• St. Martin's Press
The Kennedy Chronicles - KennedySee larger image
See Hi-Res Jpeg image
See Hi-Res Tif image

email/print EmailPrint

The Kennedy Chronicles



Book Buy
Ebook Ebook 
    
Share this book with friends through your favorite social networking site. Share:           Bookmark and Share
Add this title to your virtual bookshelves at any of these book community sites. Shelve:             
sign up to get updates about this author
add this book's widget
to your site or blog

About The Author

KennedyKennedy

At twenty years old, KENNEDY became an MTV VJ, a position she held for nearly six years interviewing a range of celebrities on MTV News and at events like the Grammys and VMAs, as well as hosted a series of specials called “How-To With Kennedy.” Featured as a... More

photo: © Emily Shur

Stay In Touch

Sign up to recieve information about new releases, author appearances, special offers, all related to you favorite authors and books.

Other Books You Might Like

cover Buy
The Hours After
Letters of Love and Longing in War's Aftermath

St. Martin's Press
The love letters of Gerda and Kurt Klein, revealing one of the greatest love stories ever told. Over fifty years ago, Gerda Weissmann was barely alive at...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
That Woman
The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor

St. Martin's Griffin
The first full scale biography of Wallis Simpson to be written by a woman, exploring the mind of one of the most glamorous and reviled figures of the Twentieth...
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Fortune Hunters
Dazzling Women and the Men They Married

St. Martin's Griffin
From Madame de Pompadour, the famed mistress of Louis XV, to Pamela Harriman, who married into the English aristocracy and the American plutocracy, there is a...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
In Search of Bill Clinton
A Psychological Biography

St. Martin's Griffin
William Jefferson Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States is undoubtedly the greatest American enigma of our age -- a dark horse that captured the...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Battle Ready
Memoir of a Navy SEAL Warrior Medic

St. Martin's Griffin
The gripping memoir of Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart recipient SEAL Lieutenant Mark L. Donald  As A SEAL and combat medic, Mark...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Son of a Gambling Man
My Journey from a Casino Family to the Governor's Mansion

Thomas Dunne Books
A memoir of growing up in mob-run Sin City from a casino heir-turned-governor who’s seen two sides of every coin When Bob Miller arrived in Las Vegas as a boy,...
  
cover Buy
The Senator
My Ten Years with Ted Kennedy

St. Martin's Griffin
In 1971 Richard Burke, a freshman at Georgetown University, volunteered his services to the offices of his political idol, Senator Edward M. Kennedy of...
cover Buy
The Gift of Jazzy

St. Martin's Press
This is the true story of a savvy, seemingly tough columnist who could take on Clintons, Bushes, VIPs from New York to Hollywood--but is taken prisoner by the...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
Like a Mighty Army
Safehold

Tor Books
For centuries, the world of Safehold, last redoubt of the human race, lay under the unchallenged rule of the Church of God Awaiting. The Church permitted...
  
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
The Widow's Guide to Sex and Dating
A Novel

Henry Holt and Co.
"Radziwill’s delicious debut novel… is a poignant tale of love and loss."—Publishers Weekly "One of the richest, most deeply satisfying stories I’ve read in a...
  
cover Buy
Fuzzy Bee and Friends

Priddy Books
This charming cloth book is perfect for your littlest ones! Features bright colors help to develop children's sensory awareness, as well as rhyming text helps...

EXCERPT

AND SO IT BEGINS …

 
 

