Swelter

Ever the celebrity vibrator, Wayne's invitation boldfaced with important and/or useful egos like Chris Blackwell, Ingrid Casares, Kenny Scharf, and Oribe, our name making the technical credits list. Appropriately enough, lurking in the VIP room A most recently occupied by the egomaniacal Elton John on Fat Black Pussycat night A and taking tentative exploratory missions into the crowd. Smoke and apathy spewing from the lotus eaters in Madame Woo's lounge, the club's exotic dancer turning the tables on her pussyhound fans, hanging out in the men's room between sets. Fame morsels, as always, pouring in heedlessly. Bill Murray staying at the Raleigh, working on a script with homeboy Mitch Glazer. A hook-up queen rhapsodizing on the glories of Cindy Crawford's birthday celebrations aboard a chartered Latin bomba boat, the captain leaving from Crawford's house on the Sunset islands. America's modern Mary Ann Summers hosting the glitterati of the new Gilligan's Island, Crawford landlord-alleged boyfriend Steve Varsano not around. The guest stars come and go, and we're still here on this golden isle, apparently missing all the truly splendid occasions: "It was so fabulous. Too bad you weren't on the list."

Naturally everyone opting for the eternal fever, the itch of clubs. A new fave rave working on her memoirs I Should Have Left Sooner, the title something of a clarion call for all the lost souls who've overstayed the party. Everyone, at once, letting loose a great wail of ennui. The scene peaking two years ago, not even disgusting in an interesting way any more. All the higher life forms of club kids virtually extinct, displaced by teen thugs and moneyed white trash. It's over, all of us might be over, and where have all the good times gone?

Home to bed, thinking of other parties, other places. An apostle of pleasure, despite the dirty-laundry beat, the consuming realities of social reporting descending like an epiphany at a truly wondrous bash thrown by old friends. Yearning for an idyll from publicity-driven affairs, attempting to be reborn as a civilian A the unexamined, unambitious party-boy status of youth A several guests unable to avoid pitches, grin-and-grip photos, hustles, and hurts. Throughout, confronted by anxious faces, worried that we might witness them having too much or too little fun, or perhaps neglect the let-us-now-witness-local-fame responsibilities of columnists. God forbid any of us let it all go once in a while.

For no particular reason, a dinner with a fellow journalist also coming to mind, our colleague reminiscing way off record about the Playboy heyday, when Hugh Hefner ruled in the Los Angeles division of Bunnyland, having way too much sex, fun, and fame, a pioneer of pointed merriment: "Hefner might have three or four girls at once. In the middle of the night, there'd be orders sent down for things like strawberries and whipped cream. The parties were all about business, mostly girls and celebrities. Hefner had the public rooms electronically wired with cameras and lighting equipment. You'd be talking to somebody famous and all of a sudden a flash would come on. The guest would spin away, all confused, and then, invariably, they'd wind up in the magazine.

"Even then, in the Seventies and early Eighties, it was a weird kind of time warp. In one wing of house, a whole group of employees worked full time on his diaries, volume after volume taken from his dictation. They were never published, and I don't think he ever got past 1968. When I think about it, he was probably as insane as Howard Hughes, and just as protected by money. But it was great staying at the mansion. If you wanted fresh lobster at 5:00 a.m., the staff would get it for you. It was so crazy, but Christ, we all had so much fun then.

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