Faking Sex

Sex and the City premiere party, May 29 at The Plumm (246 W 14th St, between Seventh and Eighth Aves)
by Zachary Palmer

I seriously need to take a break from watching, between The CW11 and TBS, one-and-half hours of Sex and the City reruns every night, so my sister Ashley (of Darren Star's short-lived Kitchen Confidential) and I are heading to the Sex and the City premiere party.

Just before midnight, as we arrive at The Plumm from the east (knowing that the red carpet and velvet ropes open to the west), I send a text message to R. Couri Hay Creative Public Relations' Marie Assante. A Big night, glitterati, literati, hipster litter and chick lit mothers with their own litters are on line; in front of the club, fashion blogger/photographer Scott Schulman is shooting Fashion Inc.'s Lauren Goldstein Crowe. Although it is a school night and early still, Consuelo Ruybal and Oraia Reid's RightRides is at the ready.

From inside the club, Marie comes out into the box to meet us. She is standing with doormen King (no relation to Michael Patrick King), who would not remember me and Onorato Wixom's Thomas Onorato — dealing with someone who obviously did not read Glen Belverio's Confessions from the Velvet Ropes — who, otherwise, would.

Dodging the usual front-of-house street theatre performance:

Me: I am The L Magazine's Nightlife Editor.
Doorperson: Elle magazine has a Nightlife Editor?
Me: Not the fashion magazine, the bi-weekly publication.
Doorperson: Elle is bi-weekly?
Me: Yes, the one which is the letter L is bi-weekly.
Doorperson: The L Word? That is a weekly show.

We enter the club just before now-outed Cynthia Nixon gets out of a limo and approaches the Chris Noth co-owned club, as Elle Decor's Elizabeth Stamp gets stamped. On the club's ground level, models/DJs Sky Nellor and Shandi Sullivan who are trading fours all night, are deafening a million PR reps to whom I owe emails, promise to thank in print. Playgirl Editor-in-Chief Nicole Caldwell speaks with Playboy's Editorial Director Chris Napolitano while I, of The L, with William Norwich's "Hello-Bent" piece from the current Vogue in mind, but with kisses all around, approach a table of current- and former-Elle staffers: Lindsay Anmuth, Jen
Gerson, Anne Slowey, Joe Zee and Robbie Myers--who is talking to Mediabistro.com's Laurel Touby, like a revisitation of their summer 2006 interview on Amy Palmer's New York 360. The front door is a revolving door of it's own, all of the gossip columnists coming through could create their own mythological Medea Bistro.

Their table is separated from other publishing houses--like tables in high school, the Condé Nast cafeteria. Axl Rose and Tommy Hilfiger are seated on opposite sides of the room; Teen Vogue's Andrew Bevan, Evonne Gambrell, Aya T Kanai, Jane Keltner, Maura Lynch, E.J. Samson and Lindsay Talbot are seated together. In front of the DJ booth, I see both The L and Lucky's own Laurel Pinson with co-workers Cat Marnell, Kathryn Irby and Blake English, and former L-staffer Kathira Romero. We three all have histories with Atrium Staffing, and the Atrium ladies are out in full force.

Former-L intern Julia Standefer and her sister Lily, both models and brilliant women otherwise, are watching Mario Cantone Vogue, while I look to see if Candace Bushnell can dance. Kristin Davis has not yet shown, Sarah Jessica Parker's Manolo Blahnik'd feet are planted — avoiding a 600 degrees fire of Kevin Bacon plate of Footloose jokes, and Kim Cattrell looks less 1998 SatC and more 1987 Mannequin: fabulous. My fantasy accessories/fashion PR company client roster is seated together: the Beckermans, Pretty Black's Lucy Carr-Ellison, BLEIGHM's Miranda Laughlin, Lulu Frost's Lisa Salzer, AbiGrl's Abigail Seligsohn, Alex Silva and Safe's Rebecca Turbow.

