Photo by Hassan Abdul-Wahid
The beautiful people swarmed THE ECHO for the launch of PLAY7, an innovative ticket service connecting an array of L.A.'s top independent theater companies. The brainchild of Circle X Theater Company's JONATHAN WINN, PLAY7 offers subscribers a choice of seven plays for $77. But the mosh pit was more a nosh pit as hungry actors swooped down like locusts on the fabulous spread from restaurants such as Patagonia, Chan Dara and Ciudad. The only glitch of the evening was getting representatives of the theater companies off the stage after announcing raffle prizewinners. Few could resist putting in plugs for their upcoming projects, including playwright BILL ROBENS, director KIFF SCHOLL and playwright/director STEPHEN LEGAWIEC. The affable DANIEL MILLNER of Padua Playwrights Productions even wheedled the crowd into singing "Happy Birthday" to him. Among the attendees were Zoo District's MICHAEL FRANCO, TAMAR FORTGANG and DEBBIE FALB; the gang from the MET Theater, HARRIS MANN and SILAS MITCHELL; Sacred Fools' JOHN WUCHTE; Mark Taper Forum's Taper Too's JIM ROYCE; Theater of NOTE's JOE FOSTER, JANIS HASHE and ROSEMARY BOYCE; Evidence Room's BART DeLORENZO, AMES INGHAM and JOHN ZALEWSKI; actress MELODY BUTIU; Open Fist Theater Company's FAYE JACKSON; and the boys from FURIOUS THEATER COMPANY. The adorable, bespectacled BEN ESHBACH, lead singer of THE SUGARPLASTIC (pictured), showed up an hour early, having forgotten to set his watch back an hour. The trio brought the crowd to its feet with hits like "Montebello" and "Polly Brown," turning the schmooze fest into a boogie night -- no small accomplishment in a room filled with actors on the hustle.
COOKING WITH RUDY
"When we say roast -- we mean roast, goddammit! None of that mushy bullshit! If anybody on the panel says anything nice -- and I mean anything -- your ass is mine!" Like a drill sergeant christening new recruits, host REYNALDO REY besieged panelists at the KNITTING FACTORY to set the ass of the roastee, blaxploitation icon RUDY RAY MOORE (a.k.a. Dolemite), on fire. And did they ever. "I missed my breakfast/I just had my suppa'/come all the way from Alabama to talk about this no-good mothafucka," rhymed JIMMY LYNCH, co-star of several Dolemite films. "Rudy was raised back when children were raised right," said Rey. "None of that goddamn time-out shit. Rudy was raised on knocked-out! His daddy knocked the shit outta' him! Rudy spent the majority of his childhood unconscious!" Sharing the stage with his tormentors, who also included actors JERRY JONES, HAWTHORNE JAMES and ERNEST THOMAS, Moore looked majestic in a green alligator pimp suit, brim hat and shades topped off with a gem-studded cane. Scads of brim-hatted O.G.s weaned on Millie Jackson and Superfly packed the room. But where were Dolemite disciples like Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock and the Wayans brothers? At least rapper Snoop Dogg, Warren G, Arsenio Hall, Robert Townsend, Sinbad and Paul Mooney videotaped their admiration for the pooh-bah of blue humor -- maybe they can help him land a distribution deal for his latest film, The Return of the Dolemite. But the night did ultimately go mushy, when pink-leopard-skin-sun-hat- and leopard-lingerie-sporting IAN WEISS, host of the Web TV show Queen About Town, gushed his love for Moore, whom he called one of the greatest actors of all time. Mr. Moore summed it all up: "I may be too goddamn old to cut the mustard, but I can goddamn sho' lick out the jar!"
A STELLAR AFFAIR
"Ask her how she got her groove back," joked Flaunt magazine's LUIS BARAJAS about STELLA McCARTNEY, who was occupied with her beau, publisher ALISDHAIR WILLIS, as well as a never-ending flow of admirers at the CHATEAU MARMONT supershindig celebrating her new Absolut vodka campaign. Naturally, the appetizers were vegetarian, much to the delight of actress LISA EDELSTEIN, who noted that it's the rare party where she can enjoy a hot dog (soy, of course). The sizable Brit contingent got the multiculti L.A. experience with a mariachi band parading around the courtyard and Madonna backup singer NIKKI HARRIS fronting a gospel group. As we lounged on a bed and contemplated the oddly subliminal décor in one of the hotel rooms open for the party -- wallpaper, lampshades and even bedding were covered with microscopic images of the Stella campaign drawing -- the voice of STEVE MARTIN hooted, "Now here's where the party's at," then he motioned his friend MARTIN SHORT to join us. Two wild and crazy guys! Getting their groove on were TOBEY MAGUIRE, CHLOË SEVIGNY, ROSE McGOWAN, TORI SPELLING, JOSH HARTNETT, MONET MAZUR, HENRY DUARTE, new celeb couples DEMI MOORE and GUY OSEARY, ASHTON KUTCHER and BRITTANY MURPHY, VAL KILMER with actress MYRIAM, and LEONARDO DiCAPRIO, whom we spotted at the NINTENDO GAME CUBE party at HOLLYWOOD & HIGHLAND a few nights later. Joining the ubiquitous Leo D. were THORA BIRCH, ALICIA SILVERSTONE, MATTHEW PERRY, MARK McGRATH, KELLY OSBOURNE and CHRISTINA AGUILERA, while hundreds of less stellar names got stuck waiting outside when the fire marshals limited entry. Hobo-ish rock hotties THE STROKES whipped through a five-song set, after declaring, "We're a bunch of fucking whores." So who isn't in H-wood?
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THEY SHOOT TEQUILA, DON'T THEY?
It was more than just the town being painted red the night PATTI PECK and MELANIE TUSQUELLAS hosted L.A.'s first PAINT THE PARTY benefit bash at their brand-swankin' new EDENDALE GRILL & MIXVILLE BAR in Silver Lake. Artist ANDRE MIRIPOLSKY was commissioned to capture the gathering of local bons vivants and living legends on canvas for all posterity; the work will be auctioned off for posterity and prosperity later this year to benefit the Hollyhock House. Among those bellying up to the courtyard bar, carved out of ice, for a shot of tequila, or checking out the gorgeously transformed 1920s firehouse were composer and Southern eccentric VAN DYKE PARKS, Ant Farm alumnus HUDSON MARQUEZ and kustom-kar guru GEORGE BARRIS, artist COOP, the Weirdos' JOHN DENNEY, the Circle Jerks' KEITH MORRIS, former MC5 guitarist WAYNE KRAMER, actress KATHY KINNEY, The Negro Problem's STEW, and Velvet Hammer vixens MICHELLE CARR and RITA D'ALBERT. Many a partygoer posed for a Polaroid, hoping to be immortalized in the Miripolsky original, but we were a little disappointed when we didn't get to witness the artist in action. He later confided that he planned on painting the work from memory. So much for striking a pose.