TV’s Next Big Stars!

KG has graciously blogged about our Monday in Nashville over here at “still to come”. Teaser: we visited the Country Music Hall of Fame & the historic RCA Studio B. She did a super awesome job, but I have one point I need to add. It’s unimportant in the flow of our Monday, but all-important in what happened on Tuesday…which is what this post is about…
At multiple points on Monday evening we lounged about the hostel common area with our new friend Tom. During one of such times the hostel manager Ron came to show us a notice he’d receive. Please don’t confuse Ron with Ron 😡. As opposed to my arch-nemesis Ron 😡 this guy was super helpful & became like a pen pal to me while I was planning the trip/stuck in Denver. Here’s what Ron’s notice said:
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Yes we took a picture of it. We’d hate to forget any of the details and miss our big break on country music television. Originally we didn’t think we’d get to partake in the taping, but our flight home wasn’t until the afternoon so the morning filming worked perfect for us.

After our customary stop at Starbucks we met Tom at Bridgestone Arena on Tuesday morning. Filming was to happen in the round glass building attached to it’s front.
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We were briefed slightly then left to chat with the other extras. Many of them were young people trying to break in to the music in various ways (singers, songwriters, producers). They were there to see how a tv taping worked, in case it was relevant in their future careers. We were here for a cool story and a chance to be on tv 😉
The next 2.5 hours were spent being a glorified laugh/clap track. We cheered at the start of each segment. We clapped as they ended. We laughed when the director told us the hosts were saying something funny…although as time went on we learned to trust our instincts and laugh at things we thought were funny. We also learned that laughter must be exaggerated to be effective. It wasn’t super exciting but it was incitingly interesting.
The hosts of the CMT Hot 20, Cody Alan & Alecia Davis, were professional but fun. They played off us all standing there staring at them like it wasn’t awkward and required very few do-over takes. They also smiled a lot…way more than I could ever smile. And with so many bright shiny teeth.
The takes were done in order but per camera. They did all the shots through the show from the fixed camera. Then when through the show again with shots from the steady-cam.
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Then, at lunch time when we were staring to feel our stomachs grumble, they did a TGI Friday’s spot for the Superbowl weekend. We watched them eat cheesey macaroni bites over and over while we starved in the audience.
In the end it was a neat experience and we were glad we went, even if it did spoil the number one video 2 weeks in advance. Who knew they filmed these countdowns so far in advance!? Spoiler: It was Keith Urban & Miranda Lambert’s “We Were Us”. Plus we got to touch people who had once touched people like Luke Bryan & Keith Urban…what hunks. Wait I touched Keith Urban once…he was dressed like a hobo 😉

On the way back from Bridgestone, with sore hands from all the clapping, we swung by the field & the parking lot for photos. We explain why these are of importance in “Nashville’s Nashville”.
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After changing clothes and making sure we were properly packed we hopped in a cab to the airport. There is a flat rate fee between Broadway and the airport, making this the most economical way to travel. We dealt with security immediately. We are stressers and just wanted to be ready to fly and able to relax.

Once unloaded of our suitcases and ready for take off we sought out lunch. We used a trick we’d learned on this trip and followed our ears to the only place with live music: Tootsies Orchid Lounge! Dedicated readers will recognize this as our favorite Broadway haunt. Well apparently it has an airport location too! We munched down burgers and listened to Jeff Ivy serenade us. He was very good and gave us his CD to “spread about Canada.” So all of you out there in internet land: go check out Jeff Ivy! And all of you how actually know me, let me know if you want me to burn you a copy of his CD. We have the artist’s permission to distribute!

Our plane trip was uneventful. We did have to pass through the dreaded Denver International Airport, but I put on my brave face and tried to reminisce fondly about my stay there.
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We landed safely back in Edmonton in the middle of the night, excited for work the next day…or not… The real world sucks! And on the happy note…

Love & Luck,
Kris

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Is it still stalking if you’re paying for it?

Although KG & I didn’t do a lot of pre-planning for our Nashville trip there is one attraction we actually applied forethought to: a bus tour. These outings are not cheap, but can be a great (albeit super touristy) way to see a wide variety of sites spread over a large area. And let’s be serious: you are a tourist so what’s the harm in acting like it occasionally. When weighing the pros & cons of the various tours offered throughout Nashville (there were surprisingly few tours…we had thought this place would be more tourist-centric) we decided that the ABC’s Nashville tour was best for us. We love the show and wanted an easy way to see the random filming locations without having to rent a car & do hours of research. Plus it wasn’t as uncomfortable as one of those “Houses of the Stars” tours….

It turned out that while on our show tour (read about it here at Nashville’s Nashville) we were treated to the Houses tour as well. Our occasionally jerky guide does the Stars tour during the week and decided to give us a special treat by throwing in some guided creeping while on our journey. This led us to this existential question:

Is it still stalking if you’re paying for it?

It is a question for the ages really. We decided that since we hadn’t asked for it we were not technically stalkers. More like casual observers of the compulsory view…that sounds less creepy right? I’m trying to be all high & mighty but the truth is that we snapped photos right along with everyone else. Can you blame us for wanting to see how the other half lives?

It all began when our route took us past Dierks Bentley’s house. The guide innocently pointed it out so we could ooo & ahhh over the more-than-modest size. Not overly creepy, right? The problem was that Mrs. Bentley had chosen that exact time to leave the house with their young daughter. Her eyes went wide into a classic deer-in-the-headlight’s look when she spotted our bus. Immediately she ordered her daughter to duck and looked away so we might not see her face. That’s when I obviously took a stalker shot of the car… I’m not proud of that moment. I just got caught up in the excitement of seeing someone who knew someone who was famous. Sorry for invading your privacy Mrs. Bentley.
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Thus began the rerouting that allowed us to see the not-so-humble abodes of the country music big-shots.

Toby Keith lives on a non-descript city street, although the massive mansion & fancy car where a bit eye catching.
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Kellie Pickler’s cute stone ‘cottage’ is tucked away in a classy neighborhood. She is apparently unfazed by the creeping. She can often be seen in a rocking chair on her front porch on Sundays with her Grandfather…not this Sunday though. We did notice her Christmas tree was still up. Don’t worry Kellie; at that point so was ours.
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A Kings of Leon guy (I think one of the brothers…although that doesn’t help much as the band is made up of 3 brothers & their cousin) lives in the same area as Kellie. The band may not be country but they are from Nashville so the ritzy communities south of the city are a nature place for the now famous rockers to settle down. While honing my stalker skills I notices a scary bear head hanging on his wall.
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The most expensive home we saw was Faith Hill & Tim McGraw’s hilltop mansion. Its said to be values at a mere $52 million…soooooo much money…. It sits so high up on a hill that you must zoom way in on your camera to properly capture its image. There are multiple driveways that give access to the property.
One which only Tim & Faith use. That gate will literally not open for anyone else.
One for guests. I wish I were lucky enough to get to use that blessed passage.
And one for deliveries. Perhaps if I become a Nashville based postal employee I’ll make my way up there?
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Finally we were given a glimpse of Taylor Swift’s houses. Yes houses…as in plural. The starlet has both a penthouse apartment & a mansion in the Nashville city limits. The penthouse is in a central location & currently houses her brother, who is going to university here. The mansion is in Belle Meade and resembles the White House. Does anyone know a Belle Meade man I can marry? Because driving around there left me coveting some of the classic southern mansions.
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We also passed Taylor’s favorite BBQ place. You can try to decipher what it is from this quality photo I snapped as we drove by.
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And I think that’s enough creeping for now…good luck in all of your future staking!
Love & Luck,
Kris