(President Bush has been quietly recording an audio diary of his activities for the archives at his future Presidential Library . . . or souvenir shop. OffBeat was fortunate to get an insider to slip us a copy of the president’s thoughts on last Sunday’s White House Oscar party.)
President Bush: March 25, 2001. This was my first Oscar Party since kind of being voted in as President, and I have to say it was the best dang soiree we’ve thrown since we got here. Laura thought it might be kind of neat if we made it a sort of theme party, you know, where you make everything seem like it was about something. Being that it was an Oscar Party, we figured we’d make the theme the Oscars. It was my idea to set up the Oval Office like the city of Bedrock from The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas, Laura and my’s choice for Best Picture this year. We had everyone come dressed as their Oscar favorites. Laura wanted to be Erin Brockovich, and that was A-OK with me. We’ve been hitched for over 20 years and I sure didn’t know old Laura was packin’ those twin bazookas. I’ll tell ya, she can serve me contaminated water any time she wants.
President Cheney . . . I’m kiddin’ ya, Co-President Cheney came dressed as Willem Dafoe in Shadow of the Vampire. We all told him that we thought it was really original of him to carry a bottle of blood around, but then we all felt kind of bad when we found out it was doctor’s orders.
Colin Powell came as Gladiator. But he decided to still look black. That was plenty all right with me. Feeds right into the whole diversity in the Cabinet thing that Dad thought was really cool.
Condeleeza Rice and Gale Norton both came dressed as the sorely overlooked Helen Hunt (Cast Away) and I thought things were gonna get Coyote Ugly. Luckily, before the cat claws came out, Christie Todd Whitless, who I didn’t think was gonna make it (she still got her bowels in an uproar about me re-deciding the coal agenda), whipped them little gals into line like she was Russell Crowe.
Trent Lott was a hoot. Lotty came dressed as Joan Rivers and interviewed all the guests as they came in. And Tom Delay’s Melissa (Rivers) was right on. The Hammer told Lotty that his knees were kind of baggy, and I thought I’d bust a gut when Lotty said, “Those aren’t my knees, those are my breasts,” oh-oh-oh.
In honor of that Crouching Dragon flick, we invited the Japanese ambassador, but I guess he never saw the movie ’cause he didn’t seem to know what we was talkin’ about.
Couldn’t you just have strangled Julia Roberts? She’s cute, but if the stick man tells you your time is up, you better darn well listen to ’im, him being like the President of the orchestra and everything. How come Orchestra leaders don’t have Vice-Conductors? Gotta ask Dick.
Do you believe that Steve Martin slipped and actually admitted that all of Hollywood was gay. I wonder if that meant that the Gipper . . . NAH. That was back in the ’40s and ’50s before people got gay.
Real glad that left-wing nympho Vice-President wannabe Joan Allen (The Contender) didn’t win anything. It’d be like Clinton all over again, ’cept he’d be a girl, and then we’d have a harder time rippin’ him a new one.
Well, gotta go, tape recorder. It was one hell of a night, although we did end up stayin’ up way past 10. We tried to watch the Awards on the West Coast feed, but Greenspan explained that what happened on the West Coast happened at the same time as the East Coast. Shows Greenie doesn’t know everything.
Notwithstanding the occasional Chuck Heston, Hollywood is a bastion of liberals, especially on Oscar night, when award winners often grab their moment in the sun to promote the latest progressive causes before a captive global audience. Which is why, last week, ecopledge.com exhorted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to drop PriceWaterhouseCoopers as its official vote-tabulation firm. According to ecopledge — a national campaign of the state Public Interest Research Groups — PriceWaterhouse is a paying member of the National Mining Association (NMA), a group representing some of the worst anti-environmental companies on record. The NMA currently lobbies for, among other things, looser standards on the amount of arsenic that mining companies can dump into drinking water. The academy apparently rejected ecopledge’s plea, and instead happily handed Julia Roberts an Oscar for Erin Brockovich — the story of a sexy legal researcher who uncovered an environmental scandal — while employing a company the real Brockovich might have sued.
When Julia Blanchard learned she had a week to throw together a fund-raiser for 32nd congressional District candidate Tad Daley, she quickly realized her caterer would be Costco. Daley, a quixotic white candidate for the Baldwin Hills–Ladera Heights–Crenshaw seat long held by an African-American, is sort of the John Anderson of the crowded race — in fact, Anderson spoke at Daley’s fund-raiser Saturday evening. Daley, 44, a J.D./Ph.D. author and speaker whose main issues are eliminating nuclear weapons and genocide, and empowering the United Nations, is not only running his campaign on a shoestring. While other candidates wallow in lagoons of soft money, Daley and campaign manager Andrew Okun (Blanchard’s husband and OffBeat’s friend) are determined to be positively Cotton Matherish about adhering to campaign-spending restrictions. And the limit on a couple entertaining for a candidate is $2,000, Okun said. (Anything more would have to be reported as an “in-kind” contribution.)
Blanchard had already served food at other campaign events, including blocks of cheese at the weekly strategy meetings at their Mar Vista home (there is no Daley office). “We’ve been putting the same cheese out every week, which I don’t think anyone has noticed yet,” said Okun, whose official title is “Chief of Staff” because “the candidate was inspired in part to run by The West Wing, and I was the closest thing he was going to get to Leo McGarry.” So Blanchard had to keep the costs way down. The first thing she did was borrow 50 glass plates and coffee cups from her daughter’s playmate’s mother. The woman got the plates from her own mother, who used to entertain, but, with a job and two kids, the younger mother rarely uses them. “She wanted me to take 10 glass vases too,” Blanchard said.
Costco came through with platters of sushi, shrimp, wine, sparkling water and beer. The napkins were from Smart & Final. Costco also provided taquito and won ton hors d’oeuvres, but they didn’t go down real well: “As it turns out, a lot of people are vegetarian, which I had kind of thought of before because it would be a very liberal crowd,” Blanchard said. Other Daley supporters contributed cheese, crackers, a cake and veggies. “I also got vegetables because, this is going to sound sexist, but it was a man who said he’d bring the vegetables, and I had no idea what he would bring,” Blanchard remembered. “He brought two small containers of already cut up carrots and celery from the market and grocery-store dip. I combined them with mine on a platter and made them look nice.”
Dessert was cookies and brownies by chef Blanchard. The children of Daley supporters passed around the food. Decorations were courtesy of Okun/Blanchard’s son, who hand-made wall signs reading “Welcome to the Land of Tad” and “Time To Talk Tad.” (The children, who were used to much more ready access to their father, are getting a little tired of the campaign, Blanchard said. “In our family we now have a joke, when we talk to each other we say, ‘Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad, Tad.’”) Blanchard hasn’t totted up the receipts, but she thinks she came in well under her target of $500. “And I can still return the wine nobody drank,” she added brightly.
After the event, Blanchard’s daughter inquired whether they went over the limit. Told no, the daughter pointed out, “We would have had enough money left over for a bouncer. They’re always popular at a party.”