Los Angeles has the body culture to which Sydney aspires, the lack of class to which London pretends, and the celebrities to which Parisians are married. It’s either Frankenstein’s monster, or just plain monster.
My first experience 15 years ago was passing through the Bradley airport and seeing an omelette bar where a 10-egg omelette was an option. That’s not lunch, that’s a henocide.
Since then, I’ve not shook the feeling that a freedom of choice is more important than discerned curation. Luckily this time that would work in my favour, as we frequented some fairly discerning venues.
The bridesmaids brunch was at Chateau Marmont, where John Belushi ground out his final hours as “a time bomb, a waste site, a mess. Sweaty, flabby, edgy, pale, disheveled, worn to a stump at 33.” He got there four years before me.
Or as Wikipedia describes it: “old Hollywood glamour, plus a pool, an intimate restaurant & an elegant cocktail bar”.
(For a more elegant description, check this write-up on Cereal.)
Don’t look now, but there’s Natalie Portman just behind me. Rather than rubber neck, I feigned a great interest in my bowl of ancient grains. For once she was happy to be overlooked in favour of something old, beige and not really a dish.
With such preponderance of A-listers, dead and alive, in their natural environment it’s no wonder the venue has a strict no photos policy.
But what they do not have (yet) is a policy against slinging a sparkling “Bride To Be” banner in giant cardboard letters under the terrace. And in our defence, at least we didn’t bring out the dick straws.
Brunch over, we drove down Hollywood Boulevard past the Walk of Fame – increasingly becoming a Walk of Shame given the ever-present number of Michael Jackson buskers refusing to find a less “child-friendly” star to impersonate.
Dinner was a magic show at the “exclusive, private members” Magic Castle. In theory, you need to know someone to get an invite, but if you’re a pretty woman, there’s no shortage of sleazoids who magically appear out of nowhere with tickets.
It’s known as much for its guest dress code as its history: business or formal attire that should be “conservative, formal and elegant”. This made it very easy to spot who was a guest and who was a magician (most of whom did a great sleight-of-hand, but poor slight-of-figure).
As far as institutions go it was a tick on the old bucket list; the greatest trick I remember is not to be fooled into thinking you need go more than once.