ms bojangles

…There must be a word for a beautiful blonde woman who persuades you that doing shots of tequila is a good idea. Oh wait, there is: evil

[Note: the above was written Sunday morning, intended as the opening of a blog entry that didn’t actually materialize until Tuesday night.]

Finding something to wear to the Arabian Nights-themed party in Malibu turned out to be a neat little experience. I had a feeling that pretty much everybody would dress up for this thing and I wanted to hold my own — I get competitive like that — so called my lovely friend Jade to see if she wanted to head out and find some belly dancing gear. Jade’s sense of style is one of the most memorable things about her: although she’s in a position to spend her days at Neiman Marcus if she wants — and sometimes she does — she shows up in vintage cowboy boots she got off Ebay for twelve dollars and had retooled, or black satin ‘handcuffs’ she took apart to wear as matching bracelets, or snug black t-shirts emblazoned with anime characters. She showed up to a dinner one night in a striking cocktail minidress with a halter neckline and low back. Since I tend to like to wear such things, I asked her who the designer was; she told me how she bought it off the rack at the mall and then got it altered the way she wanted. So I figured Jade would not only be the perfect person to keep me company and give me style advice, but might want to pick up something herself (she bought a hip scarf and some incense).

So we went to this place here, right on the Venice boardwalk, not far from the spot where my friend John took my new author-photo shot. When the saleswoman showed me the rack of clothes that “professional belly dancers wear”, I got hooked. I do not know what it says about me that I could be seized with such a compulsion to wear a silver coin-spangly bra top and matching hip scarf (over flared jeans), and assorted snake and slave bracelets and hoop earrings. I jingled-jangled when I moved. You could hear me coming from a mile away. It was cool.

We drove out to Malibu to the party, held at one of the houses sandwiched neatly between the Pacific Coast Highway and the beach.* Easily one of the most fun things I’ve been to in a while (the other would be the Deep Dish concert at the club Space in Miami — I had no idea Deep Dish was that good). Not just the women but a lot of the men had dressed up — and dressed well. There were hookah pipes set up on a table on the balcony overlooking the ocean, and drifts of apricot-scented smoke that I would smell in my hair the next day. The food was good and the alcohol was flowing and the professional dancers did their thing. The second performance was by a pair of bellydancing identical twins. Someone told me that they’re the best and supposedly most well-known act of this kind in Los Angeles, but since I have had minimal exposure to the bellydancing underworld I cannot say if this is true. After that, the Arabian Nights music segued into cool stuff for the rest of us to dance to. I ran into Scott and Crystal — she of the upcoming Anaconda sequels (also the tequila-pushing evil blonde). Crystal wore a short beaded skirt she’d picked up in Morocco and a gold lame draped halter. It occurred to me that she looked like Cleopatra if Cleopatra went clubbing at Studio 54. “You look like Cleopatra if Cleopatra went clubbing at Studio 54,” I informed her. By the time E and I left, the party had thinned out to the hardcore revelers who were planning to end up in the hot tub.

*These houses fit so closely together they look like an unending wall winding along the edge of PCH through the main part of the village of Malibu. They also look small — but aren’t, since they extend out and down along the beach. People rent them for twenty, thirty, forty-plus thousand dollars/month in the summers, and sometimes for the sole purpose of staging parties that promote this thing or that thing and give away lots of cool expensive stuff to famous young people who don’t need it and can easily afford to buy it. Enough of the neighbors finally complained about these parties that holding them in that area is now illegal. Lindsey and Paris will just have to deal.

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