Sunday, October 08, 2006

Anderson Hall - our new "celebrity home"

A quote from THE STYLE CHANNEL website
“Who says you have to be rich to live in the lap of luxury? Style's new series My Celebrity Home teaches regular joes how--with some creative thinking and a little elbow grease--the good life can be had at a great price.

After an exclusive tour of one star's posh pad--Hilary Duff shares the secrets of her special sewing room, Kathy Griffin shows off her hip L.A. digs--host Peter Marr joins forces with a lucky homeowner and a famous designer to re-create the high-end look without the Hollywood price tag.

With a budget of just $3,000, the team must shop smart at boutiques, hardware stores, flea markets, even thrift stores. Haggling is encouraged, and DIY is the name of the game. It's quite a challenge, but with accomplished designers like Nate Berkus (The Oprah Winfrey Show) on the case, success is virtually guaranteed.

And as if inside access to the private oases of today's most stylish stars weren't enough, MCH also takes on hot spots like the Wynn resort in Las Vegas and the exquisite Wisteria Lane home of Desperate Housewife Bree Van De Kamp.

Part how-to, part eye candy, this star-studded show spotlights the best in dramatic decor--and delivers beautiful abodes on a budget.”

While I was in Hungary, Housing and Dining Executive Director Julie Weber contacted me about gaining access to my apartment. The purpose was to submit a proposal for some sort of television contest, she said. I had pretty much forgotten about this until she called last Monday to ask about my weekend schedule. We needed to meet for a very important event, she said, but she was vague about the details. We agreed on Sunday morning. Since I had never heard of The Style Network, let alone watched it, I was the perfect candidate for what I believe is a new feature of the show, “My Celebrity Home,” SURPRISE!

A dorm complex with a single entrance is a difficult place to keep something entirely secret. There seemed to be an unusual number of strangers about, some carrying video equipment. An unfamiliar truck was parked in front of Anderson. The glass panel on the Anderson first floor lounge door, adjoining my apartment, was covered with opaque paper and a ‘do not enter sign.’ I could guess that something was up, but I could not have imagined what.

The first solid information came when a Style Network producer knocked on my door, Sunday morning. I was to be prepared for some videotaping in about an hour, but he wouldn’t say exactly what. Soon the two students who had been key players orchestrating the project, Becca and Justin, knocked on my door. We have created something special for you, along with some other students, they said. Following their instructions, I closed my eyes and was lead into First Floor Lounge, formerly a rather sterile, unwelcoming place.

When I was a child, my parents believed in “impact” on Christmas morning. When I went up to bed, after the traditional reading of “The Night Before Christmas,’ our living room would be as always, excepting stockings “hung by the chimney with care.” When I was lead down stairs in the morning (no peeking allowed) the living room would have become a magical place.

That was my experience this Sunday morning. The transformation of the lounge to resemble an upscale Los Angeles Restaurant, “La Dolce,” left me speechless – literally. The walls were a soft designer green. There were elegant black furnishings, highlighted with gold settees and throw cushions. The table was beautifully set for twelve. I had long wanted a place such as this to entertain, but never dreamed such an elegant one could be created in such an unappetizing space. In a stunning moment, I experienced a dream come true; a prayer answered.

After the taping I learned more about events of the past few days. More than twenty-five Style Channel staff had been on campus since Thursday evening. Justin, Becca and the designer spent most of Friday shopping. There was filming on campus, featuring interviews of AU students, shots of my apartment and before and after shots of the lounge. Becca and Justin’s shopping trips with the designer are also captured on film. As Center for Teaching Excellence Director, I have learned enough about multimedia to know that shooing a one hour prime-time television show is a huge enterprise. Much of it happened right under my nose. Keeping me oblivious to the project must have added to its complexity. I hope it added to the fun as well.

I am told that the screening will be on a Wednesday night in December, from nine to ten PM. The date is not set for sure, but will be posted on the Style Channel Website when it is.

Tonight’s dinner will be a special one as we celebrate the first AU event in this beautiful new space. Keskou Fassia (Fez Style Lamb from Morocco) is on the menu.

Its time for me to go shopping.


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