Sunday, May 15, 2011

Team CoCo

I've been struggling to pull together a post about my road trip back from Texas with my dad. We covered so much ground, saw amazing stuff and had a great trip.. until I got food poisoning in Las Vegas. (Ironically it was at the most reputable place we ate the entire trip.) That post will come in time but I've decided I have to try to keep up with our adventures now that we are back in California.

A few months ago we landed four tickets to see a Conan show being taped at the Warner Brothers studios in LA. (You can request tickets to the Conan webpage.) Warner Brothers studio is in Burbank - so its a bit closer then if you needed to get all the way into the city. I know allot of people making it to a show while they are stationed here, and if you haven't, I would highly recommend it. Jeff had been to a few shows in the past, but this was a first for me and the rest of our "team".

The experience was quite enjoyable but here are a few lessons that we learned:

1. First come, First served. The instructions said to check in any time between 11am and 2pm - so we figured we had all afternoon before we needed to check in. When Jeff had been to shows in the past they interviewed people to figure out where they should sit. The Conan show is seated on a first come, first seated bases. If being seated upfront is important to you - come right at 11am to get your number and then go have lunch or walk around. Even arriving closer to the end of the bracket gave us great seats - the studio is not that big and all the seats are fine.

2. Lunch. Once you check in you are free to leave until your call time. Check in early and then go get some lunch. There is a taco stand that shows up outside of the parking deck (parking is free for the studio audience) if you decide you want to hang around. We hit up lunch first (see above post) just down the street at Studio Cafe Magazzino. Its a small cafe, just outside the studio walls with delicious food - soups and sandwiches mostly. The soup of the day was a corn chowder and it was amazing - I know it wasn't just me because everyone in the place had a bowl.

3. Hurry up and Wait. You are going to be doing a lot of sitting/standing around. Luckily our little group never runs out of things to talk about. There was plenty of good people watching going on to provide a steady stream of commentary. They try to keep you entertained with clips of the show and little things like that - but basically, except for the 45 min of filming, you will be waiting. If this sounds terrible either (a) bring something to do or (b) abandon your dram of being in a studio audience. We found the funniest part to be when we were organized into groups to be marched across the street with the lights - if ever there is a reason to build a pedestrian bridge, this would be it.

4. They lie. They say over and over and over that you cannot bring your cell phone (see picture at beginning of post) - they lie. I dutifully left my cell phone in the car, only to find everyone in the waiting area playing on their phones! They later make an announcement saying its fine to bring them with you but they must be in your pocket and off. Not that I need my phone all the time - ok, actually I do - but you have allot of time to kill (see #3.) They also say that you can't use the bathroom once you leave the parking deck - lie - there are bathrooms available they just would prefer you didn't use them.

Overall it was a great experience. Conan was exceptionally funny - despite some of his guests being, well... not entirely there. The show lasts exactly one hour - the band will play during "commercial breaks" so although it is not "live" it has the feeling of being live. Our taping stared a bit earlier then usual so we were out by 5pm - just in time to hit traffic on our way home. When we reached Santa Clarita we stopped for dinner at Oggi's Pizza and Brewing Company. The pizza was delicious and it sure beats any place around the antelope valley mall. We skipped desert there and headed across the parking lot to the Cold Stone Creamery. (I had the vanilla ice-cream with strawberry and gram cracker crust mixed it and it was extraordinary. Seriously. You should try it.)

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