The first thing you notice about Arianna Huffington‘s house are the pictures, and the second thing you notice are the books. Both are everywhere, covering most available surfaces in clusters and piles, sometimes with a cluster on top of a pile. This makes it sound like a rent-controlled apartment inhabited by a fussy old woman and many cats, but it’s not; as any reader of December’s Vanity Fair can surmise, her house is gorgeous, spacious and lovely and warm and unpretentious, and the perfect venue for a glittering and convivial party for all sorts of glamorous media/entertainment types.
Which was fortunate, because hundreds of them were about to arrive for her party for Defamer‘s Mark Lisanti and Gawker Media, her happy reciprocation of Nick Denton‘s party for her in September, co-hosted by Gawker’s new business associate Scott Moore of Yahoo! We’re not sure how to end that sentence with anything other than an exclamation point, but really the night was so exciting and fun that we didn’t need to try.
Fishbowl arrived an hour early, which under normal circumstances would be totally annoying but was fine because we’d been invited. We’re SPECIAL. (Actually, it was to interview Arianna for an upcoming FBNY/MB exclusive that you won’t want to miss!) However, it quickly became apparent that our lovely host had been wildly optimistic in thinking she wouldn’t be needed for things pertaining to the media hordes set to arrive shortly. So while she flitted in and out (in a flowy, swishy black cocktail dress that was well-suited to flitting) we had the pleasure of chatting with her sister, author Agapi Stassinopoulos, her energetic assistant Adam Mellema, and our new best friend Marty the Bartender with whom we bonded over the impending release of the movie “Rent” (showtunes open doors, people. Free drinks all night!). We were also there to greet Gawker Media’s Nick Denton and Lockhart Steele. Now we know what Nick’s “surprised” face looks like!
BOLDFACERS: For those of you too impatient to read any more of my scintillating account below, here are the people who were there, including Fishbowl’s new best friend Ron Silver* — in no particular order: Arianna Huffington (natch), Bill Maher (briefly), David Mamet (scarfly – as in, he had a scarf thrown rakishly around his neck. That guy is always closing), Rebecca Pigeon (wife of rakish scarf man), Callie Khouri (responsible for sending Thelma and Louise over a cliff), Laurence O’Donnell (almost responsible for sending Rove off a cliff), Mickey Kaus (promised us a mixed CD, yay!), Meghan Daum (newest LATimes op-ed columnist and prodigious player of charades, much to the chagrin of Rob Reiner – more on that later), Bettie Rinehart and Richard Rushfield of LATimes CalendarLive, artist
Derek Boshier, TV writer Michael Palmer (for upcoming midseason drama “In Justice” midseason on ABC); Defamer Mark Lisanti and Nouveau Defamier Seth Abramovitch, who is not only charming and hilarious but – wait for it – CANADIAN; HuffPosters Marty Kaplan, Peter Mehlman (hello, Mehlman), agent Ari Emmanuel (yes,that Ari), Radar contributor Mark Ebner, introduced to us as being from the National Enquirer (we drunkenly blurted “I had an alien baby!” when we heard that — oops), Peter Blake, (writes for “House”), Mike and Irene Medavoy, Art Streiber, who photographed Arianna for Vanity Fair (seen below presenting her with a framed photo of her and her daughters), Josh Abramson from College Humor, who is objectively adorable, Nancy Moonves, and all sorts of journos, bloggers, and hot people I’m forgetting.** On to our story.
We left off chatting with Denton, Lockhart, Scott and Lock’s college friend Michael Palmer, , in Arianna’s study, where we checked out the photos and books, which were seriously everwhere and actually stacked three deep in places. A random sampling includes “Faith of My Fathers” by John McCain, “The Best and Brightest” by David Halberstam, “Power Plays” by Dick Morris (two copies!), “The Dark Genius of Wall Street” by Jay Gould (the same Jay Gould who was quoted in “Good Night and Good Luck” we think), “Blog!” by David Kline and Dan Burstein (we can’t wait for the musical), a whole bunch by Arianna’s friend and companion in London (according to VF), Bernard Levin, sister Agapi’s book on the love habits of the Gods and Goddesses (Hera, honey, you shoulda tossed that cheating loser Zeus out long ago), and of course books by the woman herself: “Pigs at the Trough” “How to Overthrow the Government” (I should get that, you guys would make a nice 11th province), “The Gods of Greece” (yay Fishbowl got a present!), “Picasso: Creator and Destroyer” (yay Defamer and Defamer’s girlfriend in the awesome dress with excellent shoes got a present!), and “Fanatics & Fools,” to name a few.
Photos, as I said, were everywhere, often perched atop a stack of books, natch. Most popular subjects: her daughters, Isabella and Christina, who both have fantastic hair; plus a nice shot of her with Bill Maher (who was there briefly), a signed pic of a younger Al Franken with big bouncy curls, and all sorts of snapshots that taken together make up a series that I like to call “Arianna’s Hair Through The Ages”).
As the guest started streaming in, we caught ourselves gawking in the crowd, looking for one particular face: no, not John Cusack, who didn’t show (does Circuit City accept returns on boomboxes? Just
curious) but our blogging brother FishbowlLA, aka Michael Sonnenschein! We recognized him immediately, and a joyous reunion was had, except we’d never met. We also saw David Mamet, being extensively photographed by Defamer photog Elizabeth Daniels, and were psyched to meet Mickey Kaus , for whom, yes, we have declared love on this blog. We never said we weren’t shameless. Hey! Ron Silver! We liked you in that movie about Klaus Von Bulow! What’s Jeremy Irons really like? We shot him from above, stalker-style, but we did actually meet him, introduced by the aforementioned Mickey.
Here Fishbowl must stop because we have a flight to catch. But we’ll have Part II tomorrow. Come back! We still haven’t dished on all the stuff we got out of people when they were drunk! Awesome.
UPDATE: And we’re back! Party pics and more here.
*Not actually Fishbowl’s friend.
**As it turns out, Paul Thomas Anderson and Garry Shandling were not, in fact, there; someone was making a joke they thought I got. Oops. Apologies for the error; to quote Judith Miller, “If your sources are wrong, you are wrong.” I think I might try to do some follow-up reporting to see if Garry and Paul really were there.
Photos above: Arianna addressing her guests; Nick Denton and Scott Moore; Arianna with Bill Maher; David Mamet, Arianna and Rebecca Pidgeon (note: I totally lifted the preceding two photos from HuffPo. Thanks be to Earl, the photog at Arianna’s place); Vanity Fair photog Art Streiber presenting Arianna with two framed photographs of the shots he took of her for December’s article; Marty Kaplan and Donna Bojarsky; FishbowlLA’s Michael Sonnenschein and your trusty blogger. We have more photos here. Come see!