After weeks of working quietly behind the scenes, the BrainFriedNetwork is preparing to launch their first celebrity xanga site. The initial contact was made, messages and emails exchanged, updates made to the toolbar and a premier date set. I was asked by the BFN to check out the new kids on xanga, so I headed off to their site the day before the big opening. Following are my thoughts and experiences.
I park my van in the nearly empty parking lot and walk toward the theater entrance. Am I in the right place? I feel a moment of panic until I see the blue banner of the BrainFriedNetwork hanging on the building ahead of me.
As I get closer, I realize the red carpet has already been rolled out. “Edlives has been busy,” I think.
I glance around. Nobody is in sight, so I take a moment to lapse into a fantasy of being young and fabulous, posing for the paparazzi and blowing kisses to my adoring fans.
A car door slams in the distance causing me to jump and giggle nervously. Still nobody in sight; whew! That could have been embarrassing! I enter the building and am immediately struck by the air of anticipation permeating the place. As I approach the concession stand, I notice that the heated rotisserie case which usually displays hotdogs is filled with Maine BBQ ribs from RibTruck.com. Behind the glass fronted case, a young man is adding lime juice to a large vat of guacamole. I take his photo and promise to feature it in my column in return for a package of Goobers. I’ve just made my profit for this story.
Munching on chocolaty peanut deliciousness, I enter the empty auditorium. The anticipation is so thick in here you can cut it with a knife.
The stage curtains are open, revealing a giant movie screen where the five colored boxes of the xanga logo are being projected against a vivid green background.
I look more closely at the green background. “Wow,” I think, “a customized theme! Edlives and the BFN went all out!”
I turn around and glance up at the tiny window in the wall. Two shadowy figures are moving, the bright light of the projector masking their features in darkness. Suddenly, the sound of a chainsaw roars through the room. My heart leaps and I cross myself before realizing a commercial for Bobby Denning is now playing across the screen. This is followed by a psychedelic montage of images zipping past in fast forward. I hear snippets of sweet recorder, leaf trombone and driving guitar, disjointed references to food carts, buffets, chicken and waffles, Taco Bell and barbecue before the sounds and images settle into a short documentary on the history of guacamole. My stomach growls as I watch the tribute to “mutant jelly.”
Just as suddenly as it began, the sound and video check is over. The screen goes dark and the light in the projection room is turned off. Oh no! Transfixed by guacamole, I had temporarily forgotten my purpose for being here! I rush back up the steps and out of the auditorium, reaching the lobby just as two men are about to exit the building. I call out to them and they turn with friendly smiles.
“We open tomorrow,” says the taller of the two, “but you can catch our webcast tonight at 9:00 (EDT).”
Hoping for an exclusive interview, I shake the half-empty box of Goobers enticingly. The one with the glasses looks up sharply and takes a step toward me, hand outstretched, but the taller one pulls him back toward the door.
“Tomorrow,” Rhett repeats firmly.
With a last, longing look at my Goobers, Link allows himself to be propelled into the parking lot as I stand mutely, staring after them, starstruck. The rush of air from the closing door blows a stack of fliers off the ticket counter. Reaching down to pick one up, I read: