It was a mistake from the start. I should have known from the moment I woke up, but the dye had been cast, plans had been made, money had been hoarded and supplies attained. I was way past the point of no return, even after seeing a color picture on the front of the the L.A. Times showing two inches of snow in Las Vegas.
Snow in Las Vegas? And you expect to double down on eleven and get anything except an ace?
Snow in Las Vegas? The hookers are wearing furs.
But being the fool that I am, I plunged ahead, ignoring the miracle of God that screamed, “Don’t go!” No less a prophet than Moses ignored the burning bush, who am I to get a revelation?
The Billboard Music Awards were live in Las Vegas. Being the cynic that I am, I abhor awards shows. But my girlfriend isn’t jaded…yet. I thought this a perfect opportunity to prove to her that award shows and banquets are just a bore. A shower of stars singing their hits just doesn’t get it done for those of us in the business. Unless Elvis comes back for a concert, we aren’t interested. And even then, our seats better be good or we’re not going.
In my infinite wisdom, I figured this would be a perfect opportunity to give her a lesson. The show was, after all, in Las Vegas. We could have a good time, in spite of the boredom of the acceptance speeches. Then, the next time one of these things comes up, she won’t be so excited and will be more than satisfied to drop by the obligatory parties afterwards to see and be seen.
The plane ride over gave a hint of what was to come. Steve Zapp, Bruce Reiner and Deb Peterson were standing in line, waiting for their tickets while working the cell phones. We went immediately to the bar for Bloody Marys. It didn’t help
Checking into the great hotel, I was informed that on my last trip, I had only lost a couple of grand, not enough for the room to be comped. They were kind enough, however, to give me the big $1250 suite for $250…like they were going to be able to sell it to anyone else on a Monday night. But I forged ahead.
Tickets to the show were accompanied by seat belts and altitude sickness pills. I won’t say the seats were in the rafters, but when Garth Brooks flew high in the air with the help of wires attached to a special harness, we were looking down on him. Stevie Wonder could see better than us.
I was making a great impression.
The show itself was a clinic in bad production. I’ve seen better at the UCLA Film School. We left after Mariah thanked Tommy and Don…the only class move in the show, besides her performance.
John Kilgo, who’s ruined his career by taking a job with Jeff McClusky, offered to buy us dinner at The Palm. I’m always up for a free meal, so we accepted.
That’s when the night turned really ugly.
After dinner and six bottles of vintage wine, Kilgo noticed a woman walking into the restaurant and commented on how he might ask her to join us. I sneaked a peek.
“That’s no woman,” I told John. “It’s a guy in a dress.”
Kilgo protested, insisting it was the woman of his dreams.
A waiter overheard our conversation and joined in. “You’re discussing the cute number in the green dress?”
“My friend says she’s a he,” Kilgo growled. “Tell him the truth.”
The waiter smiled. “Her name is David. He works for us.”
It was the end of the line for old, “Why is it?” He quickly paid the check and tried not to panic, even when David smiled and tried to slip him a phone number.
We went looking for programmers to join us in the suite for a party. It was slim pickings…reminiscent of a Hitmakers convention. We managed to gather a few lost souls and trudged up the strip to the hotel. The wind was cold and hard, slapping our faces like the hand of a pimp against the cheek of a lazy working girl.
The party got wild. Security was called on three different occasions, but not until the grand piano went through the plate glass window did the volume really start to red-line.
Fortunately, Larry (the accountant for K-Ci & JoJo) paid for all the damages. MCA will see it when he asks for the next advance.
Our group got sloppy drunk and unruly. Zapp lost his plane ticket on a last-minute parlay at the crap table, Deb ate french fries, Reiner got married in the Velvet Elvis Chapel with all of us as witnesses and my girlfriend wants to go to the Grammys.
As for Kilgo? He left with David.