The Paparazzi Costume - part 2

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Note: some photos were removed in 2001 by request.

A great disturbance went through the crowd as Thomas the Tank Engine came into the room.  It was a giant costume, with two people inside.  The face was perfect and the eyes moved around like the real thing.  It had lights and sounds..I think it had a soundtrack even... it was amazing. I put my high-hopes on hold while it came around the crowd.  It was the guy who came as the Titanic last year.

Thomas came right over and stopped in front of me.  The guy inside leaned out with a camera to take my picture. I walked over and we started talking about the flashes on my costume. 

  "I took one of those disposable cameras apart one time"' he said, "it shocked the hell out of me!"  I laughed and nodded, "yeah, you gotta watch that!"

Getting noticed by the Titanic guy was high-praise...but I still wanted to win something in the contest.

Other top-notch costumes continued to arrive.

I had my picture taken by many people, perhaps 80. It was cool, the whole paparazzi thing getting turned around like that.  I was sure to unload a broadside of flashes on whoever photographed me.

 

G.L. himself was there, but he seemed to be almost avoiding the paparazzi costume...can you blame him?  I got the attention of his son, however:  The young L. pointed at me and tugged on his father's sleeve!  I was nearly overwhelmed with joy.  This was incredible.

 

At around 11pm they began announcing the prizes for winning costumes.  There were about 40 different prizes grouped into 6 prize packages. The president of the company read the list of prizes and the companies that donated them.  They got an amazing list of prizes.

After all of the prizes were announced, they announced the procedure for deciding a winner: They would get the judges' six favorite costumes up on stage and then choose a winner by applause.

They started announcing finalists and I waited to hear my name.

"Paparazzi!"  I was in the running! I started to move through the crowd toward the stage. I could feel my whole body heating up.

Thomas the Tank Engine, The Drink Tickets (the red boxes), the Krispy Kreme donut couple (with donut cart), the Krazy Kiosk, The Transformers and I all crammed onto stage for the final showdown.  We each had big costumes, and were all ramming into each other.  I sized-up the competition and thought that Thomas was going to be my toughest opponent.

The Emcee cued the audience for us one at a time:

"The Drink Tickets!" HHuRRAAAAHHHH!!

"Krispy Kreme Donuts!" HHUuuRAAAAHHHH!!

"Paparazzi!!" HUUuuRAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! I flashed everything I had.  My body was pulsating with energy.  It was incredible!

Unbelievably, Thomas tank engine was out of the running on the first round!  He got sixth place!

The other finalists were pared down by mini-applause run-offs, and soon it was just the Transformers and I vying for the win!

"Transformers!" HHuRRAAAAHHHH!!

"Paparazzi!!" HUUuuRRRRAAAAHHHHH!!!!!! 

"The winner is Paparazzi!!" 

I won!! Everyone on stage came over to congratulate me! I couldn't believe it! Rob and Helen ran up and we screamed "I WON!!" at each other and they gave me high-fives. The company president handed me a stack of envelopes, each labeled with different prize packages!

Each one was incredible.  There was a travel package, a lineup of prizes that started with 8 round-trip tickets to anywhere in the USA,  There was a Sports Package, on the top of that list was season tickets to a major-league 2001 season.  One was a Home Entertainment Package, with a DVD Changer, big screen, and I think a satellite dish.

"Any one of those four is worth about $10,000" he said. I needed to make a quick decision, so I enlisted Rob and Helen's help.

I decided on the "Millennium Package".  Here is what I won: a 17" sgi flat panel monitor, an iMac DV+, a palm 3, a Nokia cell phone with a $300 service credit, an MP3 player, a Herman Miller Aeron office chair and a new printer!

 

OK, all the prizes weren't actually in the envelope, there was just a phone number I had to call to pick them up.

I handed the rest of the envelopes back to him and he passed them along to the other winners. Eventually they dragged me off of the stage and I sat down for a while. Lots of people congratulated me and took snapshots. I couldn't believe it!  In fact I was about 200 miles from believing it.

One of the guys who came over to talk to me was the guy who won last year as the Iron Giant. He said that he had won the same monitor, and that I was going to love it.

The night went on and I mingled.  A few people asked if I worked for their company, and I had to explain that I did not. I was an outsider from Sacramento. 

Rob grabbed one of my outboard camera flashes to move it back into place and *SNAP* he got zapped! Two pinhead burns were on his thumb.  

"My whole arm went numb!" he exclaimed.  I was very happy I didn't shock anyone else.

 For a few more hours I basked in the glory of my finest achievement:  The costume that won first prize at this special effects company. Even without the prizes it would have been the best day of my life!

I wasn't the last person to leave, but it was late when we packed up and headed across the Golden Gate to have some midnight dinner...Halloween wasn't for three more days!

On Halloween I wore my costume to work, and somehow LOST the costume contest there.  I think I got shafted by our CEO. Oh well, maybe next year!

That night I voyaged out to San Francisco's Castro District with Brooke, Daniel and the SF gang.  My costume was a little banged-up, and only about 5 of the flashes were still working. There were HUGE crowds on the way to Castro, and the onslaught of attention was great!

I had my picture taken at least 150 times. It was spell-binding. I was amazed that five people who were there had either seen me at the other party or had HEARD about my costume from there!

The girl on the left "traded" photos with me.  Her chest is painted with that popular Munch painting.

Being out in the crowds was awesome. One bright cat in each group would realize who I was dressed as and shout it out.

"Hey, it is paparazzi!!" 

The crowd had a much higher blood-alcohol content than the last party, so I got a wider variety of reactions. 

"Media Whore!!" was one,  I remember.

Note: the details of picking up the prizes have been removed by request.

The total cost of the costume was $106.

This was the pinnacle of artistic achievement, and I don't have any idea how I am ever going to top this.

 Do they give out a Nobel prize for crafts?


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