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'Land Straight'

This was mentioned to us in the Wilshire Grand's elevator, the legendary Tony Hawk (a man who has more than proven that falling on concrete doesn't hurt after a while) murmuring it to us through a sheepish grin. For some reason, we entered the elevator only to find one of the greatest skaters the world has ever known leaning against the wall, the lanky one looking tired but happy as he rode down to meet his friends for dinner.

Not bad advice.

E3's parties are in full swing, attendees comparing invitations and events on a near-competitive scale. Get into the Microsoft or Sony party and you're made, your ego glowing with fulfillment. Swing your way into a lower-key, mellow event and this will receive a nod of appreciation, although it would have been infinitely cooler had you been invited to the major parties with the name acts, unbelievable food, opulent giveaways and jaw-dropping advertising/PR budgets.


Party-goers mingle at Nintendo's pre-show event at the Highlands in Hollywood. (Chris Barylick)


Nintendo's party over at The Highlands on Hollywood and Highland lived up to its reputatio: high-end, suit-clad security that could double as NFL linebackers guarding the doors and checking wristbands to keep the uninvited away.

Inside, multiple banquet tables laden with food provided noshies while a DJ spun high-energy funk, hip hop and remixed '80s tunes.

The Black Eyed Peas turned into the centerpiece of the night and although I've never seen them live, they've earned their credits in the mainstream over the past decade and one can see why. The band began with an energy and volume level that tore the room apart. Corporate gig or not, they seemed to put everything they had into their act, mixing in classics and offbeat pieces like Guns N' Roses' "Sweet Child of Mine" with their own songs.

A friend once explained her preference for tight clothing as knowing where her body ended and the world began. While I never felt I completely understood this, Fergie, the lone female of the group, shimmied across the stage in a tight black tank top, push up bra, knowing smile and aqua sweatpants to the delight of her audience. If a lone woman can be the epicenter of sexuality in a given room, it was her.

As the evening went on, the band roared with their own material, a break dancer and compliments toward Nintendo (a bit awkward considering the situation, but honestly -- Nintendo is essentially its own culture at this point and draws from raw fandom where applicable).

The party at the Figueroa was more low key, but anything would be in comparison. Arabian Nights-themed, dozens of inflatable balls floating in the pool while a DJ spun remixed funk and hip hop. Attendees caught up with each other over beers, kicking the balls about while candles and portable gas spot lamps burned nearby. A weird world-music mix blended into the background. And, granted, while it wasn't the coolest party of the event by any stretch of the imagination -- dancing camels, supermodels and door prizes that would make an office manager grimace -- the geeks were relaxing, having fun and talking things over.

And perhaps that's what a good party is all about.

By Bob Greiner  |  May 10, 2006; 2:23 AM ET  | Category:  E3: After Hours
Previous: Will.i.am's Link to Hollywood | Next: Gathering Beads at IGDA Party


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