My frustrated, grizzled high school guidance counselor Ed, the one who told me I had nice knees, was fed up with my bad grades and told me I would either become a star, or I’d end up broke and homeless and I’d regret squandering my precious high school potential as a strangely dressed loudmouth. Two years and two months later I was on a plane bound for New York City ready to start my job as an MTV VJ. There is no more potent force in society than a misfit with something to prove.
Transforming from an average Oregonian teenager to a late-night radio DJ to a certified TV personality waiting for my name to be etched in the annals of pop culture along with the likes of Alan Hunter and Adam Curry seemed like a clever joke that could evaporate at any minute. From 1992 to 1997 that feeling stayed with me, tucked uncomfortably inside my mental pocketbook, as if at any minute, with the wrong insult or impulsive act, it could vanish as quickly as it appeared. How did I become a VJ? Hell if I know. More important, how can YOU become a VJ? You can’t, because the job doesn’t exist anymore. Like sexual harassment in the workplace and two-martini lunches, VJs are the stuff of urban legend whose time and train have passed, but I was fortunate enough to sneak onto the express and ride it through the greatest age in MTV history. In the nineties MTV was a wonderland of musical genres where hip-hop, metal, and a burgeoning alternative rock scene mingled like shallots and fresh basil in a bubbling, cultural stew. MTV was always finding its voice, lending a megaphone to a new generation to amplify and project its immortal tastes onto a blank, waiting screen. When I arrived it was in blissful transition from metal to grunge, and having come from West Coast alternative radio I was well aware of a shift within the songs and bands I knew, and I was delighting in the domino effect music was having on every part of culture.
As the plane rolled down the LAX tarmac my new and former boss Andy Schuon looked back at me with a bug-eyed smirk that shot bolts of fear and excitement into my abdomen, searing the feeling into my memory like a calf brand. In one look he was saying, “This is real. It’s happening. You were an intern at the radio station ten months ago and now you’re going to New York to work at MTV and millions of people will know your name. Now don’t fuck it up.” Andy did in fact pluck me from the KROQ intern program. He was the program director at LA’s world-famous alternative radio station where at eighteen I started answering the request line, opening mail, and sorting music. One day the cherub-faced wunderkind of modern rock called me into his office and asked if I’d like to do an air shift, which meant he was going to let me talk into a microphone and broadcast my eager, nasally voice to the two million people who regularly came in contact with the station. I’ve never been short of confidence, a trait that has landed me in serendipity and shit, and I was pretty sure being a radio DJ was the greatest and easiest job in existence. But I thought either I misheard him or he’d gone insane, and his last act before they carted him out on a stretcher would be to let me hold the listeners hostage for a few uncomfortable hours.
After leaving high school with no diploma and dropping out of my required college courses to make more time for my unpaid internship, I knew enough that maybe I wasn’t the most trustworthy steward of the airwaves, but I was an ambitious fool so I took the challenge. A shaky two-night audition went well, and with my low salary and his lower expectations I became a part-time overnighter. My shift was from one to five thirty in the morning. Lots of chain-smoking and Dr Pepper double Big Gulps got me through the lonely early morning hours, as did taking irrational requests from long-haul truckers, insomniacs, and coke fiends at 4:00 A.M. Kevin and Bean was the struggling morning show that started after me, and by default I was hired as an in-studio producer, which is a fancy title for “paid intern.” It wasn’t my impressive radio acumen or ability to handle difficult divas, but I had a pulse and a car, so I could pull their music and fetch them Del Taco and doughnuts. They had nearly been fired for a fake on-air murder confession that landed them on Unsolved Mysteries, and I was the force charged with keeping them on track and on time. I like to think I was hired because they wanted an eyeful of this budding brick house to make their mornings smoother. In reality they were appalled by my wacky fashion sense, which involved a lot of turbans, polka dots, and granny boots, and technically I am the lesser half of a brick duplex since I only possess a ghetto booty with no attached upper deck.
Soon after I started with Kevin and Bean my life became their on-air fodder and they relentlessly made fun of me for my foul mouth, my small breasts, and my short-lived tobacco-chewing habit (I couldn’t afford the nicotine gum, so I chewed Skoal Bandits to wean myself off smoking; it totally worked). Lisa Berger, a West Coast MTV executive, heard me and called KROQ producer Maria D’Arcangelo to ask about this odd girl who was becoming a bigger part of the morning show. Maria was, in addition to Kevin and Bean’s wrangler, Adam Sandler’s manager. She had taken the baby-faced boy comic to MTV when he was nineteen, so she knew something about placing people with brown hair on MTV before their careers began. When I was Maria’s intern the highlight of my week was talking to Adam because, although he had only been on SNL for a year, he had starred on MTV’s Remote Control, my high school obsession. Maria set up a meeting with Lisa, and I bought a new pair of men’s pajamas so I could make a good impression, because nothing says “Hire me!” like a rehab escapee. Berger and I hit it off and she tried for months to find a place for me on the channel; she envisioned me as a correspondent on MTV’s movie show The Big Picture after she saw me harassing stars for Kevin and Bean at the first MTV Movie Awards in 1992. My next critical break came in May 1992 when Andy was hired as MTV’s new senior VP of programming. The boy wonder had transformed a stagnant radio station into a national force, so he was expected to do the same with the cable music channel. Together Andy and Lisa plotted, I wore an ill-fitting green bandage dress and some more pajamas to an official audition (not at the same time, but I wouldn’t put it past me in 1992), and assumed it went poorly and would never materialize because Andy didn’t call me five minutes afterward to beg me to move to New York. After a few weeks of regret and hand-wringing on my part Andy finally called, much like he’d done in his office nine months before. “I’d like you to come work for me in New York as one of our VJs.” The only thing I can compare this call to is the shock you feel when someone phones to tell you a close friend has died, without all the loss and sadness. I wanted to scream and drop the phone, but I just opened my eyes really wide to shake off the tunnel vision and tried to let the thought of holding the most coveted job in pop culture sink in to my undulating gray matter. I would be honored. Wildly unprepared and totally in over my head, but honored.
