowing… hard. The forecast called for snow but I was in denial about it since 98% of our video shoot is outdoors. I get back into my flannel pajamas (with the colorful dogs all over them) for the getting ready process, knowing this is the last time I will be warm until much later tonight.
My honey lovingly offers up a Starbucks run which I graciously accept- thank you honey. As he walks out of our room the girls walk in. They are all adorable and way too pulled together for this hour of the morning darkness. Lindsey (hair), Lisa (makeup), and Tameka (wardrobe) pile into my room with their smiles and getting-ready-gear.
Luckily the rooms at Aloft are not only spacious and super cute (with a W Hotel kind of vibe), but laid out in a way that maximizes the space and provides plenty of counters and flat surfaces.
They spread out the goods and go straight to work since they have plenty to do. Lisa starts on the dark circles while Lindsey starts a plan of attack for the hair. My hair is so unruly we all joke about giving it its’ own name (which we never actually do). Poor Lindsey, she pulls out a roller brush and a blow dryer, and I say “no”. She pulls out a different round brush and again I say “no”. Luckily she is a good sport about it, “well what CAN I use on you?”
I tell her about all the lessons I have learned with my hair, and learned them the hard way. She listens with patience and changes her hair wrangling approach. She will leave my own curl in tact and this will help us battle the weather since my natural curl keeps well. She will use the curling iron to clean up a few frizzy pieces in an attempt to control and style the front.
Lisa is so cute hiding a giggle throughout the getting to know the hair phase. Out of the three she reminds me the most of me.
Tameka is deeply engrossed, ripping through the clothes, my pieces and hers, to put together different outfit options to keep me as warm as possible without all of my wardrobe changes looking like we are filming at the North Pole. Quickly we come to terms with the inevitable. I will be freezing my buns off for the next two days.
Not expecting to be disappointed I loved that I was impressed. These lovely ladies I had never met just came in, and did their thing, and the result? Beautiful. Rob shows up somewhere in the middle and unobtrusively makes his presence known. So patiently he watches the girls complete their mission and then kindly rushes us out the door.
My honey rides with Rob. I ride with my new girlfriends, the fierce Glam Squad. And we are off to begin the first of two-day shoot and to meet my new “boyfriend”.
To be continued…
The girls from left to right are Tameka, Me, Lindsey, Lisa. This picture was taken in front of the Noodle at Love Park, Philly.
Lindsey and Lisa run http://www.duettehmdesign.com/ - check out their site!
The news comes while I am in London settling in my new room. The hotel decided to give me a complimentary upgrade to a suite because I am here for so long. As soon as my London trip was over I would go home to Los Angeles and then get on a plane again. The music video shoot for Ready To Love would take place in Philly just after Valentine’s Day. My time at home would be just long enough to let me unpack and repack.
The introduction to Rob Schwartz AKA WhoMag takes place via email and was all arranged by Mike Rizzo, who I met through Jeff Z. Mike and Jeff are the key players in making the remixes, release, and music video happen. They introduced me to everyone involved in this song hitting the dance scene, except for FrankMusik and Rick Stone.
Rob is on top of it all. We discuss the video shoot, locations, characters, story line, production, and all of the elements needed for a successful result.
For me, Philadelphia is not unfamiliar territory. My Aunt and Uncle live in Wilmington, Delaware. Philly is their closest airport, 25 minutes away by car. I have flown in and out of Philadelphia numerous times for my music, to attend events and appearances in Atlantic City, and other east coast radio visits and tours.
The park at Rittenhouse Square is a fun stop. I even have my favorite food spots like Delassandro’s and Hip City Veg (yes I realize that I just name dropped a cheese steak and vegan joint in the same sentence- deal with it).
But as Rob guides me virtually through his music video concept and story line I have a feeling he’ll be showing me a side of Philly I have never seen before. After one last conference call I pack my bags.
To hop on a cross-country flight yet again is less tiring, and actually fun, since my honey is coming this time! I make sure to pack food and healthy snacks for the trip. I often get teased for having so much food with me when I travel, but it comes in handy when we get stuck. And we did get stuck.
A mad delay on the connection leaves us sitting in the airport for 6 hours. Thankfully when we finally arrive at the hotel we are able to check in quickly. I booked the cheapest room and I used points to do it, which meant I paid nothing, so I hope this isn’t one of those “you get what you pay for” situations.
It is my first stay at Aloft and I have no idea what to expect. When the hotel room door swings open a sigh of relief rushes out of me. The room is clean and cute. The bed and the bedding are both so comfy. Getting to bed is a top priority since I am still battling jet lag from London, and the call time tomorrow morning is so early it means waking up in the dark. Before I know it my honey unpacks most of my things. I take a quick shower and fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow….
A vacation is a getaway and a chance to explore a new place. Two weeks ago I arrived in St. Barth, a French island in the Caribbean. This was my very first visit to anywhere in the Caribbean and the weather agreed with me instantly. As soon as we landed I started peeling off the layers that kept me comfy on the ride over.
