â€œYou couldnâ€™t get a limo? Only a town car?â€
I sighed heavily. In Tinsel Town, where style is all that matters, I was caught in a major dilemma. We had good tickets to the American Music Awards, but Burt called too late to get a limo.
This was a tough call.
â€œThey said they could go to an outside vendor for a limo or send a town car.â€
I frowned. It was imperative that the driver be familiar with the ugliness that would take over the AMA parking lot when the show ended. An outsider could be mobbed, or worse, put in the back of the lineÂ which wouldÂ stick you at the Shrine for hours. I was only going with Burt because I couldnâ€™t arrive with my â€œrealâ€ date. She was appearing on the show and I couldnâ€™t meet up with her until later.
â€œOkay,â€ I made my decision. â€œLetâ€™s take the town car, but for Godâ€™s sake, can we get there early so no one sees us?â€
That was what led us to be outside the Shrine Auditorium an hour-and-a-half before showtime, nodding and saying hello to all of the beautiful people. (It was another unforgivable L.A. faux pas. In this town, youâ€™re never early.) And they were there in force. Also many of those featured on â€œThe Lifestyles of the Not So Rich And Famous.â€
Anyhow, I digress. Iâ€™m standing outside with my good friend, who has just moved here from New York, and I must listen to what all the people who just moved to California from New York say. Itâ€™s all about the weather and how wonderful it is and about the stars they see and about how nice everyone is. Give Burt a couple of months and heâ€™ll get over it. Itâ€™s another perfect day, just like all the rest. California does rockâ€¦and not just from the earthquakes. Thatâ€™s why God makes the ground shake and gives us floods, mud slides, fires, killer bees and civil unrest. If it werenâ€™t for those minor inconveniences, everyone would be moving here.
Being unfashionably early turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We got to see almost everybody who was anybody. By the time the show started, we had no reason to go inside, except to witness Dick Clark hyperventilating about time and space.
Anyhow, a few of the awards you didnâ€™t see on the broadcast went to Epicâ€™s Neda Tobin for â€œMost Outstanding Dress,â€ Tony Novia for â€œThe Person Most Proud of His Wife,â€ (Maty made the cover of a ladiesâ€™ magazine. I told Tony we would be proud to have her on the cover of Network 40, but Iâ€™m sure he was afraid Erica would flip out in a jealous rage. I countered by offering Erica a cover, but Tony refused to discuss it.) When will ABC wise up and team Tony with his wife? He would be better than the slug who is with her and a lot more effective than in the job heâ€™s got. One of the largest rumors is that Novia is only an inch away from a programming job here in L.A. and no, I didnâ€™t start that one.
Once inside, the sun was gone, but the lights were brighter. Virginâ€™s Phil Quartararo was showing off his chest hair in a new â€œcutawayâ€ tuxedo. Warner Bros. veteran Dino Barbis was busy bragging about his parking spot. And everyoneâ€™s favorite, Eddie Money, left his tickets in his car.
The actual broadcast went about as expected. Country music played a bigger part than ever. Besides Michael Bolton, who always says the right thing, only the Country artists thanked radio for their awards.
The classiest woman in the building was Elektra Entertainmentâ€™s Sylvia Rhone. Anita Baker won an award and thanked many. What the industry knows is that Anita could have shortened that speech and mentioned only Sylvia. Her commitment to Anitaâ€™s last record was the reason for the award. 550â€™s Polly Anthony could have tied Sylvia, but she had Keith Naftaly on her arm. Baumgartnerâ€™s partner also precluded his inclusion. It made me wonder, between Keith and me, how many Sony acts did we break out of San Francisco? Evidently many, because we were still front and center. It also made me wonder if the number of favors I had done for Burt were about even. Hmmm. He hadnâ€™t offered me any Grammy tickets. Maybe I should remind him about â€œJenny Jenny.â€ On second thought, thatâ€™s how I wound up at the AMAs.
The classiest male performance was put in by MCAâ€™s Richard Palmese. He and his lovely wife graced the front rows with quiet dignity. Have any two people other than Al Teller and Richard done more for aÂ record company with less chest-beating and fanfare?
As the show drew to a close, I moved to the front to be with my â€œrealâ€ date. I had decided it would be best if I didnâ€™t actually accompany Madonna to the AMAs as it would cause too much of a commotion. Making eye contact, she made it clear that I shouldnâ€™t approach her yet. There would be the party afterwards when we could spend some time alone. I gave her my special smile. She pretended she didnâ€™t know me.
Columbiaâ€™s Jerry Blair orchestrated a wonderful dinner that brought out the best and worst of Hollywood: Dana Keil turning down Kevin Costnerâ€™s advances, Charlie Minor telling Burt â€œthe new Dionne Farris record is so good, even I couldnâ€™t screw it up,â€ KPWRâ€™s APD/MD Bruce St. James loaning Wild 107â€™s Michael Martin his cellular phone and Bolton and Louis Levin hounding me for a deck of cards. Sharon Stone was there and was only the sixth most beautiful woman in the room. Number one on my list was Deborah Castillo.
One of the most beautiful was a pretty, young thing who was being accosted by two older â€œproducers.â€ While in the bathroom, I overheard the two â€œdirty old menâ€ discussing their plans for the young lady, who had just arrived from Wichita.
Upon returning to the bar, I eased next to the damsel in distress and shared with her what I heard. Instead of being shocked, she smiled and ran my hand under her dress where I felt a decidedly unladylike bulge. Leaning forward, she whispered, â€œHoney, they arenâ€™t producers and Iâ€™m no Dorothy from Kansas. I guess theyâ€™ll find that out when they travel the Yellow Brick Road I just took you up, but by then, Iâ€™ll have had dinner and drinks.â€
I sat back contentedly. In Hollywood, thereâ€™s always a good ending. Besides, with the revelation, Sharon Stone moved back into the top five.
I went off to find Madonna.