Friday, February 6, 2009

Renee Zellweger—Hasty Pudding's Woman of the Year

Photo courtesy of the Associated Press

This year, Harvard University's Hasty Pudding Theatricals nominated Renee Zellweger 'Woman of the Year' and celebrated her with the traditional parade and roast. Each year the group honors their favorite actor and actress. Previous winners have included Scarlett Johannson, Charlize Theron and Halle Berry.

I was nearly trampled by photographers lugging enormous lenses at the T stop in Harvard Square on Friday. Pink balloons emblazoned with Renee Zellweger's face were everywhere. I knew something was up and immediately wished I had my camera. 

Photos by Caroline Treadway

Crowds congregated in the 18 degree temps on the corner of Quincy and Harvard St. to watch Hasty Pudding's Renee Zellweger parade.

All I had was my iphone. I'm not complaining, but the irreparably scratched lens adds a dreamy haze that's great for portraits and sucks for spot news. As a friend said, it's like looking through a dirty t-shirt.  Ah well. It's all I had. If I had run home to get my real camera I would've missed Renee. 

Photo by Caroline Treadway

The Hot Tamales, a horn band wearing purple, green and yellow hats kept the crowd psyched while they waited in the cold for Ms. Zellweger. Re-cheeked Harvard cheerleaders jogged in place and shook their pom poms. Hasty Pudding actresses wore jeans under their Shakespearean dresses to stay warm. Knife-wielding students launched through the crowd on springed stilts. A red scooter motorcade shivered in the sun. Pale pink Renee Zellweger balloons bobbed against the blue sky.    
Photos by Caroline Treadway

"I have frostbite on my toes," a girl next to me said as we waited on the sidewalk. 

Finally, a silver convertible Bentley carrying Renee and two Hasty Pudding members parted the tangle of paparazzi and rubberneckers.
Photos by Caroline Treadway

Flanked by Hasty Pudding members dressed in drag, Renee Zellweger documented her parade via cellphone. I felt an odd kinship. 
Everyone scrambled for photos on the slick sidewalks. A cardboard sign that read, "You complete me," hovered over the crowd", people yelled,"Renee, we love you! and, "Renee over here!" The streets were mayhem and the cops were trying to keep a straight face as they herded the crowd through Harvard Square.

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