We'd never encourage anyone to try and tackle two big industry soirees in a single night; the risk of party-muscle cramping, hors d'oeuvres poisoning, and DUI citations is doubled, and the likelihood of having the same exact conversations (last night's icebreaker certainly began with, "Dude, what up with Kong?") with a slightly different group of people is roughly quintupled. But a brave operative pulled off a double-header last night, enduring both a Very Michael Bay Christmas and a historical epic premiere to file this report:
At the risk of gloating, I enjoyed my greatest accomplishment in 5 years of working in Hollywood in just one evening: I attended both Michael Bay's Christmas party and The New World premiere after-party last night.
First, Michael Bay. My girlfriend and I got concerned when we discovered he was throwing the party at his office in Santa Monica, but then we remembered the brilliance of Pearl Harbor, and realized that the creative genius behind that would surely not let his guests suffer a mediocre party. At the risk of offering up too many boring details, here's a list of what we noticed:
1. Michael Bay can't get many people other than assistants and Jerry Bruckheimer to come to his parties. I wonder if The Island is to blame.
2. The sexy Christmas elves standing at the door looked really really cold.
3. Inexplicably, the floor of the outdoor tent seemed to be heated. And they were projecting abstract video onto the wall next to their parking lot.
4. In all the conversations overheard, not one was about anything other than film.
5. For a guy who has made billions of dollars at the box office, he sure had a meager food spread. Limited to one counter in their office kitchen, the food consisted of shrimp and chicken skewers, prosciutto/mozzarella/sun-dried tomato skewers, veggie thai spring rolls, and crudites. No dessert, Michael?
On the way out I stopped to go to the bathroom but couldn't find it. Thinking only of the Red Bull (ugh!) pressing against my bladder, I wandered upstairs, pushing my way past a guy on his way down. Unfortunately, he wasn't on the way from the bathroom, he was on the way from his office—I should've known by the stone-washed jeans that I was wandering into the inner sanctum of the man himself, but I wasn't thinking clearly. He was oddly unfazed, only slightly curious. I guess being totally oblivious is just as effective as being confident in getting access.
The New World party, held at the Regent Beverly Wilshire hotel, was a big contrast. Since we hadn't been at the movie, we ended up beating the crowd to the party. They had a great line-up of period costumes as guests walked into the ballroom, but the real highlight of the party was the food, appropriately colonial. Highlights included the second-best salmon I've ever had in my life (with a very slightly smoked flavor—-awesome), tiny sweet potatoes and yams, baby shrimp in a creamy sauce, roasted root vegetables, clam chowder, mashed potatoes (in martini glasses!) corn bread, and some meat that looked like wild boar but was probably beef at two carving stations. For dessert they had creme brulee, baby caramel apples, apple tarts, blueberry tarts, mixed fruit cobbler, and a variety of cakes.
The people-watching wasn't quite as good as the food. Maybe they were worn out by watching a three hour movie with almost no plot. I was really hoping that Colin Farrell would beam in on a video conference from rehab, but maybe the sight of all the fun would have sent him back to the painkillers, so no luck. We saw Q'orianka Kilcher, who plays Pocahontas—I think she's like 15, even if she looks older. [Favorite line of the night, my friend disappearing after saying, "I'll be back, gotta go hit on Pocahontas."] Casey Affleck was nearby with some guys of unknown origin. Saw Ryan Gosling, whose hair is really really short and almost in a mohawk—he seemed like a shockingly nice guy, taking time to talk warmly to fans and holding the door open for his friend when she got into her car. It made me like him a lot more. No sign of Rachel McAdams, or her nipple. I kept seeing Jim Caviezel, but I didn't realize it was him until today. Also saw Ashton Holmes, the kid in A History of Violence. I don't even know if Terrence Malick showed up, but his wife was there. I think a lot of cast members were there, because I saw more Native Americans in that room than I thought existed in Los Angeles. Maybe because it was a benefit premiere, the crowd seemed older and better-dressed than usual. I saw no evidence of peace pipes or genocide, but I may have missed out on a side room.