Los Angeles’ new police chief, Bill Bratton, told me last night that the City of Angels has received no specific terrorist threats. In fact, Bratton plans on going to the Academy Awards on Sunday and attending the Governor’s Ball afterwards. This will make his wife, Rikki Kleiman, a Court TV correspondent, very happy. She’s gotten a special dress for the occasion.
But Bratton, who was once New York’s excellent police honcho, did say he thought going to orange on the terrorism alert level was absolutely appropriate.
"It takes time to get everything up to speed. Going to orange puts everyone in place just in case something happens. Of course, New York is handling this much different than we are."
Bratton, a Boston native and a popular figure in Manhattan, told me all this at a party last night at the Mondrian Hotel in West Hollywood for the new issue of Los Angeles Confidential magazine. This advertiser-heavy book is publisher Jason Binn’s slick and smooth baby. I have never seen so many luxury ads in one place. The magazine manages to use "advertorial" and quid pro quo type editorial to make it work. In this recession, they deserve credit for making money.
Binn’s party was so crowded that it tied up traffic on Sunset Boulevard in front of the Mondrian. L.A. sheriffs on motorcycles were needed to unsnarl the parking mess.
Inside, Oscar nominee Adrien Brody, rapper Eve, actor Ron Silver, and society airhead Paris Hilton mixed it up with Dennis Hopper. There were plenty of models and beautiful people, none of whom seemed to be discussing the impending war. Few of them recognized Bratton. But that’s Chinatown, baby. If it’s not in the "trades," it doesn’t count.
Of course, that is the crux of the problem for Sunday’s Academy Awards. Show producer Gil Cates wants to make sure the Academy looks serious and concerned about the ominous current events. But the participants who are already in town are dead set on getting this thing over with and not stinting on the celebrating. It’s a quandary since most of the Hollywood constituency is against the war in the first place.
Yesterday I was told by a source that Wolfgang Puck’s Spago, which caters the Governors Ball, is on its own orange alert.
"If we make it to Friday without the start of bombing, then we’re a go," said my source at the restaurateur’s empire. "But if the bombing begins before that, the whole thing will be called off."
Over at the Elton John AIDS Foundation, there is talk also of canceling their annual party, which is sponsored by InStyle magazine. At Chaya Brasserie, New Line Cinema is said to have scuttled a celebration that had been planned for About Schmidt and Lord of the Rings. Unnecessary self-promotional fetes, like ICM agent Ed Limato’s annual do and Vanity Fair’s multi-million dollar extravaganza, have already come under criticism in The New York Post’s Page Six.
It’s a watch and wait situation now, with the police chief making his party schedule and the producers worried about how they will look.
Meanwhile, they’re still talking about last Friday’s blow out at Spago for Michael Caine and Quincy Jones.
The pair celebrated their 70th birthdays with a joint party. The evening featured a private concert by Stevie Wonder and comedy delivered by the legendary Red Buttons.
Who was there? "Everyone," said my source, who got to star gaze at a J-Lo-less Ben Affleck among others. "The entire A-list."
Michael’s wife, Shakira, put the project together with help from Jones’ family and friends. It’s not the first time Caine and Jones have done this. In fact, it became something of a tradition about 20 or more years ago in London.
I am told that former Sony Music CEO Tommy Mottola and his successor, Andy Lack, had a "screaming phone fight" yesterday.
The screaming was said to be done by Mottola who finally had to face the fact that Lack and Sony will not be giving him that promised label deal. As I’ve reported here recently, Mottola must have sensed this since he’s been hoping for a deal at Universal Music with Doug Morris. Mottola recently tried to stop a profile of Morris getting into print, telling the writer: "He means a lot to me right now."
Mottola, who has a golden parachute, millions in personal funds, and some lovely residences, should just cool it now for a bit. Instead, my sources say, "it’s about power not money and he still wants it."
Mottola is said to have been trying to contact Michael Jackson recently, hoping to gain his confidence by telling him what is going on at Sony behind closed doors. Last summer, Jackson pronounced Mottola "devilish" in the press. Indeed.
Lack, meanwhile, is demonstrating the reason Sir Howard Stringer hired him. He’s evidently not afraid to stand up to anyone. He’s also, I am told, going through the ledgers and books to figure out how Sony lost so much money in recent years. I am told that he’s not happy with what he’s seen. Has there been a 'Lack' of good accounting? March 31 is the end of Sony's fiscal year. That leaves 10 days for Sony to make some big announcements.