I didn't mean to blow off all my responsibilities yesterday, but when a schmoozy Hollywood luncheon turns into a full-on party by 3pm, and Pamela Anderson is sitting at the next table in all her glory, transcribing interviews drops pretty low on the list of priorities. And it was Friday. All this week, Flaunt magazine and the luxury concierge service Quintessentially have been hosting Oscar-centric shindigs at the "House of Flaunt," an opulent Italianate villa up in the Hills by Runyon Canyon. I'd been to Thursday night's Crash bash with Lina, and despite strong Patron margaritas and a casino in the basement where I actually won my first hand of Texas hold-'em, we left around 11, freezing cold and totally over the scene. So my expectations for a lunch honoring David LaChappelle's amazing (but not Oscar nominated, alas) documentary Rize were low. And that was a smart move, because they were met ten times over. Let me just say, when in doubt about a date, bring clowns; they make everything better. I recommend this to any Oscar nominees who are debating between their mom and their agent. My girlfriend Monica is actually a professional clown who goes by the name Ketchup; "I guess that makes me Mustard," said Charon, a stylist with natural corkscrew curls who was dolled up as a decadent Raggedy Ann. And since LaChapelle's film is about a subculture of hip-hop dancing clowns in South Central L.A., my girls caused quite a stir. "You must be the clowns," smiled the PR woman when we arrived, whooshing us in before I even gave my name. Apparently she didn't make the connection that Monica was neither black nor a hip-hop dancer. She does have mad skillz with the balloons, though.
Since this was an Oscar event, there were all kinds of beautifying and primping services to indulge in before facing the crowds. While Pacey from Dawson's Creek got a shave from Jesse of The Shave Beverly Hills (see my piece on male grooming in next week's paper), the celebrity makeup artist Christian McNally gave me chocolaty smoky eyes, and glossy coral lips to match my tights. McNally was using lovely products by Jane Iredale that smelled like flowers (some kind of magic powder/foundation with built in spf), and he gave me some samples and a copy of his instructional DVD, Make-up Made Easy. We'll see if I can pull off the smoky eye thing on my own. Then I sat down for a two-minute interview with Lynda Keeler from the style website Delight, who wanted to know the story of my snakeskin boots (Robert Clergerie; got 'em at a flea market in Brooklyn for $20). Not only was Keeler a fan of my boots, she also told me that she loves the Style Council. "It's so fresh, and so needed," she told me. Thanks Lynda, the SC loves you too. At that moment David LaChappelle walked in to the primping area, and I asked someone to take this picture of me with the movie star handsome photographer and director (eat your heart out, Tom Ford), his transsexual muse Amanda Lepore, and Larry, one of the stars of Rize, also pictured above with Mustard and Ketchup.
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When it came time to be seated for lunch, many unfortunate invitees were told that they couldn't be accommodated; only guests of LaChappelle and the event's two honorary hostesses, Pamela Anderson and the fashion designer Mizuki Ueda, would be able to chow down on the gourmet grub from Il Grano. Again, I had the clown clout working for me, and Ketchup, Mustard, and I were shown to a table by the bar with a full view of the room – which was actually a pool with a plexiglass covering and a tent overhead. Seated beside us were a group of dancers from Tommy's Hip-Hop Clown Academy, some of the stars of Rize, and Monica began bonding, clown-stylie. Larry, a mercury-hipped dancer with a sweet grin who rocks the big Clown/Krump showdown in the film, took a shine to me (must have been the smoky eyes) and asked me out on a date. I told him I was probably too old for him, and he pressed on, "You won't even know I'm 22. You should let me take you out." And you know what? I'm thinking about it. That boy has got some moves. The food was beautiful, but really, who gives a hoot about purple cauliflower when Pamela Anderson is taking off her trench coat? Every photographer in the place must have had his lens trained on her, for the moment the sex goddess busted out her double D décolleté, about ten cameras swooped in around her table. She and the equally gorgeous designer Mizuki Ueda, wearing a swishy green silk pleated skirt and killer blue satin stilettos, posed for a photo op that was as fluid as a dance: open the mouth, cock the head, slow-mo to the left, right, no sudden movements, thank you! Here's Pam looking about as prim-and-proper as she is capable of.
After lunch I wandered back inside to check out some of the incredible swag from PowerHouse books, an art and pop culture publisher that filled the library's shelves with tomes for the taking. I picked up some great stuff, but when I got back to the pool area it was suddenly darker and drearier: no Amanda, no Pamela, no LaChappelle, just tired party planners who wanted to get the hell out of there. Charon was totally starstruck by the late appearance of the villainous Santino from Project Runway, but I wanted to maintain a shred of dignity and leave before the catering truck. Luckily it was only 4:30…PM! And the best thing about bringing clowns with you is that you always know you're gonna have the last laugh.