new york city

my experience at the aol build and allegiant world premiere.

Copyright 2016 Ronica Davis - Theologians.net

I blog for The THEOlogians, a news site for Theo James, who is my absolute favorite actor. Last week, I got to fly to New York City to attend the World Premiere of The Divergent Series: Allegiant, attend the Red (actually BLACK) Carpet, and was a guest at the after party. Theo is a lead in the movie, and he plays the character Four. In addition, I managed to get a ticket to the AOL Build session featuring Theo James and Shailene Woodley. Below is an account of both experiences!

AOL BUILD

I woke up Monday morning, my stomach in knots. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’d never navigated the MTA on my own before, so my main concern was making sure I got there on time without getting lost! Turns out I didn’t even need to worry about that. The trains weren’t running right, so I had to call an Uber. Then traffic was a hot mess. I was very nervous, but I got there in plenty of time.

Check-in was easy. I just showed my confirmation and they let me up to the fourth floor. I was disappointed to see that all the seats in the front and second row were taken. I’d managed to find a seat in the third row, next to one of the employees, and I was OK with that. Much better than the back! I’m short, so the closer to the front the better!

I hadn’t known I could take photos, so I didn’t bring my really good camera. As a result, the image quality on my photos isn’t up to my usual standards. I also hadn’t known I could take video. Turns out that my seat was right next to where they walk in, which was a bonus I did not expect. You may have seen the video on Instagram.

A video posted by Ronni (@lilrongal) on

Before they walked in, a guy came in to warm up the crowd. I was enthusiastic and they took note of that, and it came in handy later. The interview was fun and enjoyable. I forgot there were cameras on as Theo and Shailene charmed the interviewer and the audience. When it came time for questions, the AOL employee next to me made sure to flag down the question guy for me. He asked me what my question was, then he had to get approval. Turns out the publicists didn’t like my first question. Luckily, I had another one prepared, and they liked the second question, which is the one I asked on camera.

Ronni asks Theo a question (AOL Build)

It was awesome. Very very awesome. To have Theo look right at me, and then talk directly to me was a dream come true. Wow. I’ve only been wanting to meet him for years…YEARS…and even though this wasn’t exactly a meeting, for that moment, he knew I was alive and acknowledged me. Not only that, but I am genuinely curious as to what he will come up as a writer and a producer, and I think (hope) he picked up on that. He’s so smart and funny, I think anything he does will be brilliant.

I floated all the way back to my hotel!

ALLEGIANT PREMIERE

I'm at the Black Carpet! OMG!
I’m at the Black Carpet! OMG!

Stomach still in knots, I made my way over to the AMC Lincoln Square at about 4:30 p.m. Official check in was 5:45 p.m., but I wanted to get in line early. It was drizzling outside, and one of the guards tried to tell me to go back home because the lobby was too crowded—there was also a My Big Fat Greek Wedding event going on. (HA, fat chance) I found a little hidden niche with some other bloggers and hung with them as we were escorted to a line until time to check in. Talking to them helped calm my nerves and my stomach.

Soon, a representative called us over and handed out envelopes with the movie ticket and after party ticket, as well as a shiny blue wristband that allowed us entrance to the tent and fan pen. My packet was the last in the bunch, so I was nervous until she finally pulled it out! We were allowed to walk on the black carpet and take photos with the posters, but I elected to secure my spot in the front row of the fan pen instead.

 Hanging in the Fan Pen with Stacy!
Hanging in the Fan Pen with Stacy!

Then we waited. People slowly trickled in, press members, VIPs, the Damn Daniel guys, random celebrities I didn’t recognize, or people I recognized but couldn’t place, and the like. I could see camera flashes outside the door, some people thought it was lightning, but I knew that meant someone cool was coming in. The first actor in was Jeff Daniels, who did an interview and took photos. Then Keiynan Lonsdale came in with his plus one, Jordan Rodrigues, who he’d worked with on Dance Academy. (I had a full on fangirl meltdown at this point, because I am a huge fan of Dance Academy and Jordan Rodrigues played my favorite character!) I gave him a flirty wave as he stood on the carpet, and he gave me a small smile and waved back. Night made and I hadn’t even seen Theo yet.

