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What a day for a picnic

When not attending summer blockbuster premières, Hollywood savours the season with food-driven fun, as reported by Elyse Glickman
additional reporting by Leyla Messian

 


Above Mick Fleetwood with the author (left).

 

ALTHOUGH THERE WERE fewer acts that preceded the 2009 MTV Movie Awards (alas, Kari Feinstein’s tent of rock star fabulousness was not pitched for the first time in years), there were plenty of ways to taste the good life in Hollywood. While current economic circumstances are curbing some desires to travel abroad, accessorize with too much bling and rely on tricked-out SUVs to deliver celebrities from point A to point B, one luxury that will never go away is good food and drink.

 

Platinum still shines
NATHALIE DUBOIS and her DPA team took their act (the only one for the 2009 award show season in Los Angeles) to the Peninsula Hotel, where individual stories behind her featured entrepreneurs and inventors were as compelling as the products. Steas, a favourite beverage of Hollywood event planners, chose Nathalie’s event to debut the new Steas Organic Iced Tea line, which is the first full line of organic and Fair Trade-certified prepared iced teas. The eco-chic Vamp Bags’ creators offered imaginitive ways to literally wear one’s heart (and affection for the environment) on her sleeve. BamBoo Hugs, meanwhile, offered statements for babies and tots with whimsical animal beach cover-ups.

   Though DPA, as usual, had a very international selection of fashion finds, we particularly liked local LA designer Eva Varro’s packable but feminine separates and some downright funny understatements from the European company Pull-In. Also, after so many years of blingy diamond everything, Michelle Henderson’s jewellery (whose devotees include Joan Collins, Angela Bassett and Kimberly Elise) was a fabulously earthy change of pace. Each design had a wonderful primal femininity to it, and you could imagine ancient queens donning these dazzlers in preparation for a coronation ceremony.
   It was also great to see Janet League-Katzin and her Sphatica line back on the circuit. However, at this year’s DPA suite, we had the opportunity to test drive some of her best selling products via indulgent facials. The mix of such luxuries as their Bulgarian Rose Scented Facial preparation, Gold Finishing Serum (with real gold blended in to protect skin from environmental stress) and other things made from Himalayan left one feeling, post-facial, as if she plunged into an ice-cold pool and emerged totally refreshed. Once the æsthetician told us Janet and her team had spent time in India researching the subject, we were dually impressed. While the Sphatica line could be described as a vacation in a bottle, Jeffrey Crochet had us considering a trip to Tahiti’s Manea Spa for some more hands-on attention.

 

A Time for Heroes celebrity carnival

Splice together the Academy Awards and an old-fashioned all-American Memorial Day picnic, and what you get is A Time for Heroes, which has funded the global efforts of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation since 1989. The 20th anniversary edition of the mostly A-list-powered and attended event was headlined by now-ubiquitous teen sensation Miley Cyrus, anchored by Sharon Stone and Heidi Klum and powered by Disney. Celebrities (Denise Richards, Melissa Rivers, Brad Rowe, Billy Bush, Laura Lee Bell, Lisa Rinna) and their impeccably accessorized families not only turned out to see their colleagues man the game booths, but also nibble tricked out midway fare from Pink’s Hot Dogs, Drago, Crustacean and the new Beacon: an Asian Café. Other treats for the senses included a Michael Stars T-shirt customizing station, denim decoration of pieces from American Eagle Outfitter’s new 77Kids line, and cast members of the TV series Heroes celebrating the release of Pixar’s critically acclaimed Up, and reading stories based on the movie’s characters and locales. While celebrities and their families were treated like royalty, as per usual, there were opportunities to give back: some of the luckiest kids in the world spent their time in the sun creating special Generation Free Kits designed to benefit mothers and children in Africa.

You can go his own way

Rock legend Mick Fleetwood hosted a most civilized wine tasting dinner at the red hot LA live location of Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar. Fleetwood, a loyal fan of the popular US steak house, has achieved something rare in the beverage world: creating a celebrity-named product that’s as consistent and high quality as his artistic endeavours. In late May, he rocked the world of both his music fans and foodies with a sampling of his terrific vintages, which included the scrumptious Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar Riesling (teamed with lush appetizers of bree cheese bites and lamb) and Mick Fleetwood Private Cellar Chardonnay and Cabernet during dinner.
   The three-course meal was composed of his personal favourites—shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, grilled veggies and crispy frites—that were not only excellent companions for the wines, but simple and stunning­like Fleetwood Mac’s enduring music itself. Though vanilla ice cream topped with berries was the official dessert, what truly gave the night a sweet note was the fact that guests went home with an autographed copy of his acclaimed CD, Blue Again, and a photo with an authentic rock legend. Those who come to Fleming’s from this point on, meanwhile, will be delighted to know many of his selections (which were an instant hit at earlier wine dinners) are now a permanent part of the restaurant’s wine list.
   While many celebrities put their names on all kinds of products, Mick Fleetwood went on record to proclaim he put the same effort and love into his wines as he does with the music that bears his name. ‘I did not want to be another person slapping my name on the bottle,’ said Fleetwood. ‘It was a hell of a lot of work, but also a hell of a lot of fun. I went about developing the wines the way I approach music, with a love for the process and respect for the journey, trusting my instincts and knowing what I enjoy. [Business partner] Jonathan and I started the process with a dream in a garage band-like fashion, when he made a casual suggestion over dinner one night and I, fool that I am, followed along. I am not a raging expert on soil or how weather patterns affect grapes, and I am not intimidated by wine snobbery. Also, as my life has involved a lot of travel, good food and wine were important, and it seemed as if the success of a tour in part tied in to great places where we ate, such as that great Indian restaurant back in New Zealand, and so forth. It was about creating a wine I personally would love to drink and serve friends.’


