Thursday, January 18, 2007

My First Real Hollywood Party

Went to my first Hollywood wrap party last night. I had nothing to do with making the movie, just knew someone who did and wrangled me an invite for the experience. You see, I’m much better at wrangling than making a movie. You’ll understand that better after you see “Beautiful Loser.” You’ll watch it and think, “Gee, wish it had been 95 minutes of wrangling instead of that.” I know you'll think this because a lot of people put those very words on the comment cards after test screenings: “Would’ve preferred wrangling.”

Now, if you’ve never been to a Hollywood party let me save you some time and tell you there's really no need to read this because absolutely every cliche you've ever heard about Hollywood parties is true. So, stop reading. You won’t learn anything here. Go on with your life. Really.

The party didn't start till 10:00 p.m. Yeah, and on a school night. But even then I was warned not to get there on time. Anything earlier than an hour late and you're a loser. As a matter of fact, if you get there before 11:00 security guards kick the shit out of you for being such a loser. And don't bother calling the police because showing up at a Hollywood party before 11:00 is illegal in Hollywood and the cops join in kicking the shit out of you.

Now the party’s at this club right off Hollywood Boulevard. And for some reason they got a bunch of streets closed and it’s about ten degrees out here. In other words: Street parking’s an impossibility. That means you have to go valet. And valet parking is nothing more than a scam in the art of having a stranger find a spot for your car on the street that you couldn’t. What do they know you don’t? Where do they put your car? Best not to think about it.

So, me and my 93’ Dodge (Why do I drive a Dodge, you ask? Because that's what Al Bundy drives.) are in the valet line surrounded by Mercedes', Lexus', and Cadillac SUV's. I didn’t see a Prius. I know that thanks to excellent PR people outsiders tend to picture a Hollywood choked with eco-friendly hybrids, but it’s really not. You do see a Prius once in a while but there’s usually a PR guy around with a photographer. Stars like to preach about saving the environment, but until I’m watching the Oscars and see those limo’s unload like carpool clown cars, I’m not buying it.

Anyway, Valet Guy finally gets to me and he's got this thick Russian accent and a sort of a gutteral husky voice. Very creepy near midnight in the rain.

I ask, "How much is parking?"

He says, "How close do you want to be?"

I say, "In case you haven't noticed, I'm driving a Dodge, so, I'm not too hip on the whole valet shakedown thing. What's it gonna cost to get out of here tonight?"

"Well, is normally seven dollar. But you pay what you think fair."

"Is five bucks fair?"

"For five bucks we find nice spot and when you are ready to go home we give you map to your car and bus pass.”

And there went seven bucks.

If you've never been to Hollywood Boulevard, it's an amazing place. By merely crossing a street it can be like stepping into another city; because it's a mixture of ghetto and opulence. This swanky night club I was at is right across the street from this rundown Chinese Food and Donut place that was crowded with the homeless trying to get out of the rain and cold. So, you stand on the red carpet next to rich people dripping in diamonds and right across the street there’s all this horrible abject poverty and you can only think to yourself, “This is so cool! They really got a red carpet!”

But the coolest thing was that I was "on the list." It was my first time being “on the list.” Being “on the list” matters. You don’t go anywhere out here if you’re not “on the list.” Puff Daddy has to be “on the list.” But I checked and he wasn’t; which means that had Puff Daddy tried to get in, he wouldn’t have been able to, when I was. Eat that Puff Daddy.

And it’s just like TV -- and isn’t real life only worth living when it’s just like TV? Anyway, just like on TV, Burly Security Guard asks for your name, you give it, and as he flips pages on a clipboard looking for your name you sweat fearing you’re not “on the list” and may end up across the street at the Chinese Food and Donut place with Puff Daddy. It also didn't help my nerves that a familiar looking Dodge kept zooming back and forth behind me at ninety miles per hour. But then it happened: I. Was. In! And it was in that brief moment of perfect nirvana that I couldn’t help but wonder what poor people were doing right then.