Bill Skarsgård (Matthew) came in and I snapped photos of him. He came right to the fan pen and took a selfie with me. He was so funny. He’s so tall and his eyes are gorgeous. Nadia Hilker (Nita) spent a lot of time with fans, signing autographs and taking selfies and seemed like she was having a blast.

Nadia Hilker with Ronni from @TheologiansNet at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

Bill Skarsgård and Ronni from @TheologiansNet #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

The next several minutes were a blur. The carpet got very crowded. There were loads of children all dressed up. There were lots of press and publicists and family members and friends, and it got loud. I saw Naomi Watts (Evelyn) posing for press, and Divergent author Veronica Roth stopped by the fan pen for a split second. I was next to Stacy from Page Turners (who I’d already known because of all the book events we both attend, and also I won a contest from her years ago), and she and Veronica are friends. Veronica made a regretful face at Stacy before being pulled away by industry folks. I managed to get a selfie with Ansel Elgort (Caleb), and I totally photobombed a photo with Miles Teller (Peter).

Miles Teller & Folks!
Miles Teller & Folks!

Shailene Woodley (Tris) stopped right in front of me but she was distracted by the industry people. I said “Hey girl heyyyy” and she turned around and said “Hey—”. A look of recognition came over her face (she totally remembered me from the AOL Build!) and she said “Hey, how are you?” Then she was whisked away.

#ShaileneWoodley at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

@AnselElgort with Ronni from @TheologiansNet at the #AllegiantPremiere

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on

Theo James (Four/Tobias) didn’t even get to me on the carpet before he was snatched away. I was a bit disappointed—I really wanted to see if he’d remember me from that morning. Once he went past, that was pretty much it. Zoe Kravitz (Christina) was busy chatting with people on the carpet, but I got a couple of nice pictures of her.

#TheoJames at the #AllegiantPremiere last night (Photo by @lilrongal from @theologiansnet)

A photo posted by TheTHEOlogians-Theo James News (@theologiansnet) on


I TOOK THAT PICTURE!!!

Click here to see more photos from the Allegiant Black Carpet!

Soon after the frenzy of the carpet, they led us out to the theater. There were two theaters—the cast theater and the fan theater. I was in the fan theater. We had assigned seats. They gave us free popcorn and beverages, and the movie score played in the background while we waited for the movie to start.

Movie Time!
Movie Time!

I enjoyed the movie! I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really hoped it’d be better than Insurgent. I thought it was, especially the second half. I was on the edge of my seat, and I was surprised when it was over. I like when I get lost in something like that.

After the movie, fans lined up outside and inside, waiting for the celebrities in the lobby who were heading to their fancy cars. I ran outside and grabbed an Uber to the after party. Traffic was bad, but I got there at a decent time.

They didn’t let us keep the after party ticket. It was so cool, so I’m glad I got a photo. There were different ones. I got Caleb.

After party ticket

The place was huge! There were flashing blue lights, “Allegiant” lights on the walls. Loud music, people milling around, a really amazing coat check (seriously, the coat check was impressive), and the size of the main room went back forever. There were couches in the main room reserved for some of the industry VIPs. There was also a separate VIP section that we could peek in, and a private VIP section where most of the celebrities went as the night went on. I really wanted to go in there. REALLY did. Just to sit down and chill with everyone. But I was glad to be at the party at all.

Theo was already in the VIP section when I got there, so I knew there would be no chance of talking to him. The “Damn Daniel” guys didn’t go into the VIP section at all, they hung out together, enjoying all the yummy food and talking to fans. Pasta, seafood, a cold bar, and yummy desserts were all over. Lots of people walked around with trays of tasty small bites. I couldn’t understand why the people serving the champagne kept swerving away from me—do I really look *that* young? I had to go to the bar to get a drink.

