the old lady and i had debated back and forth about when to go. we'd thought that maybe we could head out on that monday while the bean was at school, but then we realized that the star unveiling was on that day and the shop wasn't scheduled to open for the day until 4:00 in the afternoon. we knew we couldn't make it out there on tuesday either, since she had to work and i'd have the usual bean duties. and so we decided that sunday afternoon was our one and only shot at making it out there.
when we got out to hollywood & highland it wasn't hard to figure out where we needed to go. we'd anticipated having to wait in a pretty long line, but as we walked along, trying to find our way to the end of it, we realized that we were in for quite an experience. we finally got to join the line once we got all the way out of the complex, damn near out on the street.
i knew the bean was hungry, having had a late breakfast that day, and so i left them both in the line while i went off in search of some lunch. i'd seen a poster advertising a poke shop nearby, and so i headed over and picked up some salmon poke and rice for her and some caffeine for the old lady and me from the nearby starbucks.
as i made my way back to the line, i heard cheering and squealing coming from the front of the line and stopped to find out what was going on. i knew it could only mean one thing - band members had to have arrived for a visit. with the star unveiling happening and JT's concert weekend, it made sense that they were all in town and just as curious to check out the pop-up as the rest of us.
it turned out to be two of the guys - lance bass and my friend joey fatone. i couldn't see anything, but the excitement was thick as i passed the line near what i was assuming was the entrance to the shop.
the girls were super happy to have some sort of distraction from standing in line, and the bean happily dug into her lunch as the old lady and i sipped our coffees and listened to the chatter around us. one of the shop staffers came back and told us that the plan was for everyone in line to sing "bye bye bye" as lance and joey left the complex, and everyone was super excited at the prospect of being in their presence.
the downside of their appearance, of course, was that the line came to a standstill as the shop was closed so that the guys could enjoy it without being mobbed by the crowds of fans. the shutdown added at least an hour to our wait time, and to add insult to injury the guys didn't even pass us on their way out. they got shuffled out of a different exit instead, and that was a bummer.
we were happy when the line started to move again at last, but it was still going really slowly. there was much boredom, and we played some silly games and took pictures and eventually braided the bean's hair in front of her face because we could.
while we were pretty much dying of boredom and kinda sorta almost over it, once we hit the two-hour mark we realized that we'd invested too much time in line. it just wouldn't have made sense to leave at that point...or so we thought. we finally made our way up to the candy shop, and the girls finally decided that it was time to go inside and walk around and pick up some sugar to pep us all up a bit. it helped some, and around the three-hour mark we finally turned a corner and reached a point where there were chairs to sit on.
past the sweet shop was a different pop-up - this one, ru paul themed.
it was then that a couple of staffers came out and started counting the heads waiting in line. we watched as they made their way down the line, stopping about ten people behind us to make an announcement. and we were relieved to find that we'd just barely made the cut for folks who were guaranteed to enter the shop. they'd been scheduled to close at 8:00, but with the number of people waiting in line for hours they knew they had to extend it to keep from being stampeded by angry *nsync fans. we felt really bad for the folks who weren't really that far behind us who now had to decide whether to stay and hope they'd still make it in, or give up after having waited for almost five hours for pretty much nothing. eek.
around the 4:30 mark, we could finally see the beginning of the line and were handed menu cards to show us what merchandise was available for purchase.
right around 5:00, we finally found ourselves waiting to enter the shop. it was almost 9:00 by then, and i knew the hub was going to have something to say about the bean being out way past her bedtime on a school night. yikes.
the staffers were hyper aware of the fact that they needed to run the line in a super organized fashion in an effort to get as many fans inside as possible. just before we were finally allowed to enter, they gave us the rundown on what to expect when we got inside. we were asked to be mindful of the folks in line behind us and keep the poses to a minimum. and then finally, we went inside. the first station was a photo op that got us this photo that was texted to us:
and there was a table full of familiar looking merchandise from the height of the band's popularity in the late 90s/early 2000s. the old lady had had all of these dolls at one time.
there were mannequins modeling some of the outfits the guys had worn during various tours.
more photo ops came after that:
and as we got in line for the next one, the bean decided to find an open spot on the giant greeting card congratulating the band on their star hanging on the wall.
the next photo op was super cute and reminded me of what my own bedroom had looked like when i was in high school and worshiped my most favorite band from the 80s.
i totally remembered when the old lady had this. she used to play with it along with the britney spears doll on the britney spears tour bus. man, i wish we still had that stuff. heh.
while we waited, we sat down and watched old *nsync music videos and footage from various concerts. the bean seemed pretty happy just sitting and listening, and we enjoyed watching her get her 90s musical education.
on the table were pens and five scrapbooks - one to be given to each band member. the bean picked up the one for JT and wrote something like "my mom loves you and i loved you in trolls." hahahahahaha.
my name finally got called and the rest of it was a blur as i got up to pay, signaled the girls to join me and then we hightailed out of there and made our way back down to the parking structure and into the car to head home at last. from the time we arrived to the time we finally left, it'd been over six hours and the bean passed out in the back seat almost before we even got out of that parking structure.
and the best part? now whenever we get in the car the bean asks me to fire up the amazon music app and play the *nsync greatest hits cd. she's pretty partial to "pop," "bye bye bye," and "tearin' up my heart." she sings and dances and entertains, and it's pretty freaking awesome.
*NSYNC 4 LYFE.