Partying With Carmen Electra
We have seen the other side. Should we never cover another Super Bowl (which would probably be wise for all parties involved), at least we can always say that we partied with the big timers (or, kinda big timers).
Last night we did the Leather and Laces party hosted by Carmen Electra, Jenny McCarthy and Kelly Monaco. All turned on the charm on the red carpet and inside the exclusive party itself. It was pretty cool to be able to see how it goes down in and around the VIP room, but in the end the whole thing wasn't that much different that it would be at any swank club - the scenery is better and the booze is way more expensive.
(Brief interjection: In what was more of a necessary physiological response to the ramifications of a raging night on Thursday than a nod to anything journalistic, I stuck to bottled water on Friday. My body craved nothing else.)
So, let's go back to the beginning. We leave our hellhole and walk to the Hyatt, where we can catch a shuttle to South Beach. I go inside the hotel to buy a Gatorade, and standing right there in the lobby holding court is Deacon Jones. Then, leaning against the front desk, there's Biz Markie (our pal, let's call him Big Don Zanzibar, had absolutely no clue who the Biz was, and has never heard "Just A Friend." More on BDZ to come).
So then we get on the bus, take a seat, look one seat over, and it's Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes."
Rooney looks like he could work up a lather at any minute, and when the driver announces that the short trip could end up taking 50 minutes due to traffic, I actually get a little pumped up. Then, he says there is no direct shuttle to the party Rooney and his wife are going to. I feel as if we could be treated to an hour of world class heated commentary on this trip. I begin to actually root for streets packed with cars.
Rooney has a charming crabbiness about him, and start to bust Don's chops a little bit at point. But the ride is largely uneventful We get there in 20 minutes, give Andy directions to his party (we could probably get a job with the chamber of commerce at this point), and begin walking to the Leather and Lace party.
So as we get off the bus I say to Don, "You do know who that was, right?" Blank face. No idea. He's 2-for-2 at this point. At least this time when I explain who we were chatting with, it does register, he tells me his mother used to love watching Rooney. Still, I'm thinking he needs to expand his worldview or something.
After dinner - beware of the 17-percent autotip slapped quietly at the bottom of your checks down here (we almost ended up giving a 40-percent tip last night, then had to scratch out the second tip from the credit card form. Sneaky) - it was off to Chakra, the biggest, newest hippest club down here.
First we do the red carpet, and we'll admit, the celeb list beyond the gals hosting the party was a little slim. Kato Kaelin made the red carpet. Yeah, that made us a little sick to our stomach, too. Then he was actually asked to sign a bunch of autographs, and we threw up a little bit in our mouths.
This DJ, Colleen Shannon, the 50th anniversary Playmate, seemed like a smart, cool chick. Brande Roderick, another Playmate who also doubled on Baywatch, was keeping it real. She was asked if any of if this South Beach madness really had anything to do with the Super Bowl.
"It's all about celebrities," she said. "This has nothing to do with football."
PS - We would have had no idea who most of these people were - Kato aside, sadly - not would most of the photographers there, except the PR gals would scamper up the carpet before the celebs made it up and shout out who it was and why they were - mildly it seemed - famous.
Finally, a little after 11, Carmen and the gang showed up. McCarthy was first, and she actually wanted to talk pigskin. She's from Chicago and thusly is pulling hard for the Bears and actually planned to watch the game (a real novelty down here).
"I would be damned to hell if I wasn't rooting for the Bears," she said. She actually mingled with some regular people on the street before hitting the red carpet, and, with her arrival we got our first taste of full blown Hollywood celeb-paparazzi interaction. This must be the only place and time on the planet when burly, often ugly males, touting loads of camera equipment around their necks can shout from the street: "Turn around. We need a shot from behind. Over the shoulder. Move to your left. Tilt your head and smile." And the girls are all right there with them.
Carmen was even more fan friendly. Some dude in the back shouted that he wanted to kiss her - and she left the carpet went over and gave him a peck on the cheek despite his being large, nearly shirtless and clearly a bit drunk. She chatted with this old lady who wanted to touch her arm for a few moments - this seemed a little creepy to us, but, hey, whatever floats your boat - and then assured us that she would not be partying too hard tonight, although, "I do like to get on the dance floor."
A Playmate-in-the-making (trust us on this one), and yet another model/DJ, Tamara Sky then took her turn. She will be the Playmate of the month in July, we are told, and in her sleeveless dress, we could understand why. She's a Miami native who says this week has been kinda nuts, even by South Beach standards.
"I did the Super Bowl last year (in Detroit) and it was nothing like this," she said. "It's getting a little crazy."
Last, but not least, we waited to meet Kelly Moncao (an actress who did "Dancing With The Stars"). She was perfectly blunt about why she was in Miami this week.
"Parties, parties, parties, parties, parties," she said. "That's it. One after the other. The Super Bowl means absolutely nothing to me. I'm here to see Prince."
So now, having conquered the red carpet, we were ushered inside the party to see what it's like on the inside. There were like three levels to the club, and depending on how rich and/or famous you were, you might be contained to the bowels. There were various tickets and credentials involved and the poor schlubs who spend $275 for their base level ticket, well, they could only stay on the bottom floor and had to spend $15 for a mixed drink. (Those on other levels may have paid $1,000 or more for their ticket, and that only guaranteed six drink tickets for the most part, so this was going to be a steep night out for all but the elite VIPS)
We were allowed to go where we wanted - save for inside the VIP - and, after getting the thumbs up sign from Courtney, who rocked the PR for us, we knew we were in for good. She told us to have a good time and left us to do as we pleased.
It was a really cool club. In one area it appeared to be raining from the ceiling to the floor, with this immaculate waterfall splashed with multi-color lighting. The place was in pristine condition, with an Asian theme. There were plasma TV hanging around and loads of hipster tables and sofa, with the requisite bottles of champagne a flowin' at all the reserved areas. The music was loud, but not nearly too loud to make it difficult to chat, and there was plenty of elbow room for everyone.
We had a few egg rolls and sushi that waitresses were giving out. There was a wild performance from Cirque du Soleil, with a woman dangling from the ceiling and doing flips while grasping onto what appeared to be sheets, and a guy spinning this huge metal cube all over the place. It's not really our thing, but will admit it was kind of cool.
As for those on the top two levels of the club, it was definitely a better vibe up there. Five women in matching lingerie promoting god only knows were dancing all over the place. You could indeed bump right into Jenny or Carmen, or, unfortunately, Kato.
I actually felt bad for the guy at one point, because we got stuck behind him and, being such a human punchline, people feel like they can stop you, grab you and shout whatever they want at you. Of course, he also gets to live a life of luxury despite no discernable talent, was clearly tight with all of these Playmates and, judging by his date, things are going alright for OJ's buddy these days.
We checked out the scene for quite some time, and had a good time. Sobriety was a nice change of pace. It's not our regular kind of joint, but it was neat to see how the other half lives.
Perhaps one anecdote summed up the difference between those really belonged with those who clearly just spent way too much money and over-extended themselves. These two Japanese models - who were drinking like sailors - were getting approached by men fairly constantly - often bloated, middle-aged dudes drinking Coronas who had no chance.
During one of their endless trips to the second-floor bar, this short, balding, 50-ish guy points to them from across the room, high fives his buddy, and makes a beeline. Already, we know this will not end well. He taps them on their shoulder and grunts, "Are you guys Bears fans?"
They had no idea how to process this information. They look at each other and turned their backs. He asked again. "What? What are you talking about?" one of them finally said. "There are no Bears in Florida."
Then she turned dismissively. So much for the NFL experience.
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