But before I did that, I got to speak with Jordan Rodrigues. He recognized me from the fan pen and maybe even from my tweet—he’d “liked” it earlier that night when I tweeted about seeing him there.

He liked my tweet!

He and I talked about acting and career choices, among other things. He was easy to talk to and very nice. We had a great chat! He told me that it was really nice talking with me, which made me happy. I also got to talk to Keiynan Lonsdale, who is *beautiful* in person. Onscreen doesn’t do him justice. He too was very nice, and he is super tall. Jordan is just right.

Jordan Rodrigues!!
Jordan Rodrigues!!

Ray Stevenson (Marcus) stayed out in the regular part of the party, but he didn’t talk to anyone except people he knew. I got to chat with Veronica Roth about living in Chicago and how crazy it is that we live in the same city but I only get to see her at events like this. (I met her two years ago at the All It Takes Divergent premiere in Los Angeles, but she didn’t remember. Not that I expected her to.) Theo came out once (probably to use the bathroom), and security was all over him. In fact, security saw me spot Theo and whisked him (he seemed confused) in the other direction. How rude.

Erin and Me

There was a photo booth, so Erin of Once Upon a Twilight and I got in and posed all cute and stuff. Then we mainly people watched, munched on good food, chatted with Lauren and Michael from The Young Folks, and had a really good time. We danced, too. It was a party, after all! So why not dance?

Too soon, the night was over. I sat and watched some of the celebs leave, only because I am nosy like that. Ansel left with a big group, holding hands with his gorgeous girlfriend. I yelled “Happy Birthday” to him and he gave me a smile. Theo left with a big group of people, surrounded by security. It was like a kindergarten class: “Now everyone hold hands so no one gets separated.” I headed back to my hotel then, ready to sleep for a million years, but the adrenaline wouldn’t let me.

Things I Learned:

1. Actors in general are very tall. Most of them towered over me. (Or maybe I’m just very short.)
2. The “red carpet” is not just a time to pose for pictures and look pretty. Those actors are working hard. Taking photos, talking to press, giving fans a thrill, trying to keep up with all the frenzy. I can see how it could be overwhelming.
3. Lots of random people walk the carpet. Producer’s children, plus ones, family members, random celebrities that have nothing to do with the movie just to name a few.
4. Press is everywhere.
5. The carpet is LOUD because there are so many people.
6. No matter where you are, there is always a “better” place you want to be. (Or maybe this is just me.) I was in the fan pen, but I wanted to be important enough to be on the carpet. I was at the party, but I wanted to be important enough to hit the VIP area. Then the super VIP area. And yet, there were people standing out in the freezing rain, wishing they were were I was. Interesting how that works, no? With that said…

I am everlastingly grateful to Lionsgate for giving me the opportunity to experience this taste of Hollywood glamour. It was an intense, amazing, crazy, adrenaline-pumping time and I loved every minute of it. I hope to get to do it again next year!

Yay!
Yay!

*shameless plug*
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new york city! center of the universe!

New York City 2013

I visited New York City for the 2nd time in my life in the middle of October this year. I went in with three goals in mind: See the Statue of Liberty, buy macarons at Laduree, and go to Central Park. I didn’t get to see Lady Liberty this time (but got to walk past the Empire State Building which I wasn’t expecting so that totally made up for it), but I did get to go to Central Park. And BOY did I get macarons!

I stayed with my friend Wanda, who I’ve known online for years, and her partner T. I met Wanda when I went to NYC for the first time in NYC, where she took me to a restaurant with flaming cheese or something crazy like that. I was really looking forward to spending more time with her and getting to know T.

New York City 2013
Wanda

She is amazing. And her partner, T, is also amazing. I had so much fun with them. It was like being with family. Truly. I love them. I can’t help but feel like they’re so much more sophisticated than I am because they’re living in New York City and living well. Whereas I wonder every other day what the hell I’m doing in Chicago.

New York City 2013

Wanda is a photographer. She takes beautiful photos. One advantage of having someone with you who loves to take photos and is great at it? Is that I got to be the star of a lot of photos!

