Back in the day, when my novel Phantoms was being turned into a film by Miramax, through their Rogue division, Gerda and I were invited to the Miramax party following the Golden Globe Awards. At the time, that party was always described in the media as the one for which all the most glamorous people sought invitations. The impression was given that the stars so desired being at this soiree that Julia Roberts might have beaten the crap out of Woody Allen and stolen his invitation if she could have gotten away with it. So I put on a tux, and Gerda dressed beautifully for the occasion, and we drove less than a block, from the Peninsula Hotel, where we were staying, to the hotel where the party was being thrown, expecting to be agape for several hours, stunned by the lavish decorations and the presence of a virtual hornet’s nest of movie stars.
Instead, at least two banquet rooms had been connected, the walls concealed with tacky red faux-velvet drapes, so it seemed that either the hundreds of people standing around with drinks in their hands were waiting for the curtain to part and a movie to begin in a vast theater with a 360-degree screen, or we were in a low-rent bordello that couldn’t afford beds.
There were serve-yourself food stations offering all manner of treats. However, there were numerous guests with colds, sneezing and coughing around the food, and people were picking up items for their plates but then having second thoughts and returning them to the food stations. We stuck with cabernet sauvignon.
The guests weren’t 80% famous faces, as the media portray such events, but 95% producers and film executives and film critics and the like, so for the most part you might have thought you were at a convention of office-equipment salesmen in Cleveland.
There was a large circular bar, and one of the eight bartenders did his version of Don Rickles, issuing insults when he took your order and delivered it. I heard him insult two people ahead of me, and when I placed my order, he said, “You want the cabernet in two glasses? Man, you look like you take it straight in a vein.” Some of what he said was potentially amusing, but he delivered his lines with such a vicious edge, you couldn’t be sure if he was treating the gig as an audition, hoping to land a job as a stand-up comic, or if he was a dangerous psychopath.
While I was waiting for the wine, Matt LeBlanc, then starring in Friends, stepped to the bar beside me. As the bartender poured the second glass of cab, he looked at LeBlanc, whom he clearly recognized, and when his new customer asked for one drink or another, the would-be Rickles spewed forth a colorful series of expletives that I won’t repeat here, suggesting that if the actor couldn’t be patient, he should get his own damn drink. LeBlanc, who had been perfectly nice, is apparently a mellow guy. Though he hadn’t had the benefit of seeing the bartender in action, he stood blinking as if bewildered at the heated response, said not a word, and waited for his drink.
According to the media, the party was expected to go on until the wee hours of the morning. After less than an hour, Gerda and I fled back to the Peninsula Hotel and had dinner together, having overdosed on glamour for the night.