Taurus World Stunt Awards – Gerard Butler

The hummer crashed through the brick wall of the stage set smoke mushrooming into the air, out popped Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from the shattered window. Flashing his signature smile, he began the hosting of the 2007 Taurus World Stunt Awards with a literal bang. He had, after all, just escaped from gun wielding criminals backstage, wanting to usurp his coveted position as the host of this prestigious show. The entire evening was peppered with on screen performances and appearances from celebs unable to attend, as well as ones that appeared from the cityscape street set. The audience was kept guessing…is it real or is it Memorex?

Best music…Joe Cocker’s rabble rousing rendition of his mega hit “Feelin’ All Right”. Man are those oldies ever goodies. Death defying stunt scenes played on multi screens behind the band as the audience gyrated with the rhythm and hype.

Most touching moment…nearly one hundred stuntwomen marching the length of the stage, decked out in glam wear, all there to honor their mentor and inspiration, Jeannie Epper. She was an unassuming woman, truly touched by the honor. The women behind her knew, and voiced, that they may not have their place of respect had it not been for pioneers such as Jeannie. “There truly is strength in women…look at us now!” Very cool.

Unbelievable wall climbing, high falls, explosions, sword fighting pirates, “fashion show” models on fire, flubbed lines, mics that didn’t work, teleprompters with print too small for the presenters to read…it was all charming in it’s heartfelt expressions of gratitude and celebration. By the time this all makes the airways on AMC this Friday, it will be edited and slick, removing the appeal of the human effort required putting on such a spectacle. We who were there are lucky to have been treated to the reality of the human condition. Things don’t always go perfectly. We’re all in this together…all connected.

Best flashback…the Burt Reynolds lifetime achievement award and surrounding videos/tributes. Burt seemed a bit overwhelmed with it all by the time he got out on stage to accept. Boy, was he ever the slick customer in film and TV.

Most self effacing/entertaining?…Gerard Butler in his acceptance speech for the Action Movie Actor of the Year for his work in the groundbreaking epic “300”. Coming toward the end of the show, Butler seemed almost uncomfortable with the regal entrance they provided him. Ascending stairs to the stage from the audience, flanked by Spartan warriors, Gerard grasped the substantial statute of the Taurus Award in hand and proceeded to regale the audience with an extemporaneous string of witticisms, sending the, until now, restrained audience into spasm and waves of laughter. The man knows how to push the envelope just far enough to entertain. Not afraid to show his Glaswegian rough edges, he is ever the verbose orator, genuine in his unfettered, unpracticed delivery. It never ceases to amaze me, the patience of the man as we Americans mangle his name (it’s not Gerald or gerARD…it’s GERard), poke fun at his athleticism and hard won success and generally chase him around the globe like some teen crush with onslaughts of smitten women at every turn. Perhaps that is the magnetic draw of the man. He is genuine, not “Hollywood”. He knows well the price of success and pushes forward in his unrelenting passion to leave a legacy of integrity and depth. Keep that head on straight and that golden heart intact, Mr. Butler.

Photo by C London

Best afterparty…why, this one, of course. The enormous crowd made it’s way to the back streets of the New York set and were treated to loud rock music, laser light show against “New York” facades, bronco bull riding, stunt motorcyclists zooming inside a metal mesh ball, tables of sumptuous carved meats, asparagus, herbed potato wedges, goat cheese, fruit and nut green salads, to-die-for brownies and strawberry shortcake as well as free flowing drinks. Red Bull was the major patron, but the booze flowed like energy drinks. Yeah…all the alcohol one little body could hold. I asked a barman for water…he gave me vodka water. Bull riding in the streets, one dude asked if I wanted to go to his pole dancing class. Another…”Are you a stuntwoman?” It was an interesting L.A. crowd. No rowdiness exhibited, though. The attendees were in a company Christmas party sort of mood.

Obviously absent? Any sign of celebs. Understandable with the size of the throng, but hopes were high with the reserved areas set aside along the sidewalks for their parties. Someone was having a grand old time with an electronic pen drawing laser pictures of stunt vehicles, acknowledgement of Local Union 33 for stuntmen. At one point he/she wrote G.Butler! three stories high on the building. Did no one but me notice? Hmmm… Satin couches, chairs, carpet, coffee tables, romantic strung lights…all in keeping with alluring the famous. They had their own VIP too doo. Helicopter buzzing overhead testified to the heightened security required by the presence of the governor. My webmistress and I stayed until the older crowd dispersed and the twenty/thirty somethings danced on the checked lighting of the raised dance floor covering a quarter of a city block. I couldn’t hear the voice of my ride on my cell phone, now waiting outside the studio gate for us. As we made out way past the bleachered arena of the awards, we could see the technicians busily disassembling the set. Tomorrow is a workday.

As I crawled between the sheets at 3 a.m., I smiled. It had been a good night.

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