Issue: Issue Summer 2005
Inside Hollywood’s Party Scene
A Worldly Place to Visit Visitors from around the world and even local Los Angeles folk are flocking to the new Hollywood nightclubs.
“There is still so much potential here,” said Steve Adelman, owner of The Spider Club and Avalon night club.
“Hollywood is a great place to do business. We have only been here for a year and a half-it’s amazing how successful we have been.” More venues are sprouting up than ever before, noted Adelman.
“The nightclub scene really has a sense of momentum going. I can only see it expanding in the future.” Adelman has been thrilled with the variety of special events at his club.
“We did a political fundraiser, where The Black Eyed Peas performed, and that was great. Also, tons of celebrities came out for Us Weekly Magazine’s anniversary party, and Bruce Willis’ birthday party,” he said.
“There is a huge celebrity scene that comes to Hollywood,” agreed Robert Abrahamian, co-owner of the family business, Josephs Café.
“We regularly book movie wrap parties and network television parties which are always fun to do,” he said.
Nowhere was that more true that when Fox’s superhot television series, “The OC,” held their Halloween party at the café and it was really a wonderful evening,” Abrahamian said. Joseph’s with its casual Greek-inspired ambience was voted the #1 celebrity club in Los Angeles by City Search and ABC News 7.
Hollywood Renovation “Hotel business is thriving”, noted Tim Herrmann, director of sales and marketing for the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel.
“Many entertainment companies want to have their events next door at the Hollywood & Highland complex, which has enabled business to steadily increase for us each year.”
“Wolfgang Puck caters many of the hotel’s parties, which always impresses convention attendees”, said Herrmann.
“Puck does the Oscar’s annual Governors’ Ball, which is very exciting for us – the presenters and nominees all stay here. It is truly an extension of a red carpet event." The hotel has also played host to the attendees of the Academy Awards ceremonies, the ESPY Awards, The BET Awards and the American Film Institute Awards.
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, who once upon a time, hosted the intial Oscar Awards banquet in 1929, is being renovated and revitalized. The Roosevelt is always brimming with excitement due to the A List celebrities that attend their numerous events.
“We just hosted a charity fashion show with Fredericks of Hollywood, where The Psychedelic Furs performed, which was a lot of fun to do, “ noted David Siguaw, executive director of sales and marketing.
Following a $15 million renovation by the non-profit cultural organization The American Cinematheque, The Egyptian Theatre – another Hollywood landmark – gets a loyal audience for all their special events.
“With the variety of movie tributes we do, tourists and local audiences can get to see all kinds of celebrities, director and producers from both old and new Hollywood,” said spoksperson Margot Gerber.
Hooray for Hollywood Back in the1920s to early 50s, Hollywood was a thriving entertainment community, with glamourous theatres and bars, noted Chris Breed, restauranteur/owner of The Sunset Room, White Lotus, and The Pig ‘n Whistle.
“People dressed up and had wonderful experiences and that sense of excitement is coming back.
Breed has worked on marketing the Hollywood name, which he feels has helped draw parties to his venues.
“We have spent a lot of money to make our clubs successful. A great menu, good music, service and ambiance all help to create a good vibe and energy, that our high end clientele want.”
“Corporate entities want to come to Hollywood for their parties as well”, said Phyllis Laskey, president of the Hollywood Entertainment Museum. “People want that Hollywood feel, and our museum is the perfect venue to provide that.” The museum currently features the original set of “Cheers” and artifacts from the tv series “Star Trek.” Debbie Gambino, owner of Debbie’s Dinners, a full service special events company, loves to do events in the area.
“It’s great to do parties at theatres that are historic-like the Music Box, the Pantages, and even local residences. When you do an event, there is that undeniable ambiance, which just adds to the whole party.
” Gambino is asked frequently to do Hollywood-themed parties. “People love seeing where films are being produced. Soundstages at The Lot, Raleigh and Sunset Gower studios, and, of course, Paramount, are great for large events since they hold so many people. And party attendees love being able to go where their favorite film or show is made,” she said.