Now came the embarrassing part: Because I haven’t had a job in 18 months, I have what’s called “Jung-Jing disease.” This is a fairly new phenomenon that afflicts the Job-Challenged. What happens is that after months of watching 7 to 8 Law & Order reruns a day, every time you enter a new place you make the same Law & Order jung-jing sound effect they make when they go to a new place. And it doesn’t matter where you go. It can be a grocery store, your garage, church... Right now there’s no known cure for Jung-Jing disease and because of people’s preconceived notions about the Job-Challenged we suffer a terrible prejudice. Myself and some other Job-Challenged have talked about doing something to increase research funding and public awareness of Jung-Jing disease but we just don’t feel like it.

Walking into a Hollywood party was an immediate assault on my senses, and not just because it was two hours past my bed time. The music is so loud you can't hear anything -- which I don’t understand; the whole idea of these parties is to meet and mingle. But you end up shouting at everyone over the music. And it’s so dark you could be shouting at anyone. The first person I shouted at was Steven Spielberg, and do you think Steven Spielberg’s gonna give me a job when the first thing I did was yell at him? And the place was packed. And I mean PACKED. You could barely move. It took me twenty minutes and a $6 Coke just to adjust to the environment. Yeah, that’s right: A six-dollar Coke. I didn’t even get the can. It came in this little plastic cup. And everybody else got a glow stick in their drink. I didn’t even get ice. I was like, “Hey, why no glowstick?” Well, you have to buy the $11.00 drink to get the glowstick. Can you imagine paying $11.00 for a drink? I went back and yelled at Spielberg.

Another true cliche about Hollywood is that all the best looking women are here. All right here. Right close to me. All bundled together in the 8 square miles between Santa Monica and the Hollywood Freeway. I loved going to my last high school reunion, because after a couple years in Hollywood all those girls who wouldn’t go out with me in high school suddenly didn't look like such big losses. Of course, all my high school buddies were curious how I could live in Hollywood with all these desperate hot actresses and remain happily married. Well, that’s because I’m blessed by the fact that none of those desperate hot actresses find me attractive.

Hot actresses were everywhere. And I’m dressed right: Black boots, blue jeans, leather jacket and white t-shirt -- you know, because The Fonz look will never die -- and the girls are ignoring me per the norm. But had I been single and carrying business cards that read “producer,” I’d have done pretty well that night. And some of these girls didn’t seem all that bright. A card that said “prodooser” probably would’ve done just as well.

A few characters showed up. Peace Man was my favorite: Red pants, red boots, blue shirt, a big diamond peace medallion the size of a hubcap around his neck, and a cape. Yes, a cape. And not just any cape; a red cape. A red cape with a big peace sign on it -- because he is after all: Peace Man. And sunglasses; which proved Peace Man does have superpowers, because it was impossible to see in that place normally.

I wanted to ask Peace Man what exactly he does. What is Peace Man’s mission? How does Peace Man spread peace? Does he stop people from fighting? If so, will he use force to stop them from fighting, and if he does is that peaceful? Or, does Peace Man break up fights peacefully by standing around and saying, “Hey, guys... Come on, guys...”

The only person I knew there was one of the film’s producers. A lovely young woman whom I've only met once and talked to a few times. She likes one of my scripts and invited me to the party. But I think I blew it with the air-kiss. You know, that six-inch-from-the-cheek smooch? I wasn’t ready for it. I’d seen it on TV, but didn’t expect it, and by the time I recovered and air smooched back she had already started talking. It was really awkward. I’m not sending scripts to anyone but homely guys from now on.

At first the unbelievably loud music was all pre-recorded. They played a little Culture Club from the 80's. I heard three people say, "Who is this? I need to sign them." Then an up and coming starlet from the film took the stage with her own band. She looked fourteen and wore white cowboy boots, tight shorts, a halter top, and a feather boa. I think I’m getting old because all I wanted to do to her was ground her. How was her music? Well, let’s just say all the "need to sign them" talk stopped immediately.

I don’t think I made it more than an hour before I went home. It was just too much: Too hot, too crowded, and way too loud. They should send captured terrorists to these parties. After two hours they’d spill their guts. But any environment like that really should be a violation of the Geneva Conventions.


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