E Is for Excess

Our video-game prowess might be limited to gobbling blue Ms. Pac-Man goblins, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t awed by the graphics of today’s game offerings. We marvel even more at just how into it gamer types are. The industry’s yearly E3 Convention downtown seems to get bigger and bigger (Bill Gates was there this year), while the parties never spare expense. We kicked off the high-tech hijinks at BPM mag’s VIP bash atop The Oviatt Hotel, where DJ Benji Madden spun a selection of very un–Good Charlotte–like hip-hop for biker boy Rick Thorne, Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle’s John Cho (a.k.a. Harold) and boogie-lovin’ twins Efren Ramirez (Napoleon Dynamite’s Pedro) and Carlos Ramirez, whom we still can’t tell apart, even when they’re pop-locking on the same dance floor. BPM took the bump ’n’ thump up a notch the following night at House of Blues, where its party for Best Buy offered BT, Kid Millionaire, Benji and Joel Madden, and wax masher Z-Trip. The Z man was also a featured DJ at XBox Live’s bash at The Social (formerly Hollywood Athletic Club) on Friday, and despite its glossy new “private men’s club” look, we couldn’t help thinking back to the old HAC days when promoters Jason Lavitt and Joseph Brooks threw their glam/fetish holiday dance mega-parties there. In one of the upstairs rooms — normally for “members” only — we encountered a roundtable of game fanatics trying out the new Shadowrun, which, one of its creators tried to explain, is about a future world in which everybody has different magic powers and an arsenal of wild cyber-weapons (think Dungeons & Dragons meets The Matrix). We didn’t get most of the guys’ mystical computer-nerd jargon, but the game must be fun ’cause the room was rowdier than the one next door showing the NBA playoffs. The deceptively fruity, free-flowing drinks — with names like “The Frogger” and “The Street Fighter,” after simpler old-school game faves — surely didn’t hurt.

Gatherings Gone Wild

Talk about a flashy bash. We got an e-mail invite for Joe Francis’ Thursday birthday party at Magic Mountain (featuring free rides and DJ AM spinning) but decided to pass after we realized he’s behind those awful Girls Gone Wild vids. Those who did ride and glide tell us the place was line-free (even for the new ’coaster, Tatsu) except, of course, at the bar . . . The new club we’re already sick of and we haven’t even been to yet? Shag, where celeb-setters like Paris Hilton and new BFF (blond fake female) Pam Anderson have been shaking their tail feathers lately. Despite the name, don’t expect any retro haircuts or groovy ’60s sounds. We hear this one’s basically Concorde with a modern mini-makeover . . . New eatery at which we’ll probably see both of the above (and everyone else) grazing by next month? The spot formerly known as Les Deux, which has been taken over by Lonnie Moore, one of the fellas behind Dolce, Geisha House and Bella. The conspicuous consumption continues . . .

LA Weekly