Working the Weekend (with Lady Gaga)
Last weekend was a doozy for me. I didn't go on any benders and then wake up surrounded by countless bottles of champagne. Instead, I had to stay sober while covering back-to-back galas filled with philanthropists and celebs partying in a decadent pre-Great Recession haze. The apex of the revelry was the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's 30th birthday bash on Saturday night. In lieu of clowns, pony rides and cupcakes, the 1,000-plus guests celebrated with Brangelina, Lady Gaga's premiere of a new ballad with Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli and the Bolshoi Ballet, and coq au vin and mini baked Alaska pies whipped up by Wolfgang Puck. Plus, there was not one reality TV personality spotted within a 100-foot radius. (Perez Hilton, on the other hand, decked out in white sunglasses and a sequined jacket, came as a FOLGy -- Friend of Lady Gaga.)
Some discoveries of the evening that never made it in my story: Producer Ridley Scott was rather approachable and friendly when I had to grill him about his Gucci project (I thought he would lash after me a la the fighters in his movies "Blade Runner" and "Gladiator"). Eighth-grade fashion blogger Tavi Gevinson, bundled up in Rodarte and Missoni like a little gypsy, was smaller than I thought. I made James Franco laugh by asking if he was wearing a Guckie suit. Gwen Stefani accessorized her Dolce & Gabbana bustier with fake diamond earrings she bought in Thailand. Billionaire philanthropist Eli Broad only wears Brioni or Ermenegildo Zegna suits. I misheard Liz Goldwyn say "lesbians" when she actually said "burlesque queens." Hedi Slimane was more shy, unassuming and thoughtful than I expected from someone of his talent and reputation. A tentacle sleeve of my champagne-colored Gianfranco Ferre blouse made a cameo in a photo with K.D. Lang.
The one-night-only presentation was organized by Moscow's Garage Center for Contemporary Art and the Gagosian Gallery. In tribute to the Russians in the house, the posters lining the white tent erected in the middle of Grand Avenue paid homage to another distinguished Slav: Alexander Rodchenko. Here's a poster of Vezzoli done in that simple, clean, bold style.
The only time I got to sit down and relax was when Lady Gaga sang "Speechless" in Vezzoli's "Ballets Russes Italian Style (The Shortest Musical You Will Never See Again)." Unfortunately, I wimped out of challenging copyright law to post the ghetto video footage I took of the performance. But you can find some on YouTube.
Damien Hirst painted blue butterflies on the pink piano that Lady Gaga played during her performance. The Steinway was later sold in an auction -- with the help of leggy models in gold lame swimsuits and "The Price Is Right" theme song -- to Larry Gagosian for $450,000.
Following their performance, Lady Gaga and Vezzoli did quick costume changes to better enjoy their dinner with the MOCA crowd and later do a round of interviews with the press. The lady remained demure in another pouffy Prada dress, albeit one in black with a cutout revealing her pale tummy. She also switched her lipstick color from blue to black. Vezzoli slipped on a leather bomber jacket and jeans, but kept the rhinestone tear under his right eye. Now that's a true artiste.