By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
A white SUV limousine idles by the entrance. A woman in black hops out and pleads, “Can I please just go in to get my people?”
1:20 a.m. With her favorite slicing-across-the-neck motion, Emma shuts down the bars: one on the dance floor, two by the entrance, one in the rear sports lounge. “Once you shut down the bar, you have a half-hour until people leave. Tops.” Grandmaster Flash, who seems like he could spin forever, plays a final song with a line that goes: “I’m the lyrical gangster.” Sure enough, some 30 minutes later, the stage lights come on. People blink, shaken out of their trance. I follow Emma to the backstage area one last time. Most of the radios have found their way into the silver briefcases. The cones as well are going home and are being stacked into towers. The woman watching the radios has worked a 16-hour day, as have Emma and Beau, who will remain on-site to supervise the clean-out. As “lyrical gangster” plays, the cleanup crew waits in the wings. “Go through every channel and say, ‘Turn your radio off now, turn your radio off now,’” Emma says to Radio Girl.
1:30 a.m. A server hurtles out of the restroom, mini–
tennis skirt in hand. She drops a pair of white panties, which a security guard picks up. “Don’t you want these?”
“No,” she sighs. “I’ve been wanting to get out of them all night.”
2 a.m. The street is open again. The fences are gone. It smells like champagne. New best friends stagger tipsily down the red carpet in the dark. A couple in disheveled tuxedo and gown hop out of a limo and try to sneak inside. Security holds tight: “Party’s over, guys. Go home.” They peer into the darkened warehouse. “But my sister,” says the woman, hesitating even as she’s shooed away, “she left . . . her purse. Inside.” As I leave, Emma sits down for the first time that night.
When they remember the party, will people think of how cool it was to play a video game with Marky Mark? How Mira Sorvino almost kicked Corey Magette’s ass in basketball? How the most famous DJ in the world played a song for them while they kissed on the dance floor? Who’s to say? But one thing is certain: Jeffrey Best knows how to throw a party. His crew have their work cut out for them as they make their furious push toward dawn.EPILOGUE: REPUTATIONS MADE
Jeffrey Best used to think that all the other event planners out there were like bloated rock stars and that he was the punk rock band of event planners. Now he thinks he’s becoming the fat rock star himself. Although he would say that he thinks he’s enjoying it more than anyone else. He once said that throwing parties in Los Angeles was like having a bad case of penis envy — everyone wants to be bigger and better. When I remind him of this, he chuckles and tells me about a party that took place 20 years ago in L.A. He didn’t go to it. He didn’t even work on it. “You came to the event, you paid a fee and were assigned to one of three tents right next to each other.” He pulls out a yellow legal pad and draws three boxes representing a red, a blue and a green tent. In the red tent were foie gras, lobster, oysters and French wine. In the blue tent were bologna sandwiches and beer. In the green tent were uncooked rice and water. “You had agents and managers who were loving life in here,” he jabs at the red tent. “And you had people in here,” he points at the green tent, “drinking water and eating nothing. They were demanding to be let into the red tent. Demanding! (Don’t you know who I am? You must let me into that tent!)” Pause. “This party, you see, was a benefit for the End Hunger movement. But it didn’t matter that the rest of the people in the world had to live this way. These people were pissed that they had to exist that way for five minutes. For me, what’s bigger and better? What means something? That was bigger. That was better. I could do that event all day long.”