My friend Anne was moving back to San Francisco from San Diego, and she wanted to spend one night in a swanky L.A. hotel by the beach. Only problem was, everything in Venice and Santa Monica was booked. I did a google search, and one of the options was the brand-new Belamar in Manhattan Beach, whose website showed portraits of chihuahas dressed like Charles Lindberg hanging in every room, and boasted the tagline “experience the fabulousness.” She booked it, and invited me to experience it with her. As we followed the directions past office parks and fast food restaurants and strip mega malls I had my doubts about just how fabulous this place could possibly be. But then we pulled into a driveway swarming with people and fancy black cars and spotlights everywhere. How fabulous! “There's some kind of a shoot going on,” I observed like a true investigative journalist, and set out to find out what it was for. “G-Unit video” I was told by a guy who did not want his picture taken. “Why don't you take a photo of these guys with the Ferrari? It's worth $200,000,” he suggested, indicating three Jamaican fellows, who were happy to oblige. The guy in the yellow headwrap asked me for my number and I was trying to politely decline when my friend Anne came walking over. “What are you doing out here? It's crazy inside, you have to come in.”
I walked into the lobby, letting Anne deal with check in, snapping as I went, and here's what the scene looked like…
Wait a minute. I looked at the picture a little closer. “Dude, that's 50 Cent!” I told Anne. “Yeah, no kidding, he's been in here the whole time,” she said. The guy in the tan leather is Tony Yayo, and the guy in the white railroad engineer-ish hat is Gil Green, the director of Tony's new video, “I Know You Don't Love Me,” featuring (duh) 50 Cent, whose semi-autobiographical film Get Rich Die Tryin' opens next week. So of course I needed to get a better picture of the BIG STAR in our midst, being a dutiful Style Council girl. And suddenly opportunity knocked: Fiddy started walking down the hall. I took aim. “Excuse me, you can't do that,” said a big beefy white guy. “Can I take your picture?” I asked the man also known as Curtis Jackson, reputed to wear a bullet-proof vest at all times. “I said no,” Beefy said. “He was gonna say yes,” I insisted. “Yeah, but I already said no.” “Who are you?” I asked obnoxiously. “His bodyguard.” Oh. Never mind. But it ain't over til it's over, ya know what I'm sayin?NICE! He did give me permission, by the way, and out of the corner of my eye I could see his bodyguard smiling at me with a glint in his eye I would have to characterize as pure hatred. So, even though the shoot kinda cramped our style (they downgraded our room, thank you very much) it certainly helped the Belamar to live up to the grand conceit of its motto. And just to confirm that we were in the place to be, look who was hanging around outside, waiting to do a party scene walk-on in his best friend Gil's video: it's Andrew Gallery (c), last seen front row at the Antik Denim fashion show with not-Paris Hilton! Anne and I split the scene shortly after that, having our own agenda that did not involve pretending to party.Cheers, Anne! Southern California misses you already.
posted by Steffie