A Peek into the Belly of the Nokia

People are still talking about the amazing Emmy opening dance number, choreographed by Pussy Cat Doll Robin Antin.

Few know that this dance was shot in the basement halls outside the official Emmy gift suite, where The Tolucan was invited. A simple basement was transformed into an Asian-themed room with floral palettes of cymbidium orchids, a ruby red accent vase, river rocks, burnt red floor lamps, red and orange rugs, accent pillows and raspberry cube ottomans. It could have been a Hollywood studio boss’ haute couture living room.

But it wasn’t.

At approximately 1,200 square feet, this was a make-shift lounge, decorated by On 3 Productions and located in the belly of the Nokia, the venue housing the awards. Only primetime Emmy nominees and presenters, plus a few well-heeled stragglers, were invited.

Although it’s an annual tradition, it’s not a given.

“Nominees and presenters have to stop into the lounge personally, during rehearsals or Emmy night,” said Melissa Cordial, Vera Bradley’s PR rep, who showcased here. “Neil Patrick Harris loved their mini coolers to carry his energy drinks.”

Sponsor P.F. Chang’s Home Menu Frozen Moments was clever. Celebrities had to answer a question when they opened an oversized fortune cookie. What was the moment in your career or in TV History you’d like to see frozen in time? Their responses supported the $50,000 donation given to The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Answers tacked to the frig in the gorgeous make-shift kitchen: “Janet Jackson’s Super Bowl malfunction” (Blair Underwood), “Getting the news that I was cast in True Blood” (Anna Paquin), “When Bill and Sookie touched hands for the first time” (Stephen Moyer), “The time I met Elmo” (Ricky Gervais) and “When JFK died in 1963, this moment brought the country together (Don Mischer, Emmy Producer).

Just like his anal retentive “Friends” personality, Mathew Perry cleaned up stray popcorn on the AMC movie display table. Later Dennis Quaid munched on popcorn. AMC Entertainment gave a year’s worth of movie tickets to the celebrities.

Matthew Morrison rocked out to the Palm Guitar’s Hero App and chose a Palm Pre for his business calls. He talked “baseball” with Michael Press of Vintage Revolutions (jeans). Edie Falco decided to switch from an iPhone to a Palm Pre Plus when she discovered its multi-tasking features.

Some gifts will rack up frequent flyer miles. Mariska Hargitay plans to take her new gun metal Aqua Swiss Trax Collection watch to Hawaii. Jewel selected a black unisex watch to share with husband Ty Murray.

Amber Riley, a self-proclaimed word freak, fell for the scrabble games. She and her Glee co-stars play Scrabble on set. Hasbro, Inc. gifted Scrabble Flash and gave a certificate to stock guests’ game closets.

Magnanni handcrafted men’s footwear gifted Jorge Garcia and Christopher Meloni with brown leather boots. Jane Lynch not only flipped for her boots; she left with them on.

St. Regis Monarch Beach offered a weekend suite and choice of a couples’ massage at Spa Gaugin or two rounds of golf at Monarch Beach Golf Links. Underwood, who brought his two kids, coincidentally had his wedding rehearsal dinner at the resort.

Other gifts included Marchon Eyewear, MoroccanOil, The Body Shop, Altoids and Bossa Nova: The Superfruit Company.

Sue Facter writes about all things A-list for publications worldwide. She was among a handful of journalists who were invited to this special annual Emmy event.