"Do you ever warm up before a show?" wondered BECK, as he started a duet with BETH ORTON at KCRW's second annual A SOUNDS ECLECTIC EVENING fund-raiser at the UNIVERSAL AMPHITHEATER. Orton responded, "Well, no. Not really," to which Beck agreed, "Good. Me neither. I just show up and fuck up." Fast-forward to take four: Orton started singing at the wrong time. After a few more attempts, Orton and surprise guest Beck finally nailed the tune "No Expectations." Earlier, Beck cracked up the Average White Kids who packed the house after admitting that he didn't know the words to Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe," which he belted out with Flaming Lips front man WAYNE COYNE. The four-hour-plus show managed to feel fast-paced, with PETE YORN, AIMEE MANN, BLACKALICIOUS, ZERO 7, NORAH JONES and KINKY delivering excellent sets. Backstage, while Yorn fended off industry groupies, actor DJIMON HOUNSOU was in danger of getting the stuffing knocked out of him by two irate women who'd sat in front of him and his chatty entourage. "There's other places where you can go and just talk," noted one of the women, especially considering the Amphitheater's deafening sound system, which caused quite a few folks, including CAMERON DIAZ, to head backstage for a reprieve. Perhaps Hounsou was just trying to sound eclectic.
IN WITH THE OUT CROWD
Untucked shirts and unraveled sweaters gave Out magazine's OUT 100 party a matte rather than a glossy finish. In comparison to the studiously casual revelers, the black-clad HERE LOUNGE staff seemed overdressed. The festivity's glam quotient went up, however, with the arrival of drag diva MOMMA wearing a beaded bodice and toting a sequined purse. Other guests included Dark Angel's RICHARD GUNN, The Real World's RUTHIE ALCAIDE, GENESIS MOSS and NORM KORPI, Presidio Med's SASHA ALEXANDER, Big Brother 3's MARCELLAS REYNOLDS, writers JEFFREY BOHN and JEFFREY SOLOMON, and actors STEVE GUTTENBERG, TORI SPELLING, MARISA COUGHLAN, SHANNON ELIZABETH and ALISON ARNGRIM. Among the "Out 100" list honorees attending were Queer as Folk's ROBERT GANT (whose handsome visage graces Out's December cover), and American Idol's JIM VERRAROS, wearing a fashion-forward shredded tuxedo shirt of his own design. Attired in a conservative blazer, affable Out senior editor JEFFREY EPSTEIN explained that the "Out 100" list honors gay, lesbian, bi and transgender people (as well as their straight allies) who've made positive social contributions in the past year. Making a not-so-positive contribution to the boozy soiree was a guest who dropped a glass -- and then nonchalantly kicked the broken shards behind him. Add him to Out's Hall of Shame list.
Unlike most fancy shindigs, table-hopping and people watching weren't the sports of choice at Elle Décor's DINING BY DESIGN benefit for the nonprofit Design Industries Foundation Fighting AIDS (DIFFA) at Santa Monica Airport's BARKER HANGAR. Instead, the eve was all about table watching. More than 30 designers, including FERNANDO DIAZ, sponsored by actor STEVE GUTTENBERG, and CLAUDIA REBAR, set designer for TV's 24, were given 11 square feet to create their own tables. Home-empire builders Armani Casa and Crate & Barrel each took a stab at showing off their finest, but über-retailer Target became the table of desire thanks to complimentary pairs of fluffy white slippers complete with red bull's-eye logos that selected diners were proudly wearing around. Checking it all out were a Magic-less COOKIE JOHNSON, Scrubs star SARAH CHALKE, DJ JASON BENTLEY, The Book/Los Angeles publisher PATRICK KAHN, and 90210 alum VINCENT YOUNG. The supermodel table of the night was Em Wi Design Group's fantastic glowing resin masterpiece, manufactured by Bam Bam Design, which hung from the ceiling. Only the glitter-encased, flab-challenged fellows representing Champagne Taittinger seemed to be getting eyed more. Mmm, those not-so-tiny bubbles.
A LAD INSANE
Whip-smart upstart TERRY GILLIAM was the center of attention at a private pre-screening party for Lost in La Mancha, part of LACMA's Gilliam retrospective, "Tilting at Windmills." During the intimate gathering of friends and cohorts, which included actors JONATHAN PRYCE and AMANDA PLUMMER, Gilliam announced that the wait to see his next film won't be much longer, since he's now officially onboard to direct The Brothers Grimm. Also on hand were Silver Lake filmmakers LOUIS PEPE and KEITH FULTON, whose documentary Lost in La Mancha chronicles Gilliam's attempt to film The Man Who Killed Don Quixote, and the disasters that kept it from happening. After the screening, New York Times film critic ELVIS MITCHELL held a Q&A with Gilliam, which will be broadcast in January on IFC. The audience, packed with Gilliam pals such as MADELEINE STOWE and LYNDA OBST, as well as JULIA ORMOND, ADAM GOLDBERG, and PARKER POSEY with Peter Sellers look-alike MICHAEL PANES, sat in rapt attention as Gilliam recounted tales from his roller-coaster career and epic battles with Hollywood. One audience member asked how he'd managed to stay sane, and Gilliam let loose with one of his trademark maniacal giggles: "I've never been sane to begin with." As he made his way through the crowd to leave, everyone stood and spontaneously began to waltz. Okay, so maybe that didn't happen, but wouldn't it have been a lovely gesture?