"It’s a little odd, it’s a little overwhelming," Men In Trees’ Anne Heche told EW of being gifted with tons of presents back stage at the 2007 Tony Awards. "Obviously you feel gratitude for it, but it’s a little awkward understanding the whole system."
She’s so right, and that’s why I wanted to see what the infamous "gift lounge" was all about for my own curious reasons. I should add, however, that the official gift lounge at the Tony’s (which was produced by the fine people at On 3 Productions) was different from the ones you regularly hear about the stars stopping by at, y’know at shows like the MTV Movie Awards. You won’t see any celebs like Paris Hilton (oh, wait, she’s in jail. Make that Nicole Richie) dropping by because it was only for stars who were presenting awards that night. Love that!
So who are some of the famous faces that came through the lounge? I spotted Cynthia Nixon, Neil Patrick Harris (pictured), Zach Braff, Marcia Gay Harden, Patrick Wilson, Christina Applegate, Jeff Daniels, Carla Gugino, Robert Sean Leonard, and Jane Krakowski.
And what are some of the cool things they picked up, you ask? Check out the freebie list — and some backstage gossip — after the jump.
- Invicta watches Anatomic collection (the ladies were even taking home one’s with men’s-sized faces)
- Kumi Kookoon silk lounge wear, slippers, and eye mask. Seriously, the comforter and pillow felt like heaven.
- Chantelle Lingerie "Africa collection" T-shirt, bra ,and boxer set. The reps for Chantelle are actually now in possession of the bra sizes of the actresses who came through. Can’t decide if that’s really weird or really fascinating.
- Carlos Falchi designer hand bags. Yes, Krakowski can now bring her new python tote to the set of 30 Rock every day. Although, the one she got is valued at about $3,000, so she may want to leave it at home.
- J&R Music World gift set, which included a SanDisk Sansa MP3 player, headphones and a Coby digital photo frame.
- Ziamond — which is the apparently the word you get when you combine diamond with cubic zirconia — gave 5.5 carat cuff links to the men and 2.5 carat cushion cut studs to the ladies. The cuff links were a little too Tony Soprano for my taste, but I guess sometimes men need some glamor in their lives, too.
- A 3-month supply of the new "Hiro" drink by Tahitian Noni. This was probably the coolest table at the gift lounge. The TN people had their own ice luge where you could sample any of the three flavors of the Hiro healthy beverage by pouring it down a funnel that was frozen into the block of ice. Very frat party meets black-tie wedding.
- Nespresso Le Cube automatic espresso machine. This retro-looking machine was by far the most popular gift of the night. "Instead of putting grinds in, you just [put the capsule in and] press that button," Krakowski explained to me. "It’s infallible, you can’t mess that up." The Nespresso people told me that Marica Gay Harden has even ordered one of these machines to use on every set she’s been on. I tried an espresso, and I can’t blame her, it was really good.
- Marchon eyewear and sunglasses. Cynthia Nixon and Anne Heche both took the same pair of pink Fendi aviators. Cutie Patrick Wilson went for more "Paul Newman" looking frames with a pair of Michael Kors square aviators.
Now on to the fun part, here are some of the interesting things I witnessed/overheard while hanging out backstage at Radio City:
- Neil Patrick Harris squirted a glob of Nivea’s sun-kissed moisturizer into his hands, not realizing it had self tanner in it, then rubbed it all around. So if Barney’s hands looked a little orange when he presenting his award, now you know why.
- Christina Applegate did something celebrities RARELY do voluntarily: she let her picture be taken… without makeup on!
- Zach Braff was going around to all the booths making comments about being single. In fact, he even apparently said to the girl carrying around his gifts, who looked a lot like Natalie Portman coincidentally enough, "You’re really cute. Can I take you home?" He also told the Kumi Kookoon people that he’d been thinking about silk sheets all day. Hmmmm…
- Braff also made jokes about his sexuality (go figure!). He asked the Buffalo Jeans reps if they "had anything straight" after they offered him a sleeveless t-shirt.
- When Harvey Fierstein saw the Chantelle bra set he said, "Oh, that’s my previous life!"
- Carla Gugino, whom you’ve seen most recently on Entourage, now has a short blonde bob. Wonder what it’s for?
Well, there you have it, a small glimpse into the life of those who get expensive things for free. What do you think about gift lounges, PopWatchers? Do you think it’s okay to gift people like award show presenters since they are actually doing work? Or are you against it all together? What item listed above would you want the most? The least?