BlackBook's Nick Haramis is wearing red suspenders, Prada's Michael Aguilar is in Prada. Hattie Gruber (in $795 Christian Louboutin shoes) and Lauren Painter (from Barneys) sit with Matthew Hampton (from Macy's) and Time Inc.'s James Brooks; Rebecca Steuer and Style.com's Ashley Granata visit them and the booth looks like Marc-Alan Gray's currently-homeless Changez Le Beat. Later, I see Men.Style.com's Tyler Thoreson and Ashley talking about the Norman Invasion of 1066 and Parisian fashion coverage coming out of 1166 Sixth Avenue, the CondéNet building.

Esther Flink, the most attractive cocktail waitress I have ever seen (back from teaching in Korea for a night), passes by me with a bottle of Grey Goose in a bucket of ice as Asia Baker, Valerie Boster, Catherine Piercy, Sally Singer (all Vogue staffers) and Candice Bergen (who just plays one on TV) enter. A masthead's worth of editors, their work Jackson Pollock-style, Valentino-red paint drips on the pages of fashion magazines, are toasting champagne on the dance floor and eating Jack Berger-themed cheddar jack burgers from caterer dana & david's trays. Carissa Rosenberg, Seventeen's Entertainment Director, is laughing with Jill Demling, Vogue's Entertainment Editor, and both look sincerely happy together, although neither look particularly entertained by the hordes of people pushing them into the foliage of dance floor's potted plants. Meg Gruppo, Lisa Iadanza and Marianne Hart (with Condé Nast HR until recently, now with Polo Ralph Lauren) are having a Human Resources heart to heart; For Full Frontal Fashion, Patrick McMullan is interviewing tonight's host George Wayne, and Billy Farrell of PMC shoots Patrick McDonald, Kenny Kenny, Susanne Bartsch and Amanda Lepore--who is looking at either David LaChappelle and a girl from Myspace or Richie Rich, Traver Rains and Patricia Field. I overhear Richie repeating the rumor going around that fashionista grindcore group The Feminist Movement is playing tonight. I disabuse him of this, but tell him to get in contact with me about
them playing during Fashion Week.

Rich Aybar, Kim Stolz and Nadine Johnson schmooze, applaud Jonathan and Melissa — my favorite dance party couple (they also exist in real life)--who are dressed (costumes, wigs and fat suit) like 'Paradise By the Dashboard Light'-era Meatloaf (with Ellen Foley) — only Julia Dasher of Harper's Bazaar and, later, Jessica Matlin and Lindsey Palmer have the courage to approach them, I wonder if they know that four of the five of them work in the same castle.

I pass by my sister who shouts, incredulously and sympathetically, that she saw freelance make-up artist Claudia Lake cornered into giving free make-up tips in the restroom. I see Sally Singer from across the room, but cannot catch up with her to pitch my Street (Gang) Fashion feature.

With so many proper nouns and models to mention, the party is starting to look like the Nell's chapters in Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho: May Andersen, Gina Marie Busch, Deborah Cohen, Melissa D and Agyness Deyn are trying to get drinks, crowding toward the bar behind NYLON's Online Editor Faran Krentcil, and Tangie Silva and Ashley Baker (Fashionweekdaily.com, et al.), while Details' Katie Hintz and Matthew Marden repeat for the bartender the specifics of their drink orders.

Down by coat check, I run into Condé Nast Traveler's Tracy Shone, W's Carolyn Angel and Vanity Fair's Ian Bascetta, all of whom I met checking coats and taking names in the Don Hill's cloakroom. They tease me over my "today the cloakroom, tomorrow the Vogue fashion closet" metaphorical back piece.

In the back booth, co-owners Noel Ashman and Damon Dash play up the closeness of names between Carrie Bradshaw and Aiden Shaw, and Essan Laurent, smelling of Estee Lauder, poses--long red hair an arabesque
of Sarah Jessica's length, Cynthia's color, Kristin's texture and Kim's body.

[Cut to my computer screen]

With all of the drama surrounding it, will the romantic comedy of the summer be a tragedy?


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