The hotel sent a car to greet us and delivered us to the little slice of heaven on the beach that would be my home away from home during my stay. A short time later the rental car was conveniently delivered and parked in the parking space designated to my villa.
The next day we decided some island exploration was in order. I was the driver for the day, and with happiness I took the drivers seat in our rental Suzuki. It bothered me not that the car was a stick shift.
I learned how to drive in a stick shift vehicle at the age of 13 in a Suzuki Samurai, and have more than decent driving skills. I can parallel park a Suburban, and once upon a time even took a two ton tow truck for a spin just for the fun of it.
Enjoying the scenery was cut short when we attempted to climb the first incline. To my shock and horror the car wouldn’t go, at one point started to go backwards instead of forward, and I was in second gear. I had to slam on the brakes, wave off the cars behind me to pass, and come up with a quick plan.
About to go for it in first gear the gear began to slip. My honey was hanging on to the passenger side door for dear life, like that would make a difference. I revved the gas and the car started going forward. What a concept. I had to go up all of the hills in first gear. Scary.
We drove straight to the rental car office, which happened to be at the airport. Along the same row were all of the rental car company counters for the whole of the island. With a sigh of relief we pulled up and said, “please take your car that has a bad clutch, first gear is slipping, and by the way it won’t go up a hill.” When the girl behind the counter retorted with “I don’t believe you” we handed her the keys, showed her where the car was parked, and bid her a forever farewell. Don’t believe me I thought. How silly. Like I need to lie?
Lucky any cars were available at all since it is high season here we gladly hopped into a Smart Car with seating for two. I had always wanted to drive one of those cars because I have several neighbors that have and love the Smart Car. One neighbor even goes to Costco in hers. She says it’s plenty big enough to fit all of her Costco shopping.
Absolutely loving the Smart Car was easy especially since finding parking in the most crowded places was a breeze. Due to the size and weight of the car I hardly expected climbing a hill to be an issue, no matter the size of the engine. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Half way up the car would go no more and was just about to start downhill backward while in drive. Once again I slammed on the brakes and waved off the motorbikes and cars behind us to pass. Luckily even though this car was an automatic it was also equipped with tip-tronic, which saved the day along with my sanity. First gear had quickly become my only friend at that moment.
Returning this rental too was a no brainer. For some reason I had a difficult time explaining that I know how to drive a stick and automatic, and all I want out of life right now is a car that is able to go up a hill without messing with the settings or beginning to roll backwards on an incline because it doesn’t have enough power or momentum to get to the top, or having to shift into first gear.
Luckily the third vehicle was able to handle the ups and downs of the drive without any drama. I don’t know what issues, if any, I expected to encounter on this trip. But I can honestly say I never thought I would be unable to climb any hill no matter what make, model, or engine size of the vehicle. The road conditions in St. Barth are no joke and every trip tends to have an unexpected twist of adventure.
I guess it gives new meaning to the phrase….
An Up Hill Battle.
For my very last competition of the year, I want you to post all of your cute pets on this blog post. The cutest picture will win an iPod Nano, simple as that!
Just click comments underneath this post, upload your picture and write your Twitter and Facebook names so we can let you know if you have won!
Lots of kisses, from Katrina’s Trigger! Xxo
September 2, 2012 was my last show with Meat Loaf until the tour resumed again in mid October. Bossier, Louisiana was the final destination before the Road Family disbursed to our far reaches we call home. Some of Meat Loaf’s team flew out of Shreveport, we flew out of Dallas/Love, Texas.
It was a pleasant 2 ½ hour drive to Dallas. A quick random stop landed us in one of my favorite places of all time Canton, Texas, which I felt was a good omen. I discovered Canton last year driving from Tyler, Texas where I had a fun radio visit, on our way to catch a flight out of Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas. One day I’ll go back and just hang out in Canton because it’s that pretty.
The night before was still glowing in my brain, processing all of the positive encouraging things Meat had filled my ear with not 12 hours before. Already missing my road family making my return home so bitter-sweet drenched me in the reality of how intense an experience it is to be on a tour of this magnitude. It is what’s referred to as a “Game-Changer.”
Filled with gratitude toward Meat and incredible team I arrived back in Los Angeles on a natural high to a level I had not yet experienced. I landed at LAX, happy to be home. I grabbed my numerous bags from the carousel, carefully balanced the jigsaw puzzle that was made up of my belongings from the last four weeks, and teetered my way to the curb.
While waiting for my honey-ride to scoop me up I heard a familiar sound…. Me!
At first I thought I was hearing things. Then an announcement came over the loud speaker causing the music pouring out of the curbside speakers to temporarily subside. Then there it was again… the familiar sound… ME! I started screaming my head off “This is me, this is me” and jumping up and down like a maniac. People were looking at me like I was out of my mind. And I kind of was. It was my song So Eden blasting over the loud speakers at Los Angeles International Airport Curbside.
Only one friendly stranger wasn’t scared enough of my erratic behavior to avoid direct eye contact or communication. He asked, “did you really just say we are listening to YOU?” I thought to myself, really? And the answer was yes. Really.
