Using Your Illusions

It’s Friday night and, following a regrettable decision to go for sushi at 11 p.m., my boyfriend and I head to Bar Marmont to meet up with friends.

When we reach the door, I’m stoked to see that there’s no line; just a pair of bouncers blocking our way, chatting like Tweedledee and Tweedledum. We wait at the foot of their two-stair throne while Tweedledee gives us the once-over. Unimpressed by what he sees, ’dee then utters the two most hated words in L.A. nightlife: private party.

“We’re here for the party,” I lie, ballsy from two jugs of rank sake.

“There are two parties,” he says, challenging me.

I decide that if pressed, I’ll say I’m there for Mike’sparty. Everyone is named Mike . . . and Mike likes to party.

Luckily, ’dum offers that “there’s Josh’s party and there’s Slash’s party.”

“Josh,” I proclaim, nodding like a deranged bobblehead. “Definitely Josh.”

Tweedledee shakes his head, and for a moment I think he’s gonna reject us.

Instead he scolds us. “You guys are late. Josh is already paying his check.” He clears the way and we head inside.

After that episode, the bar is kind of a letdown, empty for a Friday. Our friends are already plastered, and there’s a sad, sad drag queen leaning against the bar. Her face looks like it’s melting. We never find Josh, our generous host.

For lack of anything better to do, I head to the bathroom to reline, rebronze and regloss. That’s when I see her: HalfNakedGirl, that iconic rock-star party favor that means an actual rock star can’t be far behind.

HalfNakedGirl is styling Bettie Page bangs, a trench coat, thigh-high boots and a pair of post cards. She has taped one post card to her bare chest and affixed the other to her nether region. Each post card has the word CENSORED printed defiantly across it.

“I was gonna wear that same outfit, but I changed at the last minute,” I joke as I pass her.

She laughs and then, in a voice that reminds me of Natasha from Rocky and Bullwinkle, explains, “I try on so many outfit in store. Then I wear this.”

I check out the various members of her black-clad crew, and that’s when I spy him, the reason for HalfNakedGirl’s half-nakedness, the birthday boy with the black motorcycle jacket and the million-dollar grin: Slash.

His long, curly locks are as long and curly as ever. I think his face looks different, but maybe I’ve just never seen his jungle of curls parted enough to reveal it. His posse is small: a former bandmate, a few aging rockers I should probably recognize and a clump of foreign beauties in varying states of undress. Slash has his arms around two of his buddies and he’s swaying back and forth to the music. They’re playing one bad pop song after another, but Slash doesn’t seem to mind. He doesn’t even seem to notice.

Truth be told, nobody really seems to notice Slash either. Last time I was at Bar Marmont, an Ian Ziering (Steve Sanders from Beverly Hills, 90210) appearance set off a frenzy. How come nobody is going mad for Slash? Didn’t anybody else memorize Use Your Illusion I& II in a desperate attempt to win the respect of their older (cooler) brother? Even now, it takes all my self-control to resist whipping out my cell and texting my big brother, Benji, “OMG IM PRTYNG W SLASH!”

I chat with HalfNakedGirl a bit more, but she soon abandons me and I find myself swaying to bad pop with Slash and company. I’m already thinking about tomorrow when I get to tell Benji.


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