March 06, 2005

Magic Red Carpet Ride

The past 6 years living in LA provided a fair share of typical star sightings-- 2nd & 3rd degrees of separation to Fred Savage, the cast of ABC's "Still Standing", Keanu Reeves and Anthrax, a location shoot of Nora Ephron's "Bewitched" with Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell outside my employer's front door, and countless "hey! isn't that... uh... you know... that guy from that show!?" My daily commute through Beverly Hills makes me wonder if the Bentley that just cut me off was driven by 50 cent, or was it Dr. Phil? However, we've never been on the other side of the velvet rope-- until yesterday.

John Varvatos hosted his 3rd Annual Stuart House Charity Benefit at his Melrose Avenue store. Since my wife recently began employment at Stuart House, she received an invitation... not an invitation to "work" the event, but as a guest. A totally surreal experience; driving up to valet in my Honda Hybrid, confirming we were "on the list", waltzing nonchalantly past the paparazzi prior the arrival of someone actually worth photographing, and joining the crush of humanity in the small boutique.

It was an intriguing collision of "be" attitudes-- the beautiful people, queen bee's, wannabe's, has-been's, and 'cause we gotta be here's. We were obviously part of the looky-loos, trying to figure out if that red-head is someone we should recognize, or craves recognition. Jesse Malin performed while trays of mushroom tarts, petit fours, goat cheese profiteroles, and Izze Sparkling Juice floated through the crowd. There were almost 100 nifty items up for silent auction (none of which we won) and several big-ticket items auctioned off by Eric McCormack and Garry Shandling.

David Schwimmer sang mighty praises of Stuart House to the audience, while Henry Simmons did the same for the news crews along the velvet rope. We heard from others that Dennis Hopper, Jerry Bruckheimer, Jeffrey Katzenburg, Brendan Fraser, and a slew of others were among the crowd, but we never picked them out. Regardless of the overly beautified people and house-hold names, the atmosphere on the other side of the rope was nowhere near as stand-offish as I expected. These were people willing to donate their time, money and celebrity for the efforts of my wife's employer. Events like this make it possible for Stuart House to offer their services free or charge, without the bureaucracy of state or federal funding.

Aidan was delighted with the story tellings by,

Jennie Garth, Courtney Thorne-Smith, Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and Brooke Shields. But he was done with the whole affair shortly after and pleaded with us to go home, so we didn't actually see Jackson Browne perform (although we nearly stepped on his foot while attempting to navigate the human mass).

We drove off from valet, sandwiched between luxury SUV's and Porsche Boxsters to the next intersection, where my wife spotted Meg Ryan in her brand new Toyota Prius in the next lane. I must admit, at first glance I thought, "hey! isn't she... uh, you know... that girl from that movie!?"

- Lito

ps. The dark, blurry photos are my own. Check out some shots by the pros at Daily Celeb and London Features International.

Posted by Lito at March 6, 2005 10:06 PM