I am proud to call L.A. home. I find the people to be nice, the weather amazing, and the cultural melting pot to be one tempered with tolerance and understanding. But never had I felt so at home than landing at my home airport LAX and hearing my own song playing for all to hear.
I guess it’s what dreams are made of, and definitely a So Eden Homecoming.
Some of my blog readers have been to live shows, and if you have come to the merch table after my set and before Meat’s set for my meet & greet then you most likely met my Mom. She has been road managing and travelling with me since January 1, 2012 and rocking it!
Being a team is nothing new for us. When I first passed the BAR exam I practised criminal law for more than a few years with Mom. She is also an attorney. We handled cases in Los Angeles, Ventura, Riverside, Orange, and San Diego County. We managed a heavy case-load and helped so many people navigate through the criminal system and get their lives back on track. We were even sworn in to the U.S. Supreme Court together, and on the same day the Anna Nicole Smith decision was handed down in open Court.
Mom is still practising criminal law in Southern California and has a large clientèle Hey, people make mistakes and get into trouble and need help, and some are just down right innocent. But somehow she takes care of her clients AND takes care of me and my musicians, travels with me, and does it all with grace and class.
The role of road manager is fairly new to her, but she handles the responsibilities like a seasoned pro. Rarely does she have to stick her elbows out, and on the Meat Loaf tour she has never had to stick elbows out because they are all so awesome and good to us. She makes sure we are in the right place at the right time for travel and sound check, takes care of our VIP’s, publicity, and radio appearances while travelling It’s a daily chore to make sure my food hasn’t been cross contaminated with any shell fish, especially when most people don’t consider shrimp to be shellfish. Scary.
When I quit law to return to music her response was priceless. “I raised you and I know better than anyone that you belong on a stage. I’m not surprised and it’s about time. What took you so long?”
I was recently asked in an interview what inspires me. My Mom inspires me. I have to close my ears when people start talking about how my Mom is such a hottie, but she deserves the compliments and attention. She taught me not to follow my dreams but to chase them down. She is the un-sung hero of my tour. She’s my Mom, she’s my road manager, she is the “Momager.”
I love you Mommy, thank you!
Having just returned from tour two envelopes were staring me down, the leftovers from unpacking. The envelopes? Grammy Ballot and Official election mail- my absentee ballot for the Presidential Election, Music and Politics. They were packed along with my other supplies for being on the road. I wasn’t sure how long I would be gone and didn’t want to miss voting.
My mind floated, I thought of Meat Loaf. He did what so many artists and musicians have done in the past and in the present, he supported a presidential candidate. The bullying and trash talk on social media in response to this left me in shock. A heated and “healthy” debate can lead to the greatest result and is different from internet bullying and hate speech.
Part of the American Dream is freedom of choice and freedom of speech. That’s what make’s this country so great- although admittedly not perfect, but better than so many. Why? Because simply being here or being born here gives each one of us the potential to be self made.
I come from a family of immigrants. My maternal grandparents immigrated here as a young couple and I am proud of that fact. Technically I am first generation American, born to Armenian parents who are naturalized citizens, and I am proud of that as well.
As the unpacking continued out came some papers from Target Field. Suddenly my mind floated back to July 18, 2012, three days before my first date opening for Meat Loaf . I was in Minneapolis, Minnesota for The Conclave, a radio industry event that happens once yearly with panels aimed towards the business side of radio. One of the annual events is a baseball game where I was lucky enough to sing the Star Spangled Banner.
When asked by a friend if two people in town for the event could catch a ride with me, and the head of my radio promo team Rick Stone, from the game back to the hotel naturally I responded yes. What happened next left a lasting impression.
I found myself walking to meet my car with Matt Pinfield, radio DJ, music host, TV personality/interviewer (Music) and Dave Huckabee, the son of Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee (Politics). The two hadn’t met before that night. Together because they had two things in common, the need for a ride and the Conclave, they walked and talked.
As the 4 of us made our way up the side walk of the stadium I lagged behind with Rick, AKA Stoney, to take in the moment when the two each put an arm around each other and started laughing. They wended their way along joking like old friends would do.
Now I am not a betting gal but if I were I would bet you a lucky penny that Pinfield and Huckabee do not share a common view politically.
So, with my Grammy Ballot in one hand and my Presidential Ballot in the other I ask myself….
Music and Politics…. !
Music and Politics… ?
So with Halloween approaching we wanted to kick off Katrina’s contests with something scary and fun!
We want you to send in pictures of your Halloween costumes. The scariest will win an iPod Nano, it’s as simple as that! If you are sending us a picture of you and your friends, make sure you tell us which one is you!
Katrina will be picking out her favourites to post up at the end of the competition.
Email all entries to email@example.com by 11am PST on Friday.
Xxo Team Katrina
For the next 8 weeks until Christmas, Katrina will be running a variety of contests and will be giving away an iPod Nano every week!!
To be in with a chance to win one of the 8 iPod Nano’s up for grabs, keep an eye out on Katrina’s Facebook page every Monday at 11am PST!
XXo Team Katrina
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