David A Keeps writes:
“Are you going to South by Southwest?” glam rocker emeritus Michael Des Barres shouted to no one in particular. The scene? The Culver City ice skating arena, Saturday, 1:30PM. In what looked like a central casting call for Party Monster: The Last Generation, several hundred of LA’s most beautiful people who once lived in New York and elsewhere, filled the bleachers to watch Bryan Rabin, re-ignite the figure-skating career he left some two decades ago to become a fierce club impresario. Now the go-to guy (along with partner-in-crime David Rodgers) for megacorporations and luxury brands that want to party, Rabin drew a mob of starlets, media types, and full-on flamers whose collective heat threatened to turn the ice into a puddle. Among the bold-faced names: Lisa Edelstein of House (in a denim jumpsuit with mutton cap sleeves), NCIS‘s resident Gothette Pauley Perrette (in living black and white); Rose McGowan (showing off how perfectly she has healed from that recent car accident), Dita von Teese (whiter than the ice itself), Ione Skye (adorable as always) , Cherry Vanilla (unable to shake hands due to a recent injury involving a telephone cord wrapped around her foot); Pat Loud (majestic, regal, the mother of us all, enjoying a hot chocolate at the snack bar); Constance Towers (aka Robert Sherman, not the actress in Samuel Fuller films), James St James (in Easter lilac), interior designer-restaurateur Bret Witke (in pinstripes), super stylist Jennifer Levy with her baby Harry (in a pinstripe vest), Annie Flanders (resplendent in a wool turtleneck) LA Times Image section consulting editor Rose Apodaca (wearing a Westwood necklace), Michael Schmidt (talking about a jewelry collection he’s working on with La Cher), and, of course, Stephen Saban (in a festive ensemble of olive green and khaki). But enough about that.
When Bryan took to the ice for his warm-up in what appeared to be a Dior tux and tie with a triple-process frosted blonde mane combed back just so, shrieks of “You go, girl!” echoed throughout the cavernous arena. And go, he did. With the elegance of Fred Astaire, Bryan sped across the ice, hopped, twirled, Russian-jumped and double axeled, and looped his way even deeper into our hearts. There were a few scary landings that drew sharp intakes of breath from the audience, followed by rapturous applause. The second contestant, a fella from San Francisco who skated to a kind of Western orchestral thing in jeans, a checked shirt, and suspenders, was more like Gene Kelly, skating solid and landing clean without much dazzle. We all applauded politely. Afterward, the radiant Rabin, a lip print on his cheek from some gorgeous admirer, let the room work him. Girlie Tour costume designer Rob Sudaski revealed that his creation had a zipper in the back and was made of “a matte-finished double-knit polyester, the only material that will fit tight and stretch right.” The gang of admirers took their turns congratulating Bryan and then went back to their little klatsches making such worldly observations as: 1) “It’s like an outlaw party, only in LA, at an ice rink, without drugs. Or drink tickets”; 2) “I haven’t seen all these people in one place in the daylight since, um, never”; 3) “Only Bryan Rabin could’ve got this many cool cats and kittens out on a Saturday afternoon.”
In case you were wondering: Bryan did go, girl. He’s now the Pacific Coast Master Championship Men’s Figure Skating Champion and will compete at the 2007 US Figure Skating Adult National Championships in early April. Be there.
– David A Keeps
Photos by Chris McKim, from top left: Rabin in the rink, Edelstein and St James, Edelstein, Janklow, Flanders, McGowan, McGowan, Perrette, St James and Perrette, Constance/Sherman, Rabin medley.