New York City
Working It!

My first day out and about in the city, we ate brunch at a yummy diner, then headed to the Upper East Side so I could get my macarons. Guys, I love the UES. The buildings are so pretty and everyone looks so… rich. And the stores. Oh lordy. The stores! My wallet was itching to come out, but I didn’t. I resisted. Except in Laduree. I went a little crazy in there.

New York City 2013

Can you blame me?

New York City 2013
Sweet Lord

We didn’t get much time in mid-town. We had to head to Jersey for BBQ and jazz, and that was a long trip involving a lot of trains. We walked past the Empire State Building, which wasn’t something I expected to see. I was excited about that.

New York City 2013
Empire State Building

I mean, yeah, I felt like a total dork but I rocked that dorkiness. Hell, I still geek out over the Sears/Willis/whatever the hell ever and I freaking LIVE here.

Anyway, we got to the BBQ place and ate delicious food and listened to wonderful jazz that reminded me of The Cosby Show. Then Mr. Hayes, the sax player (and also T’s sax teacher), gave me a copy of his CD and signed it for me. He also told me, in so many words, that I was pretty, making him an instant favorite.

New York City 2013
Mr. Hayes & Me

After a crazy commute home, we relaxed and then crashed.

An earlier start the next morning. I had no idea it was going to be such a long but awesome day! Wanda and I headed up near Columbia to see her church, Riverside. A beautiful building! Then we darted to Columbus Circle to meet my friend Sun, someone else I’d known online for a very long time but had never got the chance to meet! Until that day!

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

Sun is just as awesome in real life as she is online. She’s so confident and self-assured, and she is so comfortable in NYC. I can tell she really loves the city and that she thrives there. I am sooo glad I got to meet her… finally!

We explored Central Park, which is, hands down, my FAVORITE part of New York City. It’s so big and vibrant and there is so much nature and it’s so beautiful. I love, love, love Central Park.

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City 2013

New York City

I could have stayed there even longer but another Laduree run tempted me away. So, we stopped there, then we all headed to Soho for MORE sweets! After that, Sun was done, but Wanda and I headed to Times Square to keep the party going!

We rode the Ferris Wheel in Toys R Us, and naturally I dragged her into the Times Square Disney Store. Because COME ON. You remember whose blog you’re on, right? :)

New York City 2013

After playing a bit in Times Square where I was made to feel super pretty again (Seriously, what is it with NYC guys? My confidence was sailing!), we headed to Bryant Park, then to Grand Central Station. My feet were like “REALLY?” by the end of that day. It was exhausting but awesome.

The next day, I had to leave. I’d been having so much fun in NYC that I tried to switch my flight to a later day so I could extend my vacation, but the prices were outrageous! I was sad to go. There was so much I wanted to see: The High Line, The Cloisters, and more! But you know, the weather was getting colder and wetter anyway so maybe it was for the best.

I picked up a few souvenirs at the airport on the way home, because I needed to be a tourist and get something that said I <3 NY on it.

New York City 2013

New York is such an intense city, especially at rush hour. I’m not sure if I could handle living there. But I love to visit. The energy is great, and there is so much to see and do. I can’t wait to go back soon.

1400922_10151999458430996_180284278_o
We’ll be together again soon!

(Wanna see more pictures? Click here!)

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New York City… Center of the Universe (Pictures)

Times Square

Hey there! I’m safely installed in Columbus, and plan to remain in Ohio for the rest of 2007. After last night’s/this morning’s travel fiasco, I can say I’m relieved that I don’t need to fly anywhere for awhile. I’m sure the bug will be biting in about a month or so, though.

Anyway, if you’re a regular reader, you know that my adorable fiancé Adam (adamselzer) flew us to New York City for the weekend. The arrangement was to meet at JFK airport at about 8:25pm or so. Well, both of our flights got delayed due to weather, and when Adam landed (about a half hour after I did), there was some drama in actually finding each other. After a long, long subway trip to Brooklyn (where we were staying), we finally got to our destination, and crashed.

