More celebrities showed up Wednesday night at the soundstage at Formosa and Santa Monica than anyone had a right to expect. Could it really have been just to see the unveiling of the 2005 Jetta from Volkswagen? Or was it to see a performance by Alicia Keys, the inexplicably popular jazz-soul-fusion darling of the moment. All we know is that we went because we always enjoy an event produced by Rabin Rodgers Inc. Really, the cavernous space was beautiful, an eyeful of blue, red, orange, and purple lights; circular, white, open semi-VIP conversation modules; and huge translucent geodesic domes. “This is what Burning Man looks like,” said WOW’s Chris McKim.
Off and on during the evening, the modules became platforms for the likes of Barbara Davis (purportedly in $40 million-worth of jewelry) and her grandson Jason, Sly Stallone, Frank Stallone, Jackie Collins, Nikki Haskell, Carmen Electra, Danny Masterston, Adrian Grenier, Billy Wirth, Kevin Dillon, the Poitier girls, Gabrielle Union, Tom Green, Cris Judd, Shane West, Luke Wilson, Bijou Philips, Rosario Dawson, Jessica Biel, Taryn Manning. . . Prince might have shown if his advance men had found the facility safe enough for His Purpleness when they came inspectin’ the day before.
As deejay Biz Markie (or Mark Ronson) worked the tables, Chloe Sevigny came to the outside smoking area, which had so much smoke hanging in the air it seemed more like we were inside. She was wearing – and wearing well, as usual – a ruffled yellow Yves St. Laurent dress. “St. Laurent is back,” she said. “Are you really getting a Jetta for being here?” Randy Barbato asked her. He had directed her in Party Monster. “Not exactly,” she said. We told her we’d heard she gets to keep the car for a year. “Something like that,” said Chloe. “And you get paid? You don’t have to answer that,” Barbato said. “The car and a chunk of change,” she said. “But you’d come anyway, even without the car and money, wouldn’t you?” we asked. “No,” she said, but we know she probably would have. In a few minutes she left, saying, “Well, I’d better go now and pose with some executives.” (Rosario Dawson and Jessica Biel struck similar deals, we believe.)
Not long after that, six aerialists swung from the ceiling, gyrating to discordant music, inside bags not unlike translucent scrota; then the largest of the domes opened slowly, like a clam, glowing blue, to reveal Alicia Keys and her band – and she kicked into a raucous set to wild response. Keys did footwork as she sang, moving stridently back and forth across the stage. We tried to insinuate to our neighbors that Keys was lipsynching. “My God, she’s lipsynching,” we told the people around us. “Pass it on.” No one bit. Britney, Ashlee, Milli Vanilli: Come on, lip-sinching is the new black. But no one bit. Her set seemed interminable. We don’t get what the hoo-hah’s about. The set eventually ended and deejaying immediately ensued.
It’s safe to say it was the party of the year.
1) Joel Michaely and Randy Barbato, 2) Barbara Davis and Sylvester Stallone, 3) Chloe Sevigny, Rosario Dawson, and Jessica Biel, 4) Carmen Electra and JC Chasez, 5) Aisha Tyler and Danny Masterson, 6) Bijou Phillips, 7) Carmen Electra, 8) Alicia Keys, 9) Jackie Collins, 10) Dome, lights, module, 11) Adrien Grenier, 12) Billy Wirth and Kevin Dillon, 13) Jason Lewis, 14) Frank and Sylvester Stallone, 15) Luke Perry, 16) Shane West
(More pics at Phototopia)