No Jamming at Hall of Fame | Spector-less Ball | Oscar Eats | Pam Morton

Rock Hall of Famers Home in Time for Jay Leno

You remember the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame late nights? Those wild jam sessions and great after-parties? It made you really want to be there.

So here's my report from my record-industry insider, who knows this stuff better than I:

"First of all, I was home watching Leno's monologue in bed. I got home in time. That should tell you something. There was no jam session and everyone knew it. People started leaving early.

"Elton John and Elvis Costello, together? What do they have in common?

Elton said he knew Elvis' father, who was a jazz musician.

"When you first walked into the Waldorf ballroom you could cut through it diagonally and be done in seconds. It used to take minutes. It was not very full.

"And who were these people? You could tell a lot of corporations had bought tickets for their suits. They were all strangers. And the people you did know had bad seats. Elton was stuck more than halfway back in the room, under the balcony. Bob Krasnow, one of the founders, was up in the corner against the stage and couldn't see anything."

That was the tone of his report. Was Tommy Mottola there? Yes. Clive Davis, too. The one real moment of the night was ex-Warner Bros. chief Mo Ostin, the last record man to run Warner's and who became a legend, being inducted by Neil Young and Paul Simon.

It was particularly nice of Neil Young, who must have put out 400 albums on Warner/Reprise under Mo. Harvest and maybe only one other one were real hits, but it didn't matter.

Costello and his former bandmate Bruce Thomas had a public scuffle when they picked up their group award. Nice to see everyone's grown up.

As predicted, no women or black people received awards. But my source said: "I'm pretty sure Suzan Evans got an award," he said of the Foundation's overpaid empress. "I think she inducted herself."

Spector Skips the Ball

For the first time in memory, of course, there was no Phil Spector after-party at Giambelli's on 50th St. across from the Waldorf.

When I called the restaurant, the maitre d' said: "No one is renting the upstairs room tonight. Do you want to?"

I declined.

The rumor at rehearsals, I am told, was that Spector wasn't there because he was being arraigned. This was not true at all. His arraignment has yet to be scheduled.

Equally untrue, as I reported in this column, was the rumor that Spector's alleged victim, Lana Clarkson, killed herself accidentally. This was reported definitively on a Los Angeles radio station on Monday.

Also, absolutely true and to be believed: Clarkson was shot through the front door of Spector's house when she made a surprise return; and that she staged her own death using a stunt double and will wait for the insurance money to be wired to her new home in Switzerland.

Oscar Eats: Elaine's Vs. Morton's

Are there only two restaurants in all of show business? It sure seems that way.

On Academy Award night, two distinct camps will take up residence in each place —- Entertainment Weekly at Elaine's in New York and Vanity Fair at Morton's in West Hollywood. It's almost like they'll be keeping the country in balance.

But why wait for the Oscars? On Monday night at Elaine's famous watering hole in Manhattan, none other than Al Pacino took a back table with three friends including Michael Medwed. Pacino was splendiferous in wild green plaid cargo pants perfect for golfing or flagging in airplanes.

But Al, who's one of the nice guys, was busy trying to put together his schedule of upcoming plays and movies. There's still a chance he will bring The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, the satire he did way downtown last fall, to Broadway.

"It's perfect now too, isn't it, considering the environment?" Pacino said. Indeed, in the current political clime, Arturo Ui looks absolutely prescient.

Next up for Pacino is a staged reading version of Salome on Broadway. This means the actors will sit in chairs on stage and read from books. It could be fascinating.

Pacino managed to log some quality time with the beauteous Marisa Berenson, who'd just come from the annual party for filmmakers at the French consulate. Berenson was kind enough to give Fox News Channel's Bill McCuddy a few minutes reminiscing about Elaine's during dinner.

McCuddy's piece will run on Fox and Friends in a couple of weeks.

When Pacino left, there was an audible sigh in Elaine's. Even though mega-powerful literary agents Ed Victor and Owen Laster were doing some deal at one table, and Green Air's Steven Green had the front of the dining room locked down with his gang, there was something lacking.

But not for long. In rolled John Travolta, whose hair is so closely cropped it almost looks painted on. Travolta arrived with a group that included James Lipton, the host of Bravo's Inside the Actors Studio series. I loved Will Ferrell's Saturday Night Live impression of him so much I found the real man to be a distraction.

And that was only Monday.

Pam Morton, Queen of the L.A. Boîtes

Over on the Left Coast, of course, Pam Morton is running her brother's restaurant better than ever. Mondays at Morton's was a phrase coined in the eighties, but it's stuck. The place is jumping every night, but Monday especially.

In the old days, you might find oil magnate Marvin Davis supping with his family while Mike Ovitz, Ron Meyer and Michael Eisner commanded separate corners.

Morton's, I can tell you, is just as hot right now, if not hotter. Last week, at various points, Warren Beatty and Annette Bening, Dennis Hopper, Julianne Moore and Bart Freundlich and tennis star Pete Sampras were just a few of the "in" crowd who pushed past the doors and took their seats under the high ceilings.

Not to be outdone, the society crowd also calls Morton's their home. Nancy Reagan and Betsy Bloomingdale also came in for dinner last week, each looking more youthful and bountiful than women half their ages.

Morton's was started by Peter Morton, and its claim to fame beyond the Monday night thing is that it's lasted. (Peter is busy making money hand over fist at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.)

Morton's is to the West what Elaine's is to the East. And as Elaine's is loud, smoky, and fun, Morton's is serene, subtle and cool. It's kind of funny that Vanity Fair has its Oscar party there. They turn the place into such a circus that it's not at all representative of the restaurant.

And who might be Vanity Fair's surprise guest this year? My money's on Spector, with Annie Leibowitz shooting him. (Bang bang.)