This is how 6 pm becomes 2 am in a New York Minute in this town.
I met up with a friend for a glass of wine (La Poubelle, my favorite French happy hour – it’s perfectly empty) and improv shows at UCB (See “The Smokes”. They are awesomesauce). We sat at a table on the sidewalk, chatted over frites and ketchup and later laughed at wildly inappropriate jokes (the best kind).
After that, I caught up with a friend’s birthday party at Cafe Gratitude (the all-vegan grateful hotspot). As soon as I arrived, I was informed we were moving on to Chateau Marmont. But before we left, I was able to snag a bite of the “I Am Bliss Chocolate-Hazelnut Creme Torte”. It was deliciously non dairy. (My guts rejoice!) Sadly, I did not get to sample the “I Am Comforted Live Macaroni and Cheese” or the “I Am Trusting Tamal Plate”, which sounds a bit foreboding of its bean content. I also witnessed Jason Mraz jump into a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” for another bday girl in the room. The Cafe is full of beautiful people who are deeply grateful for their beauty, shall we say. There is what amounts to an inside baby stroller valet. And quite a Hollywood display of applying said baby to carrier. Oh, LA. You’re so weird!
In Portland, there existed a bumper sticker that screamed “Keep Portland Weird!” in blocky yellow letters. I hated that thing. But I think I’m living in the Keep It Weird sister city.
As the party starts moving to Marmont, I think to myself – there is a lot of cheek kissing going on, lots of sexy foreign accents, pet names being tossed haphazardly about “– What’s that, Doll?” There’s a frenzy to collect our cars, a flurry of goodbyes. Where do I fit into this mix?
I spend 2 minutes sitting in my running car, burning fuel, looking at my GPS. “Where to?” it asks, hopeful. I decide that I’ve never been to Marmont’s restaurant and even though I feel less-than-chic, I will go. Anyone can socialize their way through one cocktail, right?
I give myself a high-five (so, it’s more like a clap) for finding FREE STREET PARKING 2 blocks from Marmont. I am parked right outside the Laugh Factory valet lot, but who cares! I have legs! I have my 5 year old Frye boots on! I can walk. I stop by the doorman at Bar Marmont to ask for the hotel restaurant. He gives me 5,000 detailed instructions on how to walk a few feet and take a right. But he is kind and I appreciate his down to earth friendliness. If it’s because he’s famous or he thinks I’m famous, I don’t care. It’s just nice to talk to a smiling face.
I meet one of our party in the lobby of the hotel. It takes about a millisecond before you feel deliciously scandalous! The Chateau smells like spicy candles and is ornately designed with dark corners, tiny hallways, winding staircases – JUST SO you will casually brush by the likes of, oh I dunno…
This guy, and
This other guy. They were wearing different outfits. But they were definitely Jerry O’Connell and Brad Womack (The Bachelor). My friend and I followed them up the stairs as they were stopped by an adoring fan. We went our separate ways and found our party, outside in the garden. More dark mystery… who is WHO! Everyone looks like Amanda Peet to me! I waver in between trying to catch glimpses — and then pretending it is I who am famous (Ha HA!) and not looking around at all.
I can’t help myself. But neither can anyone else. We all want to know who’s doing
who what. That’s what makes the place so seductive and exciting.
That, and the house cats. There are at least two, roaming freely at the Chateau. I imagine colon cleansing was probably invented on their behalf.
We get Spanish Coffees, Moscow Mules and Martinis. We smoke like cool people. (OK, when I say “we”, I don’t mean me. I don’t smoke, or encourage it. But if you have an accent and a skinny infinity scarf, it tends to look pretty cool on ya.) We discuss interesting topics such as: Tone-poems! How to pronounce tapenade! The longest-running worst play of all time (Eavesdropper, I see you…)! What kind of cheese is this! Who cares! We are fabulous!
After getting lost on the way to the bathroom, I end up figuring out a way to be myself, even though I have no accent, no infinity scarf, no sexy nicotine habit. Instead, I take a quick inventory and decide to use what I’ve got: My sense of humor, my ChapStick and “listening”. By the end of the night, I feel like I have 4 new friendquaintances that I wouldn’t mind seeing again.
It’s already 2 am. We huddle by the valet, hug, cheek kiss and “I love you” our goodbyes. I strike out on my own (No valet for Legs McBudget over here), find my car waiting under a streetlamp and head for home.