And then I couldn’t sleep. Blah.

You know you want to see pictures!

Woke up Saturday morning, and my digestive system was acting quite unstable (due to the meds I’m on). However, I was not going to let that stop me from seeing New York. We hopped on the subway and got off at Times Square. That subway station is crazy. CRAZY. Apparently, my face when I first saw Times Square was a big, open-mouthed smile, probably not unlike the face I made when Adam proposed to me. I mean, WOW. Lots of flashing lights and signs and big billboards and people and people and people.

Times Square

Oh my Lord, were there people. Not too many in Times Square. 5th Avenue, however, was another story. Quite.

THERE WERE LINES TO GET INTO ABERCROMBIE & FITCH.

Not even right.

Anyway.

Rent!
Guess what! :)

Rockefeller Center
The biggest ass Christmas tree I have ever seen.

Me at Rockefeller!
There’s me! :)

Penny Harvest Field
Penny Harvest Field
http://www.commoncents.org

Adam
Adam

Central Park
Central Park

Remembering John Lennon
Remembering John Lennon
** see wlotus‘s LJ for a really excellent shot.

Central Park
Central Park

Adam & Me in Central Park
Adam & Me in Central Park

Wanda & Me
I got to meet and hang out with wlotus!!!!! She is soooo much fun! :):):)

Bright, Shining Star
Pretty star on 5th Avenue

The Time
I dunno. It’s just cool.

Times Square
Times Square, at night.

Wanda, Adam, and I took a break from all the walking and stuff to see the movie Juno.

YOU NEED TO WATCH THIS MOVIE. It is brilliant, amazing, funny, just… it’s so good. Everyone should go see Juno. I can’t stop quoting it.

Rent was amazing. Troy Horne was amazing as Tom Collins (I didn’t get a chance to say hi to him, unfortunately, watchwhat), and the actress who played Mimi really did a great job in that role! I enjoyed it a lot and REALLY want to see it again. Really, really. :)

Yesterday, Adam and I CRASHED. We spent the day hanging around the flat and napping and watching Christmas cartoons. We walked around the corner and got lunch at a deli. That night, we hung out with Nadia, and I left for the airport at 8:30ish. Hired cars are a beautiful thing in NYC. Cheaper than cabs and WAY quicker than subways and trains. Anyway, my flight was to take off at 10pm. We had no crew. The crew was stuck on a delayed flight from NC. We didn’t take off until about 11pm. Got to Columbus and couldn’t land because of really bad fog. So, we circled and circled and circled until the fuel ran out, then we flew to Cleveland. Sat in the plane for a few hours until the fog in Columbus lifted. I couldn’t sleep at all so I ended up calling confusified and talking for more than an hour. I was dropping my stuff on my floor at home at about 4:35am.

I flew jetBlue for this trip, which was a new experience for me. I’ll tell you what, if I’m going to be stuck inside a plane for whatever reason, I’d want it to be a jetBlue plane because they have DirecTV and XM Radio at every seat. You know how I don’t have cable? Boy did I get my fix last night/this morning! I watched American’s Most Smartest Model, ET, House Hunters (and other assorted HGTV shows), and I flipped between South Park and oh Lord, I don’t even know what else. Plus, the flight attendants passed out water and snacks. And jetBlue has GOOD snacks like Doritos and organic chocolate chunk cookies. The entire plane is leather seats, lots of leg room, and they even give you free headphones. I rather enjoyed flying with them, and I’m sorry that they’re leaving Columbus next month. No more jetBlue. :(

This trip has completed numbers 65 and 74 on my 101 in 1001 list (which needs to be updated big time)!! YAY!

I can’t even believe how much I have traveled this year. Chicago in February, Chicago and San Jose/San Francisco in May, Chicago in June, Atlanta in August/September, Chicago in September, San Francisco in October, Atlanta in November, New York City in December. Am I missing anything? :) I’m so glad I have friends who like to send me places. :)

See ya!

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