Every time something amazing happens here at CTU, something else seems to top it, so I am now a true believer that anything is possible in this world. My dinner with Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan last week definitely would fall in the category of the seemingly impossible, but it really did happen and as you can see on this post, I even have pictures to prove it!!!
Just to recap for any new readers...last week I went to Los Angeles, California to visit my best friend and while I was there, I hung out with 'Stop-Loss' director Kimberly Pierce, had a ball at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards, spent an incredible day with Chan's mom Kay, and topped off my trip with a fantastic dinner at a local LA hot spot with Channing Tatum and his girlfriend Jenna Dewan (aka Chenna).
Believe it or not, the dinner almost didn't happen, because I was supposed to fly back home on Tuesday, August 5th. As luck may have it, an extremely small and fast moving storm decided to hit my hometown that day, so I postponed my departure to Wednesday to avoid any potential run ins with mother nature. Because of that day delay, it thankfully allowed me to have dinner with Chan and Jenna Tuesday night.
I had spoken to Chan the day before when I was hanging out with his mom, and he told me to call him the next day so we could try to meet up before I left. I called and left a message and Jenna called me back to see if I wanted to go to a restaurant called STK. Ironically, this was the same restaurant that I had taken my best friend to a couple of nights before.
Although I didn't know when I made my reservations weeks ahead to make sure we would be able to get in, I learned from Jenna that STK is actually one of their favorite restaurants. If you've ever eaten there, then you totally know why, because the food and service are amazing. I went both with and with celebrities in tow and the people there were awesome. I'd like to give a shout to David and Chad! They were the best host and waiter EVER!!! OK back to the story...
Jenna offered to make reservations some place else, but since my best friend and I loved the restaurant so much, I was excited to go again. It was beyond surreal to think we would be going back to STK with Channing and Jenna.
Jenna had made an 8 PM reservation, and we arrived first. When I told the host that our reservation was listed under Dewan or Tatum, he looked up with a smile and said "Jenna Dewan?" and I happily told him "Yes" (trying really hard to stay cool and hold in my excitement).
We decided to wait outside in the restaurant's small, trendy courtyard until Chan and Jenna arrived. Just a few minutes later we saw Jenna. We hugged, and she told us that Chan was running a little late from the meeting he had with the Hollywood screen legend I mentioned in my previous post. He was on his way, so we decided to go ahead and get seated while we waited for him to arrive.
We walked to the table and although I don't think Jenna noticed, you could tell that people recognized her. One table in particular kept starring at us (and when I say US, I mean HER). We later found out why, because they came over to the table before they left. Jenna was carrying a bag and wearing a necklace she had gotten at the 2008 Teen Choice Awards gift retreat a couple of days before. The table of people actually worked for the company that provided them for the awards show, so they were totally excited that she had chosen their gifts and was wearing them.
As we were ordering our appetizers, Chan called Jenna to say he was a few minutes away. Jenna pulled out her phone to answer it, and I couldn't help but notice the photo she used for Chan. She also turned the phone towards me so I could see the nickname.
Again to protect the innocent, I'm not going to say what the name was. That's between Jenna, Chan, and her phone, but I'll just say that it was really cute. As far as the picture she used is concerned, it seems that Jenna has the same taste in favorite Chan photos as many of us, because ironically, she chose the gorgeous 'Stop-Loss' promotional still to the left that fans have been drooling over since the movie released it. Seriously, can you blame her?
We ordered our appetizers and not too long after we got them, Chan arrived. The restaurant was all abuzz and people stopped him to talk to him while he tried to politely make his way to our table that was in a back corner of the restaurant. Jenna got up from the booth so they could give each other a hug and then he reached out his arms so I could do the same.
We had already received our salads, but we realized they had given me the wrong one. I had not touched it, so before taking it back, the waiter asked Chan if he wanted it. One of the things learned from Chan last year when I visited him on the set of 'Fighting' was that he really did not like veggies. Jenna reinforced that by quickly letting the waiter know that he did not eat anything green. Chan made what my friend and I thought was a joke by saying he was going to order beef as his appetizer and beef for his entree. We were surprised when he did just that by ordering a filet appetizer and rib eye for his entree. Needless to say, he was quite full by the end of dinner. We all were, because the food was so good.
We talked about a lot of different things during dinner, from Jenna and her family to Chan's projects and his meeting that day to reality shows we have watched and are way too embarrassed to admit, all while Chan and Jenna sat close, holding hands. I can't believe I've gotten this far without mentioning they are just the cutest and most loving couple ever. Every now and then, they would just look at each other and it was like there was no one else in the room.
At one point Chan mentioned that he often turned down chances to do talk shows or interviews, because he feels it's important that people keep Chan the person separate from Chan the actor. Sometimes if you know too much about a person, it can be difficult to really see the character they are portraying.
As some of you may imagine, hearing him say that kind of freaked me out for a second. If you've been reading CTU for any period of time, then you know the whole concept behind "Unwrapped" is to help people learn about Chan (the person AND the actor). I could potentially be a kink in his plan of anonymity, because of the nature of what I do everyday on this site.
Then it hit me. Unless this dinner was an elaborate way for him to "break up with CTU", he's obviously cool with what I do here, and I think we should all consider ourselves VERY lucky that both he and Jenna choose to connect with their fans through the site.