Golly GBK

The event that ultimately ended up delivering was the one hosted by GBK and Lisa Jamal that captured the spirit of a good old-fashioned ’50s and ’60s style pool party and barbecue. Though gifting was the lure (with fantastic, handcrafted luxuries from Dr Brecka Bags, Tara Moor Paris and Meggie Jewelry on the higher end and Cool Three Bags, RNFactor Skin Care, Revitalash, LaloFit DVDs and Faded Fool Ts on the practical side), one of the show’s true stars was Jesse and the boys from Ocean Bar Service, spinning their magic with Svedka vodka, Kilo Kai rum and other cool things from Rose’s Mixers. Volkswagen lended both transportation and retro flavour to the proceedings by squiring guests up in eco-friendly autos. Nitro-Cream’s sensational made-to-order sorbets and health-conscious goodies by the chefs of Gotwheatgrass.com goodies completed feast for the senses, satisfying the appetites of such party-goers as Bridget Marquardt, Bella Thorne, Aaron Carter, Alexander Gould (Weeds), Alimi Iraneta (Numbers), Arissa Hill (CSI: Miami), Billy Burke (Twilight), Bobb’e Jay (Role Models), Chi McBride (Pushing Daisies), Chris Warren, Jr (High School Musical), Christina Murphy (Dance Flick), Anastasia Griffith (Damages), Angus T. Jones (Two and a Half Men), Chelsea Hobbs (Make it or Break It), Clifton Collins, Jr (Star Trek), Jonathan Scaech (Prom Night), Julia Ling (Chuck), Olyesa Rulin (High School Musical), Paul-Ben Victor (Entourage) and Roger Cross (Mad Money). In the end, it was simply a great way to pass a Saturday afternoon in LA, regardless of what award show followed it, with nice people, nice vibes and bodywork from the High Maintenance Mobile Spa.

The land of milk and honey

Even with the future of the pre-award show gifting suite in question, the Garage PR, and the creators of the new shopping site shopmilkandhoney.com, came together for a sweet little event that may actually represent the big direction in which young-Hollywood gatherings may be going. There were some fun, fashionable items from iLuck Jewelry, Country Love hoodies, Scanty PJs and Vans sneakers. Lynn LaBorde did card readings based on birthdays and their connections to a traditional playing card deck that were fun and enlightening. However, the presence of a large table filled with paint and markers dominated the event’s space. Celebrities could transform simple printed Ts by OpportUnity, some which could be donated for an auction to benefit the multi-denominational charity Spirituality for Kids (www.sfk.org), which this event was built around.

Krofft services

On the moderate end, the fast food chain Subway kicked off summer with a blast from the past with their Land of the Lost promotion. Though the event was intended to promote the Will Ferrell summer comedy-adventure, guests such as Zachary Levi, and iconic ’70s kid show producers Sid and Marty Krofft, stirred up nostalgia for the original time-travel series that sent a hapless single Dad and his teenage kids back to prehistoric times to face dinosaurs, cave people and sleestacks (which bear eerie resemblances to former US vice-president Dick Cheeney and Republican pundit Karl Rove). And Sam Tyler and Alex Drake, BBC One’s recent time-travelling icons, thought they had challenges adjusting! Truth be told, the ‘Tusssscan’ Chicken sandwiches were very nice, lending a gourmet slant to the menu.

Chez VuQo

If an ambitious producer of cocoanut-based vodka and fruit wines rents out the studio location of the American television series CSI: New York, you know he or she really believes the products will succeed in the world’s most challenging marketplace. That’s exactly what COO and co-founder Jose Panlilio had in mind for the US début for the new Filipino-made VuQo vodka and Haliya Mango wine. The Hollywood-style première for these libations pulled out all the stops, from non-stop passed appetizers and buffet to a live stage show which featured rap artists AudibleSol and a mixologist performing on the same stage as go-go dancers, well, shook things up. Pomp and circumstance aside, we found the mango wine most delightful and cosmos made with VuQo more than good enough to get us interested in the (now) old Sex and the City signature cocktail a-new.
   Elsewhere around Los Angeles, spirits were the stars, with mixologists behind the brands making up a different kind of A-list—as in appealing, appetizing and aromatic. Le Tourment Vert, Herradura Tequila and Neve Ice were among those inviting tastemakers to sample their interpretations of the good life across the city. Across the board, it’s living proof that top-shelf liquor is not going away, even if most visible forms of excess has been shelved in this town for the moment. •

 


 

Elyse Glickman is west coast editor of Lucire.

 

 

From top Sid and Marty Krofft. Zachary Levi (Chuck). Other guests at the Land of the Lost promotion. Gavin Keilly. Bella Thorne at GBK. Bridget Marquardt at GBK. Jesse the bartender. Remaining photographs from Milk & Honey and the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric Aids Foundation benefit.

 

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Lucire 2007 | The Global Fashion Magazine A more real Oscar week
The pre-award prep and primp sessions may be pared down, but Elyse Glickman and Leyla Messian discover spirits are as high as ever in Hollywood. This year’s film and talent nominees represent a renewed commitment to quality and social consciousness, as did the gatherings intended to celebrate their accomplishments

 

 

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