The plane touched down, we made our way to Manhattan, indulged in white pizza, and I checked into my new home for the next thirteen weeks, the Paramount Hotel in Times Square. This place was loud and modern and smelled exactly like every other Ian Schrager hotel in the world. I can’t quite describe it other than to say it smells like a cross between my utter shock and desperation, with a hint of gardenia. I called Sean, one of my best friends from LA who’d moved out to New York to work in TV production and he took me on a tour of Times Square, which in 1992 did not have a boldly lit Hello Kitty store, although I’m sure there might have been an adult theater with a similar name. We found such a theater, went in to scare up some trouble, and within minutes had a guy ask if we wanted a threesome. Sean’s response? “I don’t know about her, but we just had a fivesome back at the hotel so I’m hosed!” I could not keep a straight face, and though it was creepy that it happened within an hour of my touching down on the streets of Manhattan, it remains a fond memory to this day. What a sweet angel of a man trying to make friends with a pair of strangers.
Having grown up watching Late Night with David Letterman I had developed a robust and unhealthy obsession with New York City, and as a young adolescent went so far as to call random numbers in the 212 area code in the middle of the night asking people if they loved living in New York. Even at thirteen I wanted to be a part of something I had so idealized on the other side of the world, far from the madding crowd in the mean suburb of Lake Oswego, Oregon. To my surprise people would actually talk to me for a moment, before they asked me to never call them again as they hung up. In high school I visited Manhattan on a theater tour with my fellow choir nerds, and after a week of taking in musicals and bus tours I managed to talk my way onto the floor of the commodity exchange for an up-close-and-personal look at futures trading. I was trying to land a summer internship, but being sixteen my mom wasn’t as thrilled at the notion of me spending a summer shacked up with a trader in his TriBeCa loft working for free in the Big Apple. Prude. This was the same trip where I ended up in a hotel room, also in Times Square, wearing a Seton Hall men’s basketball uniform alone in a room with half the men’s basketball team. Even back in the late eighties my life themes were crystalizing. Lust, impulsivity, sports.
With a more permanent stay in mind—the backdrop to my unfolding caper—my love of New York knew no bounds. If New York were a big line of coke I would have snorted the whole thing off the Statue of Liberty’s dong, but she’s a woman. The entire time at MTV I was drug-, alcohol-, and smoke-free, a vegetarian, and a virgin. This was going to be one muted straight-edge party, but I did have one vice I was happy to indulge and MTV was my ultimate codependent: music. I had no idea how or when I’d have access to bands, but I didn’t care. I wanted to see shows and hear songs and get lost in tapes on my fancy, futuristic Walkman as I bounced around from one end of the island to another.
And then there was the actual WORK. My first MTV shift I was filling in for a vacationing Duff in prime time. Karen Duffy is, to this day, the most photogenic person I have ever seen. Light dances off her cheekbones and caresses her straight, black hair in a manner that remains unmatched. Her face literally perfects itself when she’s on camera, as the proportions of her wide eyes and tiny nose bend and soften when they meet the eye. I met her briefly at the 1992 Video Music Awards the night before I left LA; she introduced herself with a firm handshake and a disarming warmth that cannot be faked unless you’re Ted Bundy or Mary Hart. A crew showed up at my hotel bright and early Monday morning, and all had agreed to let me wear my own clothes. My fashion confidence was less serendipitous and bordered on dysmorphia. I slipped into my velour black catsuit and my best tan suede coat with the fussy fringe layered over the chest and up both sleeves, and I topped off the ensemble with my cowboy boots that had little horses painted on them. I looked like an autistic child masquerading as a stand-in for George Custer, and if I kept going in this style vein my first stand would be my last. With makeup applied, lips penciled into a perfectly matte shade of brown not unlike the color of an official NFL football, and tarantulan eyebrows plucked and tamed, Duff’s producer Angela Carbonetti led me to the bright pink lights that would hopefully lead to longevity as a video vixen and tidbit procurer for a rabid young audience. When the segment aired that night we gathered around Andy’s huge TV in his apartment and I learned a lesson I have not since forgotten: Watching yourself on TV in front of other people is like getting an unanesthetized alien anal probe. It is strange and uncomfortable, and very, very awkward. The light didn’t quite dance off my cheekbones—at a bad angle I thought I looked more like Rocky Dennis than a Degas painting. Brutal. My mom called a few days later. I was sure she was going to smother me with compliments and well wishes from the home front, but instead she sounded so concerned. “Is everything okay, honey? You look so sad.”
“No one told me to smile, Ma!”
“You know who has the most beautiful smile, dear?”
“No, who, Mom?”
“Duff. She is just beautiful.” This was going to be a bumpy train ride.

 
Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Kennedy Montgomery

You May Also Be Interested In

cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Shantaram
A Novel

St. Martin's Griffin
"It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant,...
  
cover Buy

More formats
Audio eBook
The Walking Dead: Rise of the Governor

St. Martin's Paperbacks
The bestselling start of the original Walking Dead series, now in mass market! In Robert Kirkman's Walking Dead universe, there is no greater villain than...
  Bonus
cover Buy

More formats
eBook
Devil's Prize

St. Martin's Paperbacks
  HER VIRTUE COMES AT A HIGH COST At a gaming table where he cheated Lady Alexa Garrick  out of a fortune, Damien, Lord Falon, made a scandalous proposal to...