insiders/outsiders

The most exclusive after-Oscars party is the Vanity Fair shindig held at Morton’s (a well-known steakhouse on Melrose Ave immediately recognizable by its ivy-covered walls) and although we had friends (associated with the film An Inconvenient Truth) who went to that, E. and I were not among the anointed, chosen few. We went to the Us Weekly party instead, but E and I and my actress friend A. ducked out early. That left us in the car figuring out what to do next: go home and hang out, call it a night?

When in doubt, text-message our Notorious Neighbor. This is how I learned that every year one of the partners of the talent agency Endeavor throws an Oscar party at his house in the hills and it’s supposed to be the prime event for what Defamer once tagged “the scenewhore elite” (after the VF thing, of course). NN was there. “He has wristbands for us,” E told us. Let’s go be scenewhores.

Often it’s more interesting getting into the club or party than being at the thing itself. Cars were lined along both sides of the road, and when we stopped to ask one blonde woman where the house was, she was rude and snide. “Don’t forget your wristbands,” she tossed off over her shoulder. “We won’t,” E said pleasantly, and as we rolled up the window A. muttered, “Don’t be mean just because you’re a thousand years old,” and I couldn’t help adding, “And you’re aging badly.” Catty and low, I know, but satisfying in the moment, because that’s how you strike at the heart of many an LA woman, even when she doesn’t hear you. The woman assumed we were cluelessly crashing (not that she was entirely wrong, but whatever) because it turned out you don’t drive up to the house, you drive to some kind of checkpoint at the bottom of the hill, where you park, receive your wristbands from someone who affirms you’re On The List, then board the shuttle that takes you and others up to the party. The security guards blocking the driveway and walkway leading into the event explained this to us. We tried to get ahold of NN and couldn’t. So we piled back in the car and headed down the hill when NN IM’d us and told us he was on his way to the street to collect us. We turned around and drove back to the house. Security guards met us as we climbed out of the car: “Can I see your wristbands?”

“A friend is bringing them out to us,” E said.

The guards looked at each other and one rolled his eyes: Yeah, right.

He said, “Who’s your friend?”

I said his name — which the guards clearly recognized — just as NN himself yelled our names from behind a crowd of people.

Inside the party was pleasant enough, however anticlimatic. Massive rooms crowded with people and getting more crowded as the night ticked on. Many of the guys, I noticed, had the same hair — flat-ironed and spiky in front. Friends of ours — dot.com people who’d helped produce the global warming film, visiting from the Bay Area — who’d been to the Vanity Fair thing showed up. “This is a much younger crowd than the one we just left,” one of them observed.

“That was the core of the Hollywood power elite,” I said. “This is the group that aims to replace them.”

“Well,” she said, “the power elite didn’t want to talk to us.” Even though their film had just won two Oscars and the man she was with is absolutely revered in the dot.com/business world.

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