Hollywood-ites mixed and mingled with the politically minded at the annual fund-raiser for the nonprofit STEP UP WOMEN'S NETWORK at the JIM HENSON STUDIOS. A Carmen Electraless DAVE NAVARRO skipped the paparazzi and red-carpet walk and snuck in the back entrance to join the B-list throng in the courtyard, which included former Trekkie COLM MEANEY, actor NEAL McDONOUGH and designer ALISON EASTWOOD. Inside, ER star MING-NA, Aussie actress RADHA MITCHELL and designer HENRY DUARTE clutched cosmopolitans and perused the handbags and jewelry for sale, while king of snark CRAIG KILBORN chatted up every starlet in sight until the RICHARD TYLER fashion show started. Late arrival MATTHEW PERRY missed Tyler's couture extravaganza entirely but arrived just in time to catch the acoustic set from singer-songwriter ROSEY. On the way out, we stopped to pick up the ubiquitous gift bag. Now, some gift bags are created more equal than others, so we asked if ours came "fully stocked," apparently the best code phrase since the "I'd like extra biscuits, please" order placed at a KFC recently, because we scored not just lipstick and breath mints inside our little white bag, but a prescription muscle relaxer as well. A rep for the Network later assured us the pharmaceuticals weren't usually part of the deal, although that's one way to liven up a soiree.
Both glam and slam turned out for a staged reading of EVE ENSLER's Necessary Targets at the WILSHIRE THEATER. Recently performed in New York to mixed reviews, Necessary Targets is the playwright's follow-up to her Obie Awardwinning mega-hit The Vagina Monologues. Set in a Bosnian refugee camp in 1995, Ensler's latest play looks at the effects of war on women. JULIANNA MARGULIES, CALISTA FLOCKHART, MIRA FURLAN, CLORIS LEACHMAN and JULIA STILES read the parts of the refugees. KATHLEEN CHALFANT was center-stage as an ill-equipped American shrink who butts heads with a war-hardened, tape-recorder-wielding journo played by Ensler. All seven actors wore black, with outfits ranging from Furlan's chic ensemble to Stiles' teengirl tennies with skirt. Among the glitterati spotted at the after-party were JANE FONDA, GLORIA STEINEM, HOLLAND TAYLOR, ERIQ LaSALLE, KATHY NAJIMY, CHARLOTTE RAE, and GORDON and JUDI DAVIDSON. Listening to war horror stories from famished refugees apparently gave everyone a hearty appetite -- there was a crush of revelers gathered around the dessert table at the after-party, where the wee Ms. Flockhart clutched onto Margulies in an attempt to escape a horde of eager fans -- or perhaps just the smorgasbord of sweets. Caviar-toting waiters were warmly received, unlike the flock of Campari girls bombarding revelers with vats of the vile apéritif. Proceeds from the charity event benefit three organizations, one of which is V-Day, an international movement launched by Ensler to end violence against women. Ending Campari cluster-bomb attacks might be a step in the right direction.
BACK TO MONO
"He played like four to five tracks and then got the fuck outta here. And I won't get into the drama behind that," declared one PR maven after DJ MIGUEL MIGGS abruptly cut his set short at JASON BENTLEY and GARY RICHARDS' unveiling of STEREO, their Thursday-night dance party at THE IVAR, which featured DJs DARREN EMERSON and TIM DELUXE. Maybe she won't, but we will: Spundae promoter NEIL THOMAS had a big problem when he spotted Miggs behind the turntables, since the Naked Music maestro has an agreement not to play another local venue within 30 days of his sets at Spundae -- so, bye-bye, Miggs. No wonder rival promoter DAVE DEAN of Giant kept smiling to himself all night; meanwhile, Urb's RAYMOND ROKER, DJ ALICIA, Groove Radio's HOLLY ADAMS and actor MICKEY ROURKE were among those checking out the cool circular wood DJ area in the middle of the dance floor and the booths enclosed in neon-blue lit glass that went to the second floor at the new Hollywood club, started by the guys who own the trendy Cuban supper spot Nacional. But that wasn't the only drama. Local nightlife titans and scenesters had gripes aplenty to share: Don't even get 'em started on the crummy sound system, and then there were the super-pricey libations -- $38 for four cocktails, noted one outraged patron, and two of the drinks were beers. But the biggest complaint came the next day in a scathing mass e-mail sent by One Entertainment's JASON V., who dubbed the evening a "whirlwind of chaos" and apologized for the fact that the cover was changed from $10 to $20 without his knowledge. "If he promoted any sort of arrangement with his e-mail list, then I suppose an apology is in order to his people, but he has no power or say in our organization," says Bentley. "I don't even know who he is. If my partner Gary had some arrangement with him, it was not to my knowledge." Everyone, get a gripe.
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JUST DICKING AROUND
Not even the recent ousting of Miss Russia as Miss Universe could've outdone the ferocity of the 2002 QUEST FOR THE CROWN, a beauty pageant benefiting Aid for AIDS that assembled 20 of the world's cattiest sabotaging ball-busters at the WILSHIRE EBELL. And who better to preside over these hissing he-she-devils "that look like the cast of my big fat Greek penis" than the endlessly quotable MC BRUCE VILANCH? And what a bizarre panel of judges -- 1940s MGM child star MARGARET O'BRIEN, the prairie bitch from Little House ALISON ARNGRIM, the real "Tuck Everlasting" RuPAUL, MINK STOLE, RIP TAYLOR, NELL CARTER and ANNA NICOLE SMITH. Just who among the five finalists would snag the coveted faux-cubic-zirconium crown: the arfing poodle MISS FRANCE; gold-toothed ho hick MISS USA; MISS GERMANY, whose thighs rivaled Schwarzenegger's; MISS VIETNAM, "born in the year of the cock"; or MISS PUERTO RICO, a.k.a. Susanna Maria Lorena Rosanna Enrique-Lopez? Talent portions ranged from hog calling to carjacking, while during the interview round, contestants were asked questions such as "If you were Buddha for a day, what would you do?" -- to which Miss Germany replied, "I'd buy Christina Aguilera a whole blouse and a hot meal." But it was Vietnam's MISS CHU-MEE NAO and her rendition of "Anything Goes," against the backdrop of an exploding minefield, that won the title of Miss Whole Wide World, succeeding last year's Miss Vatican City ("back from her goodwill tour of the Goodwill"). If, for any reason, the reigning winner is unable to fulfill her duties at all those truck stops, Wal-Marts and Krispy Kremes . . .