“It’s just so much easier to do a movie premiere here, because the neighborhood is accustomed to it.
Plus, with all the new spaces in Hollywood, there’s more flexibility in the kinds of parties we can throw,” said Beau Robb, marketing, entertainment outreach and special events producer, Prescience. In restaurants, clubs, historic theatres and hotel ballrooms, the town is always jumping and we haven’t even mentioned all the hoola that the granddaddy of all parties, The Oscars, generates. Every event requires staffing, flower arrangements, live music, food and beverages, not to mention fashion and transportation.
That said, with all the exciting parties, nightclubs and special events taking place in Hollywood, Eddie Zaratsian, creative director of Tic-Tock Couture Florals, commented, “Business is booming and we’re on a roll.” With more special events, parties,premieres, restaurants and nightlife than ever before, Hollywood is back and THE place to party.
“Hollywood is the easiest location to run a nightclub – it’s more welcoming than any other part of Los Angeles,” stated Kat Johnson, one of the owners of the new nightclub, XES.
“Just five years ago, this was a very different neighborhood, but now it’s turned into a happening destination,” he said.
“The whole area now reflects a sense of class. And we want to pitch in as much as possible to improve it even more.” XES attracts a plethora of celebrities,like Christina Aguilera and Janet Jackson.
“Britney Spears even had her post wedding reception here!”, said Johnson.
“Clearly, the glitz and glamour is back,” enthused Thaddeus Smith, owner of the Henry Fonda Music Box Theatre and Blue Palms Lounge.
“People feel safe to walk the Hollywood streets at night, and that has really helped.”
Now that the area has cleaned up its act, “event planners are flocking to Hollywood for all their special party needs,” added Smith. “We are constantly doing movie premiere after parties, and charity fundraisers that are chock full of celebrities, which is always very exciting.” Lights! Camera! Action! The life of a red carpet photographer is a nonstop barrage of movement, in the quest to get a photo of the Hollywood elite.
“It is so much fun to be involved in the excitement of Hollywood,” said veteran photographer Jeremy Montemagni.
“As we are invited to cover the event, (unlike being a paparazzi) you get to be up close and personal with all the talent from the latest movies and charity benefits. It’s always interesting to be a part of that ‘fourth wall.” And though it’s a rollercoaster ride of adrenaline at times, it’s not always fun and games for photographers, who want to get a good shot that will sell well to photo agencies.
Competition is fierce, said Montemagni, who also shoots music and fashion events. “There you are on the red carpet, surrounded by a slew of other photographers all competing with you to take something ‘different,’ something that doesn’t look like anything else. That can be a difficult feat to accomplish,” he said.
Photographer Effie Naddel shoots a lot of premieres and parties in Hollywood for Shooting Star photo agency.
“When I am on the red carpet, there are lots of special moments. There is such an excitement-a mixture of business and passion. What always amazes me is when I get to see someone from the Hollywood of the past. You never know when you are going to see that celebrity again.
It’s very bittersweet.” Hollywood is an excellent place for red carpet events, said Megan Gaynes, a magazine staff photographer.
“There are so many events going on – at least a dozen places in a square mile every single night, which is especially convenient, because you never know which event will end up being a good one.
” “There is a different event every day, which is really fun to do!” said Scott Downie, president and chief executive officer of the Celebrity Photo Agency.
“We always see new faces which makes it interesting. Hollywood is truly a great place to have huge movie premieres – there is such an air of reminiscence whenever you are doing a red carpet.”
“Nowadays, you need a background bio on everyone attending a red carpet event, as some B and C list celebrities just aren’t recognizable,” said Downie. “This is truly an ever changing business.
You have to know the publicists, the managers, the agents, the young kids, their parents, etc.
It is really hard to keep up with all the new faces of Hollywood. But you take all their pictures–you never know who is the next rising star!”