During dinner, I also learned that Chan is in the process of trying to learn Korean, because he is going to be starring in and executive producing the first Hollywood movie to ever film in South Korea. Sadly the technology gremlins struck again when he tried to install the software on his computer. Seems those gremlins never take a vacation when it comes to Chan. I may just have to get him a low-tech copy of a book that teaches Korean.
At some point, a hostess let us know that she had reserved a place for us in the exclusive lounge called Coco De Ville that is attached to the restaurant. It was getting late, but we decided to go to the lounge for a little bit after we finished dinner. The somewhat intimidating bouncer unhooked the velvet rope to let all of us in and my friend swears she saw Paris Hilton walking out as we arrived.
It was a lounge that played really great music, and we sat on an interesting bench that was suspended from the ceiling. We talked for a bit more, and I learned that Chan is currently in training for 'Dear John', which is still scheduled to start filming in South Carolina next month. Jenna is also supposed to start filming her next movie 'Virgin on Bourbon Street' in September too.
We did not stay in the lounge for long. Chan, the gentleman that he is, asked us for our valet tickets so he could take care of them, and we headed out to get our cars. As we walked passed the paparazzi right outside the restaurant, Chan and Jenna kept their heads down so we could walk past them without a hailstorm of flashes.
We were almost home free and then someone must have tipped them off, because they all came rushing after us. Like a scene in a movie, I just started seeing tons of flashes and hearing all of the clicks from the cameras. Fans came up to get autographs and photos with them, and they were happy to oblige. As you saw in my last post, both Chan and Jenna are so awesome with fans. They both gave me a big hug once our cars arrived, and we said our goodbyes.
I want to thank Chan and Jenna for inviting us to dinner and for taking the time to hang out with us. I can guarantee that I will never forget that night, and I definitely hope we get to have many more good times like that in the coming years.
One of the other things that I was really happy to learn at dinner is related to the new Rock4Change benefit concert that Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan have decided to support. It was great to hear about it, because one of my goals for CTU this year is to get involved with one or more charities.
Rock4Change empowers & inspires a new generation of activism through the entertainment industry, and in doing so will raise funds and awareness for important social issues that need our attention. Each one of us has the opportunity and the responsibility to use our voice to make a difference. Partnering with the biggest names in music, film, television, and sports, the organization shines a spotlight on worthwhile causes to motivate people across the globe to do their part to affect change. They invite all of us to be a part of the worldwide movement and know that together we can rock to change the world.
For the first time in ten years, the MTV Video Music Awards will take place in Los Angeles, and the biggest names in music will descend upon Hollywood for the festivities. With all of the amazing talent together in the same city Rock4Change has decided to produce the ultimate party with a purpose. The goal of the event is to raise awareness and financial support for two incredible non-profit organizations who are doing life saving and life changing work in Africa, specifically to help end the atrocities in Darfur and Uganda.
The event will bring together some of the biggest names in music, TV, film and sports for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration of music, dance and the power of the human spirit. Rock4Change will feature performances by Grammy award winning artists, an original piece on the evolution of dance by award-winning choreographer Shane Sparks, video presentations from the charities, an awards presentation and many more surprises.
Jenna Dewan & Channing Tatum are going to be presenters at the benefit concert and together will introduce an incredible piece that EMMY nominated choreographer Shane Sparks ("America's Best Dance Crew" & "So You Think You Can Dance") is putting together on the fusion of African dance & Hip Hop.
Channing will film his public service announcement (PSA) on Friday, and I will post it on the site soon. You can watch Jenna's PSA for the event below with Ludacris, James Franco, Flea, and Greg Grunberg:
If you are going to be in Los Angeles, California on September 4, 2008, then I encourage you to join Channing, Jenna, me, a long list of celebrities, and other supporters at the Rock4Change fall concert event. One hundred percent of the net proceeds from ticket sales for the star studded benefit concert will fund the reforestation project in Darfur through "Aid Still Required" and the work "Hands Across Nations" does to support some of the 1 million children who have been orphaned by AIDS in Uganda. You can CLICK HERE to buy your tickets to the event.
Thanks to Rock4Change I am able to give away two FREE tickets to the concert to one lucky Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan fan. If you can attend the event and would like to win the tickets, then here's what you need to do to enter the contest:
1) CLICK HERE to quickly signup for the Channing Tatum Unwrapped newsletter where you will get a daily email with any articles I have posted in the last 24 hours. If you don't want to miss out on any juicy Channing Tatum and/or Jenna Dewan news, then the newsletter is the best way to go. If you are already subscribed to the newsletter, then you can skip to step #2.
2) Send me an email from the address you used to sign up for the newsletter to firstname.lastname@example.org with "Rock4Change" in the subject, your mailing address and phone number in the body of the email, and an explanation of why you would like to win the tickets. I have another contest running right now, so it's important that you have the correct subject on your email.
Each fan can enter the contest one time. Please do not submit multiple entries, because only your first submission will be used. The winner of the contest will be announced on this Saturday, August 23, 2008, so please submit your entries by the end of the day on Friday, August 22, 2008 to try to win the prize. Good luck everyone!!!!